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Italy: Sicily, the Noto Valley & Syracuse

Favorite

This road cycling tour of Sicily, provides scenery, history, hearty cuisine, and a robust welcome from the people who call it home.

Guided Biking

  • Daily Mileage: 10 - 40|
  • Biking: 1 - 5 hr|
  • Group Size: 20
4.7 out of 5 stars.
Activity Easy/Moderate
Easy / Moderate
E-Bikes Available
E-Bikes Available
Airplane
Air Package Available
People
Guided Group Tour

Starting From

10-day Bike Vacation + Air Package

$3,945

7-day Bike Vacation Only

$3,095

Per person, double occupancy

Italy: Sicily, the Noto Valley & Syracuse

A banquet of sensory delights awaits you in Sicily. Your trip includes the sounds of pounding surf, dramatic vistas as far as the eye can see, delightful jasmine-scented breezes, and the delicious bounty of land and sea. you’ll sample it all on an artfully crafted itinerary that features exhilarating riding through olive groves, past Roman mosaics, and into ancient villages that capture the spirit of the past. Work up an appetite for homemade chocolate, cheese, and honey, and savor the harvest of hotel gardens—even learning secrets of Sicilian cuisine from a local chef. Road cycling in Sicily has never been this good!

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.

  • Daily Mileage: 10 - 40|
  • Biking: 1 - 5 hr|
  • Group Size: 20
Activity Easy/Moderate Easy / Moderate
Cycling
Bar Graph Beginner - Experienced
Cyclists
Vehicle Support Vehicle
Support

Tour Highlights

  • Explore baroque Scicli with a local guide, and venture outside the city to the lovely Noto Valley.
  • Indulge in the tantalizing confections of a family-owned chocolate factory.
  • Join your hotel chef for a hands-on demonstration of Sicilian cooking.
  • Pause to view ancient Roman mosaics as you pedal toward the Mediterranean Sea.
  • Discover the fishing village of Marzamemi, recently restored to its 17th-century glory.
  • Complement your cycling with basking in the sun or swimming at the beach.
  • Savor delicious honeys during a stop at a honey farm.

Climate Information

Temperatures

Average High /
Low Temperature (°F):

Mar65º/42º

Apr70º/46º

May78º/52º

Jun86º/59º

Sep87º/62º

Oct78º/56º

Nov69º/48º

Average
Precipitation:

Mar1.6 in

Apr1.5 in

May0.9 in

Jun0.4 in

Sep1.4 in

Oct3.9 in

Nov2.2 in

What's Included

Bike Vacation + Air Package

Bike Vacation Only

Roundtrip international airfare Check
Transfers to and from international airport Check
One night in Taormina and one night in Syracuse in conveniently located hotels with breakfasts included Check
6 nights in hotels and small country estates Check Check
13 meals: 6 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 4 dinners Check Check

Tour Bikes

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Step-Through (Mixte Hybrid) Comfort Bicycle

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Step-Over (Diamond) Comfort Bicycle

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Road Bicycle (Aluminum alloy frame)

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Electric-Assisted Bicycle (E-bike)

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Biking Packages Include:

Custom VBT Bike and Helmet

Two Local, Bilingual Trip Leaders

Vehicle Support

Luggage Transfers

Ride with GPS and Daily Route Notes

Welcome Reception

Facilitated Cultural Experiences

Your Choice of VBT Branded Gear for Your Adventure

Itinerary

Tue, Apr 13 to Thu, Apr 22 - 2021

Show Itinerary:

Depart home for Italy. The particulars of your arrival overseas are detailed with your flight itinerary.

Arrive at the Catania airport, where a VBT representative holding a sign will meet you outside customs. 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 representative know by calling or sending a text message to +39 388 93 44 528. Please type VBT Guest at the beginning of your text. Our drivers are generally able to wait for up to 45 minutes from the time your flight lands, after which you would be responsible for your own transfer although they might be able to reschedule your transfer if they are aware of the delay. You may also contact Allianz Global Assistance about your delay, and they will contact our transfer service.

Your hotel room may not be available until 2:00 p.m., but you may store your luggage at the reception desk.

Your VBT City Information will help you explore the city. For dinner, pick a restaurant in delightful Taormina, and enjoy your first night in Sicily!

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.

