Sicily | Sights | Localities | Tours | Contact
Sicily | Sights | Localities | Tours | Contact
Custom Travel Solutions
We'll let you in on a trade secret. The majority of visitors to our island travel in small groups or independently, often with a personalized itinerary that includes an excursion or other experience that isn't included in a "standard" tour. A few travel ideas are described on Best of Sicily. Our experienced staff has planned all kinds of tours and activities. This page suggests a few to get you started.
It's worth mentioning that while many folks who advertise themselves on the internet as Sicily-based "tour operators" are not licensed to perform the services they offer (which therefore may not be insured), we're part of a real tour operator company, described at the end of this page following some frequently asked questions.
• Customized Itineraries: Here there are two distinct approaches – traveling with a driver or driving yourself ("fully independent travel"). While driving in Palermo and Catania can be challenging for those unaccustomed to it, traveling on your own is a real possibility. Either way, we can handle the planning, hotels and other details. It's worth noting that our suggestions are objective since we have no direct commercial interest in the places and services that we recommend. The map at the end of this page shows some of Sicily's most popular sights and sites. Purchase conditions for multi-day tours are set forth in PDF form.
• Shore Excursions: Tours for cruise ship passengers from ports of Palermo, Catania or Messina Typically a half-day to visit a few interesting sights.
• Student Tours: Tours for university students typically focus on history. However, we have organized several featuring the presentation of information on more current topics, such as immigration. This may include local experts as speakers. Tours for the alumni of a particular university fall more precisely into the following category.
• Organization Tours: By their nature, these tours are designed for specific groups (for example YPO) and may include particular activities or lectures. Here expertise is key.
• Conferences: Most often, a conference is planned for a specific organization, and it may include excursions to interesting places. Our conference planner has many years of experience, having worked with various kinds of groups.
• Excursions: Here a few choices are particularly popular. Mount Etna offers possibilities to suit almost every taste, while Sicily is dotted with wineries and farms that are perfect for long luncheons. Some excursions are based on modern themes, such as visiting sites where certain moview were filmed. Others, such as visits to archeological sites, are more traditional. A culinary excursion might be urban, based on a visit to a street market where various specialties can be sampled, or rural, based on a visit to a working farm where these are prepared.
• Cooking Classes: This has become a popular activity in recent years. We work exclusively with experienced chefs in venues that are legally certified and fully insured, not cooks who teach classes in their own homes.
• Family History Trips: This is a visit to an ancestral city or town. It should be noted that genealogical research must be conducted before such a visit.
Frequently Asked Questions
• What do you do?
• Are you travel agents?
• What's the difference between you and my travel agent?
• Do you charge a consulting fee?
• How long does it take to plan a trip?
• How far in advance should I begin planning?
• Can you work within my budget?
• What travel requirements are there?
• What are current COVID vaccination requirements?
• Is smoking permitted in most places?
• What kind of weather can I expect?
• How can I speak with you?
What do you do?
We plan your customized visit from start to finish and provide the services – transportation, lodging, guides – that make it a reality. It's the details that distinguish us. And that's what makes your visit planned by us an enjoyable, memorable experience, as close to perfect as we can make it!
Are you travel agents?
Yes, but it's worth noting that the very term "travel agent" has evolved in recent years. We're travel consultants having a firm licensed in Italy as a tour operator. By law, we're insured for things like "failure of performance," something the great number of companies can't say.
What's the difference between you and my travel agent?
We're in Sicily, we know our island extremely well, and we have access to certain services that your "local" travel agent, however competent and efficient, probably does not. Whether they tell you so or not, travel agents outside Sicily work with firms such as ours to plan and realize your visit. Having us do this job for you means you're dealing directly with on-site experts, the "locals." This is beneficial in a lot of ways, and it offers the advantage of direct and immediate attention once you get to Sicily. By the way, it usually keeps costs down.
Do you charge a consulting fee?
In general, we do not charge a "planning and quotation" fee except for the most complex projects, and then it's credited against the total cost.
How long does it take to plan a trip?
This depends on the length and complexity of your visit. In most cases, for an itinerary of a week or less, we can have your initial proposal ready in 3 business days.
How far in advance should I begin planning?
We recommend having your itinerary finalized (and paid for) at least a month before your arrival. Typically, it's best to start planning a multi-day tour at least 2 months before your arrival. That's especially important if you visit during the "high season" (April through September). Please note that we confirm services, hotel reservations and transportation upon receipt of payment. A one-day service such as an excursion or cooking class can usually be planned as little as 2 weeks in advance.
Can you work within my budget?
Strictly speaking, every tour, excursion or other service we provide works within a reasonable budget. Of course, our proposals are based on your general requirements of, for example, the hotel categories (star rankings) you prefer, and whether you'll require a driver or travel on your own (FIT).
What travel requirements are there?
Please ensure that your passport is valid for at least six months beyond the end of your visit. No visa is required if you're coming from a nation in the "visa waiver program," which includes most European Union countries, the US, UK, Canada, Australia and Japan. Please note that passports (not simple identity cards) are now necessary for travel from the UK.
What are current COVID vaccination requirements?
You must have a vaccination/booster certification. Testing may be required shortly before your departure. These requirements can change with little notice. You should carry your physical or digital proof of vaccination with you during the tour. Italy is abolishing the need to show proof of vaccination/testing when entering restaurants. Please bear in mind that testing positive before you leave Italy may necessitate a few days in quarantine and therefore a delay in your departure; travel insurance may cover expenses incurred by this.
Is smoking permitted in most places?
Although most larger hotels offer smoking and non-smoking rooms, Italian law prohibits smoking inside restaurants, in most common areas in hotels, and in most buildings where there is access to the general public, including churches and museums. Smoking is permitted in most outdoor areas, including those at restaurants and bars.
What kind of weather can I expect?
Best of Sicily's weather page gives monthly averages for temperatures and precipitation.
How can I speak with you?
Contact us to set up a time to speak, or simply ring us up. Our office is open from 9 to 6 CET Monday through Friday and everybody on our highly-trained staff speaks English.
More About Us: These services are offered by Chat & Tour srl, Via Stefano Turr 38, 90145 Palermo, a registered tour operator (tel: +39 091 657 4539). Essential services are insured in compliance with Italian law.