Cycling in Sicily

8 days
from
$1,675 USD
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Traveller ratings
4.3 / 5 from 15 reviews >
Moderate
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Trip code: 
MWY
Way to Travel:
Guided Group
Activity:
Cycling Holidays
Min age:
16
Group size:
8–16

Ride through UNESCO sites of Siracusa, Noto, Modica and Ragusa

Sicily has to be one of the most fascinating islands in Europe. There is an incredibly diverse history, thanks to almost every civilisation leaving their mark, including the Phoenecians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Normans and Spanish. On our exciting cycle through the south-eastern part of the island, we enjoy varied scenery of high plateaux of lava and limestone, a number of impressive gorges and beautiful sandy beaches along the stunning coastline. Starting near Chiaramonte, we enjoy views of the wonderful Anapo Valley that includes all the flora and fauna typical of Sicily. We continue to historic Ragusa Ibla, Palazzolo Acreide and Noto, with their Baroque architecture and Greek ruins, some of the best preserved in southern Italy. The trip ends in Siracusa, one of the most historic cities of the Mediterranean. Each hotel we visit offers a warm welcome, and we can savour delicious Sicilian cuisine and enjoy relaxing on the beach.

Highlights

  • Ride the stunning UNESCO Noto Valley
  • Visit the charming Baroque towns of Modica and Noto
  • Explore ancient Greek ruins in Syracuse
  • Sample superb regional cuisine

Key information

  • 5 nights 3-star hotels and 2 night converted farmhouse, all en suite
  • 8 days land only / flight inclusive
  • 6 days cycling with full vehicle support (limited seats)
  • Group normally 6 to 16. Min age 16 yrs
  • 90% tarmac and some short sections of gravel; Quiet rural undulating roads 
  • Local bike hire included
  • E-bike hire  available on request

What's included

  • All breakfasts and 1 dinner
  • All accommodation 
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
  • Local bike hire

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request )
  • Visas or vaccinations
  • Local city taxes

6

Pace:

Moderate: 13-16km/8-10miles an hour

Terrain:

Low altitude; 90% tarmac and some short sections of gravel

Day by day breakdown
Day 265.0km/40.0miles
Day 352.0km/32.0miles
Day 445.0km/27.0miles
Day 540.0km/24.0miles
Day 655.0km/34.0miles
Day 715.0km/9.0miles

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

Palazzolo Acreide
to
Syracuse
  • Day 1

    Start Palazzolo Acreide.

    Start Palazzolo Acreide, a charming maze of narrow streets and Baroque churches built after the 1693’s earthquake on the site of the Greek Akrai, which was founded in 664 BC. The town is situated in the heart of the Iblean Mountains, overlooking the upper valleys of the Anapo and Tellaro rivers, which helped the Corinthians control a broad swathe of Sicily.

  • Day 2

    Ride south to the hilltop Baroque town of Ragusa Ibla; cycle scenic roads to Modica.

    We start our exploration with a ride through the beautiful lower valleys of the Iblean Mountains, passing olive plantations and dry-stone walls that characterise this area. We then climb into the highlands to the delightful town of Ragusa Ibla, built over three hills separated by a deep valley, and home to beautiful Baroque churches and buildings. After visiting Ragusa, we cycle for another 14km to the town of Modica, another gem of the Sicilian Baroque, nestled at the bottom of a deep gorge. Overnight in Modica.

    Cycle approx. 65km (elevation gain +937m; elevation loss -1306m)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 3

    Try the famous Modica chocolate with chilli; cycle to the architectural delight of Scicli, famous film set of Inspector Montalbano; on to the fishing village of Marzamemi.

    Before leaving Modica, we have the opportunity to taste its famous chocolate with chilli, which is still prepared using the original Aztec recipe brought over by the Spaniards in the 1500's. We leave Modica behind and ride along a ravine with a downhill bias until we reach another outstanding example of Sicilian Baroque architecture, Scicli, where the popular Inspector Montalbano TV series has been filmed. From here, we move to the picturesque fishing village of Marzamemi with its numerous cafés and restaurants. Overnight in a lovely agriturismo with pool near Marzamemi.

    Cycle approx. 52km (ascent +349m; descent -639m)

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 4

    Circular route through coastal wetlands to Isola delle Correnti, the southernmost point in Sicily.

