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RS Sicily Tour - "Activity" level

The Sicily tour is listed as very active compared to most RS tours which are shown as moderately active. Could anyone who has been on the Sicily tour and other RS tours please comment on the relative activity level?

Background - we have been on 6 RS tours in Italy, France, GAS, Berlin to Vienna and had no difficulty with the walking, stair climbing and all that. However, it's been a couple of years and we are now in our mid 70's. We walk regularly 2.5 to 4 miles on hilly terrain 3 or 4 days a week and consider ourselves in pretty good shape but the description of the Sicily tour causes us to pause and reflect a bit. We would not want to miss anything or slow the group down. Any advice?

Robbie

Posted by
524 posts

I feel with your description of yourself, you would not have any problems with this tour. My husband and I just took this tour in April of this year. We are 58 and 69, we too walk same amount, but daily. We have two dogs and they help keep us in shape! I did quick math calculations and we averaged 5.87 miles per day, but this included walking we did on our own during free time. That said, I did not feel the tour was overly strenuous. Of course there are hills to climb, the Greeks built their temples perched atop said hills. Each town we visited was hilly. I reviewed the itinerary and noted there was only one day marked as strenuous with the rest mark as moderate. From what I remember,about the strenuous day, there was a lot of walking, morning walk through market, walk in cathedral and cloister, and then walking in Palermo. There were several towers with stairs to climb. Also, the day you walk in the Valley of the Temples is probably the longest walk, and over rough terrain in places. But, we stopped quite a few times to listen to the local guide. I got sunburned that day, but was not overly tired.

You did not say which tours you took in Italy. If you have been on Village Italy or Southern Italy, I would compare Sicily Tour to those when it comes to activity level...hills, walking in museums, and around Greek or Roman ruins.

I hope this helps and that I did not ramble on and on without providing any insight.

Posted by
115 posts

Thanks, Debra, this is just the kind of information I was looking for. And, yes, we have taken both the Village Italy and South of Italy tours around 4 years ago.

Posted by
4723 posts

Debra's right. The only places that are very hilly are Erice and Ragusa. Some hills at Agrigento and the vineyard. And I don't think the tour goes to Ragusa any more. If you did Village Italy with no problem, you'll have absolutely no trouble with Sicily.

Posted by
7792 posts

Given you level of regular exercise/walking, you should have no problem 'keeping up' or missing anything.

Am a bit younger , but did Best of Italy and Greece tour, and my only "regular exercise" was a monthly trip through SEA and PDX . Was able to keep up on the tours with no problem; you should be fine.

Posted by
524 posts

We stayed in Ragusa, at one time the tour stayed overnight in Erice. (note: we took the off season) This was where we had a break, by that a free day. The hotel arranged for our bags to be taken to and from the bus. This was a terrific benefit, as it was quite a steep walk. Also, the hotel was set up with a core set of rooms and the rest were in other buildings. If you had a room that was in another building the hotel took bags to and from the room. We had this type of room. I must say, this was appreciated. Our room was located on the second floor via a very narrow stone spiral staircase. The room itself was on the smaller size, which was fine, with a kitchen area that was shared with the one other room on that floor. The one room on the first floor was quite large and had a kitchenette. On that note, there was another hotel, in Tranpani, that also had kitchenettes. Some in the group had rooms in caves. Since you have taken Southern Italy Tour, you have an understanding of what they were like.

Posted by
3112 posts

I took the off-season Sicily tour and have taken other RS tours. I don't think the overall activity level is significantly different from other multi-city tours I've taken - i.e. a lot of relatively flat walking, some hilly walking and some steps to navigate. There is a steep climb to one of the temples at Segesta (optional part of stop) and Ragusa was extremely hilly, but the walking tour of Agrigento is downhill. Ragusa is replaced by Taormina during regular season, and my recollection is that Taormina isn't nearly as hilly.

Posted by
54 posts

Would you recommend taking walking sticks for the hills and uneven terrain? Or are good walking shoes adequate?

Posted by
1955 posts

I wore closed toe Keens and (open) Teva sandals and alternated between the two-"heavier" walking days got the Keens. I absolutely agree with what everyone else has said re the activity level for this tour. I have taken Greece, So. Italy, VI and Sicily tours (twice for Sicily) and feel all are about the same (in my opinion) activity level with the VI tour edging closer to "more" strenuous than the others. I think you will do just fine, given that you are exercising regularly.

Posted by
2788 posts

I have taken 14 RS tours over the last 16 years and have noticed more and more RS tours saying they are very or more active than other RS tours. I do not find that to be true for the tours I have taken and I am 72 y/o. I have often wondered if the RS folks are saying that to make sure that some ill-prepared folks do not sign up.

Posted by
4723 posts

I have often wondered if the RS folks are saying that to make sure that some ill-prepared folks do not sign up.

Charlie, I suspect you're right. We've noticed a number of people on recent tours who seem surprised to discover there's a lot of walking on these tours, often on cobbles, and lots of stairs. In other words, they don't read the provided materials.

Just some people, of course, not most.

Posted by
949 posts

We just finished this tour yesterday and it was simply amazing! It was our fourth RS tour, and by far the favorite. Although we did a lot of waking, I wouldn't say moreso than other tours. I think by "most active", they mean it has the most activities. We didn't have nearly as much downtime as we did on other tours, but I appreciated it because that's why we took the tour. We were literally going from morning until evening most days. Most people on our tour we're in their late 60's and early 70's and had no trouble keeping up. We all had a wonderful time.

Posted by
355 posts

"I have often wondered if the RS folks are saying that to make sure that some ill-prepared folks do not sign up."

I can't be sure as I have no inside information, but two years ago I was on a tour that had two ladies, both rather feeble, on it. Carry your bags upstairs? They could not roll their bags a few hundred feet on a level street. One already needed a cane just to walk on the sidewalks and another had various health issues that made it difficult just to get on and off the bus.

One ended up leaving the tour after a few days. The other survived by not doing a lot of activities and with a huge amount of help from an assistant guide and other tour members. The assistant was fabulous, but I have to wonder what would have happened to this lady if that tour not had an assistant.

My guess is that it just make sense to over state the activity level a bit. It's much better to have people say '"It was not bad at all" than "Why didn't they warn me!"

I'm still in pretty good shape but my knees can act up now and then, so I do bring a walking stick. Mostly I end the trip wondering why I brought the stick and reviewing articles about packing light. :-)