Porto Turistico, Castellamare
Salt Pans of Trapani
Some Highlights of this Tour:
- Visit the ancient ruins at Segesta and Selinunte.
- Ragusa, Sciacca, Scicli and Modica, a few of the picturesque villages we'll enjoy.
- UNESCO World Heirtage Sites of Villa Romana del Casale and Noto.
- The windmills at the salt pans near Trapani.
- The Mediterranean gem off the coast of Syracuse, Ortygia.
- The unique and incredible culinary delights of Sicily!
Sicily, the largest island in the Mediterranean, lies just off the toe of Italy's "boot." It is an amazing land rich in history and traditions, where art and culture intertwine with wonderful natural beauties. Standing on the Mediterranean crossroads between Europe and Africa, Sicily was periodically invaded by half the ancient civilized world, resulting in a very rich and varied cultural heritage. The island today is a melting pot of breath-taking mountains and active volcanoes, pristine beaches and ancient temples, Moorish cities and sleek resorts – and it is a great location for a bicycle tour!
This tour itinerary is divided into two sections each exploring a distinct region of the island. The first section takes us to the western coast, with attractions including Zingaro National Nature Reserve, lofty Erice, the Trapani salt pans, the wines of Marsala and the fabulous temple sites at Selinunte and Segesta. The second section explores the wonderful south-eastern region of the island where a chequerboard of stone walled fields and river valleys embraces a series of rich baroque market towns – Ragusa, Modica, Noto and Scicli. The city of Syracuse is the epitome of the island’s glorious Greek heritage.
Friday: Arrival Day
23.7 km – 563 m
After a one-hour transfer from Palermo, we arrive at the coastal resort of Castellammare where we spend our first night. After sorting out the bikes, we'll have an optional out and back warm up ride along the coast to the old tuna fishing port of Scopello and the Zingaro National Nature Reserve. We'll enjoy a welcome dinner tonight to start off our Sicilian adventure.
Saturday: Castellamare to Nubia
54.5 km – 493 m
Departing from Castellammare we ride first to the ancient city of Segesta, site of a very impressive Doric temple, before continuing west to meet the coast at Nubia, just south of Trapani, for a two-night stopover.
Sunday: Nubia Loop Ride
43.0 km - 807 m
The perfect day trip from Trapani, today we'll start with a 9 km ride to the docks, take a short ferry ride to Favignana and explore this charming island! Part of the three Egadi islands, Favignana is the most beautiful, most popular and the most treasured amongst Italians with an increasing number of travellers looking for sunshine, dusty roads, and saltwater blues of the Mediterranea Sea. After arrival, we'll enjoy an easy 26 km ride around the island. Lots of lunch spots, lovely beaches and easy pedaling make for a truly enjoyable day of exploring Favignana. Don't forget you swim suit and beach shoes. We hear that there are lots of spiky rocks on the shoreline!
Monday: Nubia to Marsala
72.9 km – 578 m
Riding south from Nubia we hug the coast as we ride through a bleached landscape of saline (salt pools) and shimmering heaps of salt dotted with small mulini (windmills) that were used to grind the salt. Salt production from these marshes was big business from the 12th century but is now reduced to a cottage industry. Marsala, where we stop for tonight, is an elegant town full of stately baroque buildings and bookshops. The town is famous for its sweet dessert wines, first developed by English soap merchant John Woodhouse in the 18th century.
Tuesday: Marsala to Menfi
92.7 km – 590 m
Continuing south along the coast we arrive at Mazara del Vallo, the narrow streets of its charming old town centre laid out in the Islamic style called Casbah, evidence of the strong North African influence – it was one of the key cities of Saracen Sicily. Our next site of interest is Selinunte Archaeological Park. Founded in 651 BC, Selinunte became one of the great cities of Magna Graecia (Greater Greece), and the ruins here are among Sicily’s most important historic sites, with seven temples in various states of ruin. To the east of Selinunte lies Menfi, our base for the night. The rolling hills that surround Menfi are carpeted by acre upon acre of vineyard and the town's raison d'être is wine-making, but it has also developed a thriving tourist industry based on its beautiful beaches.
Wednesday: Menfi Loop
58.9 km – 716 m
From Menfi we ride to Porto Palo and then on to the coastal towns of San Marco and Sciacca, one of the oldest – and prettiest - spa towns in Italy. After a stop for lunch (a must-try: the Tabisca saccense, a rustic pizza cooked in a wood-burning oven, with sardines, tomato, pecorino cheese, oregano and onion), we'll head inland as we make our way back to Menfi for the night.