Accommodation: Hotel Monte Tauro, Taormina

VBT-Bicycle-Vacation-only guests: Meet your VBT representative and the rest of the group at 8:00 a.m. in the lobby of our Taormina hotel. If your arrival at the hotel is scheduled later than 8:00 a.m. or if you are delayed, you will travel at your own expense to your Scicli hotel (approximately 2 ½ hours by private taxi, with rates negotiated on site). In the event you miss our transfer, please contact the Scicli hotel to advise them of any travel delays or changes, and the staff will pass your message on to your VBT trip leaders.

VBT Air Package and Pre-Trip Extension guests: Meet your VBT representative and the rest of the group in the lobby of our Taormina hotel at 8:00 a.m. The VBT representative will be easily recognizable and holding a sign.

From Taormina, you’ll transfer to Scicli by private motor coach (transfer time is approximately 2 ½ hours). The city is listed among UNESCO’s World Heritage sites for its baroque palaces and churches. You will be greeted by our local guide and embark on a 40-minute walking tour. You will have time for lunch with plenty of options in this wonderful little city.

Early this afternoon, settle into your luxurious hotel Borgo Hedone. The hotel is a carefully restored 17th-century villa with outbuildings, configured in a picturesque borgo, all connected by stone staircases and little patios. Terraces and two swimming pools (outdoor and indoor heated) offer the best view of the baroque town and the Duomo. After a safety talk and bike-fitting, follow your trip leaders on a warm-up ride outside the town in the beautiful Noto Valley. Later, gather with the group for a welcome cocktail on the elegant grounds of our hotel followed by a true Sicilian dinner at a local restaurant.

Accommodation: Borgo Hedone, Scicli
Included Meals: Breakfast (included for Air Package guests only), Dinner

Today’s Ride Choice:
Cumulative Distance Range: 14 km (9 miles)
Afternoon
Warm-up: 14 km (9 miles)

What to Expect: The warm-up ride explores Altopiano Ibleo, a peaceful, rural region outside Scicli. After an initial short stretch in the city, you will soon be cycling out of town, passing farms and groves of olive and carob trees set along old stone walls. In the distance, you will see the coastline and the sea. On the way back, you will have a wonderful panoramic view of this baroque town.

After breakfast, cycle the rolling countryside in the Province of Ragusa toward the sea, surrounded by miles of stone walls, cattle grazing in the shade of stately carob and olive trees, and vegetable greenhouses that supply markets both local and all over Europe.

You will reach Sampieri via a bike path along the sea. Sampieri is a summer resort town and its beaches are ideal for swimming. Your morning ride ends at a peaceful pine forest for a picnic prepared by your VBT trip leaders. Take some time to stroll around or swim at the beach. Reward yourself with a delicious gelato. From here, you can continue riding or shuttle to your hotel where you can relax at the swimming pool or explore the sites of Scicli. The city has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site for the extraordinary beauty and the importance of its late-baroque architecture, built after a devastating earthquake in 1693.

This evening, stroll Scicli and enjoy the magnificent architecture lit up at night, the perfect backdrop for dinner on your own. Al Galu’ is one of the restaurants most recommended by our tour leaders. There guests can enjoy dinner – a feast for both palate and eyes – under the high vaults of an ancient masseria.

Accommodation: Borgo Hedone, Scicli
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Today’s Ride Choices:
Cumulative Distance Range: 17 – 40 km (10 – 24 miles)
Morning
Scicli to Sampieri: 23 km (14 miles)
Afternoon
Sampieri to Scicli: 17 km (10 miles)

What to Expect: The morning ride heads through the quiet countryside and a patchwork landscape accentuated by lovely stone walls. The roads are paved with little car traffic and you will pedal gradually downhill. Along the way, you will see large greenhouses, one of the city’s main sources of income, as Sicily provides 10% of Europe’s fruits and vegetables. The ride follows a scenic, flat bike path through a park by the sea with a sandy beach for swimming. Trip leaders will prepare a picnic lunch in the shade of the pine trees. In the afternoon, it’s easy coastal riding through the seaside village of Sampieri, followed by a long, yet manageable, uphill ride back to your hotel in Scicli, leaving the afternoon free for you to discover this baroque city. You can opt for the support vehicle shuttle to skip the hill.

