Bicycling and Walking Vacations Since 1971 Call a VBT Tour Consultant: (800) 245-3868

Sicily: Biking the Southern Coastal Villages

Pedal back in time on the Mediterranean island of Sicily courted by Greeks, refined by Romans and influenced by Moors to develop its own distinct, Italian flavor. Join us and discover Sicily at a slower pace, from the footstep of Mt Etna to the shores of the Ionian Sea.

  • 10 Days
  • Activity Level: Easy / Moderate
  • Daily Mileage: 15 - 35 mi
  • Daily Biking: 2 - 5 hr
  • Small Groups: 20
  • Biking
  • Easy / Moderate
  • Plane

Why You'll Love This Tour

Overview

Sicily: Biking the Southern Coastal Villages

Our Sicily vacation winds through this seductive Mediterranean island that has lured passersby for centuries. Greeks, Romans, Arabs—all have fallen for her siren song, each adding a resonant layer to Sicily’s vibrant culture. We’ll steep ourselves in the sights, scents and flavors of the southeastern coast. Baroque palaces and ancient ruins will emerge into view as we cycle quiet country lanes. We’ll swim in the Ionian Sea, sample chocolate at a local dolceria, and learn about the Greek heritage of Syracuse. And every day, we’ll reward our explorations with delicious Sicilian cuisine. Sicily is sure to captivate you, too!

Cultural Highlights

  • Take a guided tour, and a few samples, in a historic chocolate making factory in Modica
  • Explore the magnificent, baroque palaces of Noto and Ragusa Ibla
  • Learn about Greek influence in Sicily from a local historian in Syracuse
  • Prepare Sicilian delicacies with a local chef
  • Park your bike and take a swim in the blue waters of the Ionian Sea

What To Expect

This tour offers a combination of easy terrain and moderate hills and is ideal for beginning and experienced cyclists. Our VBT support van is always available for those who need assistance with the hills.

Average Daily Mileage: 15 - 35 miles
Average Cycling Time: 2 - 5 hours

Climate Information

Average Daily Temperature (°F) – Syracuse
Mar 65°  Apr 70°  May 78°  Jun 86°  Jul 92°  Aug 92°  Sep 87°  Oct 78°  Nov 69°  Dec 62°

Average Rainfall (in.) – Syracuse
Mar 1.6  Apr 1.5  May .9  Jun .4  Jul .2  Aug .6  Sep 1.4  Oct 3.9  Nov 2.2  Dec 3.4

What’s Included:

Bicycle Tour Only – without Air

  • 6 nights in 3- and 4-star hotels
  • 12 meals – 6 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 dinners

Air Package Plus

  • Roundtrip international airfare
  • 8 nights in 4-star hotels
  • 14 meals – 8 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 dinners
  • Transfers
  • AND the option to add our Low-Cost Trip Extensions: Pre-trip: Taormina – 2 nights for only $395 • Post-trip: Syracuse – 2 nights for only $345

Both Vacations Include

  • FREE use of our custom VBT bicycle and helmet
  • Service of two bilingual VBT Trip Leaders
  • FULL VAN SUPPORT
  • Daily route directions and maps
  • Welcome reception with local wine and hors d'oeuvres
  • Sightseeing and cultural activities
  • 5% Frequent Traveler Credit to use on your next VBT vacation
  • Special Good Buy Discount 
Dates & Prices
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Air Package Plus Single Supplement: $295 | Land Only Single Supplement: $245

Please note: Web Special savings cannot be combined with any other offer. Standard Terms & Conditions apply when purchasing this trip. 2015 Prices include all airline surcharges and Government taxes and fees. Ask our Tour Consultants for details. Every effort has been made to produce this information accurately. We reserve the right to correct errors. Prices are based on preferences selected above, including meals and sightseeing as specified in What's Included. All prices are subject to change. Departure dates and prices shown may be updated several times daily, and apply to new bookings only.

Itinerary & Map
Or, Expand All Days
DAY 1: Depart from home / Fly overnight to Taormina

Depart from home and travel to Italy. The particulars of your arrival overseas are detailed with your flight itinerary.

DAY 2: Arrive in Taormina / Transfer to your hotel

Arrive at the Catania airport where a VBT representative will meet you outside the Customs. The VBT Representative will have a VBT sign and will be well visible. From the airport, you will transfer to your centrally located hotel in Taormina (approximately 50 minutes).

