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Biking Vacation Sicily: Biking the Southern Coastal Villages​

Activity Level: Easy / Moderate  |  Daily Mileage: 15 – 35 mi  |  Daily Biking: 2 – 5 hr
Air package plus
10 days from only
Price includes roundtrip airfare.
Land only
7 days from only
Pre-trip Extension:
Taormina · 2 nights $395

Post-trip Extension:
Syracuse · 2 nights $395*
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Detailed Itinerary

Please note: For those traveling in 2015, your itinerary may vary slightly from what is presented below. 

Day 1 - Depart U.S. / Fly overnight to Taormina

Depart from the U.S. and travel to Italy. The particulars of your arrival overseas are detailed with your flight itinerary and airline tickets.

Day 2 - Arrive in Taormina / Transfer to your hotel

Arrive at the Catania airport where a VBT representative will meet you outside of Customs. The VBT representative will have a VBT sign and will be well visible. In the event that your luggage is lost and you are delayed at the Lost & Found office, please check in with your VBT representative to let her know that you are there. Then our transfer company will take you (approximately 50 minutes) to your centrally located hotel in Taormina. The rest of the day is free to explore and dine on your own with your VBT City Information included in your Final Travel Booklet as your guide.

If you are going to be delayed meeting our transfer representative for more than 15 minutes due to delayed or lost luggage, please have airport staff page our driver with your last name so they may be notified of your delay. You may also contact our One Call travel assistance to advise of your delay and they will contact our transfer service. Our drivers are only able to wait for up to 45 minutes from the time your flight lands after which you would be responsible for your own transfer. 

Please note: If you arrive early, your hotel room may not be available until 2:00 pm. You may store your luggage with the reception desk.

Please note: VBT transfer times and departure points are finalized in advance and cannot be modified for individual guests. If you fly in earlier than the scheduled program dates, transportation from the airport will be at your own expense.

Day 3 - Lunch at a local agriturismo / Warm-up ride / Welcome reception

VBT No-Air Package guests: Meet your VBT representative and the rest of the group in the lobby of our hotel at 9:30 am (Hotel Villa Belvedere, Via Bagnoli Croce 79, Taormina; Tel: +39 0942 23791 or Hotel Monte Tauro, Via Madonna delle Grazie 3, Taormina; Tel: +30 0942 24402—check your Final Itinerary to know which of the two). The VBT representative will be holding a VBT sign and will be easy to recognize. If your arrival at the hotel is scheduled later than 9:30 am or if you are delayed, you must travel at your own expenses to our hotel 3 miles south of Ragusa on the road to Marina di Ragusa (approximately 3 hours by private taxi with rates to be negotiated onsite). Please contact our first hotel (Poggio del Sole Resort) to advise of any travel delays or changes, and the staff will pass your message on to your VBT Trip Leaders.

VBT Air Package guests & Pre-Trip Extension guests: Meet your VBT representative and the rest of the group in the lobby of our Taormina hotel at 9:30 am. The VBT representative will be holding a VBT sign and will be easy to recognize. 

From Taormina, we transfer with our local guide to Hotel Poggio del Sole south of Ragusa. We will stop on the way for an included lunch and oil tasting at a local agriturismo to enjoy some local specialties. The agriturismo features a restored ‘baglio’ (a typical Sicilian courtyard) and centuries-old olive trees. Our arrival at the hotel is planned for approximately 2:00 pm.

Our hotel, with its rural annexes, master house, food provision store, barn, stables and guest rooms all reflect the era. A new modern building with open spaces has been added, resulting in a very comfortable atmosphere. The outdoor swimming pool and jacuzzi will certainly lure you after our long coach trip.

In the afternoon, join your Trip Leaders for a safety and bike-fitting session followed by a short warm-up ride. Later, gather with the group for a welcome cocktail reception outside on the baglio. Dinner is at the hotel's quaint hosteria.

Day 4 - Cycle to Marina di Ragusa / Explore Ragusa Ibla at night

After breakfast, we cycle the rolling southern skirts of the Province of Ragusa toward the sea. You will be immediately immersed in the quiet countryside, where miles of dry stone walls trace our progress. Here and there we see cattle lazily grazing in the shade of large carob and olive trees, and we pass masserie and elegant 18th-century villas that still belong to landowners.

Before lunch we arrive in the little main square of Marina di Ragusa, a typical Italian piazza where at sunset children, mothers and men gather to play, chat and gossip. Marina is a summer resort and its beaches in the summer are perfect for swimming after our ride. You can explore, have lunch and reward yourself with a delicious gelato. From here, you can opt to cycle or shuttle to our hotel and refresh at our hotel swimming pool and spa.

At sunset, we shuttle to Ragusa Ibla, listed among UNESCO World Sites for its Baroque palaces and churches. There, follow our local guide to learn about the Baroque architecture before picking a trattoria for dinner on your own.

