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  • Locations: Agrigento, Italy; Catania, Italy; Palermo, Italy; St. Julian's, Malta
  • Program Terms: Travel Tour
  • Dates / Deadlines
Fact Sheet:
Housing: Hotel Type of Program: Tour
Program Description:

Cultural Tour - Malta
Mason Cultural Tour: Two Sparkling Islands, Sicily and Malta

Explore the ancient history of Sicily both Roman and Greek. Discover some of the most well-preserved Greek temples at Agrigento, and well-preserved mosaics throughout the region. Make new friends at the festive Welcome Dinner in the heart of Palermo. Visit one of the worlds active volcanoes, Mt. Etna and see the stunning views of both mountains and sea. You will visit cathedrals, archaeological sights, and palaces. You will ride the hydrofoil to Malta, where you will begin to experience the walled city of Valletta, the historic Three Cities, and enjoy time in the island's center visiting the medieval town of Mdina and its narrow, winding streets. Enjoy a wonderful farewell dinner and music in a traditional Maltese restaurant. See more information by viewing this video of Sicily or downloading the Two Sparkling Islands, Sicily and Malta Mason Cultural Tour Flyer.

Program Details

Dates: March 8, 2018 - March 17, 2018

Eligibility

This program is open to all members of the Mason Community including students, faculty, staff, alumni and the general public. No academic credit is awarded on Mason Cultural Tour programs.

Housing

First class hotel accommodations; double occupancy standard.
Mercure Catania Excelsio, Catania, Italy
Dioscuri Bay Palace, Agrigento, Italy
Palazzo Sitano, Palermo, Italy
Golden Tulip Vivaldi, St. Julian's, Malta

Program Cost:  

  • $3200 with airfare  and ferry to Malta included (based on double occupancy)
  • Single supplement $525
Included:
  • Round-trip airfare from Dulles International Airport (IAD) 
  • 8 nights with first class accommodations
  • Tour transportation in deluxe motorcoach
  • Itinerary events and excursions as listed, entrance fees, luggage handling (1 pc pp)
  • All breakfasts, lunches, and dinners as described in itinerary below
  • Pre-departure Orientation
  • International Emergency Insurance during tour
Not Included:
  • Other transportation such as taxis
  • Personal spending
  • Gratuities

Program Itinerary*

Day Activity
Day 1 (Thursday, March 8) Meet your group at the airport and take the overnight flight from Dulles International Airport.
Day 2  (Friday, March 9)

Upon arrival at Catania Airport, you are met by our local representative and transferred to your hotel in the city center. Afternoon at leisure to rest and explore.  Overnight at your hotel in Catania.

The Mercure Catania Excelsior in the heart of Catania, combines classical architecture with modern faciltities. Free Wifi and a fitness center are available, including a fitness center, turkish baths and a gym. The hotel restaurant serves traditional Sicilian cuisine.

Day 3 (Saturday, March 10)

After breakfast, if the weather permits, take an excursion to Mount Etna, the highest active volcano in Europe. After crossing a fascinating landscape, ascend to 5,400 feet to visit the Sylvester Craters where you can enjoy a spectacular panorama over the Ionian Sea. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant on Mount Etna. Continue to Taormina, a charming city called "the pearl of the Ionian Sea", founded in 400 BC and beautifully located overlooking the sea and the peak of Mount Etna. Enjoy time at leisure to shop for handmade lace, coral jewels, ceramics, home-made sweets and preserves on "Corso Umberto", or simply walk through the tiny streets. You may want to visit the fascinating Roman - Greek Theater on your own. Return to Catania Then enjoy a Welcome Dinner and start getting to know your group!
Breakfast and dinner included.

Day 4 (Sunday, March 11)

After breakfast, depart for Piazza Armerina and visit the worldwide known Villa Romana del Casale - the richest, largest and most complex collection of late Roman mosaics in the world and UNESCO World Heritage Site. Free time for lunch at a local restaurant. Continue to Agrigento. In the afternoon, visit the magnificent Valley of the Temples, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Enjoy a guided tour of the valley including the Temples of Concord, Juno and Heracles that represent the most beautiful examples of Greek Civilization in Sicily.
Breakfast included.

The Dioscuri Bay Palace Hotel overlooks the sea and harbor in San Leone with views of the Valley of the Temples. All rooms have balconies, free WiFi and an outdoor swimming pool The lively promenade is just outside your door.

Day 5 (Monday, March 12)

After breakfast, depart for the Archaeological Park of Selinunte, the largest in the Mediterranean area with impressive Temples and an Acropolis. Stop at a local farmhouse famous for olive oil production. Enjoy an olive oil tasting and lunch. Continue to Erice, a medieval town full of myth, history and art, located on the summit of Monte San Giuliano. Walk through its winding lanes, inner courtyards and cobbled streets. Proceed to Palermo.
Breakfast and lunch included.

