3/126 Albert Road, Warragul VIC 3820 Phone: (03) 5623 5151  Fax: (03) 5623 4952     Email us     EMERGENCY NUMBER +61 (0)419 213 274

Beautiful Mediterranean Islands of Corsica, Sardinia & Sicily

1st to 28th September, 2018

Personally escorted by Jacquey Turner

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Known as 'L’Île de Beauté' (the Island of Beauty) by the French, with its sensational bays of warm, transparent waters, edged with golden-white sand, majestic mountains and verdant hillsides scented by the herbs of the maquis, CORSICA is a truly enchanting Mediterranean island. Despite its close proximity to France and Italy, this beautiful island remains distinctive in both its history and culture.

SARDINIA, or in Italian 'Sardegna', is a sophisticated Italian island, west of mainland Italy and south of Corsica. With over 1,800km of unspoilt coastline, it is renowned for beautiful beaches, turquoise sea and fascinating rock formations. Yet being the second largest Mediterranean island, it has so much more to offer with an interesting history, wild mountainous interior, vibrant towns with local traditions and colourful festivals.

SICILY is the largest island in the Mediterranean with nine provinces dividing its intensely cultivated landscape. Aside from Enna, each province is directly linked to the coast. Immersed in an exceptionally diverse history, Sicily is widely understood to be not only an island of contrasts due to its Eastern and Western archaeological divide, but a world entirely unto itself.


YOUR TOUR ESCORT

JACQUEY TURNER, your tour escort, has more than 32 years’ experience as a highly successful travel agent and tour guide. Jacquey’s attention to detail and personal care ensures that everyone travelling in her group will have a most enjoyable holiday experience.
“I thoroughly enjoy escorting tour members to so many wonderful places in the world. The sights, sounds and history all contribute to a fabulous experience but most importantly it is the people that you meet and have the privilege of travelling with that has the most lasting impression. We always have lots of fun and continue to enjoy the memories for many years.” – Jacquey

 

Our tour director, the lovely Lucy, will join us in Bastia and will remain with us until our flight out of Taormina.

Lucy has over 32 years’ experience as a Tour Director and I have worked with her on many occasions. Her incredible knowledge, sense of humour and a hint of cynicism will enhance the enjoyment of the places we see and visit.


TOUR COSTS:

$19,399 per person twin share
$5,995 single supplement

**Business class upgrades are available on application.
**Should you wish to extend your travel arrangements after the tour, please contact me to discuss further options.
PAYMENT SCHEDULE
Initial deposit due by Monday, 18 September 2017 $1000 per person
Second deposit due by Monday, 26 March 2018 $2000 per person
Balance of payment due by Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Should you select to travel on flights other than the included group flights, or upgrade to business/first class, payment for the air fares will be required at the time of booking the flights.


YOUR TOUR INCLUDES:

  • Maximum group size will be 25 participants
  • Melbourne/Dubai/Nice and Rome/Dubai/Melbourne economy airfares and taxes
  • Economy airfares Nice/Bastia, Cagliari/Rome/Palermo, Catania/Nice.
  • Transfers between Gippsland and Melbourne Airport
  • Personally escorted throughout the entire tour
  • Carefully selected centrally located 4 & 5 star hotel accommodation in twin or double bedded rooms with private facilities
  • Overnight stopover in Dubai on return flight
  • Ferry crossing Bonifacio-Santa Teresa
  • Boat cruises as specified in itinerary
  • Bi-lingual tour directors throughout the tour
  • Private luxury air-conditioned coach
  • Entrance fees to sites mentioned on the itinerary
  • Experienced driver and local guides
  • 50 included meals as per itinerary – 24 Breakfasts (B), 11Lunches (L), 15 Dinners (D)
  • Comprehensive sightseeing as per itinerary • Porterage (one suitcase per person)
  • Personal headsets for guided tours
  • ALL tipping of waiters/restaurant staff at included meals throughout the tour
  • ALL tipping of tour directors, drivers and local guides throughout the tour and cruise

COST EXCLUDES:

  • Travel insurance (a surcharge may apply for passengers over 70 years or if there is a pre-existing medical condition)
  • Expenses of a personal nature like laundry, telephone/fax calls, alcoholic beverages, medical expenses
  • Any meals not included in the itinerary

SPECIAL NOTES
Flight schedules are subject to change.
The order of the sightseeing may vary depending on local conditions.

