From: May 3 to May 12, 2018

Destination: Naples Bay, Amalfi Coast, and Sicily

  • Sicily and the Amalfi Coast

    The Amalfi Coast is simply stunning: rugged mountains, craggy seashore, and azure blue ocean serve as a backdrop to tiny villages perched on steep hills. The hiking is delightful hiking, the history is fascinating, and the cuisine is exquisite. The island of Sicily shares all this and yet is different in every way with its own distinctive feel. The southern coast of Italy has other delights too: we'll spend time exploring Capri, visit the ruins of Pompeii, climb Vesuvius, eat pizza in Naples, learn Sicilian cooking at an agriturismo, ascend Mt Aetna, taste local wine, and visit several UNESCO World Heritage sites, including an ancient necropolis. Add all this to friendly people and its little wonder that this area is widely regarded as the perfect vacation spot. Maximum group size: 14

  • May 3, Thursday
    Our trip officially starts today at our hotel in Naples, Italy at 6pm. You can either fly directly into Naples or fly into Rome (always a fun city in which to spend time) and take the train from there. Vibrant Naples is steeped in history with atmospheric neighborhoods and many world-class museums. We'll gather at 6pm to introduce ourselves, meet our Italian guide, and review the trip itinerary. Southern Italy is known for its fabulous cuisine and tonight we'll enjoy the first of many delicious meals. Overnight Chiaja Hotel (http://www.chiaiahotel.com/napoli/) or similar. D

    May 4, Friday
    Capri, the name of both the island and the main town, is a must. While Capri is known for its exclusive boutique shops, it is an area of incredible natural beauty and human history, and has much more to offer than shopping. And amazingly, once you get away from the town center, it is surprisingly uncrowded. After a 45 minute hydrofoil ride across the Bay Of Naples, we walk from the town's central piazza past striking villas and gardens, ending in steps that descend steeply to the Grotta di Matromania. The Grotta, a series of hidden caves carved into the island's limestone cliffs, is the site of ancient pagan worship ceremonies. From there we continue onto the Terrazza di Tragara, a stretch of trail offering spectacular views of the Faraglioni sea stacks, one of Capri's signature sights, and the top of Monte Solaro, the highest point on the island. We'll have some free time in the afternoon to enjoy one of Capri's lovely beaches or to further explore the island and town. We will take the hydrofoil back to Naples in late afternoon for dinner and the evening at our hotel. Hiking: 3.5 - 4 hours with 1,000' elevation gain/loss, on paved and dirt paths. Overnight Chiaja Hotel or similar. B, L, D

    May 5, Saturday
    We'll get an early start this morning, starting with a visit to what is widely regarded as one of the most important archeological sites in Europe. The story of Pompeii is well known: the eruption of Mt Vesuvius in AD 79 buried the town in hot ash, where it was forgotten for 1500 years. The ash preserved the city and the subsequent excavations have provided detailed insight into town life 2000 years ago. We'll be there about three hours and then visit a nearby family winery to sample wine and other local products. For a different perspective in the afternoon, we will climb to the top of Mt.Vesuvius. Along the way our guide will explain the mountain's geological and natural history. After the walk, we transfer to the charming town of Minori, just up the coast from the better known and more crowded town of Amalfi. Dinner and overnight stay at Hotel Santa Lucia (http://www.hotelsantalucia.it/) or similar. Walking/hiking: 3 hours in Pompeii, 2 hours hiking on dirt paths on Mt Vesuvius, 350 feet elevation gain/loss.

    May 6, Sunday
    A private transfer this morning takes us to Agerola and the start of today's trail. Our trail is rightly called the "Sentiero Degli Dei", the gods' walk. This route lives up to its name with dramatic views of a rugged coastline, and distant sightings as far as the island of Capri - it may be your favorite hike of the trip!! We reach the shore close to Positano and spend some time in this world-famous little town that clings precariously to a high cliff. After lunch we take a boat to Amalfi. Again, the view of the colourful houses cascading down from the steep hill into a dark blue sea is just magnificent. In Amalfi we'll visit some of the town's famous sites, including the Piazza Duomo and the ornate 11th century cathedral of Saint Andrew. The Amalfi Coast is known for its lemon groves and limoncello, a liqueur made from lemons, and we'll finish with a visit to a local producer before returning to Minori for dinner and the night. Overnight Hotel Santa Lucia. About 4.5 hours hiking with some ups and downs but an overall elevation loss of 600 feet. B, L, D

