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RS Sicily Tour - Fall 2017

Two questions for prior participants of the RS Sicily Tour. It appears there is an abundance of free time in Trapani (both evenings). Is this city impressive to warrant being "set free to spend the rest of the day exploring" two days in a row?
Secondly, I have reserved a hotel (same as tour) for two nights back in Taormina following the completion of the fall 2017 RS tour. I want a couple of days to myself for photographing, shopping and beach before flying from Catania to Germany. Is this a wise choice of location within striking distance of the Catania airport?

Posted by
11613 posts

If your tour doesn't include Erice, you might want to go there. There are also some boat tours that might interest you.

Taormina is within easy reach of Catania airport, what time is your flight?

Posted by
137 posts

TRAPani (emphasis on first syllable, similar to Capri) was drop-dead gorgeous when I was there mid April this year on the 'off season' Best of Sicily RST. Had a stupendous water view at Residence La Gancia. Even if you do not know your hotel list yet and there is no guarantee your group will be at this same accommodation, check 'em out at www.lagancia.com and their crazy photogenic seaside location. I didn't feel that free time there was particularly abundant but it was absolutely enjoyable to discover fantastic eateries in this small port city with a big history and tons of charm. I am a huge fan of this tour; Sicily is amazingly diverse, beautiful and their food and wine are absolutely aces in my book. Enjoy and hope you report back!

Posted by
3112 posts

I took the off-season Sicily tour in February, but I believe the Trapani area itinerary is the same no matter what time of year you go. We didn't reach Trapani until around 4:30 pm the first day, having stopped in Erice for a long late lunch and time to tour. Around 6:00 pm we left on an orientation walking tour, after which it was time for dinner on your own. So, not really as much free time on the first day as it might sound. The second day, we were back at the hotel around mid-afternoon and had the rest of the day to ourselves. There was a happy hour that evening before everyone headed out to dinner. Trapini was fairly quiet in February but will be much livelier if you go in-season. Even in February, no one in my group commented that they didn't find enough to do.

Posted by
1017 posts

We were on the Sicily tour in April 2016, and did not feel that the free time was excessive in Trapani. It was nice to have little down time. You may end up having informal group dinners in Trapani since there are not a huge number of restaurants. Taormina is a nice place to spend some time at the end of the trip. Taormina was not included in the off season itinerary and a number of tour members were headed there after the tour.

Posted by
6603 posts

Catania airport can be reached from Taormina by bus, train, airport shittle or taxi.

Posted by
6716 posts

I would take the bus from Taormina back to Catania Airport, it's the cheapest and easiest option. The train station (Giardini Naxos-Taormina stop) is down a very steep hill leading to Taormina and nowhere as convenient. The bus stop is not far from the town gate. A taxi will, of course, cost the most and is not necessary at all, unless your flight is at some unreasonable hour.

How many nights do you already have in Taormina during the RS tour? It's a very compact place (it took me less than a full day to see it all), so 3-4 nights may be a bit of overkill unless you're content checking out every nook or canny or doing some side trips (Mt. Etna, etc.). At the time, the funicular from high above down to Isola Bella (the beach) was out of service so I had to skip it. The beach scene seems better at Giardini Naxos, which close by and also along the bus route.

Posted by
52 posts

Great responses fellow travelers! I'm always amazed how much people on this forum care about other's journeys. The itinerary does include Erice, lunch and an orientation walk in Trapani before free time. So, I don't know what I am worried about. I remember reading a previous forum post indicating an indifference towards Trapani. I enjoy walking, shopping and drinking while looking for photo ops.
Our September 2017 RS Sicily tour spends two of the last three nights in Taormina before ending in Catania. I've heard Taormina is a great place on the east coast to wind down. Two days on my own following the tour is not a great deal of time. We will have already traveled Mt. Etna and the nearby ruins with not much "beach time".
Zoe, my Ryan Air flight departs at 10:20 am.

Posted by
260 posts

We stayed in Catania the last night of the tour we took earlier this month. Taormina much nicer option as long as you can get to the Catania airport early enough. Airport wasn't that big, so doesn't take long to get through security etc. Taormina is drop dead gorgeous with many day trips offered (many travel agencies on the Main Street)