Planning For Sicily And Malta In The Fall

Planning For Sicily And Malta In The Fall

Completed Our Planning For Sicily And Malta In The Fall

We were happy when we completed our planning for Sicily and Malta in the Fall.  It was a reminder about how much work it took to plan for a 2 month road trip.  But the planning got us excited for our coming trip.

Our 2 month trip started in Rome for 5 days.  From Rome we travelled by train to Naples for one night before we got on the train to Sicily.  Yes, it was strange to know we travelled to the island of Sicily by train.

We had long 5 week stay in Sicily.  The first week we travelled to the Ionian Islands to enjoy the great volcanic sights.  From the Ionian Islands we took the ferry to Palermo where we met up with family for a few days.  Our travel around Sicily then took us to Trapani, Sciacca and Modica.  From Modica we headed to the Taormina area under the mighty Etna volcano.  We finished up our visit to Sicily with stays in both Siracuse and Catania.  We were happy with the great tour we planned around Sicily.

From Catania we flew to Malta for 2 weeks.  We used one hotel as a base and explored from there.  For 2 days we left the main island and spent some time exploring around Gozo.  After 8 weeks, our flight left from Malta to return to Toronto.

Full Itinerary - Planning For Sicily And Malta In The Fall

It was wonderful to have some great blog posts to help us with planning and inspiration.  Detailed posts on Sicily from Lisa at Following The Rivera helped with tips and itinerary suggestions.  For help with planning our Malta travels we looked to Sarah at Life Part 2 And Beyond.  

Starting Our Planning With Flights

When we started our planning we had a high level itinerary for our trip and knew that we roughly wanted about 8 weeks.  And we knew we were not starting before Labour Day at the beginning of September.  That gave us some basic parameters to book flights.

Flights to mainland Europe with Air Canada were readily available from Toronto.  So it was easy to get a flight to Rome once we decided what day we wanted to fly.  Some days we could fly direct to Rome.  But we ultimately chose a flight with a short hop to Montreal before we went to Rome.  The connection saved us a little money.

Coming home from Malta was a little more challenging.  All of the flights we wanted to book using our Air Canada status connected through one of several different European gateway cities.  And many of the connecting times were quite long.  After considering the options we decided to fly back through Zurich for the shorter connection time.  Although the connecting fight changed 4 times after we booked our ticket.  Luckily we were less concerned with flight issues when headed home.

We had one more flight to book for this trip.  When we initially planned to travel to Malta from Sicily we thought there would be several ferry options.  But as we started our planning we found that both the ferry routes and travel days were limited.  We finally decided it would be easier if not more scenic to fly from Catania in Sicily to Malta.  We found flights available every day – even if the flight did leave early in the day.  But when eruptions at Mount Etna threatened closures at the Catania Airport, we kept watch and considered alternatives.

Planning for Sicily and Malta in the Fall started with anchoring our dates with booked flights.

Starting In Rome And Naples For Sicily And Malta In The Fall

Rome was a city we visited many times before and used as a gateway to Italy.  For this trip we were delighted to start our trip with a luxury stay at the St Regis in Rome. This was only our second stay at a St Regis but we knew this would set the bar high for the rest of the trip. We had fond memories of our first St Regis experience in Washington DC for Afternoon Tea and later a champagne sabering demonstration. And we were treated like royalty when we stayed for 2 nights at the St Regis in Chengdu, China. We still have the amazing local welcome treats we got on that stay.

St Regis Washington Afternoon Tea
St Regis Washington Champagne Sabering
St Regis Chengdu China

On every visit we planned a few key things to enjoy.  The St Regis Rome will be the perfect luxury base to explore more of Rome.

Rome Colliseum
Rome Colliseum - Planning For Sicily And Malta In The Fall

When we previously visited the Amalfi Coast, we stayed in Naples for a few days.  Quite frankly, it was not one of our favourite cities.  So for this trip we planned only one night in Naples. The Renaissance Naples Hotel Mediterraneo had a great rate for our Marriott points stay.  

