Bicycle the Baroque Towns of Southeastern Sicily

Bicycle the Baroque Towns of Southeastern Sicily

This bicycle tour of southeast Sicily explores the heart of ancient Magna Grecia. Beginning in Siracusa or Syracuse in English, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with over 3,000 years of Mediterranean history you'll discover the interior towns in the Valle di Noto. Most of which were destroyed in a massive earthquake that killed 60,000 people in 1693. Under Spanish dominion at the time architects called on two centuries of Urban planning experience and rebuilt eight towns here in the late Baroque style. 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.

***Continue your exploration of Sicily and join us to for the Grand Cycling Tour of Sicily which includes Cycle Southwestern Sicily's Ancient Mediterranean Cities and we'll include a shuttle to Agrigento where the tour begins.***

Tour Dates & Prices

Date
Price
Private Room Fee
Note
Sep 19-26, 2020
USD$3900
USD$550
Two Spaces Now Available
Sep 21-28, 2020
USD$3900
USD$550
Space Running Out
May 8-15, 2021
USD$3900
USD$550
Book Now and Save $200!
Sep 18-25, 2021
USD$3900
USD$550
Book Now and Save $200!
Oct 2-9, 2021
USD$3900
USD$550
Book Now and Save $200!

* 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.

Tour Style: Classic Book This Trip Now Hold-A-Space/Questions Request Custom Date Download Itinerary Tour Map
  • Trip At-A-Glance
  • Tour Summary
  • Daily Itinerary
  • Travel Information
  • Map
  • Reviews
  • Similar Tours
Trip At-A-Glance

Trip At-A-Glance

  • Length / 8 Days
  • Total Distance / 360 km (222 miles)
  • Avg. Distance / 56 km (35 miles) per riding day
  • Tour Level & Tour Style / 3.0 Classic
  • Countries / Italy
  • Begin/End / Siracusa (Syracuse in English) / Scicli
  • Price / From USD$3900
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Tour Summary

Tour Summary

  • Highlights
    UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the valle di Noto, Syracuse, Rural countryside accommodations with pools, Olive oil tasting, Beaches and swimming opportunities, Archaeological site of Cava d'Ispica.
  • Includes
    8 days, 7 nights' accommodation; meals as noted in itinerary; 1 wine tasting; olive press visit and tasting; and the usual (see below).

    Learn more about what is included and what to expect on your Classic tour at the Classic Tour Style page.
  • Arrive / Depart
    Catania Airport (CTA)
  • Overall Tour Level
    3.0 difficulty level 3.0
  • Daily Ride Summary

    Day

    Distance/Gain
    mi/ftkm/m

    Terrain

    Day Level

    Notes

    1
    Test ride
    2
    55km / 396m
    Mostly flat
    difficulty level 1.5
    3
    61km / 457m
    Mostly flat
    difficulty level 2.0
    4
    45km / 827m
    Very hilly
    difficulty level 3.5
    5
    60km / 1002m
    Hilly
    difficulty level 3.5
    6
    72km / 746m
    Rolling hills
    difficulty level 3.0
    7
    60km / 932m
    Hilly
    difficulty level 4.0
    Today's ride is an optional loop ride
    8
    Last day

Terrain Legend

Gentle Gentle

Rolling hills Rolling hills

Hilly Hilly

Very hilly Very hilly

Mountainous Mountainous

Daily Itinerary
Download Itinerary

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.

The May 9 departure will be both at Henry's House and Italiana Resort Maniace /Luxury Apartments Palazzo Blanco, managed by Henry's House and check-in at Henry's House. All other departures will be at Henry's House.

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 a walk in Noto before heading to our destination tonight, a splendid old farmhouse renovated into lodging with a swimming pool and particularly lovely grounds.

  • Distance: 55km (34mi)
  • Gain: 396m (1299ft)
  • Terrain: Mostly flat
  • Day Level: difficulty level 1.5
  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
  • Lodging:

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: 61km (38mi)
  • Gain: 457m (1499ft)
  • Terrain: Mostly flat
  • Day Level: difficulty level 2.0
  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
  • Lodging:

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.

DAY 5: Ride from Noto Antica 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.

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 walk through town will highlight much more than a mere TV set!

