In May of this year, Shelley received an invite from Prestige Holidays inviting her to spend four nights in Sicily in the company of several other travel agents [pictured above], and enjoy one of the world's great destinations.
She said yes, and this is her story…
It began with an overnight stay at the Algila Ortigia Charme Hotel. It's a charming place built from two restored palazzos that date from the 1700s, right in the centre of Ortigia and a stone's throw away from the seafront with easy access to the baroque towns of the South East.
Next morning we visited the town square with its cobbled streets adorned with gems and piazzas. Lunch was taken at the La Corte del Sole Hotel, a lovely restored farmhouse near Noto.
Our move to Aggrigento began with a visit to the Valley of the Temples (an absolute must) before arriving at the Colleverde Park Hotel. It's in a great location near stunning beaches and the fishing town of Sciacca. That's where we headed next morning to the Verdura Resort (you'll need a car – this is a self-contained resort). It's fantastic for sports lovers with golf, tennis, football and bike hire, plus a beautiful spa.
Sicily's celebrated wine producer, the Planeta family, were our next hosts. We travelled to the La Foresteria Planeta Hotel near Menfi, a boutique resort overlooking vineyards, The wine tasting was a personal success: I fell in love with Planeta La Segreta (no more Stella for me).
Lunch was arranged at the exceptional Vittorio's, which featured on BBC2's Rick Stein's Mediterranean Escapes.
The final two nights were spent at Castellammare del Golfo in the Trapani Province. The Hotel Al Madarig overlooks the square, close to an Arabic-Norman Castle.
Once a small fishing village, the centre allows visitors to explore the winding alleyways and streets leading them down to the bustling harbour with the local fisherman with their daily catch. Many restaurants with breathtaking views line the area.
We took a boat trip along the Zingaro Marine Reserve passing astounding caves and sandy beaches. It's possible to visit or stay at San Vito Lo Capo an hour away, with Siciliy's best white sand beach and an impressive landscape reminiscent of Rio's Sugarloaf Mountain.
Many Thanks Prestige Holidays for a fantastic trip!
Top Photo: Andy from Premier Travel, Reigate; Leanne from Villair Travel and Shelley from Abbotts Travel at Colleverde Park Hotel, Aggrigento, Sicily.
Second Photo: Lunch at Restaurant Da Vittorio, Porto Palo near Menfi
Third Photo: A view of Castellammare del Golfo
Bottom Photo: Shelley from Abbotts Travel, Andrea from Kenneth Macleod Travel and Leanne from Villair Travel at Castellammare, Sicily