    May 7, Monday
    This morning we visit Valle Mulini (Valley of the Mills), a delightful valley that was once the center of Amalfi's important paper industry. In late morning we'll reach the enchanting town of Ravello. Ravello is called the balcony of the "Costiera" because of the amazing views we can enjoy from here. This small, somewhat sleepy village is a lovely oasis of quiet in the sometimes overly busy Amalfi coast, with lush gardens, nice little squares, and cobbled back alleys. We have some free time to explore the town, before returning to Naples in the afternoon. It would be a shame to leave Naples without sampling its world-famous Neopolitan pizza and that is what we'll do for dinner. We then head to the port where we board the overnight ferry to Sicily, in a cabin with twin beds and private facilities. Hiking: 4 hours, 1150 elevation gain/loss (B, L, D)

    May 8, Tuesday
    We wake up to Sicily! Although perhaps best known as the home of the Mafia, more recently it has gained renown for its natural beauty, interesting history, and delicious food. A private transfer brings us the little town of Castelmola, known for a breathtaking views of Mt. Etna and the sea as seen from its quaint cobblestone streets. An easy 1.5 - 2 hour walk, mostly downhill, brings us to the medieval town of Taormina, located on the shores of the Ionian Sea. After checking in at our hotel, we'll have free time to relax, take advantage of the town's shopping possibilities, or visit the historical centre and the famous Greek Theatre. The theatre, originally built during the 3rd century BC, is still used for performances during Taormina's annual summer arts festival. Taormina is also known for mulberry gelato, which we may have to sample. Hotel Continental (http://www.continentaltaormina.com/en) or similar. Hiking 1.5-2 hours, 1,000 feet elevation loss. (B,L,D)

    May 9, Wednesday
    This will be our most challenging hike: a 1500 foot ascent of Mt Etna! Mt Etna is the highest volcano in Europe and the one of the most active in the world. No worries, eruptions are quite predictable and we won't be caught by one although weather could alter our plans. We'll drive to the southern flank of Mt Etna and then be transported by cable car and 4x4 vehicles to 9500 feet. Accompanied by a certified mountain guide, we ascend to Mt Etna's four summit craters on a trail that at times has loose rocks, scree, and gravel. From the top we gaze at sweeping views of the Ionian Coast, before retracing our steps on our descent. On our return we transfer to southern Sicily, where the lovely agriturismo that will be our lodging for the next 2 nights awaits us. Here we'll sample the cuisine and hospitality for which Sicily is famous. Overnight in an agriturismo near Syracuse. Hiking: 5.5 - 6 hours, 1500 feet elevation gain/loss.

    May 10, Thursday
    We enjoy not packing up today, as we spend the day visiting the Pantalica, a collection of cemeteries with rock chamber tombs cut into a limestone promontory. Dating from the 7th to the 13th centuries BC, it was made a UNESCO world-heritage site in 2005. It is an important nature reserve with a variety of local flora and fauna and our hike explores both the natural and archaeological aspects. Returning to our agriturismo, we further experience Sicilian cuisine with a cooking class and wine tasting. Overnight in agriturismo near Syracuse. Hiking: 5 hours, 800 feet elevation gain/loss. (B, L, D)

    May 11, Friday
    Having enjoyed our time in rural Sicily, today we head to Syracuse. Syracuse is known for its beautiful baroque architecture, its rich culture, and its Greek history. It played an important role in ancient times where it was a major Mediterranean power. We'll check into our hotel, located in the city's historic center, and then go on a guided tour to learn about and explore the ruins in its archeological park. We'll visit other parts of the city, including the peninsula of Ortigia, where Syracuse was founded. We'll have some free time in the late afternoon before attending our final wine tasting. That night we enjoy a final farewell dinner, celebrating all we've learned, all the food we've eaten, and the camaraderie we've shared. Overnight in Syracuse (B, L, D)

    May 12, Saturday
    Sadly, our trip officially ends this morning. Continue on to other explorations or, if you must, fly home from the Catania airport. We'll arrange transfers based on your departure time. (B)
  • $3450  (Click here for travel discounts) $400 deposit. Single supplement (only required if you want a room to yourself) is $475. You can read our cancellation policies here

    Trip Includes

    • An Italian guide and an Adventures in Good Company trip leader
    • Nine nights double occupancy lodging
    • All meals including beverages from dinner on May 3 to lunch on May 12
    • Ground transportation in Italy once you've reached the hotel on day 1, including boat, bus, ferry, and airport transfer on the last day
    • All activities on the itinerary, including guided tours of Pompeii and Syracuse, 2 wine-tastings and a cooking class, guided ascent of Mt Etna

    What's not included: transportation to and from Italy, transportation to the hotel on day 1, guide gratuities, travel insurance, and optional activities including entry to Taormina Greek Theatre.