Taking the train from Rome and then leaving by train early the next morning put us in Naples for less than a day.  If we had time we wanted to visit the Naples National Archaeological Museum.  When we toured Mt Vesuvius and Pompeii we heard this was a great museum for artifacts collected.  And of course, who could leave Naples without authentic Neapolitan pizza?

Pompeii with Mt Vesuvius - Planning For Sicily And Malta In The Fall
Naples Pizza - Planning For Sicily And Malta In The Fall

Planning for Sicily and Malta in the Fall started on the mainland in Italy.

Taking The Train To Sicily

When we first heard that there was a train from mainland Italy to the island of Sicily we knew we wanted to take that train one day.  We could take the train from Naples and get off in several different spots on Sicily.

When the train reached the bottom of the boot of Italy, the train cars were individually loaded onto a ferry.  Landing in Messina, the cars were attached to one of two different locomotives.  Some of the train cars went towards Taormina.  And the other cars went along the other coast towards Palermo.  So it was really important for us to get seated in the right section of the train!

For this visit to Sicily, we headed first to the Aeolian Islands by ferry.  So we had two options for our final train destination.  We could leave the train when it landed in Messina and take a ferry from there.  Or we could stay on the train headed to Palermo and leave the train at Milazzo.

Taking the train to Sicily was one of the most interesting things we planned for Sicily and Malta in the Fall.

Exploring The Aeolian Islands On Sicily

The ferries to the Aeolian Islands from Milazzo were fast and plentiful.  The ferries from Messina were less frequent and longer.  But Messina had some advantages with lots to see and do.

Ultimately we planned a 2 night stop in Milazzo to catch the ferry before we headed to the islands.  There were lots of hotels close to the port but we chose a spot at the edge of the town at Eolian Milazzo Hotel.  We were lucky to book this hotel using our Air Canada points.  We looked forward to relaxing on the resort and exploring the area around Milazzo.  

For our visit to the Aeolian Islands we wanted to see all of the 7 islands if possible.  But did not want to hop around and stay on too many.  We booked our first stay on Panerea for 3 nights at the Lisca Bianca Hotel close to the main port.  The intra-island ferry then took us to Salina for 4 more nights at the B&B Le Sette Vele Da Riccardo in Santa Marina di Salina.  We chose two very different hotel types to experience the Aeolian Islands.

Itinerary Aeolian Islands Map - Planning For Sicily And Malta In The Fall

On our stays we planned to explore the local areas.  These volcanic islands had stunning natural beauty.  We figured we would rent a car or scooter to get around.  While on the islands we would not miss wine-tasting the local Malvasia wines.  We first tried this sweeter varietal on our visits for wine tasting on the volcanic island of Lanzarote in the Canary Islands.

Sicily Malvasia Grapes - Planning For Sicily And Malta In The Fall

We wanted to book boat tours to see the islands of Lipari, Vulcano, Filicudi and Alicudi.  And we could not leave without a boat tour to see the volcanic action on Stromboli with a stop on the island of Panarea.  

Lipari Marina
Photo Credit: Lisa at Following The Rivera

A week on the Aeolian Islands offered exciting and different experiences on our plans for Sicily and Malta in the Fall.

Travelling Around Sicily From Palermo To Modica

We were excited when we learned that we could take a ferry directly from Salina in the Aeolian Islands to Palermo on the main island of Sicily.  Even if it was an early morning departure and a 3 hour ferry ride.

When we started planning for our visit to Sicily we learned that family was visiting Sicily in the Fall too.  So we compared schedules for a place to meet up.  With a little juggling of our schedule, we were in Palermo for the same 3 days in September.  But we ran into issues with trying to be in the same hotel.  Continuing to check on availability finally resulted in rooms at the Grand Wagner Hotel for both of us! 

Between us we had a long list of things to see and do in Palermo.  And we even planned to take the train to the charming small town of Cefalù.

