Sicily, A must see for everyone! Mariaelena Ciacci is an excellent tour leader. The tour pace is very good and her timing and scheduling of tours were outstanding. Hotel selections are in the city central district, which I had doubts, but I quickly changed my mind. The walking to tour sites out weighed any concerns I had. Great Tour!
Comments Leave a comment
We were extremely pleased with the whole experience while on the Amber Road Tour in Sicily. It was our first time in Sicily and also in a bus tour. The selection of places to visit within Sicily was ideal and gave us a very comprehensive view of the art, food, history and landscape that this Island has to offer. We were delighted with Mariaelena, our tour coordinator, who has a very friendly, efficient and delicate manner to make us all fully enjoy our trip. We were also very pleased with the central location and quality of our hotels and restaurants chosen. The guides were all very knowledgeable and at the same time entertaining. The driver was very friendly and professional and we were also very happy to have a spacious bus with extra room to spare. We appreciated having at least two nights at each hotel stop and not having early morning starts. Finally, we were very happy to share this Sicily experience with a group of new friends.
Our travels around Sicily with Mariaelena in late April early May 2018 were outstanding in every respect. We were given a deep insight into the history, culture, politics and food of Sicily as well as being introduced to the physical beauty of the island. We were also impressed with the design and pace of the tour. The use of specific expert guides in places such as Segesta, the Valley of the Temples, Ragusa, Syracuse and Taormina meant that we could could tap their knowledge of what we were seeing at a much greater depth than we have experienced on other tours. But what made the tour even more memorable was the leadership and organisation given to us by Mariaelena. Not only was she knowledgeable about everything to do with Sicily, but her insight into people, her warm and approachable personality kept a very diverse group together and gave us a sense of direction throughout the 11 days. Mariaelena made every effort to get to know each of us and her professional approach, her patience and attention made an already wonderful tour that much better.
Does all of Andalusia smell of orange blossoms? It seemed so to us. We were expecting to be overwhelmed by the Alhambra, the Mesquita, the Alcazar and Cathedral of Seville; but the beauty of the gardens and courtyards was a surprise. Sean was a joy. His enthusiasm and love of his country was contagious; his knowledge of history profound. He managed to watch over all of us and added special and unique experiences. The hotels were unique and very special. The setting of the dinner our first night overlooking the Alhambra at night was spectacular, as was the view of the gorge from the terrace at Ronda. The itinerary was very thoughtful and the planning wonderful as always. Thank you for a wonderful experience.
My third adventure with Amber Road Tours, this trip proved a wonderful way of exploring the treasures of Sicily’s uniquely rich cultural heritage, combining enjoyable meals and relaxing sightseeing with rewarding tours of museums, impressive ruins of ancient civilizations, baroque cities, local folklore, and grand churches accompanied by guides who offered informative and entertaining commentary, making thousands of years of history come dramatically alive for us. The company of our knowledgeable chief guide, the delightful Mariaelena, always cheerful and helpful, ensured that all facets of the trip would go smoothly and pleasantly. I came away with beautiful memories and much gratitude for a perfect vacation on a magical island.
We just returned from a tour of Sicily and wanted to let you know how pleased we were with everything. Our tour “leader” Mariaelena was fantastic. Her upbeat personality made everything just a little better. The sites, hotels, bus driver and the included meals were all first class. The individual tour guides were not only knowledgeable and we would like to know who wrote their material. We laughed throughout the trip. Several meals were included as part of the tour. The restaurants chosen for each were excellent and everyone enjoyed the menus selected. Mariaelena asked each of us at these meals if we were satisfied with what was being served and in the few cases where there was a problem made sure that substitutes were available. She went out of her way to help. We had an anniversary during the trip and she coordinated with the restaurant we were going to eat at to have cake made up for us. She left nothing to chance. Every morning she was there well before the tours started and in the evening did not leave until she was sure that we knew the schedule for the next day. It is hard to imagine that anything more could have been done to improve the trip. We would rate Amber Tours with 5 stars.
