Grand Cycling Tour of Sicily

  • Itinerary Summary

    This bicycle tour of Sicily explores traditional southern Italy and the heart of ancient Magna Grecia. Beginning in Siracusa (Syracuse), a UNESCO World Heritage Site with over 3,000 years of Mediterranean history you'll discover the interior towns in the Valle di Noto. You'll visit four of them, Ragusa, Scicli, Modica and Valle di Noto. All four are listed on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites and each one is spectacularly beautiful. Your journey will continue to the coastal town of Trapani known for its seaport and tuna fishing. Explore the medieval village of Erice with its narrow stone alleyways, and the hilltop town of Caltabellotta. You'll also visit Marsala and sample its fortified wines, and discover some of the finest classical Greek temples still in existence at Selinunte and Agrigento. The diverse terrain offers a rewarding cycling journey through beautiful regions rich in vineyards and agriculture, and picture perfect coastal views.

    ***If this sounds great but you don't have time for the full 14 days, check out either the 8-day Bicycle the Baroque Towns of Southeastern Sicily, or the 7-day Cycling Southwestern Sicily's Ancient Mediterranean Cities tours.***

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    1. Day 1: Meet in Siracusa (Syracuse)

      Highlights: Ancient Siracusa, one of the oldest Greek settlements in Magna Grecia

      Arrive today in Siracusa or "Syracuse" in English. The Greek "Syrakousai" was one of the first Greek colonies in the western Mediterranean, founded in 734 BC by colonists from Corinth. By the mid-5th century BC it rivaled Athens for supremacy with a population of a quarter of a million people. Home to Archimedes (of Archimedes Principle fame) Siracusa has a wealth of ancient Greek ruins and the largest Greek theater from the 5th Century BC. Our hotel is in the center of ancient Ortigia. Enjoy a test ride around the ramparts before our special welcome dinner tonight.

      Distance: Test ride. Meals: D

      Lodging: Algila Ortigia Charme Hotel

    2. Day 2: Siracusa to Noto

      Highlights: UNESCO town of Noto, country resort near the world famous Vendicari nature reserve

      Your first ride in Sicily has you pedaling through small beach and fishing towns, passing an abandoned "tonara" or tuna canning factory which was one of the biggest economic drivers of the island in the late 18th and 19th centuries. The route takes us inland to the imposing town of Noto, one of the many towns in this region rebuilt (in a new location) in the grand baroque style after the earthquake of 1693. The striking white town is perched above the valley and makes for an impressive destination as you pedal towards it. Enjoy lunch, a snack, or a walk here before continuing on to your destination: a splendid old farmhouse renovated into lodging with a swimming pool and particularly lovely grounds.

      Distance: 49km (30 miles). Meals: B, D.

      Lodging: Hotel Corte del Sole

    3. Day 3: Noto Loop to Marzamemi and Capo Passero

      Highlights: Fishing port of Marzamemi, coastal scenery and beaches, wine tasting

      Take your swimming suit along today as there are plenty of opportunities to find an isolated beach to take a refreshing dip. You'll pass through the fishing village of Marzamemi, a village built up around the ancient tonara. The red tuna from this area are still prized in Japan for sushi. While the tonara here is no longer working, the quaint fishing village has maintained its charm with quaint buildings, restaurants, cafés and stores. From here you can opt to continue your ride along a quiet coastal road to Capo Passero, which is the furthest southeastern point in Sicily. This evening we'll enjoy a wine tasting before dinner together.

      Distance: 65km (40 miles). Meals: B, D

      Lodging: Hotel Corte del Sole

    4. Day 4: Spectacular climb to the high plains of the interior

      Highlights: Cavagrande del Cassibile, lunch together with pool and sea view, lovely farm hotel amid almond and olive groves

      Your ride today takes you to the interior of the island through olive and almond groves. An impressive climb of approximately 400 meters (1,300 feet) up a narrow canyon that delivers stunning views into the deep canyon and far out to the sea as you summit on the plateau. Reward yourself with a pool side lunch (and perhaps a dip in the pool!) before continuing along the plateau to reach our quiet country lodge immersed in the hills and close to the expansive ruins of the old city of Noto destroyed in the earthquake of 1693. A brief stroll through Noto Antica's ruins allows you to travel back in time and imagine the large city that once dominated the area. All that remains today is scattered stones, crumbling buildings and tower ruins.

      Distance: 49km (30 miles). Meals: B, L, D

      Lodging: May departure will be at the Masseria degli Ulivi. September will be at the Borgo Alveria

    5. Day 5: Ride from Masseria degli Ulivi to Ragusa

      Highlights: Country roads, the new and old cities of Ragusa

      You are primarily on country roads today as you pedal west to Ragusa. Stop and visit an olive oil press to learn about the local olives, the local farmers, and the business of making olive oil. From there you'll continue to Ragusa which, like Noto, was rebuilt in the 17th century after the massive earthquake. Uniquely though, Ragusa was not moved to a new site. The result is a new baroque town on a ridge top next to the ancient town clinging to a narrow ridge and the valley below.