Today you have the choice of taking the shuttle or heading out on a moderate ride, progressively gaining almost 1,000 feet of elevation, as you head into Modica to enjoy one of the most interesting visits of the week: the chocolate factory of the Bonajuto family. The oldest factory of its kind in town, Antica Dolceria Bonajuto has been processing cocoa since 1880, using Aztec techniques imported by the Spanish more than 400 years ago. A mouthwatering tasting is a must after the tour. From baroque Modica, you will pedal north in the peaceful countryside of the Noto Valley, with a stop on the way for lunch at an organic farm. You will be welcomed by the owner (Mama Nella) who oversees the many activities of her 123.5-acre (50-hectare) farm while making focaccia bread, jams, sherbets, and much more for her guests. Fresh ricotta, made especially for you by a local cheesemaker, will be included in your lunch.

Your afternoon ride from Balata di Modica follows a mostly downhill route to your hotel, along scenic country roads flanked by elegant olive and carob trees. Relax at this stylish hotel, which features a large outdoor swimming pool and spa, and enjoy dinner at its restaurant accompanied by local red wine.

Accommodation: Hotel Kallikoros, Noto
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today’s Ride Choices:
Cumulative Distance Range: 24 – 65 km (14 – 38 miles)
Morning
Scicli to Modica: 15 km (9 miles)
Modica to San Giacomo: 26 km (15 miles)
Afternoon
San Giacomo to Kallikoros: 24 km (14 miles)

What to Expect: Some guests will shuttle from the hotel to Modica but others may opt for an moderate bike ride starting at the bottom of a canyon and heading up to the Bonajuto chocolate factory, progressively gaining almost 1,000 feet of elevation. The standard morning ride starts after the chocolate factory visit and is one of the most scenic routes offered on this tour. It unfolds in the rolling countryside of Modica and Val di Noto, past rural areas and through little hamlets to San Giacomo, the lunch stop. The afternoon ride from the lunch stop to Hotel Kallikoros is a mostly downhill route. The landscape reminds one of Tuscany with quiet country roads flanked by terraced fields of olive groves and carob trees. For many, this is the best ride of the week.

After a hearty breakfast, pedal along quiet, mostly easy country roads, toward the sea. On the way, you’ll want to stop to admire the fourth-century Roman villa mosaics.

Your destination is the recently restored, ancient fishing village of Marzamemi, nestled on a small promontory south of Syracuse. In good weather, you can take a break at the San Lorenzo beach for a refreshing swim. Marzamemi was developed in the 17th century around a tuna fishery, which is now the second-largest in Sicily and a national monument. The family known as the Princes of Villadorata still visit their 17th-century palace, a beautiful summer residence. Marzamemi is a good place to find a relaxing café or local fish restaurant for lunch on your own.

Retrace your way back to the hotel in the afternoon. You can spend the rest of the day relaxing or opt to follow your hotel hosts on an interesting, short walk around their large estate to learn about the crops used in traditional Sicilian cuisine. Then, shuttle to Noto for a stroll in this famous baroque city to admire the local architecture. Dinner is on your own.

Accommodation: Hotel Kallikoros, Noto
Included Meals: Breakfast

Today’s Ride Choices:
Cumulative Distance Range: 27 – 64.5 km (16 – 40 miles)
Morning
Kallikoros to Marzamemi: 35 km (21 miles)
Afternoon
Marzamemi to Kallikoros: 29.5 km (18 miles)

What to Expect: Today’s loop is on remote country roads, away from traffic, to Marzamemi and the coast. Marzamemi is completely free from car traffic and pleasant to stroll on foot. The afternoon route is moderate with some hills on paved country roads. The VBT support vehicle is available for guests wishing to shuttle back to the hotel for free time at the pool and gardens.

A short shuttle takes you to your starting point near Testa dell’Acqua. From here, you will pedal a panoramic route ending for lunch at a local farm, where Salvo and his brothers tend their donkeys. One of the brothers is a chef, and he’ll prepare delicious local specialties, including empanadas, for lunch.

In the afternoon, another scenic route leads to your final destination: an ancient fortified masseria, or farm estate, surrounded by acres of carob and olive trees. This fine country inn, Borgo del Carato, is your home for the next two nights. You will be seduced by the quietude, the sweeping views, the elegant spa, and the panoramic pool set in a manicured garden of fragrant flowers. Horseback riding is also available. Tonight, you will meet the owner and discover why the carat, or carob seed, is the unit of weight for diamonds and the name of the Borgo. Tonight’s dinner will be prepared with fresh vegetables and herbs from the garden.