The elegant 18th century Baroque town house in the historic city center of Palermo features flat-screened TV, and is just 500 feet from the marina. It features 1 free hour in the spa. All rooms have minibar, free WiFi and luxury toiletries.

Day 6 (Tuesday, March 13)

After breakfast, depart for Cefalú, a charming coastal town, home to a breathtaking Norman Cathedral, famous for its Mosaic of Christ Pantocractor, a stunning Byzantine mosaic that is considered one of the most important pieces of religious artwork in Sicily. Take a stroll down the main street and reach the cathedral and the medieval wash-house built in the rock. You will have time at leisure to relax and have lunch on your own. Return to Catania, the town known for its original Baroque style and its streets built with black lava stone from Mount Etna. Enjoy a walking tour and see Via Etnea, the Baroque street Via Crociferi, Piazza Duomo with the cathedral and the Liotru Statue, symbol of the city, and the Roman Amphitheater. Overnight in Catania at Mercure Catania Excelsior.
Breakfast included.

Day 7 (Wednesday, March 14) In the morning, drive to Syracuse to visit the marvelous archaeological area then continue to the island of Ortigia, where you will see the magnificent Cathedral and the Fountain of Arethusa. Lunch at leisure. Then proceed to Pozzallo port: here board the hydrofoil to Malta, a delightful Mediterranean island. Transfer to your hotel located in St. Julian.
Breakfast included.

The Golden Tulip Vivaldi Hotel is in St. Julian's center and 300 feet from the beaches. It offers a panoramic view and has a rooftop pool. Rooms are air-conditioned and have balconies, minibar and satellite TV with free Wifi. There are two restaurants on the premises.
Day 8 (Thursday, March 15) Breakfast at your hotel. At 09:00 AM., your English-speaking guide will take you on a full day tour. Admire Valletta - Malta's heritage-rich capital. Highlights include the Upper Barracca Gardens and St John's Cathedral, home to a splendid Caravaggio painting "The Beheading of St. John". Then proceed to the Grandmaster's Palace to visit the Armory of the Knights of Malta. Free time for lunch on your own. Then proceed to visit the Three Cities - Vittoriosa or Birgu, Cospicua and Senglea. Visit the imposing Church of St Lawrence (subject to permission) and the Maritime Museum in Vittoriosa before continuing to Senglea for a panoramic view of the Grand Harbor and its fortifications.
Breakfast included.
Day 9 (Friday, March 16)

Breakfast at your hotel. At 09:00 AM., drive to the central part of the island to visit the church in Mosta, famous for its round Dome - 3rd largest in Europe. Then proceed to the medieval town of Mdina - Malta's first capital city - passing through its Main Gate. Walk through the narrow streets, adorned by buildings belonging to the aristocratic families and notice the various types of architecture - Norman-Siculo, Gothic, and Baroque. Once you reach the main square of the town, admire the imposing Cathedral dedicated to St. Paul - Patron Saint of the Maltese Islands. From the imposing bastions, which surround the town, you will enjoy a panorama of nearly the whole of Malta. Leave Mdina through the Greek's Gate and continue on to Rabat and stop at the Wignacourt Museum, where we will visit St. Paul's Grotto. It is said that St. Paul lived here in 60 A.D. when he was shipwrecked on the shores of the island. Stop for lunch at a local restaurant. Then visit the crafts centre at Ta' Qali and enjoy some free time to visit the various studios of the artisans like Phoenician Glass Blowers, Mdina Glass, JCF Jewelers and Bristow Potteries. Our last visit of the day will be at San Anton botanical gardens situated near the Presidential Palace, where we will make a short stop. Remainder of day at leisure.
Breakfast included.

Day 10 (Saturday, March 17)

Breakfast at your hotel. Then you will be transferred at the appropriate time to Malta Airport to board your return flight home.

 *The Global Education Office reserves the right to modify the tour schedule as needed

Flight Information

Washington Dulles International to Catania–Fontanarossa Airport

Flight Number Departure Time Arrival Time
LH 415 Washington Dulles (IAD) 10:30 pm Munich 12:45 pm
LH1964  Munich 3:10 pm Catania 5:20 pm
         



Malta International Airport to Washington Dulles International

Flight Number Departure Time Arrival Time
LH 1977 Malta (MLA) 12:25 pm Munich (MUC) 2:50 pm
LH 414 Munich (MUC) 4:00 pm Washington Dulles 8:40 pm

Contact Information

Cultural Tours Program Manager

Rita Rowand
rrowand1@gmu.edu
703-993-5146

Creating an Account for Mason Cultural Tours

Please consult the document below in order to apply for a Mason Cultural Tours program IF (1) you are not currently attending George Mason University and (2) have not created a profile in MasonAbroad yet:

Download

Creating an Account and Application for Mason Cultural Tours [PDF]

Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Travel Tour 2018 11/25/2017 ** Rolling Admission 03/08/2018 03/17/2018

** Indicates rolling admission application process. Applicants will be immediately notified of acceptance into this program and be able to complete post-decision materials prior to the term's application deadline.