Day 5 - Cycle to Scicli / Chocolate tasting in Modica / Cycle the Noto Valley / Cooking class

Today we cycle to Scicli over a rolling and extremely scenic country road. As we near this historic town, our route acts as a kind of balcony that looks over this Sicilian Baroque city, nestled in a valley between two steep rocky hills. From here, we continue to Modica and one of the more interesting visits of the week: the chocolate factory of the Bonajuto family. The Antica Dolceria Bonajuto is the oldest in town and since 1880 has processed cocoa seeds according to the old Aztecan techniques imported by the Spanish more than 400 years ago. A mouth-watering tasting is a must after our tour. Stroll Modica Bassa, or Lower Modica, and admire its Baroque churches. The city—like Ragusa, Scicli and five more towns in the area—have been listed since 2002 as UNESCO World Heritage Sites for the extraordinary importance and beauty of the late-Baroque architecture that developed after a terrible earthquake devastated Sicily in 1693. Choose a café for lunch on your own.

We start our afternoon ride from Balata di Modica on a mostly downhill route to our hotel. The landscape here is as beautiful as Tuscany: quiet country roads flanked by dry stone walls and myriad olive and carob trees. Relax at our elegant hotel, featuring a large outside swimming pool and its own spa, within walking distance. Later our hosts lead us on a walk around their large estate to pick borage, wild fennel, lemons and oranges. We take them all to the kitchen to prepare a Sicilian recipe under the guidance of our chef: eggplant parmigiana and eggplant rolls. The parmigiana is always a lot of fun and very delicious. The chef will distribute at least 10-15 copies of the recipes to work from. Next on the menu for travelers to try their hand at are cannoli. The chef shows guests how to fill the cannoli with the ricotta and sugar filling, letting each guest add their very own customized ‘touch’ (with or without chocolate chips, pistachios and more). Finally, we enjoy all the food prepared for dinner, with lots of red wine!

Day 6 - Explore the ancient fishing village of Marzamemi and tuna fishery 

After a hearty breakfast, we set out to the ancient fishing village of Marzamemi, recently restored and nestled on a small promontory south of Syracuse. We pedal quiet countryside roads, mostly easy, heading to the sea. The sea and fishing village of Marzamemi was developed in the 17th century around a tuna fishery, which is now the second largest in Sicily and a national monument. The descendants of the owners, the Princes of Villadorata, still come to their palace every so often, a beautiful summer residence from the 1600’s. This is where our lunch is hosted today: a buffet meal with organic local specialties from the sea and fields.

We retrace our way to our hotel in the afternoon. Later, we shuttle to Noto for a stroll in this famous Baroque city and dinner on your own.

Day 7 - Walk the ruins of Noto Antica / Taste a delicious Sicilian meal

Today a short shuttle takes us to our starting point near Testa dell'Acqua. From here, we pedal toward the ruins of Noto Antica. The earthquake of 1693 destroyed this town, once one of Sicily's wealthiest and most beautiful; even today, not much is known about it. We park our bikes and explore the ruins with our Trip Leaders. We then set off to our next destination: a local farm that prepares delicious local specialties, including empanada.

After lunch, a mostly downhill or flat, scenic road leads us to our final destination: the elegant Hotel Borgo Pantano, set among a sea of orange and lemon groves. The hotel features an amazing swimming pool set in a manicured garden of fragrant flowers and olive trees. The hotel opened in 2010 after a long restoration of the ancient masseria. We enjoy dinner here tonight.

Day 8 - Discover Ognina beach

This morning we cycle again toward the sea and beaches, so make sure you take your towels! On quiet flat country roads, we coast to the sea until we get to one of the most popular beaches south of Syracuse, Ognina. Lots of Syracuse residents have their second home here. We loop back on a scenic route lining the coast back to the gulf of Syracuse. Here we will picnic on the private grounds of a local family. Our meal includes delicious cherry tomatoes or ‘pomodoro Pachino’, which take their name from the nearby town of Pachino where they were grown for the first time. 

Later, relax in the hotel garden and enjoy the wellness center. Make sure you feel revived and ready for tonight's lecture about Syracuse and the Greeks, followed by an orientation talk about Syracuse for our Post-Trip Extension guests. Our farewell dinner is at the hotel tonight.

Day 9 - Transfer to Syracuse / Free time / VBT No-Air Package ends

VBT No-Air Package guests: After breakfast, transfer to Syracuse and the Grand Hotel Livingston Relais Spa, where you are then free to continue on your own. If you depart earlier, you must make transfer arrangements from the last hotel at your own expense. Taxi cost to Syracuse is approximately 20 euros/$30 USD (travel time approximately 20 minutes).

VBT Air Package and Post-Trip Extension guests: After breakfast, transfer by private minibus (approximately 30 minutes) to our centrally located hotel in Syracuse for your final overnight stay. We arrive at approximately 9:00 am and have the entire day to explore and visit this wonderful town.

If you have chosen the independent Post-Trip Extension to Syracuse, you remain at this hotel for the next three nights and our orientation talk at the last hotel will help you organize your free time. 

Day 10 - Depart for U.S.

After breakfast* this morning you will transfer to the Catania airport (approximately 50 or 60 minutes depending on traffic) for your departing flight. Please ensure you are ready in the hotel reception area at the designated time**.

*Please note: For guests with early-morning departures, breakfast at the hotel may not be available. Please check with the front desk to verify the times that breakfast is served.

**Please note: VBT recommends that you check your transfer time in your “Transfer Reminder.” VBT transfer times and departure points are finalized in advance and cannot be modified for individual guests. If you extend your stay beyond the scheduled program dates, return transportation to the airport will be at your own expense.

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