    A circular ride takes us through the wetlands of Patano Longarini and Patano Cuba, a favourite spot among migratory birds that are attracted to the unique ecosystem of this area on their journey between Africa and Europe. Following the coastline, we reach Sicily’s southernmost point: Isola delle Correnti, where the waters of the Ionian and the Mediterranean seas merge. Back at the agriturismo, we can enjoy an optional fun cookery demonstration and class (payable locally) followed by a delicious dinner.

    Cycle approx. 45km (ascent +300m; descent -300m).

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 5

    Coastal ride to the Vendicari Nature Reserve; continue to the UNESCO-listed Baroque town of Noto.

    A short ride brings us to the beautiful Vendicari Nature Reserve. This narrow stretch of marshy coastline provides a rare and now completely protected habitat for migratory species and for the local flora and fauna. There are some beautiful sandy beaches, perfect for a swim in the clear waters of the Mediterranean Sea. As we leave the reserve behind, we head north to the elegant town of Noto, another UNESCO World Heritage site. Noto is an absolute gem, a planned town in the unique Sicilian Baroque style, all built in a beautiful honey-coloured stone. A must try in Noto is the delicious almond granita (similar to a sorbet) with brioche, typical of the area! Overnight in Noto.

    Cycle approx. 40km (ascent +362m, descent: -271m).

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Climb up to a view point overlooking the Cavagrande National Reserve and the deep Cassibile Canyon; continue to Syracuse.

    We start our day with a climb towards San Corrado to reach the canyon of Cavagrande del Cassibile, one of the deepest found in Europe. The scenery here is spectacular and we enjoy dramatic views of the valley far below. We then have an excellent winding descent to the coastal plain and the sea at Syracuse, the capital of Magna Graecia. Overnight in Syracuse.

    Cycle approx. 55km (ascent +602m; descent -702m)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 7

    Final morning ride north of Syracuse; free time to discover the historic town.

    Our final ride follows one of the first coastal cycle paths in Southern Italy. Along the route we will see the remains of the city walls and the ingenious defensive system erected by Dionysius in the 4th century BC. The end point will be the 'Tonnara di Santa Panagia', an ancient tuna fish factory located in the small gulf of Trogylos. We return to Syracuse following the same route and we reach Ortigia, the island where Syracuse was founded, just in time for lunch. After a short orientation tour, there is free time to explore at our own pace, head to the beach, do some shopping or visit the famous archaeological park. Overnight in Syracuse.

    Cycle approx. 15km

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 8

    End Syracuse.

    The trip ends in Syracuse in the morning of day 8.

    Meals included: Breakfast

Combine this trip with

Essential Info

Visas

Italy

No visa required for British passport holders.
Please note in Italy it is compulsory to carry ID with you at all times.

Vaccinations

Italy

There are no specific health risks.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts and 1 dinner is included.

Sicilian cuisine is a melting pot of all the different cultures that have occupied the island, from the Arabs to the Normans. The island itself is incredibly fertile, enjoying a perfect climate which is ideal for the cultivation of fresh produce such as olives, oranges, lemons, eggplants, tomatoes, pistachios, almonds, grapes, and more—not to mention all of the seafood, tuna and swordfish fished right off the coast. The result? A cuisine that’s fresh, varied, and absolutely delicious! Sicilian wines are also superb and known to be strong and syrupy, like Marsala and Moscato. On this trip there is the chance to sample some unique Sicilian products. Lunches normally consist of delicious pic-nics, freshly prepared by your assistant leader each day. Dinners will be taken at the hotels or local restaurants recommended by your guide.

Weather

Sicily has a good all year round climate, with plenty of sunshine and warm/hot temperatures. The summer departures ought to have daily hot sunshine and temperatures can reach 30 to 35°C . The earlier and later departures will be cooler with a slightly higher chance of rain - please make sure you pack some warm clothing if you travel in low season. In late summer there is the possibility of heavy thunderstorms, but these are usually short-lived.

Is this trip for you?

This trip is classified Road. 6 days cycling with full vehicle support and a cycling guide; 100% tarmac.

There are no transfers to or from hotels on this trip: all the rides are designed to be door-to-door. Most of the cycling is along flat to hilly tarmac roads (mainly traffic-free), with a few ascents and descents along the way, so a reasonable level of fitness is required. As we approach the main towns and cities such as Syracuse there are busier sections with traffic at peak hours. This trip is ideal for leisure cyclists who enjoy a weekend riding on either trails or roads at home. If you have any queries about the difficulty of the trip please do not hesitate to call us.