      Distance: 63km (39 miles). Meals: B

      Lodging: Locanda Don Serafino

    6. Day 6: Bicycle from Ragusa to Scicli

      Highlights: Lands once occupied by Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Normans and Italians; water mill; archaeological site of Cava d'Ispica; picnic

      The timeless landscape of southeast Sicily comes to life today as you pedal ridges and hills toward the famous archaeological sites of Cava d'Ispica, a narrow gorge filled with grottoes which were used since Neolithic times for lodging. Enjoy a picnic lunch near a unique water mill built in a cave before continuing on to the delightful town of Scicli. Scicli is the set for the TV film series Inspector Montalbano, based on the fictional town of Vigáta. Tourism to the area has boomed thanks to this popular TV series although a guided walk through town will highlight much more than a mere TV set!

      Distance: 72km (45 miles). Meals: B, L

      Lodging: Hotel Novecento

    7. Day 7: Loop Rides from Scicli to Modica and/or Donnalucata

      Highlights: Famous chocolate town of Modica and to the seaside town of Donnalucata

      We'll mark two loop rides today to nearby Modica and to the seaside at Donnalucata. Donnalucata is the site of a decisive battle in 1091 between the Normans and the moors. It was also central to the allied invasion of Sicily in July 1943. It also offers a chance for a little beach time for those so inclined. Modica is another town rebuilt after the earthquake of 1693 but, as it sits astride the Modica River, it also suffered from devastating floods at the beginning of the 19th century. Modica is also famous for retaining the original Aztec recipe for chocolate imported by the Spaniards in the 16th century. You'll also have the chance to visit a nearby herb and aroma farm which will set the stage for a final dinner this evening.

      Distance: 60km (37 miles). Meals: B, D

      Lodging: Hotel Novecento

    8. Day 8: Shuttle to Agrigento

      Highlights: Agrigento, guided visit Valle dei Templi

      Agrigento features one of the finest collections of ancient Greek temples anywhere in the Mediterranean basin. Our hotel is not far from the ruins and we'll take a guided visit at the Valle dei Templi as the setting sun turns the limestone columns a golden color. We will have dinner together this evening.

      Distance: Rest Day. Meals: D

      Lodging: Hotel Colleverde

    9. Day 9: Agrigento to Sciacca

      Highlights: Sciacca

      Your ride today offers a lovely combination of terrain as you head inland through wheat fields, and vineyards towards the village of Cattolica Eraclea. When the sweet scent of oranges envelopes you, you will know that you are approaching the town of Ribera famed for - you guessed it - orange (and olive) groves! The landscape changes again as you enter a magical area filled with whimsical geologic formations just before you enter Ribera. Our destination today is Sciacca.

      Distance: 74km (46 miles). Meals: B

      Lodging: Locanda al Castello Sciacca

    10. Day 10: Sciacca to Menfi

      Highlights: Extraordinary lunch at Caltabellotta, swimming pool

      Today you'll enjoy a gorgeous and challenging ride (or shuttle in the van) to Caltabellotta where you'll feast on a lunch of Sicilian specialties. This hilltop village is nestled on a limestone perch three thousand feet above Sciacca. After lunch the rest of the ride is a feast for the senses as you spin through aromatic citrus and olive groves on your way to our elegant lodge tonight. Enjoy a refreshing dip in the swimming pool, and the spectacular views.

      Distance: 63km (39 miles). Meals: B, L, D

      Lodging: Relais Il Vigneto

    11. Day 11: Loop ride to Selinunte and the sea

      Highlights: Selinunte, optional ride to the beach

      It's a short ride to Selinunte where we'll have a guided walk through some of the most spectacular ruins in Sicily. The Greek ruins are divided between two ridges, one features temples and the other the remnants of the ancient city. Take an optional ride to the beach at Porto Palo if you'd like a little extra mileage and the chance for a swim.

      Distance: 60km (37 miles). Meals: B, D

      Lodging: Relais Il Vigneto

    12. Day 12: Menfi to Marsala

      Highlights: Castelvetrano, vineyard landscapes, Marsala and its wines

      A beautiful ride is on tap for today. Fall in love with typical Sicilian landscapes that feature rolling hills covered in vineyards. This spectacular ride leads you to Castelvetrano and stop to admire its beautiful square. Next up is Mazara del Vallo where you'll have the chance to explore examples of Muslim architecture and enjoy fresh fish from one of the largest fishing ports in Italy before riding back along the shore to Marsala. This afternoon we'll sample the famous, fortified Marsala wines.