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  • Common Questions

    If you’ve never traveled with us before, you may have some questions about how we do things and what you can expect. We’ve answered the most common ones below and are always available by phone or email to answer any others.

    How do I pay for my trip?

    You can make the deposit by submitting a secure form with your credit card information after filling out the registration form or calling us with your card information. We will send you an invoice for the balance due with your Predeparture Information 4 months before an International trip and 3 months before a domestic trip. You can get a 3% discount for paying the balance by check.

    What if I’m coming alone?

    The majority of women who travel with us come by themselves. If you want to pay a single supplement to guarantee your own room, or if you want to share a room with someone with whom you are traveling, you can indicate that on the registration form. Otherwise we randomly assign roommates and rotate every time we change lodging – it’s a great way to get to know different women on the trip.

    Can you accommodate special diets?

    It depends on both the trip and on your specific needs. With advance notice, we can accommodate most dietary restrictions or allergies on our domestic trips, including vegetarian, vegan, and gluten intolerant. This is not always true on international trips, so please contact us in advance if you have specific dietary needs. We've found that if you are willing to bring some of your own snacks and a couple of items to supplement what is on the menu (peanut butter is always good!) and possibly have less variety than you are used to at home, then dietary needs usually are no obstacle. If in doubt about your specific dietary needs, especially if you have Celiac disease, please give us a call (877/439-4042) or send us an email.

    What if I have to cancel my trip?

    The amount of your refund depends on how close to the trip you cancel and whether it is a domestic or an international trip. You can read our cancellation policies here. We highly recommend travel insurance because cancellations are always unexpected; we will send you additional information about insurance when you register.

    Will my family be able to get in touch with me in case of an emergency?

    Yes, we always send out emergency contact information. On a few trips, because of limitations in communication, the best approach is to give them the office number and let us make the contact.

    What other information will you send me?

    When you register, we’ll send you a Trip Summary that includes the itinerary, travel information, and a packing list. Three to four months before your trip we’ll send you Pre-Departure information that includes detailed information on how to get to the trip starting point, pre- or post-trip lodging suggestions, suggested books and websites etc. Four to six weeks before the trip, we’ll send you a list of everyone who is registered along with their travel plans; and a Pre-Trip letter with the name of your guide(s) and how to contact them if your arrival is delayed as well as any other important updates.

    Do you help with pre-trip and/or post-trip hotel reservations?

    For international trips, if you want to stay at the hotel where we’re staying the first night before the trip, or at the hotel we’re staying the last night after the trip, we’re happy to make a reservation for you. Otherwise our PreDeparture Information will have hotel suggestions. Our travel agent is also happy to help you with this.

    How does the waitlist process work and how often do people cancel?

    If you are interested in a trip that is full, you should sign up here. If there is a cancellation, we send out an email to everyone who has expressed interest and ask them to respond within 24 hours. If more than one person is interested, we give the space to the person who has traveled with us before or in the order of being put on the waitlist. Frequently, even when we have a long wait list, it is the last person to sign up who is still available to go. Whether or not there will be a cancellation is completely unpredictable, although not uncommon.

    What is the role of the guide(s)?

    On every trip, the primary roles of the guide(s) are to ensure your safety and to make sure that, to the extent possible, you are having the trip you want. The guide(s) will also make sure that you know what is happening each day and what you need to bring to be prepared. On domestic trips the guide(s) will also likely be driving, preparing picnic lunches and sometimes other meals, providing skills instruction, and giving you information about the natural history of the area. On any trip where we partner with another company (which is most international trips and some trips that require special equipment), the AGC guide will work with the local guide to make sure that the trip is conducted in accordance with the AGC philosophy.

    What if I have more questions?

    Give us a call (877/439-4042) or send us an email. A Program Manager is assigned to each trip. Once you have registered, she will send you a registration confirmation letter that includes her name and email, and she will be your primary contact. Her job is to make sure that you get all your questions answered and that you feel completely prepared for your adventure.

    What if I'm the oldest/youngest/heaviest/least in shape/only single woman/only mom on the trip?

    You might be. Someone has to be the oldest/youngest/heaviest/least in shape person on the trip. And while the great majority of our trips have both single and non-single women, and moms and non-moms, sometimes they don't. But it doesn't matter if you're "different" in any of those ways - what you will share with everyone else is a desire to experience adventure in your life, and an appreciation of the joy and camaraderie of being in an all women's group.

Trip highlights

  • Experiencing the best of southern Italy, from the bay of Naples to the island of Sicily
  • Exploring charming towns and ancient ruins, including Pompeii
  • Walking on the Path of the Gods and climbing two volcanoes
  • Savoring regional cuisine, local wines, and fruits and vegetables fresh from the orchard

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