It was October half term and I was wanting to go somewhere warm before the rigours of the English winter set in. Not wanting to spend too long flying to somewhere exotic, I decided on the Mediterranean and “Sicily,”:https://www.rivieratravel.co.uk/sicily-tour , an island off the toe of Italy, I’ve not been to.
I chose to go with Riviera Travel, a company I had used earlier in the summer and had been impressed by. The dates were right and they also offered flights from Manchester Airport.
As it was an early morning flight from Manchester, I booked into the “Radisson Blu”:https://www.silvertraveladvisor.com/review/accommodation/167988-review-radisson-blu-hotel-manchester-airport on the airport for the previous night. I use this regularly and find it very comfortable and convenient. We flew with Thompson Airways who are now rebranded as TUI. Check in was efficient and it was a pleasant flight with a basic selection of food at reasonable prices.
The accurate instructions from Riviera meant we soon found our guide and were directed to the coach which we would use for the week. There were about 50 in the group, who had all flown from Manchester and it was a good mix of couples and singles. I found that everyone was friendly and we gelled as a group. Riviera have a policy of allocating seating and moving everyone around the coach each day. There was another group which had flown from Heathrow the same morning who had their own coach and driver. We kept bumping into them at different sites during the week.
Our guide, Rosario, was knowledgeable and provided us with detailed maps for each of the places we visited, so there was no risk of getting lost. Places of interest were highlighted and he briefed us daily about the itinerary and suggested places we might like to visit when exploring by ourselves.
We spent the first two nights near Agrigento on the south west coast where we visited the Valley of the Temples, Palermo and Monreale. The next five nights were in Taormina with trips to Ortygia and Mount Etna.
It was a good holiday, but very much hitting the high spots. Sicily is big so there was a lot of driving some days. I would have appreciated longer in both Palermo and Monreale as half a day wasn’t long enough. Mount Etna was planned for the last day as the highlight of the holiday. We had had a week of wall to wall sunshine only to be let down that morning when we woke to rain and low cloud. We still visited Etna as planned in the morning but couldn’t see anything. Frustratingly by the time we were back at Taormina, the sun had come out and the cloud had lifted.
I am writing a series of more detailed reviews. You can real my full report “here.”:http://wasleys.org.uk/eleanor/otherholidays/sicily/index.html .