Accommodation: Hotel Borgo del Carato, Palazzolo Acreide
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today’s Ride Choices:
Cumulative Distance Range: 23 – 49 km (14 – 30 miles)
Morning
Testa dell’Acqua to Agri Milo: 26 km (16 miles)
Afternoon
Agri Milo to Borgo del Carato: 23 km (14 miles)

What to Expect: Take a 25-minute bus shuttle to the starting point near Testa dell’Acqua. From there, the ride will follow paved country roads with little car traffic on the way to your lunch stop, the Agri Milo farm. Afterwards, the ride retraces part of that route before following the crest of a scenic plateau on a road with almost no car traffic. Some stretches of the ride have broken pavement, but all the roads are paved, with the exception of the farm driveway.

This morning’s ride heads to Pantalica Canyon and Anapo River Valley. A UNESCO World Heritage site, today it’s a vast nature reserve and archaeological site. Over the centuries, the mysterious and mythological Anapo River eroded the soft limestone and created deep canyons and caves, some of which have yet to be explored. Archeologists have discovered more than 5,000 cave tombs carved in the steep limestone cliffs, dating from prehistoric to Byzantine times.

A local specialty of this area is honey. You will stop to meet Michele and his family and visit his organic farm, where he will introduce you to his bees and his myriad of honey products, which are grown in a way that respects the climate and plant biodiversity. Depending on when you visit, you may find orange, honeysuckle, cardoon, or thyme honeys. Don’t miss the opportunity to taste the Spirito dei Fascitrari, an alcoholic drink made by fermented honey.

Stop for lunch on your own in the little town of Solarino, with its typical Italian piazza filled with cafés beloved by locals. Try the specialties of the local eatery: stuffed calzoni, pizza and arancini di riso, pasta di mandorle, cannoli, and gelato!

Back at the hotel, learn about Sicilian cuisine by preparing dinner with a local chef. Share the fruits of your labor with fellow travelers at a farewell dinner in the hotel restaurant.

Accommodation: Hotel Borgo del Carato, Palazzolo Acreide
Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Today’s Ride Choices:
Cumulative Distance Range: 10 – 39 km (6 – 24 miles)
Morning
Borgo del Carato to Solarino: 29 km (18 miles)
Afternoon
Solarino to Carato: 10 km (6 miles)

What to Expect: This morning, the ride travels down the Anapo River canyon and crosses the mythological Anapo River on a paved narrow country road. Caution must be used on the steep downhill stretch to the bottom of the valley and where some potholes form after rain. The ride continues down the canyon on a long and gradual route into the small city of Solarino, which is your lunch stop. The afternoon ride follows a slightly rolling and very panoramic route, leading to the large estate of our hotel. It is a very quiet, fully paved route, with the sea at your back.

VBT-Bicycle-Vacation-only guests: After breakfast, transfer to our Syracuse hotel located in Ortigia. You will arrive at approx. 10:15 a.m. Follow a VBT local guide on a private two-hour walk of Ortigia. The rest of the day you are free to explore 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 about 35 euros/$45 USD (travel time is about 30 minutes).

VBT Air Package and Post-Trip Extension guests: After breakfast, transfer by private minibus (about 30 minutes) to your centrally located hotel in Ortigia, Syracuse for your final overnight. You arrive at approx. 10:15 a.m. Follow a VBT local guide on a two-hour private walk of Ortigia, then spend the rest of the day exploring this wonderful town. Your room may not be available until 3:00 p.m., but you may store your luggage at the reception desk.

If you have chosen the independent Post-trip Extension to Syracuse, you will remain at this hotel for the next three nights. Syracuse is a good base for daily trips to Piazza Armerina and Agrigento. Your guide can facilitate your visits there.

Accommodation: Grand Hotel Ortigia, Syracuse
Included Meals: Breakfast

After breakfast,* transfer to the Catania airport (about 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.

*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.