Accommodation

Hotels & Agriturismo

We use comfortable 3 and 4-star hotels and one agriturismo - a charming renovated farmhouse. The hotels have been carefully selected for their friendly atmosphere and character. All rooms have en suite facilities and the agriturismo has a swimming pool. Most of them are conveniently located in proximity of the charming UNESCO historic centres we visit.

List of hotels normally used:

Palazzolo Acreide: Hotel Colle Acre
Modica: Ferrohotel
Marzamemi: Tenuta Arangio
Noto: La Fontanella
Siracusa: Piccolo Hotel Casa Mia

Expert Blog Entries

  • Reviewed May 2017
    Alan Davies

    Giro De Sicily

    A great 6 days cycling and eating in a very picturesque and quiet region of Sicily, First day was full on but days did get easier although some long climbs. Some fantastic views and towns visited.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Descending through countless hairpins on last but one day.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Paolo was a character and kept us safe throughout the week but could have been more informative if his English was to improve.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    We stayed a couple of days before in Taormina to see Etna and a couple of days after in Syracuse as there are many sights to see there.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Thoroughly enjoyable and once again a mixed bag of people that all got on really well.
  • Reviewed April 2017
    Wendy Pillar

    Wildflowers, empty roads and big, big hill climbs!

    Sicily is an intriguing place full of history that is very much alive all around you. The highlands, with empty roads and big views, were lovely. In April there were very few tourists and there were amazing wildflowers everywhere. The weather was rather 'English' though! The food was amazing.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    In Syracuse, walking down a little alley, an operatic aria was playing on a sound system somewhere, and all the street traders suddenly started singing along, joining in one by one, with beautiful voices. It was magical! Everywhere we went there were beautiful wildflowers like I've never seen before. Definitely recommend going in April for that reason, as well as the fact that the tourist draws and beaches are very quiet.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The group leaders were excellent, really worked hard to look after us and passionate about their homeland. The picnic lunches were outstanding.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure you practice riding up hills! Overall level 3 is fair, but there are some really hilly sections, with sustained climbs. Also, in April, bring clothing for a range of weather.
  • Reviewed November 2016
    Neville Cohen

    Cycling in Sicily

    It takes a lot to come together to make to make a perfect trip but this one succeeded. The group gelled perfectly although there was big range of cycling abilities. The leader was excellent, the accommodation good and last but not least he hire bikes were very good, which is not always the case.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The best moment was the exciting descent down a series of hairpins on the penultimate day of the trip

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Daniela and Guiseppe took very good care of everyone. Daniela's knowledge of the places we visited also enhanced the quality of the trip
  • Reviewed October 2016
    Giovanna Claybo

    Cycling Sicily

    Country is beautiful with so much history. Great for historical buffs and scenery lovers. Everyday was different with scenery and great variety of hills. Going through farmlands and cycling along the waterfronts.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The city of Syracuse is spectacular.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our guide Daniela was amazing, very knowledgeable of the country's history and areas. You can see her love and passion of the country come out in everything she said and did. She went out of her way to make sure we all enjoyed ourselves. Giuseppe our driver, bike repairer and lunch maker was also fantastic. Though Giuseppe did not know much English none of us had any problem communicating with him. The lunches he put together were spectacular, healthy and sometimes too much. Daniela and Giuseppe worked so well together.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Some of the hills are challenging so preparing ahead of time would be advisable but very doable.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Sicily is definitely a country to see. You will eat like kings and queens everyday. If you are doing a cycling trip try to add some time at the beginning or end to see other parts of the country.
  • Reviewed May 2016
    Jane Park

    Cycling in Sicily

    Lovely Holiday in Sicily. Lea the guide was very good, friendly, patient and very knowledgeable. There were 13 in our group, many were club cyclists who left me behind on the hills. For me the hills were steep and some very long! I think that was more to do with my level of fitness than anything else. That said I enjoyed the challenge and I didn't give in! For me the highlights were Modica, Noto and Syracuse. I thought the accommodation was of a high standard overall. Loved the farmhouse, we had a lovely suite. The picnic lunches were excellent courtesy of Giuseppe who travelled with our luggage and looked after us and the bikes. I have to say the bikes were in excellent condition. The weather was fantastic all week, temperatures ranged from 25 to 30 degrees. Pretty hot for someone from Shetland!! The only area I felt could be improved was the choice of venue for evening meals, They were fine and I think chosen to cater for all tastes. This was a minor gripe in an otherwise fantastic trip. I met some lovely people, took some awesome pictures, got fitter, saw the sun!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The historic town of Syracuse and the sunset. I enjoyed it all really!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Lea was great.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Get some hill climbs in before you go!
  • Reviewed April 2016
    Jane Stirling