If you are going to be delayed meeting our transfer representative for more than 15 minutes due to delayed or lost luggage, please let our Airport staff know by calling or sending a text message to +39 347 9246190. 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. However, they might be able to reschedule your transfer if they are aware of the delay. You may also contact our One Call travel assistance to advise of your delay and they will contact our transfer service.

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

Hotel: Hotel Monte Tauro
Alternate Hotel: Hotel Villa Belvedere

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 at 9:30 am in the lobby of our Taormina hotel. VBT uses two properties in Taormina. Please call us to determine which property will be used for your departure If your arrival at the hotel is scheduled later than 9:30 am or if you are delayed, you must travel at your own expense to our first land hotel 3 miles south of Ragusa on the road to Marina di Ragusa (approximately 2 ½ hours by private taxi with rates to be negotiated onsite). A bus line connects Taormina to Ragusa, and you can check the timetable at the bus Taormina Pirandello terminal. In the unfortunate event that you miss our transfer, please contact our first land hotel 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 to our first land hotel, south of Ragusa. A stop on the way is scheduled before getting to destination to buy some lunch The hotel restaurant will be open in case you may want to have your lunch there.

Our hotel, with its rural annexes, master house, barn, stables and guest rooms all reflect its history as a 19th-century manor. 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.

At 2 pm meet your Trip Leaders at the first land hotel. They will help you settle in. You will receive 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.

Hotel: Poggio del Sole Resort
Meals: B, D
Daily Options: 5.5 miles (8.8 km)

DAY 4: Cycle to Marina di Ragusa / Explore Ragusa Ibla at night

After breakfast, we cycle the rolling southern outskirts of the Province of Ragusa toward the sea. You will immediately be 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 relax. Marina is a summer resort, and in the summer its beaches are perfect for swimming after our ride. Enjoy time to 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’s World Heritage 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.

Hotel: Poggio del Sole Resort
Meals: B
Daily Options: 23 miles or 37 miles (38 km or 59.5 km)

DAY 5: Cycle to Scicli / Chocolate tasting in Modica / Cycle the Noto Valley / Cooking class

Today we cycle to Scicli over a rolling and exquisitely scenic country road. As we near this historic town, our route acts as a kind of balcony overlooking 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. Then, stroll Modica Bassa, or Lower Modica, and admire its Baroque churches. Like Ragusa, Scicli and five other towns in the area, this city has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site 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 outdoor swimming pool and its own spa. Later our hosts lead us on a walk around their large estate. We learn about the crops used in the traditional Sicilian cuisine, and the interesting origin of some names like the word ‘carat’, actually coming from the carrob tree seeds. We later move on to the kitchen where we prepare a Sicilian recipe under the guidance of our chef: delicious eggplant parmigiana and eggplant rolls. You are also invited to try your hand at cannoli. The chef will demonstrate how to fill the cannoli with the ricotta and sugar filling, and you can then add your own customized touch, such as chocolate chips, pistachios and more. We will enjoy the results at dinner, accompanied by lots of red wine!

Hotel: Hotel Kallikoros
Meals: B, D
Daily Options: 19.6 miles or 35.3 miles (31.4 km or 56.6 km)

DAY 6: Explore the ancient fishing village of Marzamemi and tuna fishery

After a hearty breakfast, we pedal quiet, mostly easy country roads, heading to the sea. Our destination is the recently restored, ancient fishing village of Marzamemi, nestled on a small promontory south of Syracuse. 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 dating to the 1600s. This is where our lunch is hosted today: a buffet meal with organic local specialties from the sea and surrounding 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.

Hotel: Hotel Kallikoros
Meals: B, L
Daily Options: 18.5 miles or 35.5 miles (30.8 km or 59 km)

DAY 7: Taste a delicious Sicilian meal

Today a short shuttle takes us to our starting point near Testa dell'Acqua. From here, we pedal on a scenic plateau with open views of the countryside. Our next destination is a local donkey farm where the owners (three brothers) provide a tour of the grounds and prepare delicious local specialties, including empanadas.

After lunch at the farm, mostly downhill or flat, scenic roads lead us to our final destination: the elegant Hotel Borgo Pantano, an ancient masseria set amid a sea of orange and lemon groves. Opened in 2010 after a long restoration, the hotel features an amazing swimming pool set in a manicured garden of fragrant flowers and olive trees. You can enjoy dinner at the hotel restaurant tonight.