Palermo Piazza Pretoria
Photo Credit: Lisa at Following The Rivera
Palermo Quattro Canti
Photo Credit: Lisa at Following The Rivera

We picked up a rental car in Palermo and headed to the small town of Trapani.  The hilltop town of Erice was a planned stop along the way.  There were lot of things to see and do on our stay at Central Gallery Rooms in Trapani.  One day we planned a boat trip to visit the offshore islands of Favignana and maybe even Levanzo.  Out of town we wanted to see the Saline di Trapani salt pan, ruins of Segesta and Riserva Naturale dello Zingaro. Some stops might be left for our travel day to the next hotel.

The next place we wanted to stay was Agrigento.  But even booking 4 months in advance we could not get any of the hotels we wanted in the countryside at a rate we were willing to pay.  We ultimately chose to stay closer to the water in Sciacca at the Hibrido Boutique Hotel.  This would give us a lovely relaxing spot after days exploring.  From Sciacca day trips would get us to the well-preserved Greek temples at the Valley of the Temples and the  Museo Archeologico Regionale ‘Pietro Griffo’.  

Agrigento Valley of the Temples
Photo Credit: Lisa at Following The Rivera

From Sciacca we planned to drive along the coastal roads into the mountains at Modica.  Our stay at Modica Boutique gave us a great base to explore the Baroque buildings in the town.  From Modica we planned day trips to Ragusa and to Noto.  But we were undecided whether we would take slow drives with the car or more direct travel on the local train through the hills.

Noto Via Corrado Nicolaci
Photo Credit: Lisa at Following The Rivera

Photo Credits: Lisa at Following The Rivera

Our travel from Palermo to Modica offered so many great places to stop with such a variety of sights on our visit to Sicily and Malta in the Fall.

7 Days With Views Of Active Mount Etna

From Modica we headed towards Taormina and Mount Etna. Taormina gained a lot of interest from tourists around the world when the White Lotus tv series was set there.  We remembered Taormina from a stop we made on a European cruise.  Of course we did the day excursion that took us high in the hills for a Godfather movie experience!

The popularity of Taormina made hotel prices right in town just a little higher than we wanted for this visit to Sicily.  So for our first stop we planned to stay for 3 days at the Il Pìcciolo Etna Golf Resort on the slopes of Mount Etna.  We hoped this would give us the stunning views of the active volcano.  With a day trip to get close to the summit.

From there we moved to the Delta Giardini Naxos.  We were finally booked into a Marriott Bonvoy property on Sicily!  While not right in Taormina, we planned to explore the coastal area around Taormina from this spot.  And capture more views of Mount Etna.

No visit to Sicily and Malta in the Fall would be complete without some great Mount Etna experiences.

Finishing With The Historical Centres Of Siracuse And Catania

From our stay close to Mount Etna we returned our rental car and took the train to the historical sights of Siracuse.  This was one of the spots where our hotel reservations kept changing.  When we went to do a final booking we found a new Marriott property had opened.  And the Ortea Luxury Palace looked exactly like the luxury experience we wanted.  

Siracuse was one of the major powers of the ancient Mediterranean world.  So while in Siracuse we planned to explore the Archaeological Park Neapolis which included the Roman Amphitheater, the Teatro Greco and the Orecchio di Dionisio. A visit to the Museo Archeologico Regionale Paolo Orsi was also planned.  

Siracusa Ortigia Cattedrale Metropolitana
Photo Credit: Lisa at Following The Rivera

From Siracuse we headed to Catania for the final stop on this visit to Sicily.  When we first started planning this trip, we wanted a longer stay in Siracuse and would explore Catania as day trips by train.  Ultimately we decided there was much more to see in Catania, so we increased our stay in Catania to 3 days.  We also vacillated on a hotel choice for Catania.  The Marriott Bonvoy hotel looked ok but it was outside of the city centre.