This was our second Amber Roads Tour and our first time in Sicily. The country is so beautiful and the history interesting. Our tour guide, Mariaelena went above and beyond the call of duty to make sure everyone was enjoying themselves. She is so knowledgeable and helpful. Her warm and caring personality made her feel like family and made our trip extra special. The accommodations were always charming and welcoming and the food was delicious and plentiful. We certainly will recommend Amber Roads Tours to everyone.
The trip exceeded my expectations. I am a 1st time traveler with Amber Road and was looking for a small group tour of Andalusia. I had done sizable research on the area about six years ago focusing on the Moorish influences in architecture and gardens. So, at the last possible time, I was able to sign up for the Amber Road trip. The area is a wealth of layering of history. The guide, Sean is excellent about specifics of the region and his animation and love of Andalusia is apparent. I appreciate Sean’s pointing out urban planning and garden design for me. The group meals were wonderful, a treat of Iberian food, wine, tapas, and more. Also, the staff person, Lisa, is terrific. The trip was a good time!
Sicily was amazing! I loved the history, ruins, delicious food, friendly people, and beautiful countryside. Our tour guide, Saverio, was so much fun. He made us laugh constantly while sharing with us his love and knowledge of his wonderful country. Our driver Angelo, did a fabulous job navigating the narrow, windy roads. Sitting right behind him I appreciated his calm manner and superior driving skills! The local guides were excellent too, imparting their knowledge of the different regions we visited. This was the first group tour I’ve ever done and it met and exceeded my expectations. The size of our group was just right — a great group of people. I was sad to say goodbye to them and to Sicily at the end of the tour! I’m already thinking about which Amber Roads tour I’ll go on next!
My wife and I agree: our Amber Road tour of Sicily exceeded our high expectations! Our personable group leader was topnotch, his management of the trip was flawless, and the itinerary was excellent. Accommodations were very pleasant, and the meals included in the trip package were fantastic! Best packaged tour we’ve ever taken.
This was our second trip with Amber Road and it did not disappoint. Bosnia and Croatia have a long and turbulent history which was well described by both the passionate local guides and our tour leader Andrej. Accommodation and meals were of a high standard, local tours were to interesting and unexpected places such as the oyster beds in Ston and a winery near Porec . The pace of the tour was just right with adequate free time to explore and shop. Prior to the tour commencing we had problems with our flight to Sarajevo and then a problem with our booking at the hotel in Sarajevo. Amber Road sorted all that out for us. Highlights were the dinner with the Bosnian families, the lovely coastal town of Orebic and our wonderful local guide in Sarajevo. Our fellow travellers, mainly other Australians, were all great touring companions. Highly recommended!
We have just finished putting our photos from this excellent tour into on-line albums; and, as we did this it reinforced what an wonderful time we had. The country itself was both beautiful and historically interesting; and we found the food and wines delightful. It is unusualy for us to tour with a group on a fixed itinerary, but Amber Road kept the group small and managable; and, the use of the Whisper headsets reinforced the dialog for us. There were so many activities and surprises (like the puppet show and wine/food tastings and upgraded hotel rooms) that we felt our time and enjoyment were maximized. Of course, a lot depends upon the execution on the ground and the personality of the Tour Manager and Driver– in this aspect, we were fortunate to have Saverio Renda as our “face of Sicily”. Saverio was both outgoing and professional; his sense of humor made everyone smile, and his obvious expertise and rapport with the many local guides helped make this a memorable tour. Thanks to all. Highly recommended.
Fabulous Tour – Andalucia was more than I could have ever anticipated. Each of the towns and villages we explored was unique, and each with it’s own degree of Roman, Moorish, Jewish and Christian influence. The blend was a phenomenal array of enjoyable culture, cuisine, sites, monuments … and shopping. From Flamenco to Sherry Bodegos to Andalucian horses, the history and sense of discovery was all there to be absorbed and appreciated. The quality of the local tour guides was excellent. Our Tour Director, Sean, was exceptional, brilliant and so knowledgeable, which added considerably to the overall experience of Southern Spain. Sean took care of everyone’s needs and made sure each of us could maximize all that the Tour had to offer. Accommodations met or exceeded expectations, and were perfectly located to take advantage of exploring the towns’ old quarters. Granada, Cordoba, Cadiz and Sevilla were amazing — the Cathedrals, churches, Royal Palaces, plazas and gardens. But Ronda had a certain unexplainable appeal for me. Bravo to Sean and Amber Road Tours! I never thought any tour would match the Sicily tour; Andalucia ranks right up there with the best.