The coach transfer from Menfi to Piazza Armerina (around 3 hours) marks the mid-point of the tour as we move from the western region to the south east of the island. The transfer takes around 3 hours and on arrival at Piazza Armerina there will be time to visit the extraordinary Unesco World Heritage listed Roman Villa at Casale, the most important Roman site in Sicily. The villa is remarkable for both its size and for the extent of its wonderful polychrome floor mosaics, considered some of the finest examples of Roman mosaics in the world. After exploring Villa Casale we make our way by coach to the elegant baroque town of Caltagirone, renowned for its high-quality ceramics.
Friday: Caltagirone to Vizzini
27.6 km – 402 m/Optional 19.2 km – 416 m
From the hilltop Caltagirone we start the day initially descending then gently rolling to get to Grammichele, very interesting 17th century hexagonal-shaped town then we carry on to the area of Vizzini where we will stay for the night in a stunning medieval castle. From there we have an additional hilly loop ride in the hills nearby or you can enjoy the afternoon by hanging out by the pool at your 5-star palazzo for the night, the Castello Camemi.
Saturday: Vizzini to Ragusa Ibla
65.2 km – 863 m
Today we ride to Ragusa Ibla on a hilly and challenging ride. From the castle in Vizzini we'll pass by agave fields, then the landscape changes from meadows and pasture lands to organized and terrassed fields, the classic Ragusa countryside. Our arrival to the town of Ragusa Ibla is simply jaw dropping.
Sunday: Ragusa Ibla to Modica
73.5 km – 662 m
Leaving Ragusa Ibla is not easy since it is a charming place! We ride to the sea today, get to the modern Ragusa and from there we reach the famous Castle of Donnafugata (setting of Tomasi di Lampedusa Leopard) in the hills with wheat fields, carob trees and olive groves. We then descend to Punta Secca, the small village chosen, along with Scicli, as location for Ispettore Montalbano TV series. We'll follow a long coastal road through Marina di Ragusa until Donnalucata where we will go back inland crossing the hills in order to reach the beautiful Scicli and then Modica where we'll stay for the night. After the ride a chocolate tasting at the famous Antica Dolceria Bonajuto is HIGHLY recommended!
Monday: Modica to Noto
43.8 km – 517 m
A great ride awaits today, mostly hilly but not steep, featuring the beautiful terrassed fields of the Ragusa country, lots of almond and olive groves, some fig trees, lemon and oranges, wheat fields, with grazing cattle and sheep in the upper meadows. The second part of the day features a long descent to the valley of Noto, a UNESCO world heritage site. Noto is embellished with its Baroque style churches and palazzi. Two options available this day, that offer more or less the same distance but one ride has a steeper climb with amazing vistas in the entire valley as your reward. During the ride: possible cheese tasting at a farm for the famous Pecorino Ragusano cheese and othe delicacies. After the Ride: Granita Tasting at Caffe Sicilia at Corrado Assenza, a must do!
Tuesday: Noto Loop
51.2 km – 388 m
From Noto we ride to explore the southmost tip of Sicily, featuring the wetlands and Tonnara of Vendicari (the very last of the reserve bit should be done walking, bikes are prohibited) and the fishermen’s village of Marzamemi, from the arabic Marz’hamemi small harbour, with its beautiful square and the flatlands of Pachino where they cultivate the famous DOP cherry tomato. Along the ride it is possible to make some stops to the sandy beaches, among the nicest is San Lorenzo.
Wednesday: Noto to Syracuse
56.3 km – 683 m
In order to get from Noto to Syracuse we present two different routes. The first option is more moderate, taking us through the hills and then descending down to Syracuse with beautiful hills with olive groves, vineyards and almond groves presenting a climb from the very beginning for 19km then descending gradually to the sea and passing through the village of Canicattini Bagni. The alternative option is gentler, descending from Noto into the wine district of Avola (Nero d’Avola wine is one of the most known vintages) and then to the sea crossing nice sandy beaches and villages until we reach the wonderful Greek foundation town of Syracuse and its island of Ortygia. The main attraction is for sure the wonderful Ortygia, the island of Syracuse with its elegant piazzas and buildings, a wonderful Mediterranean gem.
Thursday: Transfer to Catania
After packing up the bikes in the morning, we'll say farewell to our guides prior to the transfer back to Catania and an airport hotel prior to flights home or other destinations on Friday.
Friday: Depart for home or other destinations.
We are now taking bookings for this tour. If you are interested in this tour, please Contact Us for more information or check out our info page to see what's included on a Tandem Bicycle Tour.
Tandem Bicycle Tours strives to find quiet, paved secondary roads/bike paths for cycling and to avoid busy roads as much as possible. The description listed here is a very good approximation of our trips but hotels and routes may change marginally to improve the trip experience.