We finally chose the Catania Hotel for 3 days in the centre of Catania.  The rooftop views of Mount Etna in the distance was one deciding factor.  And it was a bit closer to the airport for an early departure to Malta.  We have some architecture stops planned for Catania at Piazza del Duomo with the whimsical Fontana dell’Elefante statue and artistic Catania Cathedral.  And we would want to explore what remains of the Roman Theatre.  A visit to the colourful fish market would round out this stop.  

Finishing up with the architecture and history in Siracuse and Catania, we left for a new island on our visit to Sicily and Malta in the Fall.

Heading To Valletta On Malta To Finish Sicily And Malta In The Fall

Our flight to Malta left pretty early in the morning.  As a small commuter hop, there were strict luggage limits.  This actually drove how we packed for this trip.

For our stay outside of Valletta in Malta we booked 15 days with Marriott Bonvoy points for a stay at the Malta Marriott.  There were actually two good Marriott options and after reading reviews we chose this one for our first visit to Malta.  The hotel was in a good location by the water and had all we needed for a relaxing stay.  We did not pre-book a rental car but planned to rent for periodic days for sightseeing.

We had plans to explore Valletta and the nearby Three Cities for the great architectural sights.  For day trips we wanted to explore the walled city of Mdina, Red Tower near Mellieha, Dingli Cliffs and of course wander around Popeye Village.

Malta Three Cities
Photo Credit: Sarah at Life Part 2 And Beyond
Malta St Johns Cathedral Valletta
Photo Credit: Sarah at Life Part 2 And Beyond
Malta Festival
Photo Credit: Sarah at Life Part 2 And Beyond

It was possible to do a day trip to visit Gozo, Comino Island and the Blue Lagoon.  But we wanted to stay on Gozo for a few days to explore for a longer time.  We will pack a small bag and just leave our hotel for this short visit. 

Malta Water Taxi
Photo Credit: Sarah at Life Part 2 And Beyond

From Valletta we fly home to Toronto.  Two weeks exploring Malta will be the perfect way to finish an amazing trip to Sicily and Malta in the Fall.

Things We Learned Booking Sicily And Malta In The Fall

Planning for a 2 month trip always took a lot of time.  And each trip added some different planning tips.  For a visit to Sicily and Malta, here are some things to consider.

1) Be Wary Of Recently Popular Spots

Just before we planned our visit to Sicily, a location in Taormina was used as the setting for the second season of White Lotus.  This tv show definitely reminded us of why we needed to return to Sicily.  And it spurred huge tourism demand for Sicily.  We were not really prepared for the high prices and low availability for hotels we found even late in the Fall season.

2) Book Cancellable Hotel Reservations For Sicily And Malta In The Fall

Juggling dates for 15 stops and 15 hotels over 8+ weeks required constant changes to dates.  We started with a notional timeline.  And tried to book the dates and hotels for the bigger cities where we knew availability might be a challenge.  

But at least 3 times, lack of availability for dates we wanted had us going back and juggling many dates again.  And when we kept checking, one of our preferred hotels became available after we already had another hotel reservation.  We figured many other people were making and changing reservations too!

We anticipated some challenge with bookings so we did all of our hotel bookings with cancellable reservations.  As we cancelled and re-booked more than 6 of our stays, the little extra cost we paid for cancellable reservations paid off for us.  

3) Limited Large Chain Hotels For Brand Loyalty Stays

Travelling on a 2 month road trip, we certainly thought we would rack up a lot of Marriott Bonvoy hotel points.  And get to enjoy the great benefits of loyalty status.  

We found some good options for Marriott Bonvoy hotel stays on mainland Italy and for Malta.  And for these stays, the rates for booking with points was very good.  This saved us some money on this long trip.

But we were surprised at how few Marriott Bonvoy hotels we found in Sicily.  We initially had only one booked near Taormina.  And then were very pleased when a new one opened in Siracuse.  But we were not prepared to use these two hotel locations as bases for our entire 5 weeks on Sicily.