  • Distance: 72km (45mi)
  • Gain: 746m (2447ft)
  • Terrain: Rolling hills
  • Day Level: difficulty level 3.0
  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Lodging:

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. We'll enjoy a special visit and tasting at the Bonajuto chocolate shop which touts six generations of artisan confectioners.

  • Distance: 60km (38mi)
  • Gain: 932m (3057ft)
  • Terrain: Hilly
  • Day Level: difficulty level 4.0
  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
  • Lodging:

DAY 8: Your tour ends in Scicli after breakfast

Highlights: Continue your exploration of Sicily

Your tour ends today unless you decide to continue your exploration of Sicily and join us to Cycle Southwestern Sicily's Ancient Mediterranean Cities.

  • Meals: Breakfast
Travel Information

Travel Information

Day 1: Arrival Information

Meet in Siracusa (Syracuse)

Meeting time 2 p.m. - on Day 1, meet your fellow cyclists and Tour Leaders at the Day 1 Hotel specified on the itinerary.

Note:

As you are planning, remember that the hotels listed in our itineraries are our primary hotels and are - in rare cases - subject to change. Before you make arrangements, check with us if your tour departure is guaranteed. If your tour departure is out further than 6 months, please also check with us as there might be slight changes to the itinerary.

The below information will help you plan your arrival. For more tips or other routes, you might like Rome2Rio. The fare and timing information listed below is approximate.

We recommend flying into the Catania Airport (CTA).

  1. Interbus from Catania Airport to Siracusa Corso Umberto 196 Terminal Bus (the last stop) (1 hour 15 min/EUR 6.20)
  2. Taxi from the bus stop to the Day 1 hotel. If there is no taxi at the bus stop, walk to the central station square where you will find plenty of taxis (10 min/EUR 12-15)
  • Or hotel transfer from the Catania Airport to the Day 1 Hotel (1 hour/fare varies by number of passengers and time of day)

Note: Sicily is not an entirely train-friendly region and on some routes train travel can take several hours with various changes. We recommend using the efficient bus network instead.

Day 8: Departure Information

Your tour ends in Scicli after breakfast

The tour ends on the final day after breakfast.

We recommend flying out of Catania (CTA)

The below information will help you plan your departure. For more tips or other routes, you might like Rome2Rio

Flying out of CTA:

  • Hotel transfer from the ending hotel to the Catania Airport (1.5 hours/EUR 140 per car, up to 4 people)
  • Or Bus from Largo Antonio Gramsci bus stop to the Catania Airport (2 hours 40 min/EUR 10)

Pre-Trip Planning Checklist

To Do Today!

3–6 Months Prior to Departure

  • Reserve your flights after you know you have a confirmed tour departure. Please check with our office if you do not know if your trip is confirmed. As you make your plans refer to the Getting To and Away sent to you in your booking confirmation email it provides meeting times and the starting and ending hotels and shuttle information when applicable.
  • Book your pre and post-tour hotel nights. Please refer to the Getting To and Away sheet you received in your Reservation Confirmation Email.
  • 12 weeks before your tour begin your training program www.experienceplus.com/training.
  • Final payment is due 90 days prior to the tour start. Please refer to your Deposit Payment Invoice and the Final Payment Reminder e-mail you have received for detailed instructions.

6 Weeks–2 Weeks Prior to Departure

Day of Your Flight

Get as much sleep on the plane as you can. Pack your Getting To and Away information and one day of cycling gear in your carry-on. See you soon!

What to Expect on Tour

Classic Tour Style

Learn more about what is included and what to expect on your Classic tour at the Classic page.

Map

Map

Reviews

Reviews

  • Awesome tour! A definite must.

    Dale B., San Anselmo, CA - September 2018
  • Absolutely loved it.

    Nicole L., Bend, OR - September 2017
  • What was your favorite experience on this trip? Too many to choose. Great biking, excellent guides, beautiful scenery and rides. The olive oil factory tour and the chocolate factory in Modica were especially good.

    Carol O., Menlo Park, CA -September 2017
  • I loved the biking, of course. And the dips in the sea. Combination of small towns and coastal routes, and Italian food is a draw. We loved this trip so much that we''ve already put down a deposit on our next one--to Portugal!

    Kathy W., Menlo Park, CA - September 2017
  • Trip of a lifetime!!!

    Lesley O., Cheyenne, WY - May 2017
  • It was an excellent trip. Sicily is beautiful and the tour leaders were outstanding!

    Gordon T., Calgary, Canada
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