CANCELLATION FEES
For cancellations received more than 164 days prior to tour departure, a cancellation fee of $1000 will be charged, which cannot be credited to another booking. Notice of cancellation must be made in writing to Gippsland Travel Centre. If notice of cancellation is received 164 days or less, prior to departure, the following fees apply:

No of days prior to tour departure  Cancellation fee
164-90 days $3000 pp
89-60 days 75%
59 days – or less 100%

All costs are based on the exchange rate prevailing as at 5 September 2017


 

 

 
Departs Melbourne: 1st September 2018
Concludes: 28th September 2018
MEALS INCLUDED
Breakfast Lunch Dinner

Mount Etna, on the Italian island of Sicily, is not only the highest active volcano in Europe at 10,810 feet (3,295 meters), but is one of the most active in the world. Historical observations of Etna’s eruptions go back as far as 3,500 years, with geological observations reaching back hundreds of thousands of years. While recent eruptions have rarely caused serious damage to the farms or villages in the shadow of the volcano, locals remain alert to any activity.

Tour Itinerary

Saturday, 1 September AUSTRALIA – NICE  In Flight Meals

We depart Gippsland for our flight from Melbourne to Nice via Dubai. Departures are available from other Australian cities.

Sunday, 2 September NICE – CORSICA   

We arrive in Nice in the afternoon and will be transferred to a hotel in Nice for an overnight stay and dinner.

Monday, 3 September NICE – BASTIA, CORSICA  

After breakfast, we will transfer to the airport for our flight to Bastia, Corsica. We shall be met and transferred to the HOTEL DES GOUVERNERS, or similar for the next three nights. There will be time for an optional orientation walk before we get together for our Welcome Dinner at a local restaurant.

Bastia is a commercial port town (the most important on Corsica) found to the north-east of the island.

It is in an impressive location with the hills and Cap Corse behind the town. The town is now officially classified as a 'Town of Art and History' in France.

  

Tues, 4 – Wed 5 September BASTIA SIGHTSEEING   

There are three sections of particular interest of Bastia: the old town, the citadel, and the old harbour. We shall spend some time on a walking tour with a local guide exploring the old town with its faded charm of narrow streets and alleys. Dominating the old harbour is the view of the Church of Saint John the Baptist. The other buildings are painted in beautiful shades of ochre, salmon and shades of gold. The walk to the citadel passes through the gardens (le Jardin Romieu) and past the once-very-posh houses of the Terra Nova district. The main 'notable' buildings within the citadel of Bastia are the grand 14th century Governor's Palace and a couple of churches: the church of Sainte-Marie de l'Assomption and the Baroque Oratoire-Sainte-Croix with its 'black Christ'. We will also have a day driving around the magnificent Cap Corse. Dinner will be included at a local restaurant on one of these evenings with one evening at your leisure.
 

Thursday, 6 September BASTIA – AJACCIO, CORSICA  

We leave Bastia today and shall catch a local train down to Ajaccio travelling through the centre of the island. On arrival, we check into the PALAZZU DOMU HOTEL, or similar, for the next two nights. We shall enjoy a walking tour of Ajaccio. Napoleon Bonaparte is Ajaccio’s favourite son. We shall visit the Chapelle Imperiale that holds the Bonaparte family tombs and then the Palais Fesch – Musee des Beaux-Arts, once home to Napoleon’s uncle, Cardinal Joseph Fesch. The palace now houses part of the cardinal’s extensive art collection. It is said to be one of the most important collections of Italian art in France, outside the Louvre.

We return to the hotel and will have time to freshen up before dinner at a local restaurant.

 

Friday, 7 September AJACCIO SIGHTSEEING   

We make an early start today to meet our boat to travel along the beautiful western coast of Corsica. We shall make our way up past Porto and Piana to the fishing hamlet of Girolata where we shall have lunch. From here we head to the Scandola Nature Reserve whose sheer red granite cliffs, transparent waters and abundant flora, bird life and underwater fauna have earned it a place on the UNESCO World Heritage list. We return to Ajaccio and the rest of the evening is at your leisure.

 

Saturday, 8 September AJACCIO – BONIFACIO   

This morning we leave Ajaccio and travel south to Bonifacio. On our way we shall stop at Filitosa, Corsica’s most important prehistoric site, where 4000 year old anthropomorphic menirs – extraordinary stone warriors were discovered by a local land owner in 1946. The site is still maintained by the same family. We shall have lunch at Propriano before we continue on to visit the medieval Sartene, whose architecture of grey granite walls, tall town houses and narrow alleyways make it one of Corsica’s most authentic towns. On arrival in Bonifacio, we shall check into HOTEL GENOVESE or similar, for two nights. Dinner will be at a local restaurant.

