This was our first hotel based holiday with Riviera after taking two river cruises. We had high expectations after the cruises and we were certainly not disappointed. The holiday was very well run and our Tour Manager, Rosario could not have taken better care of us if we had all been his own family! The holiday was varied and the trips so interesting and informative and led by excellent guides. The Crystal hotel while of a good standard was a little lacking in charm but very well placed to allow for independent exploration and within easy reach of many superb places to buy our evening meals. The Alberi des Paradiso is very well named as it is a paradise for holiday makers. Everything was of an excellent standard and the care and attention of the staff was second to none. All in all this was a superb holiday and a lovely introduction to Sicily.
Review by: Janice Windsor on 06/06/2019
I would like to say thank you for a lovely holiday to Sicily and the Aeolian Islands. Huge thanks to Katherine who despite a large group managed us magnificently! She was always cheerful, and very helpful to me as a single person....it meant a lot. I would like to say thank you to her personally so feel free to pass my email on to her. I'm so pleased you are doing solo holidays and hope you will increase the destinations, as I have been to most of the ones on offer at the moment,there is a huge market out there. Once again, another lovely holiday, a nice group and a fantastic tour manager in Katherine.
Review by: Maureen Scanlan, ( Mrs) on 04/05/2017
We would like to express our thanks for this holiday, which we enjoyed greatly, having been last year on the other Sicily trip. It was very pleasing that again we had Rosario as our tour leader, and Marie Lou in Palermo. As Sicilian nationals they each have a passion for their country which they communicated to us. Rosario also has the gift of quickly enabling the group to bond, with his care for each person and his sense of humour. It was appreciated that he arranged tickets at the last minute to a much enjoyed open-air performance of Madame Butterfly. It goes without saying that his knowledge and enthusiasm for Sicilian art, history and wildlife is extensive, and he loves to discuss such things with learned members of the group. One unforgettable moment in Castelbuono was when he stopped and chatted to three old men sitting on a bench in the sun, (just like the BBC series Last of the Summer Wine!), asking them about their lives. On the whole, the hotels were good, though we did think that the shower room in the Alberi del Paradiso was small, and the wash basin soap dispenser difficult to work. Food and swimming pool very good though!
We shall definitely recommend these holidays to friends. What about a third one, covering the southern area ?
Review by: John and Carol on 14/10/2016
A wonderful trip giving further insight into the many facets of the history and early people of this amazing island, led by our wonderful guide Rosario, so enthusiastic and well informed.
We all enjoyed going to two different restaurants during the first three days allowing us to sample the local specialties. The following four days equally fascinating and we were very pleased that during our visit to Palermo we saw areas we had not seen on our previous trip of Eastern Sicily a few years ago. We have to say that all the guides used on the trip were excellent as were the hotels. Perhaps it might be worth considering this trip with a three day optional extension, as we weren’t ready to come home.
Review by: Diana Langford on 17/04/2014
Sicily lived up to expectations yet again. We were glad to be able to see places we hadn’t been to before. . A most enjoyable tour. Both hotels were good, but the wonderful hotel, Le Calette, in Cefalu deserves a special mention. Stunning location, friendly staff, excellent food.
Can’t say enough about our guide, Rosario. Always willing to go the extra mile, together with a good sense of humour, makes him a guide to remember.
There’s a fair bit of coach travel, but this is what you sign up for. Our driver, another Rosario, was excellent.
Review by: R and C Cope on 17/04/2014
Our guide Rosario was excellent. An excellent sense of humour, kind, concerned for all and very diplomatic. He should be cloned.
The driver, also Rosario, was superb, tackling heavy traffic and reversing on a sixpence with an ease which amazed us all.
Review by: Christine Cope on 21/10/2014
This was a wonderful holiday. Unspoilt, no crowds, lovely people and good, plentiful food. The hotels were very good and nicely situated. We understand this is a new tour. I do hope it has been successful and it continues for many years to come. It is a part if Italy not to be missed.
We were fortunate to have very good weather and a good crowd. A lot of praise must go to Rosario, our tour guide. He has to be one of the best tour guides we have been fortunate enough to have met. His care and concern for the few fellow travellers who were less able was much to his credit. It goes without saying regarding his knowledge. He was great fun. Please pass a huge thank you to him.
Review by: Anthony & Sandra Conrade-Marshall on 29/10/2014
I too had a wonderful holiday which exceeded my expectations . We had a variety of things to do and sights to see, two excellent hotels and delicious food, not to mention the lovely weather. The whole experience was enhanced by an interesting, friendly and fun group of fellow travellers, but most of all by the Tour Manager, Rosario. Rosario was just a bundle of energy, seemingly untiring and unstinting in the way he looked after the group, informed us and made us laugh. Praise must also go to Rosario the driver who drove us safely round some hairpin bends and patiently through city centre traffic. The local guides were also excellent
Review by: Pat Dixon on 29/10/2014
This is a fact filled tour of some of the lesser known areas of the island. I particularly enjoyed the smaller towns like Erice and Castelbuono rather than the manic bustle of Palermo. The hotel in Trapani perhaps needs a little more tweaking but was perfectly acceptable and is a very convenient centre. Cefalu is delightful and the Aeolian Islands trip a highlight, the early start being soon forgotten when faced with superb scenery on a beautiful day. Our guide Liljiana was amazing; kind and caring, extremely knowledgeable and very amusing. This tour needs plenty of energy but there is ample free time just to soak up the atmosphere.
Review by: Sheila Brooke on 17/05/2015
Thank you for yet another wonderful holiday. Our guide Lilijana was delightful with her fact filled excusions, a great sense of humour and nothing was too much trouble for her.
I have to commend the skills and patience of our driver Vencenzo.
It was very interesting to compare the fairly new holiday destination of Trapani with the established Cefalu. I liked both hotels but felt that the Crystal Hotel needed to iron out a few glitches, but it was the beginning of the season.
The highlights of the holiday for me were the excusions to the beautiful hilltop village of Erice and the memorable trip to Lipari. The minibus drive around the island was spectacular and shouldn’t be missed.
Review by: Rosemary Holmes on 17/05/2015
Riviera’s tour of Western Sicily, Palermo and the Aeolian Islands was more wonderful in every way than I could have ever hoped for. The tour guide Lilijana, ably assisted by coach driver Vincenzo, was incredibly knowledgeable about every aspect of Sicily enhanced by her obvious love of that Island. She was very caring of our welfare, endlessly patient dealing with any inquiry, and thoughtful, humorous and loving.
The places chosen for us to visit were excellent and we felt privileged to sometimes go “off the beaten track” a little eg to Castelbuono.
I would be happy to comment in greater detail if that would help. The only sour note was having to be at Gatwick so early in the morning.
Review by: Lorna Tyler on 28/05/2015
Just writing to say how very much we enjoyed this holiday, largely because of our guide, Lliljiana, who was not only efficient in her organisation of such a large group (50 in all) but also in her brilliant commentaries while we were travelling around. Her English was exemplary, and her handling of the very few disgruntled group members when hotels turned out not what they expected was tactful and placatory. She has a lovely sense of humour! We’d love to go on any other of your tours where she was also the guide! Her commentaries when we were travelling were interesting and informative, and through her, we learned a lot about the island, its history and its current political situation.
Our driver impressed us very much with his re-assuring handling of such a large coach on sometimes very small roads, and he always made the effort to cut down the distance we had to walk to the various sites we visited.
We were very happy with our hotels, finding the food and accommodation very good indeed.
In short, we can’t praise the holiday highly enough!
Patricia Morrison and Neil Burns
Review by: Patricia Morrison and Neil Burns on 12/06/2015