Grand Cycling Tour of Sicily

Grand Cycling Tour of Sicily

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.***

Tour Dates & Prices

Date
Price
Private Room Fee
Note
Sep 19-Oct 2, 2020
USD$5600
USD$650
Two Spaces Now Available
Sep 21-Oct 4, 2020
USD$5600
USD$650
Space Running Out
May 8-21, 2021
USD$5600
USD$650
Book Now and Save $200!
Sep 18-Oct 1, 2021
USD$5600
USD$650
Book Now and Save $200!
Oct 2-15, 2021
USD$5600
USD$650
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 / 14 Days
  • Total Distance / 709km (438 miles)
  • Avg. Distance / 64km (40 miles) per riding day
  • Tour Level & Tour Style / 3.5 Classic
  • Countries / Italy
  • Begin/End / Siracusa (Syracuse in English) / Trapani
  • Price / From USD$5600
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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, Agrigento, Lunch at Caltabellotta, Guided walk of Selinunte, Castelvetrano, Marsala wines, Erice, Trapani, Archaeological site of Cava d'Ispica.
  • Includes
    14 days, 13 nights' accommodation; meals as noted in itinerary; cheese tasting; olive press visit and tasting; herbal farm; guided walk of Valle dei Templi and Selinunte; Marsala wine 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) / Palermo Falcone Borsellino Airport (PMO) or Vincenzo Florio Airport Trapani-Birgi (TPS)
  • Overall Tour Level
    3.5 difficulty level 3.5
  • 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
    Transfer day
    9
    72km / 1016m
    Hilly
    difficulty level 4.0
    10
    63km / 986m
    Very hilly
    difficulty level 4.0
    11
    60km / 630m
    Rolling hills
    difficulty level 3.0
    Today's ride is an optional loop ride
    12
    75km / 415m
    Rolling hills
    difficulty level 2.5
    13
    79km / 1123m
    Mountainous
    difficulty level 5.0
    Shorter optional ride available
    14
    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: 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.

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: 72km (45mi)
  • Gain: 1016m (3332ft)
  • Terrain: Hilly
  • Day Level: difficulty level 4.0
  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Lodging:

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 (39mi)
  • Gain: 986m (3234ft)
  • Terrain: Very hilly
  • Day Level: difficulty level 4.0
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Lodging:

DAY 11: Loop ride to Selinunte and the sea

Highlights: Selinunte, optional ride to the beach

Enjoy a 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. Tonight we’ll enjoy a special dinner in a local winery, wine tasting and visit.

  • Distance: 60km (38mi)
  • Gain: 630m (2066ft)
  • Terrain: Rolling hills
  • Day Level: difficulty level 3.0
  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
  • Lodging:

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: 75km (47mi)
  • Gain: 415m (1361ft)
  • Terrain: Rolling hills
  • Day Level: difficulty level 2.5
  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Lodging:

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. The end of the bike ride takes you to the coastal town of Trapani for a celebratory dinner together.

  • Distance: 79km (49mi)
  • Gain: 1123m (3683ft)
  • Terrain: Mountainous
  • Day Level: difficulty level 5.0
  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
  • Lodging:

DAY 14: Cycling tour ends today in Trapani

Highlights: Trapani

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 spend a few days here we recommend a boat excursion and head off to the nearby island of Favignana. Join us again sometime soon!

  • 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 14: Departure Information

Cycling tour ends today in Trapani

Your trip ends on the final day after breakfast.

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

Flying out of the Trapani Airport (TPS):

  • Taxi from the ending hotel to the Trapani Airport (30 min/EUR 30)
  • Or AST Bus from Trapani Porto (Tour Leaders or hotel staff can assist) (40 min/EUR 5)

If you choose to fly out of Palermo (PMO):

  • Taxi from the ending hotel to the Palermo Airport (1 hour/EUR 110 for 1 to max. 4 persons)
  • Or Segesta Autolinee Bus from Trapani Porto to Palermo Airport (Tour Leaders or hotel staff can assist) (1 hour 10 min/EUR 9)

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

  • A professionally-guided bike tour designed to let people cycle though the backroads of Sicily at their own pace, but with many planned group meals and cultural events. Every day is packed with so much to see and so much to experience -- doing it on a bike is an incredibly satisfying way to get to know an area. I loved the beautiful country roads with fields of olives, grapes or fruit. The scenery was incredible. Loved those descents on the windy roads, especially from Caltabellotta and from Erice.

    Robert S., Carrboro, NC - Sept 2019
  • The tours of Greek temples were awesome, and the olive oil tour was great. Stopping for group lunch at the restaurant with the swimming pool was a treat. The final ride up to Erice was a great way to end

    Michael M., University Place, WA - Sept 2019
  • Our tour was amazing, great people, great guides, great arrows.

    Kym H., Matcham, NSW - May 2019
  • Wonderful scenery. A bit challenging, but not too much. Wonderful guides.

    Isabel M., Granby, Quebec, Canada - May 2019
  • We have really enjoyed our past tours with Experience Plus and Sicily was certainly another great experience for us. We''re looking forward to our next tour with Experience Plus.

    Cliff M., Knoxville, TN - September 2019
  • A great tour of Sicily. Interesting sights. Great food. For the most part the route was on relatively quiet roads. Some good climbs and great descents. Looking forward to the next tour, I just need to decide where.

    Nadine K., Edmonton, Canada - September 2018
  • Probably the best way I could have ever imagined experiencing the country where my family is from on my dads side. Loved meeting the people, eating the food, and feeling connected to this wonderful place.

    Joe G., Fort Collins, CO - September 2018
  • I loved everything. I liked the areas along the coast as well as the interior. Greek ruins were amazing. Food excellent. Wine as well.

    Pat S., Alexandria, VA - September 2018
  • What was your favorite experience on this trip? There were so many. Hard to pick just one. Cycling entrances into Noto Antica, Scicli and Modica. The pre-teen / teen boys fishing off the dock in Trapani who had to call in their friends to help them deal with a freshly caught squid. The chalk arrows make the cycling experience so much more enjoyable.

    BIll H., Montpelier, VT - September 2017
  • I''m hooked.

    James H., Denver, CO - September 2017
  • Great tour leaders. Knowledgeable, experienced, and excellent customer service. Fascinating history.

    Jim B., Incline Village, NV - September 2017
  • OMG! Spectacular, rugged countryside with magnificent historic towns. Food to die for (with the best bread that we''ve had anywhere in Italy) Fascinating and important history, challenging biking (except for day 12...too flat - can''t believe I''m saying that!) Great guides!

    Deena B., Incline Village, NV - September 2017
  • The best possible way to experience the history and charms of Sicily. Great tour with excellent guides. Can''t wait for the next one!

    Jonathan L., Portland, OR - May 2017
  • Sicily is the perfect blend of great food, good cycling, and exposure to local culture and history.

    Mary Ann D., Pleasanton, CA - May 2017
  • Excellent cycling around perimeter of Sicily with cultural emphasis on Greek ruins and unique multicultural history. Loved the trip! Cannot wait until the next one. Looking forward to seeing what is available next May!

    Cathy M., Portland, OR - May 2017
  • 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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