On Sicily, we even considered using the Marriott Homes or Marriott Apartments option.  But we really did not want to deal with an Airbnb-like situation in a language we did not speak well!

We always found it easier to choose our hotel from a small number of Marriott Bonvoy hotels.  Without this option in many places on Sicily, it sure took us a lot of time to research and choose the 10 hotels that were not part of the Marriott group. 

4) Consider Longer Stays With More Long Day Trips

When we started booking our trip, we wanted to enjoy some lazy days on our stops.  So we booked more stops and stayed closer to key attractions to minimize the number of full-day road trips we did.  When we were all finished, we ended up with 15 hotel stays for about 60 days.  On average this was about 4 days per stop.  

Our hotel stays certainly left us time to enjoy the area close by.  But it did mean that every 4 days or so we had to pack, check out and then wait to check into a new hotel.  On the positive side, it meant we had an interesting variety in hotels booked. 

When we really see how small Sicily is, it might turn out that we would have been happier and more relaxed if we planned longer stays, fewer hotels and some long day trips.  We certainly found that out on our first visit to the Algarve Coast in Portugal.

5) Mother Nature Can Mess With Travel Plans

We were a bit worried about ferry travel to and between the Aeolian Islands.  But really hoped the ferries ran in all but the most unusual weather.

The very active Mount Etna volcano probably worried us a bit more.  We had one hotel booked on the slopes of the volcano.  And we knew that spewing ash threatened operations at the Catania airport.  We certainly hoped for some amazing sights of the active volcano.  But did not want it so active that it messed with our travel plans.

6) Train And Ferry Schedules Varied By Month

Booking our trip to Sicily and Malta in the Fall, we quickly learned that train and ferry schedules changed after the busy summer season.  And we had trouble finding some schedules more than a few months out.  This meant we held off on some hotel bookings until we could confirm trains or ferries.

It was advised that we pre-book our ferry tickets for the Aeolian Islands. We were happy we paid cancellation insurance when errors in booking caused us to change 3 different tickets. Unfortunately free changes only included dates and times. We had to cancel and re-book when we somehow thought we were staying on Lipari and not Panerea and had to change all booked ferries! So we lost the cancellation and booking fees for 3 ferries. But at least not the full fares.

We originally thought there were 2 frequent ferry options between Sicily and Malta.  But as we looked to book for October, we could not find a ferry option that worked.  Ultimately it was easier to book a flight.  Even though the luggage restrictions caused us some concerns.

7) Things To Consider When Booking A Rental Car

We have elite status with Hertz so that was our starting point for car rentals.  We liked that reservations could be canceled easily.  And on previous trips, we learned that the car rental cost often went down as we approached the rental date.  So we regularly re-checked the rental rates.  And on this trip, we cancelled and re-booked for a savings of almost 25%.

Once we left Palermo we knew we needed a rental car to move from town to town.  While there are some trains and slow buses, the route we wanted to do really needed a rental car.  But having a rental car added complications for our stays in small towns.  Parking was limited or not available for many of the hotels we looked at.  And even if we took extra insurance, we were not happy with parking in a lot out of town.  So parking became one of the key things we considered when we picked our hotels and hotel locations.

In advance of day trips, we will make sure to check out parking lot locations close to the town centres.  And for some small towns like Ragusa and Noto, taking the train for the day may be a better option.

A Lot Went Into Planning For Sicily And Malta In The Fall

It took a lot of time and effort planning for Sicily and Malta in the Fall.  Along the way, we made many adjustments to the plan.  And learned a few things too.  But in the end, we had a plan that looked amazing.  On our visit to Sicily for 5 weeks we had so many different stops planned.  And an extra 2 weeks in Malta will add some interesting new sights.  We were so excited when we started counting sleeps!

As we travel, we will post regularly on our social media channels. If you follow us, you can get realtime updates.  We will write draft posts as we travel.  But you know we often take well over 500 images per day.  So sorting those may time some time to get the posts published.