Wonderful tour and tour leader. Laura took care of every detail. She even prepared maps for us every day. The local guides were also way above average. Particularly outstanding was Vilma, our guide in both Vicenza and Padova. Her excitement and brilliance about Giotto’s work in the Scrovegni Chapel made our visit there one of the highlights of the trip for me. Another one was the fantastic time we had walking in the Italian alps. The varied nature of the itinerary is one of the reasons it’s so enjoyable.
My second Amber Road Tour and it certainly didn’t disappoint. Arrived at Bosnia and immediately noticed shell punctures in so many of the buildings walls. Next day we started on a tour of Sarajevo’s history, in particular the seige the city suffered through for 3 years. We walked the tunnel they built, had a great tour guide with clear explanations and were quite overcome with the strength, endurance and fortitude of the town. It was very touching that evening to be separated into smaller groups and be welcomed into a home of a family who lived through it. They prepared us a typical meal, answered our questions, were so interested in where each of us lived and so pragmatic about their past. It was humbling & rewarding. We had never experienced like this before.
The ongoing tour was wonderful – towns, hotels & the care taken by our tour leader Andrej to ensure everything ran smoothly were without fault. Such pretty & interesting places, a lovely group to tour with and so well orchestrated. Each town we visited was unique & had its own history & flavour. It was like a story tour – as we progressed through each town there was an ongoing story to the previous one. No repetition, all new things to learn, enjoy and add to what we had already learned & experienced. Wonderful. Unique. Highly organised and rewarding. I highly recommend this company and the care they project to earn them the great reviews their site is flooded with.
Our Amber Road Tour of Andalucia was a delightful revelation of the cultural roots, important history, fascinating traditions, remarkable monuments, marvelous foods, striking landscapes and welcoming people of the region. The balance between tour time and our own time was just about perfect. We didn’t feel overwhelmed by all the knowledge we were soaking up but had the opportunity to explore on our own if we wished. Our guide Sean, made the tour exceptionally comfortable, meaningful, and enjoyable. He was not only a font of valuable historical and cultural information, but went the extra kilometer to make certain we were taken care of, if we wanted, during our “free” time.
This was a wonderful tour. I appreciated the sites selected, many off the beaten track. Our tour guide, Tiziana, was exceptional. Not only did she keep us on track, in a sensitive way, but she was a great teacher. I’ve studied Italian, and she was great about practicing with me. She also shared information about Italian culture in general, and specific to areas we were visiting. She was warm, fun and generous in spirit. The pacing of the tour was great, with built in free time not often found in other tours. We were able to do our own thing, rest, and, of course, do a bit of shopping. My husband appreciated that there were no commercial stops. The local guides were generally excellent. The hotels were well placed, and of high quality. Bari was not a planned stop, but put together by Amber at the last minute because of issues in Trani. I actually enjoyed visiting the old town quite a bit, so kudos to Amber for putting it together. We also enjoyed the other travelers in our group, as well as the small size of the gruppo.
This was our second trip with Amber Road. We found the first trip through Sicily everything that Amber Road promised. This one was the same and also exceeded our expectations. The hotels were of a high standard, some with superb views and others with interesting quirks. The included dinners featured extensive menus with five or more courses of typical regional food. The balance between time on guided tours and free time was good as it did not leave us feeling exhausted at being talked at as well as leaving time to explore on our own. In summary, a most enjoyable 12 days which left us with the intention to travel with Amber Road again.
This tour was a wonderful introduction to Spain, a country I have wanted to see since childhood. Sean was a fabulous tour director who set a good pace where we were able to see and be informed about so much history of Spain and the cities and towns we visited, which was balanced with just enough free time for us to explore on our own. Sean was knowledgeable, fun, informative, kind and happy to help with anything and so unbelievably patient. I was ill (had an allergic reaction to something that saw my face significantly swollen) on this trip which required a trip to hospital. Sean didn’t leave me to deal with it – instead he made sure the other tour participants were set for a walking tour of the town we were in and he came to the hospital to translate for me. I was so very appreciative of his support and cannot thank him enough for doing this for me. I would highly recommend this tour to anyone – in fact I would recommend Amber Road to anyone! This was my third Amber Road Tour, and I know it won’t be my last.