Hotel: Hotel Borgo Pantano
Meals: B, L
Daily Options: 15 miles or 34.5 miles (24 km or 55.5 km)

DAY 8: Discover Ognina beach

This morning we cycle again toward the sea and beaches, so make sure you take your towel! On quiet flat country roads, we coast to the sea until we get to one of the most popular beaches south of Syracuse, Ognina, where many Syracuse residents have a second home. We loop back on a scenic coastal route to the Gulf of Syracuse, where we find a lovely picnic spot on the private grounds of a local family. Our meal includes delicious “pomodoro Pachino” (cherry tomatoes), which take their name from their original home—the nearby town of Pachino.

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.

Hotel: Hotel Borgo Pantano
Meals: B, L, D
Daily Options: 25.8 miles or 41 miles (41.3 km or 65.8 km)

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. Last night’s orientation talk at the Hotel Borgo Pantano will help you organize your free time.

Hotel: Grand Hotel Livingston Relais Spa
Meals: B

DAY 10: Depart for home

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.

Meals: B

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Accommodations

Hotel Villa Belvedere

A very charming 3-star hotel with 4-star service. Only 5 minutes away from the city center and the Greek Theatre. The hotel was originally a private villa built in 1902 with an ample garden. High palm trees, rambling bougainvillea and jasmine, hibiscus shrubs, lemon and orange trees, colorful flowers literally wrap the building and the swimming pool. Ranks number 7 out of 85 hotels in Taormina according to Trip Advisor.
Free WiFi Included

Hotel Monte Tauro

The hotel overlooks the wonderful Gulf of Naxos and the Etna volcano. Each room has a balcony and is very quiet and comfortable. The swimming pool, the breakfast room and the lobby offer a stunning view of the sea. A panoramic glass lift connects the floors, built in layers like a tower clutched at the rock and following the profile of the mountain. The style of the hotel is modern with Italian design pieces of furniture. Built in the 1970

Grand Hotel Livingston Relais Spa

The Grand Hotel Livingston Relais Spa is wonderfully located in Ortigia, Syracuse, right on the sea. It provides the only access to the sea (via Forte Vigliena) from the city center of Syracuse. In the summer you can enjoy a swim in the clear blue water of the Ionian Sea. The hotel is within walking distance of the main monuments and Main Square. It is a small refined hotel with a rooftop restaurant where breakfast is served, and from where you can enjoy the view of the sea while sipping your coffee. Each bathroom has a jacuzzi shower or bathtub. A small but well equipped in-house spa is available for our guests.
Free WiFi Included

Poggio del Sole Resort

The Poggio del Sole Resort is an accurate restoration of a residence of the 1800’s. Its rural annexes, the master house, food provision store, barn, stables and guest rooms all reflect the era. Still, it is a modern and very comfortable facility set in the quiet Hyblean countryside outside of town. Its large outdoor swimming pool, jacuzzi and sun terrace with open views of the countryside are ideal for relaxation after pedaling. The hotel features two restaurants, one informal hosteria with a traditional stone oven, and one for gourmets. The lounge bar Maizé is open to the public and is a lively place for a drink in the evening. The complex also features a wine cellar full of typical local wines and a small spa offering massages and treatments.
Free WiFi Included

Hotel Borgo Pantano

Four miles from central Syracuse, this tranquil 4-star boutique hotel sprawls between the sea and the Ciane River, surrounded by the Saline Nature Reserve. This old country estate was restored in 2010 with artistic touches. The resulting décor mixes ancient and modern styles. One of its loveliest features is the large pool, which meanders like a lake along fragrant lemon and orange groves, lit at night by candles and lanterns. Enjoy its sauna, whirlpool, and massage; the fine bar and restaurant serve outstanding Sicilian fare.
Free WiFi Included

Hotel Kallikoros

Wonderfully located on a hill blanketed with carob and olive trees, vineyards, and orange groves, the Kallikoros offers sweeping views from its panoramic sun terrace. A large swimming pool fed by an ancient water reservoir, a luxurious spa, an elegant restaurant featuring local specialties, and comfortable rooms with large showers make for a very enjoyable stay. Local stone was used for the 2006 renovation and reconstruction of the property. Walking paths line the estate, where the hosts and chef organize excursions to pick wild fennel, borage, orange and lemons to use for our cooking class. Complimentary WiFi is available in the lobby.
Free WiFi Included
Photos

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Reviews

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Pre-Trip Extension - Taormina

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