Are there other things to consider when planning for Sicily and Malta in the Fall?  Any suggestions for sights that we must put on our plans?  

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  1. I’m so jealous you get to spend that many weeks in Italy. The food there is heavenly! How far in advance can you book ferry rides? I know you said you can’t schedule it months out. Also, that’s A LOT of hotel bookings. That’s good that you were able to make reservations with free cancellations. It would be a headache if not so.

    • We started booking hotels about 4 months in advance of our September visit and even then we could not get into everywhere we wanted. Since the train was a critical component to our travel, we booked this as soon as reservations were open. It was about 3 months before the trip. Ferries were booked more than a month in advance. But my scheduling error was fixed with a new ferry booking a few weeks before we left home. A lot of work for the planning of this coming trip.

  2. Reading your posts, I cannot wait to finally retire from my day job! Having months and months to really immerse myself into countries’n’cultures will be such a bliss! What’s funny is that for me, European countries are actually at the end of my list. Not that Europe isn’t beautiful, it definitely is. But since I’m based here, I can comfortably travel criss cross the continent by bus and trains even when I’m (really) old. So mainly Latin America and Asia are on top of my list because of the long flights. You can tell by how much I’ve figured all that out that I’m really, really looking forward to retire from my day job 😀
    Very happy for you guys that you have the chance to enjoy your life to the maxxxx!

    • We are really happy we finally got this trip planned. And as we started planning, it just kept getting longer! I guess that is the advantage of not having a day job. And we figured it would be so much nicer to be in Malta in late October than home in Toronto! 😁

  3. I’m so excited you’ll be arriving in Sicily and Malta very soon! I know you will have a great time visiting different places around the island. We have just had days of heavy rain here but it’s been so nice because it was too hot. I’m sure the sun will return again for your trip 🙂 You know, we’ve never been to Malta even though it’s so close to Sicily! They look so similar

  4. Wow, what an adventure, think I need to book a flight to Italy! I like your tip about considering longer stays with more day trips, I hate repacking!

    • Sicily and Malta were too places on our list for a long time. So it was great to finally plan enough time to really enjoy them both. But I am sure we will want to go back.

    • I hope you do get your trip re-booked. This Sicily and Malta trip was on our travel planning board for some time. So we were happy when we finally got to the detailed planning stage. It should be an amazing trip.

  5. The detail in this post is wonderful! Do you think you made the right choice only booking a rental car for certain days in Malta as opposed to the duration of your stay? I am visiting in October and wondering if I should rent a car for the entirety.

    • We are looking for some downtime in Malta so really don’t want to be road tripping every day. Or pay for car rental plus parking every day. But we are there for 15 days so we can head out only for a day here and there. But we will see.

  6. Awesome photos and love the little pandas. Great detailed information for visiting Sicily and Malta. I just started watching White Lotus tonight so very interested to hear about the filming location. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Wow, what an amazing journey through Italy! And it clearly took considerable planning to pull it off. Love the photos–makes me want to return to Italy right now.

  8. Well I think you know how much I love Malta…definitely will visit there again. And am so very excited to be headed to Sicily for the very first time in February. I’m saving this for all the great ideas for visiting Sicily. Thank you.

  9. I can’t believe you planned that many weeks in Italy I’m so jealous! I really appreciate all your personal recommendations from experiencing planning Sicily and Malta. It’s really helpful for a first-timer traveler to Italy reading all these tips. I’ll be saving this for a future trip. Thank you!

  10. What a wonderful trip and a fabulous itinerary! It takes so much planning for such a long trip, trying to co-ordinate everything, and like you say, being at the whim of flight changes and the weather. I did not know that there was a train across to Sicily either, but would love to travel on it. I have visited Italy many times, but never made it over to Sicily or the Aeolian Islands – yet! My appetite has been whetted!

  11. This is an incredible itinerary! I only wish my son’s fall break was long enough to do this exact trip. I will definitely save this post for future travel planning.