Sunday, 9 September BONIFACIO SIGHTSEEING  

Our day begins with a mini cruise to discover the caves and famous white limestone cliffs of Bonifacio. We shall stop for lunch at a waterfront café then there will be time to explore the town and the 9th century citadel of Bonifacio, with an audio guide. The Citadel has been reconstructed and renovated many times since its construction.

Monday, 10 September BONIFACIO, CORSICA -SANTA TERESA, SARDINIA  

Today we leave Corsica on a short ferry crossing to Santa Teresa, located in northern, Sardinia. On arrival, we shall spend some time exploring the stunning coastline of Costa Smeralda. We also visit seaside towns and the nuraghic monuments of Arzachena and Porto Cervo. Our hotel in Santa Teresa will be the RESORT VALLE DELL’ERICA , or similar, for a two night stay. We shall have dinner at the hotel.

  

Tuesday, 11 September SANTA TERESA SIGHTSEEING   

We shall cruise the pristine waters of the Maddalena archipelago, consisting of seven main islands and many other small inlets. During our time on board we shall visit the island of Spargi, the island of Budelli to see the famous Pink Beach “Spiaggia Rosa” and enjoy seafood and local delicacies for lunch while cruising. On our return to Santa Teresa will shall have dinner at hotel.

Wednesday,  12 September SANTA TERESA – ALGHERO   

We leave Santa Teresa and head west to Alghero with a stop at Castelsardo, an extraordinary small town which developed around the castle and is set in rock overlooking the sea. We shall have time to visit the historical town centre and have lunch at a local restaurant. On arrival in Alghero and after we check into the CATALUNYA HOTEL or similar, for two nights, we shall take an orientation walk of the striking medieval city of Alghero. Founded by Catalans when they took control of the island in the 14th century, the old city remains the most Spanish city in Sardinia.

Thursday,  13 September ALGHERO SIGHTSEEING  

This morning we drive a short distance to visit the Necropolis at Anghelu Ruju, the largest ancient burial ground on Sardinia, dating back to the late Neolithic age. We then travel via Capo Caccia for a cruise of Grotta di Nettuno (Neptune’s Grotto) and the striking seafront caves. (weather permitting). On our arrival back in Alghero, we shall enjoy a seafood dinner at a local restaurant.

 

Friday, 14 September ALGHERO – NARBOLIA  

Today we have a spectacular coastal drive to Bosa, a charming medieval town set on the Temo River valley, the only river side town in the whole of Sardinia. There will be free time for lunch before we continue our drive to Narbolia. On arrival, we check into the HOTEL-I S ARENAS, in Narbolia, or similar, for one night, and we shall have dinner at the hotel.

Saturday, 15 September NARBOLIA – CAGLIARI   

Our touring today will include a visit to La Giari di Gesturi, a high and steep-sided basaltic plateau famous for its wild horses and uncontaminated natural beauty. The plateau was formed some 2.7 million years ago when lava from the cones of Zepparedda and Zeppara Manna covered older sedimentary rock.
We shall stop for lunch at a local restaurant before we continue on for a guided visit of the vast Bronze Age site at Su Nuraxi. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is characterised by the distinctive nuraghe, truncated cone shaped towers made from huge blocks of stone, for which Sardinia is famous.
In Cagliari, we have two nights at HOTEL REGINA MARGHERITA, or similar.

Sunday, 16 September CAGLIARI SIGHTSEEING    

We start with a guided walking tour in the old town which includes the castle, city gates, fortifications, bastions, towers, narrow streets and a warren of arched passageways and we shall also visit the Citadel area. After lunch at a local restaurant along the coast, the afternoon and evening are free to relax.

 

Monday, 17 September CAGLIARI – PALERMO, SICILY  

We check out and transfer to the airport for our flight to Palermo via Rome. On arrival, we shall be transferred to the VILLA IGIEA, or similar, for a three-night stay. Palermo is a colourful city, with the atmosphere of North Africa or Asia rather than of Europe. Its heritage as a meeting point between European civilisation and the Arab and Byzantine worlds is borne out in the splendid mediaeval buildings of the Norman kingdoms. Dinner tonight will be at the hotel.

 

Tues 18 & Wed 19 September PALERMO SIGHTSEEING     

During our time in Palermo, we shall take a tour of the city to see some of the main historic sites of the old city, including the Cathedral and Palermo’s’ Norman Palace with the Palatine Chapel with its gold mosaics.