We just returned from our third Amber Road Tour. The Sicily Tour was excellent. All of the hotels were in the city’s historic centers and were close to numerous cafes, restaurants and shops. The tour ran like clockwork, under our excellent guide Saverio Renda. I cannot say enough about him. He is intelligent, has a good sense of humor and most importantly is compassionate in his outlook toward life. Sicily should be proud of their native son Saverio. Angelo our bus driver is also to be commended. He did a fantastic job. I am amazed at the constant professionalism, level of service and minute attention to every detail that Amber Road Tours provides. In addition to the excellent hotels, all of the included meals and historical sights made this trip to Sicily something special. The best compliment that I can give is that we will be planning our fourth Amber Road Tour for 2018 shortly. Thank you for everything and please thank everyone at Amber Road Tours for another excellent tour and a lifetime of memories of Sicily.
The Andalucía Tour was our fourth with Amber Road Tours and we were delighted with it. The trip was wonderful from start to finish with historic and lovely boutique hotels in central locations, amazing sites in every city and town, unique experiences at off-the-beaten track places like the olive oil mill, horse show, and bull farm. Our experience was especially enriched by Sean’s passion for Spain, his sense of humor, and his enjoyment in sharing his deep knowledge of Spain’s history, architecture, culture, customs, and cuisine with us. Among the many things that stand out in our memory are the welcome dinner overlooking the moonlit Alhambra, the paella cooking class, the gardens and parks everywhere, the Mezquita in Córdoba, the view of the gorge from the hotel in Ronda, the fish markets in Málaga and Cádiz, and the bull farm which felt like a movie set. Group meals were carefully planned to introduce us to delicious local wines and typical dishes. All in all a perfect trip!
The trip was lovely and I so appreciated all the extra miles the company and our guide, Tiziana, went to in order to accommodate my crazy schedule. Our hotels were wonderful and the food very good for the most part. We enjoyed the company of our fellow travelers and met some very interesting folks. Tiziana is a dear and everyone adored her. If the rest of your guides are as good natured and knowledgeable, you are lucky. Thanks again for all the time you spent getting me transfers when I needed them.
As a well-traveled couple with high standards and expectations, we are pleased to report that Amber Road’s Tuscany/Umbria tour was spectacular and very authentic. It was well-paced and covered many destinations in the 13 days. However, we never felt we were spending too much time on the road. Our tour manager, Mariaelena was a fountain of information about all things Italy. She is a warm, caring person who gives 200% to her job and truly loves people. The hotels and restaurants were all excellent choices and the local guides in the various cities and towns were very informative. We could go on and on! Suffice it to say we will travel again with Amber Road and give them 5 stars.
I really enjoyed my journey on the Madrid and Central Spain tour with Sean who was a really great tour director. The pace of the trip was good the experiences that we had along the way were wonderful. I especially enjoyed the picnic lunch that we had with the local products outside La Alberca, including the special efforts for me to be able have something tasty to eat that contained no pork. The local tour guides that we had throughout the trip were very knowledgeable and enjoyable. This was another wonderful Amber Road tour – my fourth one to date and it won’t be by last.
Our second tour with Amber Road was as interesting and stimulating as our first. Thanks especially to our Tour Director, Frederica who was very knowledgeable, efficient and very kind. She loves her job and it shows in her warmth and willingness to share stories of her experiences. We love the fact that Amber Road takes us to cities and towns we would never have seen – Cremona and the visit to a violin workshop and the Violin Museum was a highlight as was the visit to the da Vinci painting of the Last Supper. Of course, the Lakes – Como and Maggiore were beautiful and Bellagio and Stresa were perfect for walking, exploring and eating. The hotels were all first class – good locations and very comfortable rooms – great views, too, of the Lakes.