    Jane Stirling

    I have just returned from a week's cycling in Sicily that covered 45-65 k a day. The 15-person group - Icelandics, Canadians and Brits - were immensely kind and supportive.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Improving in fitness over the week and not being too far behind the real cyclists was, for me, inspirational. Off the bike, the historical sites, especially the catacombs at Syracuse, and the beautiful coastline, were also stimulating.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Leah was a an excellent leader and very knowledgeable on the history of Sicily. Giuseppe provided wonderful lunches and van back up.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I am fit, but not particularly cycling fit. I did intend to get cycling fit but the poor weather meant that I cycled in the gym whilst watching a film on the TV screen. Reality was much tougher and Sicily was hillier than I expected! So my advice would be to prepare a little better than I did. A 'moderate' ride was for me 'challenging'.
  • Reviewed November 2015
    Joanne Newey

    Sicilly

    Cycling holiday

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Lovely scenery - so varied Loved cycling down to the coast and see the lovely blue see Learning from others in the group how they approach different challenges

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent. For the whole week, he had exactly the right balance. We had a really mixed group of some really keen cyclists and others (like myself) that would like to be on my bike more but have little time. Thomas ensured a really great pace and waited for those at the back, always ensuring we kept together and he was encouraging in terms of doing well and doing the right pace. He was extremely helpful, always paying each one of us his full attention.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do some practice cycling up hills!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Food was so lovely Weather was perfect Could do with an additional guide at the back of the group but van driver Guiseppe ensured that we also kept together
  • Reviewed October 2015
    Joanne Nasuti

    Beautiful scenery, amazing architecture, tasty food, great cycling.

    This was one of the better cycling trips I have done. Cycling was challenging only 1 or 2 days. We cycled through some amazing scenery. The architecture in several of the towns, especially Modica, was extraordinary. Some hotels were better than others, but that is what to expect on an Exodus trip. And it goes without saying that the food, especially the seafood and deserts, was yummy!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Reaching the most southern tip of Sicily, and putting my left foot in the Mediterranean, and right foot in the Ionean Sea. It is my Facebook cover page, and the wallpaper on my computer at work.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our guide Thomas was so thorough, organized, and especially caring of all travelers. He encouraged the less experienced cyclists as they struggled up the hills. Any request was looked into and honored.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    BRING BUG REPELLENT! The mosquitos are relentless, and they are everywhere, even in the larger cities like Catania. If you have extra days in the beginning or end, visit Taormina.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If you are looking to train for the Tour de France, this trip is not for you. Conversely, if you are not used to cycling on hills, you will have a hard time on 2 of the days.
  • Reviewed October 2015
    Marie Longworth

    Great trip

    The trip was great with a decent amount of hills! The distances were doable and the cycles by the coast wonderful! The hotels were all very good especially the Agriturismo which was amazing!! The only gripe about hotels was the one in Syracusa which was ok and had no outside space! We had thee most fantastic lunches courtesy of Giussippe which were better then any dinners we had!! All in all a great trip!! Great group of people helped!!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Not applicable.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Thomas was such a lovely guy! An absolute gentleman! He looked after us so well! Good leaders really matter!! Great sense of humour!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    No.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    No.
  • Reviewed October 2015
    Lorna Killam

    Cycling in Sicily was INCREDIBILE!

    Cycling in Sicily is the first cycling trip my husband and I have taken. We both absolutely loved it and are anxious to start planning our next one with Exodus. Everything from start to finish was terrific; the itinerary, accommodations, events, FOOD and FRIENDS!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were many unforgettable events on this trip! But, some of my favourite times were the coastal drives drives, swimming in the Mediterannean and enjoying lovely, long evening dinners with our travelling companions.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    I could not say enough wonderful things about our group leader Thomas. Attentive, knowledgable and engaging! Our 2 accompanying drivers, both named Guiseppe, were also terrific.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Cycling in Sicily is classified as a 'moderate' level. I would suggest that it is leaning towards challenging, due to the regular steepness of hills. I am a regular cyclist and am comfortable with distances, however, my experience was for the most part on flat roads. I thought this would put me into a 'moderate' category but, I was incorrect. I would make sure that you are comfortable with long, very steep climbs if you are considering this trip.

Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

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