Sicily Bike Tour
This bicycle tour of southeast Sicily explores the Baroque splendor and rugged landscapes of what was once the jewel of Magna Grecia (Ancient Greece). Enjoy quiet rides by the glittering Mediterranean and then challenge yourself with some fabulous rides through the hills and valleys of the interior. We begin in magnificent Siracusa, whose old town (Ortigia) and 2,500-year-old Greek theatre are world famous. You will cycle past charming fishing villages and explore the beautiful Baroque towns that are now heralded as UNESCO World Heritage sites. Taste some of the powerful red wines being made around Noto, try the original Atzec recipe for chocolate in the town of Modica, and learn how to make fresh ricotta cheese the traditional way. The tour finishes along the southern coast, so you can kick back and relax with a swim after your day’s ride and then watch the sunset from the terrace of your hotel. You may want to extend your tour with a guided hike around Mount Etna with a volcanologist (we'd be happy to set that up for you).
Sicily Bike Tour itinerary
Independent arrival in Catania, which is easily reached by air from Italian and other European hubs. We stay the night at the elegant Katana Palace Hotel, a short walk to the bustling old town. You are free to dine where you like tonight as some people may arrive late or want to retire early. Hotel included.
We have a morning shuttle to Siracusa this morning for a guided visit of this beautiful historical city. Founded in 734 BC by Greek colonists from Corinth, the city of “Syrakousai” soon grew to become one of the most important cities in the western Mediterranean, rivalling Athens itself in power and population by the middle of the 5th century BC. Visit the vibrant morning market, where locals flock to buy fresh fish, produce, flowers, and much more. We break for lunch and then have an afternoon walking tour of old Ortigia, whose winding streets reveal centuries of villas, churches, battlements and fountains. If we have time we can also visit the Greek theater, one of the largest ever built. Enjoy dinner together tonight in the heart of the old town. Our hotel is in the beautifully restored Hotel Gutkowski, in the heart of the old town. Overnight Siracusa-Ortigia. Hotel, breakfast and dinner included.
Transfer ride along the coast via Avola (55 kms)
Get on your bikes this morning and head south on quiet roads along the coast, through protected natural reserves and quiet fishing villages. We’ll stop for lunch in Marina di Avola and then attack a dramatic climb to our hotel for the next two nights, the Masseria degli Ulivi, a renovated 17th century Sicilian manor house with swimming pool and outdoor jacuzzi. Optional one hour hike amongst the ruins of Noto Antica, which was destroyed in 1693 by a devastating earthquake. Dinner on the hotel terrace overlooking the surrounding olive groves. Overnight near Noto Antica. Hotel, breakfast and dinner included.
The Anapo valley and Baroque Noto (70 kms)
Our destination is the Anapo valley, home to the ancient settlment of Pantalica which flourished between the 13th and 6th centuries B.C. We stop for coffee and pastries in the authentic village of Canecattini before a dramatic descent into the Anapo canyon. Return to the hotel for some pool time before a short transfer to Noto, one of the most beautiful of the famous Baroque towns that were built following the disaster of 1693. Noto is a UNESCO World Heritage site thanks to its majestic churches and elegant palazzi made from golden limestone. Dinner in Noto. Overnight near Noto Antica. Hotel, breakfast and dinner included.
Bike west to the Locanda Gulfi via Palazzolo Acreide (73 kms)
We have a spectacular ride today along the Iblean plateau, which provides sweeping views over rolling hills of olive groves and almond orchards and onto the western flanks of Mount Etna which looms in the distance. We stop for lunch at the UNESCO World Heritage town of Palazzolo Acreide. At the end of the ride relax at our wonderfrul country hotel, the Locanda Gulfi, which is also an award-winning producer of organic wines. The swimming pool is perched above a small valley lined with vineyards and fruit groves, the perfect setting for a relaxing dip after your ride. Dinner tonight is in the hotel dining room, where you can sample their excellent Nero d'Avola wines. Overnight Locanda Gulfi. Hotel, breakfast and dinner included.
Hilltop towns and countryside lunch (70 kms)
Today we ride to two charming hilltop towns, Licodia Eubia and Vizzini, stopping for lunch and a cooking demonstration at an agriturismo that was formerly a Byzantine olive oil mill carved from the rock along a dramatic gorge. We’ll see how they make fresh ricotta and perhaps try our hand at some local specialties. We have a wonderful afternoon ride through the wild interior of the island, passing through the perched town of Monterosso Almo to get back to our hotel where we have an optional tour of the winery and a tasting before dinner. Overnight Locanda Gulfi. Hotel, lunch, breakfast and dinner included.