We shall also travel inland and visit Monreale, for a guided tour of this small hilltop town with wonderful panoramic views over Palermo. Monreale’s splendid Cathedral and Abbey are lavishly decorated with colourful mosaics. Another highlight will be a visit to the 12th century retreat of La Zisa, inspired by Moorish pleasure palaces.

There will also be time to stroll through some of the markets and the characteristic streets of the old city and see an authentic Sicilian puppet show. Puppet opera is a particular type of puppet theatre, which emerged in southern Italy and particularly in Sicily in the early 1800s. Traditionally the Opera of the Puppets consisted of the performance of medieval clashes between knights and the Moors: the puppets were taken as symbols of the desire for revenge and justice of a social class.

 

Thursday, 20  September PALERMO – AGRIGENTO   

We travel south to Agrigento, ancient ‘Akragas’, founded in the 6th century BC. The town enjoyed a reputation of being one of the wealthiest colonies of the Greek world. We shall visit the Valley of the Temples, an extensive and well preserved sacred area, testament to its riches, and comprising of four major temples as well as a number of smaller structures. During the day, we shall stop for a light lunch. We shall overnight in Agrigento at the VILLA ATHENA, or similar, and have dinner at the hotel.

 

Friday, 21 September AGRIGENTO – SIRACUSA   

We leave Agrigento and drive to The Villa Romana del Casale, a large and elaborate Roman villa or palace located about 3 km from the town of Piazza Armerina. Excavations have revealed one of the richest, largest and varied collections of Roman mosaics in the world, for which the site has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
We shall have lunch at a local restaurant, before driving on to ancient Siracusa, where we will check into the ORTEA PALACE HOTEL, or similar, for two nights.
 

Saturday, 22 September SIRACUSA SIGHTSEEING  

Syracuse, or “Siracusa” in Italian, was one of the most important colonies of the Greek empire. And so, even today, it has some spectacular ancient ruins! Its most famous is the Greek theater, the largest in Sicily, built in the 5th century B.C.

 

While parts of it were dismantled to be used as building material in the 16th century—common practice for the time!—it’s still stunning. We shall also visit the imposing ruin of the Temple of Apollo, the oldest peripteral Doric temple in Sicily, dating to the 6th century B.C. After our morning tour, lunch and the afternoon will be at your leisure before we get together for dinner.

Sunday, 23 September SIRACUSA – TAORMINA   

We have another spectacular drive this morning, to Misterbianco, meaning White Monastery or White Minster. The settlement's name derives from a former local monastery, whose monks, likely Dominicans, wore a white dress. However, both the monastery and the settlement were destroyed by an eruption of the nearby Mount Etna in 1669. Lunch will be included at a local restaurant before we continue on to Taormina.
On arrival, we will check in at BELMOND GRAND HOTEL TIMEO or similar, for three nights. Dinner tonight will be at your leisure.

 

Monday, 24 September TAORMINA SIGHTSEEING  

Taormina is known as the ‘pearl’ of the Mediterranean Sea. Today we will have a guided walking tour which will take us past quaint buildings, the town gates and along cobbled lanes to the ruins of the Greek-Roman amphitheatre.
We also visit the beautiful medieval village of Castelmola, perched precariously on a mountaintop above Taormina on the eastern Shores of Sicily.
This quaint mountain top community offers unparalleled views of Mount Etna, Taormina, the Bay of Giardini Naxos, and the Strait of Messina. Built to protect and defend Taormina from invaders, today this quiet village makes for an interesting respite from the hustle and bustle of Taormina below. Dinner will be at a local restaurant.

Tuesday, 25 September TAORMINA SIGHTSEEING  

This morning we will head to Mount Etna, not only the highest active volcano in Europe at 10,810 feet (3,295 meters), but one of the most active in the world. Historical observations of Etna’s eruptions go back as far as 3,500 years, with geological observations reaching back hundreds of thousands of years. When we return to Taormina, lunch will be at your own arrangements and the afternoon free for last minute shopping. Tonight, we will get together for Farewell Cocktails and dinner at the hotel.

Wednesday, 26 September TAORMINA – ROME – DUBAI   

We leave these beautiful Mediterranean islands and transfer to the Catania Airport for our flight to Dubai via Rome. We shall overnight at the hotel within Dubai Airport.

Thursday, 27 September DUBAI – AUSTRALIA   in flight meals

Morning departure from Dubai to Australia

Friday, 28 September ARRIVE AUSTRALIA   

Arrive Australia in the morning. Those arriving in Melbourne and travelling to Gippsland, will be met and transferred by coach back to Warragul.

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