      Distance: 74km (46 miles). Meals: B

      Lodging: Hotel Carmine

    13. Day 13: Marsala to Trapani

      Highlights: Bike to Erice and Trapani

      You ride west today, partially along the coast and then up to the hilltop village of Erice. Erice was a Greek town and important medieval fortress that maintains its original ambiance. Tonight enjoy a celebratory dinner together on the coastal town of Trapani.

      Distance: 78km (48 miles). Meals: B, D

      Lodging: Hotel la Gancia (Trapani)

    14. Day 14: Cycling tour ends today in Trapani

      Highlights: Trapani

      Spend a few more days here if you wish. There is plenty of history in Trapani as its strategic position on a slip of land saw Carthaginians, Normans, Arabs, Spanish, and Bourbons walk its streets before the unified Republic of Italy was formed in 1861. If you do spend more time we recommend a boat excursion to the nearby island of Favignana. Join us again sometime soon!

    • Highlights

      UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the vale di Noto, Syracuse, Rural countryside accommodations with pools, Olive oil tasting, Beaches and swimming opportunities, Agrigento, Lunch at Caltabellotta, Guided walk of Selinunte, Castelvetrano, Marsala wines, Erice, Trapani
    • Includes

      Use of a quality 27-30 speed bicycle; 14 days, 13 nights' accommodation; van support; 2 to 3 bilingual tour leaders; all breakfasts, 2 lunch, 8 dinners with wine; cheese tasting; olive press visit and tasting; herbal farm; guided walk of Valle dei Templi, Ortigia (Syracuse) and Scicli. plus "The Usual"
    • Countries

      Italy
    • Begin/End

      Siracusa (Syracuse in English) / Trapani
    • Arrive/Depart

      Catania Airport (CTA) / Palermo Falcone Borsellino Airport (PMO) or Vincenzo Florio Airport Trapani-Birgi (TPS)
    • Total Distance

      707km (436 miles)
    • Daily Distance

      Average per riding day 64km (40 miles)
    • Rating

      301 Expect some climbing every day including 4 days in excess of 3,000 feet.
    • Terms

      Terms & Conditions
  • Dates Price Private Room Charge Notes
    May 5-18, 2017 US $5400.00 US $650.00 Guaranteed to Go! Book it
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    Sep 23-Oct 6, 2017 US $5400.00 US $650.00 Space Running Out! Book it
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    * We are happy to match solo travelers who would like to share a room with someone of the same gender. If no match exists, due to hotel pricing, we will charge 50% of the private room charge. This charge will be collected at the time of the final payment. If a roommate assignment is available it will be refunded at the conclusion of the tour.

  • Stories

    • 2016 New Destination - Southeastern Sicily

      We interview Bea Tassinari, our Country Coordinator in Italy about our new cycling tour in Sicily

    • A Sicilian Feast

      Spaghetti alla chitarra con Pesto di Sedano e Pistacchi - Celery Pistachio Pesto

    • Italy Trip Planner

      Read up on country customs, transportation information, culinary specialites, and more!

    • Meals on Your Bicycle Tour

      Information on how meals work on ExperiencePlus! Bicycle tours

    • Per la Cena or What's for Dinner?

      Bea Tassinari coordinates meals for our tours in Italy and shares her secrets for ordering a great meal.

    • The Emperor and The Saint

      Paola Malpezzi Price reviews this biography of two of histories most important men, Frederick II and Francis of Assisi combined with a detailed description of history and monuments. Many of you have been to the places that the book mentions on our tours in Italy!

    • Italian Recipes from Paola

      University of Oregon's Alumni Magazine highlights three of Paola's recipes

    • Perfect blend of exercise/biking, scenery, history, fodd and drink. A very sensual experience.

      Chris R., Niles, IL
    • Challenging but satisfying riding, delicious meals, beautiful landscapes, wonderful people, fabulous accommodations, and the Mediterranean Sea. What more could you ask for?

      Julie S., Blue Island, IL
    • The food, scenery and history were absolutely unbeatable. The guides were fantastic and we would definitely highly recommend Sicily as a cycling destination. Keep up the fantastic work.

      Brian G., Calgary, Canada
    • What was your favorite experience on this trip? Hard to choose from so many wonderful memories. Arriving on a hilltop for a beautiful, fresh Sicilian lunch, a cool dip in a pool. I am so ready to sign up for another ExperiencePlus! tour. It was first class, a trip to remember for a lifetime, thanks to your tour leaders and the caliber of service and accommodation/meals.

      Kathy R., Richmond, BC
    • It was an excellent trip. Sicily is beautiful and the tour leaders were outstanding!

      Gordon T. Calgary, Canada

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