Bike to the coast via Donnafugata (72 kms)
Today we return to the coast with a marvellous (mostly downhill!) ride to our hotel by the sea. We stop for lunch by the elegant 14th century castle of Donnafugata. Our ride continues down to the shimmering waters of the Mediterranean and the village of Donnalucata, which was the site of an epic battle in 1091 between the Normans and Arab invaders. More recently, American troops landed here in July of 1943 as part of Patton's army that famously raced Montgomery's Commonwealth troops to Messina. Our hotel is located right on the beach so you can enjoy the warm water and white-sand beach before enjoying the sunset from the terrace. Tonight is a "free night" so you're free to eat where you like. Overnight Donnalucata at the Zafran Boutique Hotel. Hotel and breakfast included. Dinner not included.
The Baroque towns of Scicli and Modica (50 kms)
We head inland today to visit two of the lesser-known Baroque towns, Scicli and Modica. The latter is famous for its chocolate production, which still uses the original recipe that the Spanish brought back from the Aztecs in Latin America. We’ll have a visit at one of the city’s traditional producers, followed by a tasting (of course!). Time permitting this afternoon we can also visit the ‘Cava d'Ispica,’ a narrow gorge filled with caves which were inhabited during Neolithic times. This area is also famous for being the setting of the very popular Italian TV series “Inspector Montalbano,” a crime drama set in Sicily. We dine at the hotel tonight. Overnight Donnalucata. Hotel, breakfast and dinner included.
Shuttle back to Catania airport
We offer ONE shuttle to the Catania airport that best suits the group's needs. Earlier (or later) shuttles are available at your expense. Breakfast included.
The dramatic (and continuously active!) volcano of Mount Etna is less than an hour drive from Catania and it's fun to do a short hike with a vulcanologist to see lava tubes and learn about the history. We do this on our walking tours so would be happy to set up a day-trip for you. Contact us for details.
8-Night Trip Cost Includes: 8 nights’ accommodations; 8 breakfasts, 6 dinners and 1 lunch; 27-speed hybrid bicycle [carbon fiber road bike available for an additional supplement]; bilingual guides; visits as noted in the itinerary; all luggage transfers; and final transfer to Catania. All departures are accompanied by two guides.
Not Included: Round-trip airfare; airport/hotel transfers; lunches; one dinners; travel insurance; gratuities; alcoholic beverages; and items of a personal nature.
Qualifications: This trip is rated moderate with some challenging longer (70 km) days. Some prior biking experience is beneficial, and it is perfect for anyone who is physically fit and likes to cycle. The rides are around 50-70 km, with the option to shorten or extend them if desired.
Booking: e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org to receive a booking contract (or use the 'Contact Us' link at the top of this page), or click on the 'Book Now' button to the right.
Insurance: We highly recommend the purchase of Trip Insurance. We recommend “Travel Guard” to our North American clients, just click on the logo below. Australian, New Zealander, and British travelers, please consult your insurance brokers.
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Independent arrival in Catania.
Air: The closest airport to the beginning and end of the trip is Catania, which in high season is well connected to the major airline hubs in Italy and the rest of Europe. For the most current information, go to the airline’s website (in English), and click on “Flight information > Airlines” for a list of airlines that fly there. Also see also our "Transport Info" page (in the menu heading "Info") for specific airport information and a list of smaller airlines you can consult for flights.
Train: There are trains to Sicily from the Italian mainland, but it's not fast. The train from Rome, for example, will take you around 10 hours (!), so we recommend you fly.
Getting away at the end of the trip: The trip ends on Sunday morning and we offer ONE shuttle to the Catania airport that best suits the group’s travel needs (you are of course free to leave anytime and just pay your own transport). It's easy to get a bus or taxi to the Catania airport.
If you should book a trip with us you will receive detailed information about how to get to the start of your trip. Please e-mail us with any specific travel questions.
I would echo all the comments of SAndreeff. I would also like to add that as a gluten-free traveller, sometimes it is not easy to find accommodating restaurants. I never had this problem on this trip! The restaurants and their staff were knowledgeable and went out of their way to make creative, fresh, and delicious meals that even included bread, pastas, and even pizza. It is a beautiful part of the world, and I am so glad to have been able to see it on bike.
Sicilians really know how to feed you! Love the antipasti, granita, & canoli! We had several hotels with pools and one right on the beach in Siracusa. The rides were scenic and just challenging enough, with some really nice long downhills to the coast as well. Our guides, Claire & Brett were a wealth of knowledge about the history of the area. Really enjoyed the Mt. Etna crater walk as well! This was our 9th trip with Custom Walks...highly recommended!