  12. The Italian island of Sicily and the island country of Malta are nothing but spectacular!!! With their pristine beaches and interesting history, you will certainly never get bored there! I visited both Malta and Sicily but my trips weren’t as deep as yours. I mean, I stayed only 5 days in Malta and a couple of weeks in Sicily so sadly I could not do a lot…

  13. What an informative blog post, looks like an increasable adventure! I have yet to go to Sicily, only been to Rome, Florence and Venice in Italy. I had no idea one could fly from Catania to Malta. I’d be very worried booking a hotel on the slopes of active Mount Etna volcano.

  14. 8 weeks in Sicily and Malta wow…Im so jealous. I have always wanted to visit these countries. My bestie has been to Malta he loved it. We hope to travel to Europe in 2025 at this stage we are not sure where but he did say Italy so fingers crossed. I will bookmark your post for future reference. What an amazing trip!

  15. You are such a planner! I hope everything will go well as planned. It’s good when you find another blogger that you can trust to help you plan your trip. I think that you can take a train to Sicily is pretty cool. I wonder if the train car that goes on a ferry is the only one in the world.

  16. It looks like you’ve planned a great trip in Sicily and Malta. I like that you’ve taken your time to spend 2 months between these two locations, getting to know them properly, rather than hopping around countries. I have actually been to Malta in April for the second time this year, but still I didn’t managed to do everything I wanted. For such a small island, it does have plenty of things o do and see, right? I have only been to Catania in Sicily, on a short city break what seems to be like ages ago. I remember going to Taormina as well, and even back then, probably 15 years ago, it was much more expensive than Catania and seen as a luxury destination.

    • We are quite excited to have started our trip to Sicily and Malta. It was great to have enough time to really do the trip slow. But we know it won’t likely be our last visit.

  17. Two months in fall in Italy! This will be awesome. We did spend two weeks on Malta and Gozo a few years ago and considered it enough time to see the sights we wanted, even by public transport. If you consider visiting the Hal Saflieni Hypogeum you have to make reservations early on. I am quite envious that you will have 2 months on Sicily – there seems to be so much to see and do!

  18. Now that’s what I call detailed and perfect planning. I can imagine how a road trip of this length could go wrong but you took into account everything I could think of. I wish to visit Sicily more in-depth as I only got to see Taormina but it does look like it suddenly got a boost in popularity. Mount Etna is unpredictable and I would not stay on the slopes either. What a great read about planning a trip to dreamy Italy and Malta

  19. Great planning Linda! It is very much needed for a 2 month holiday like we did in Australia and NZ. We had to juggle domestic flights, their luggage restrictions, car rentals and itinerary planning. I have been to Malta years ago and loved the turquoise blue waters but found it too hot. Taormina and Mount Etna hill drive looks awesome. Must plan Sicily someday. Your photos are super as usual. 🙂

  20. What a great trip! I love how detailed you are when planning your trips. I always learn something new from you. Appreciate all your recommendations in Sicily and Malta. We look forward to visiting soon.

  21. Ah! I’ve always wanted to visit Sicily. It looks so lovely! I love that your family was able to meet up with you for part of your trip, too. That always makes traveling so special. That’s interesting about the lack of points hotels you were able to find. If you’re loyal to a brand, it’s really important to find those! Looks like you had a great time — I need to add Malta to my list, too.

    • We have a great trip planned. Great to finally get this trip in motion. We too were surprised at how few points hotels we found. There were some options for the Marriott Homes but on this trip we did not want to stay outside of hotels.

  22. Your post has reignighted my exciting for sicily. I was suppose to head there last year for a climbing trip not too far from the valley of temples, but the plane strikes effected our travel. Me and my husband want to go back hopefully go for a hike or 4 wheel drive up Etna to, and we forgot about the aoelian islands, you’ve reminded me to plan these in. The blend of history and stunning landscape is a real draw.

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