Included Meals: Breakfast

Thu, Apr 15 to Wed, Apr 21 - 2021

Show Itinerary:

Meet your VBT representative and the rest of the group at 8:00 a.m. in the lobby of our Taormina hotel. If your arrival at the hotel is scheduled later than 8:00 a.m. or if you are delayed, you will travel at your own expense to your Scicli hotel (approximately 2 ½ hours by private taxi, with rates negotiated on site). In the event you miss our transfer, please contact the Scicli hotel to advise them of any travel delays or changes, and the staff will pass your message on to your VBT trip leaders.

From Taormina, you’ll transfer to Scicli by private motor coach (transfer time is approximately 2 ½ hours). The city is listed among UNESCO’s World Heritage sites for its baroque palaces and churches. You will be greeted by our local guide and embark on a 40-minute walking tour. You will have time for lunch with plenty of options in this wonderful little city.

Early this afternoon, settle into your luxurious hotel Borgo Hedone. The hotel is a carefully restored 17th-century villa with outbuildings, configured in a picturesque borgo, all connected by stone staircases and little patios. Terraces and two swimming pools (outdoor and indoor heated) offer the best view of the baroque town and the Duomo. After a safety talk and bike-fitting, follow your trip leaders on a warm-up ride outside the town in the beautiful Noto Valley. Later, gather with the group for a welcome cocktail on the elegant grounds of our hotel followed by a true Sicilian dinner at a local restaurant.

Accommodation: Borgo Hedone, Scicli
Included Meals: Dinner

Today’s Ride Choice:
Cumulative Distance Range: 14 km (9 miles)
Afternoon
Warm-up: 14 km (9 miles)

What to Expect: The warm-up ride explores Altopiano Ibleo, a peaceful, rural region outside Scicli. After an initial short stretch in the city, you will soon be cycling out of town, passing farms and groves of olive and carob trees set along old stone walls. In the distance, you will see the coastline and the sea. On the way back, you will have a wonderful panoramic view of this baroque town.

After breakfast, cycle the rolling countryside in the Province of Ragusa toward the sea, surrounded by miles of stone walls, cattle grazing in the shade of stately carob and olive trees, and vegetable greenhouses that supply markets both local and all over Europe.

You will reach Sampieri via a bike path along the sea. Sampieri is a summer resort town and its beaches are ideal for swimming. Your morning ride ends at a peaceful pine forest for a picnic prepared by your VBT trip leaders. Take some time to stroll around or swim at the beach. Reward yourself with a delicious gelato. From here, you can continue riding or shuttle to your hotel where you can relax at the swimming pool or explore the sites of Scicli. The city has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site for the extraordinary beauty and the importance of its late-baroque architecture, built after a devastating earthquake in 1693.

This evening, stroll Scicli and enjoy the magnificent architecture lit up at night, the perfect backdrop for dinner on your own. Al Galu’ is one of the restaurants most recommended by our tour leaders. There guests can enjoy dinner – a feast for both palate and eyes – under the high vaults of an ancient masseria.

Accommodation: Borgo Hedone, Scicli
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Today’s Ride Choices:
Cumulative Distance Range: 17 – 40 km (10 – 24 miles)
Morning
Scicli to Sampieri: 23 km (14 miles)
Afternoon
Sampieri to Scicli: 17 km (10 miles)

What to Expect: The morning ride heads through the quiet countryside and a patchwork landscape accentuated by lovely stone walls. The roads are paved with little car traffic and you will pedal gradually downhill. Along the way, you will see large greenhouses, one of the city’s main sources of income, as Sicily provides 10% of Europe’s fruits and vegetables. The ride follows a scenic, flat bike path through a park by the sea with a sandy beach for swimming. Trip leaders will prepare a picnic lunch in the shade of the pine trees. In the afternoon, it’s easy coastal riding through the seaside village of Sampieri, followed by a long, yet manageable, uphill ride back to your hotel in Scicli, leaving the afternoon free for you to discover this baroque city. You can opt for the support vehicle shuttle to skip the hill.

Today you have the choice of taking the shuttle or heading out on a moderate ride, progressively gaining almost 1,000 feet of elevation, as you head into Modica to enjoy one of the most interesting visits of the week: the chocolate factory of the Bonajuto family. The oldest factory of its kind in town, Antica Dolceria Bonajuto has been processing cocoa since 1880, using Aztec techniques imported by the Spanish more than 400 years ago. A mouthwatering tasting is a must after the tour. From baroque Modica, you will pedal north in the peaceful countryside of the Noto Valley, with a stop on the way for lunch at an organic farm. You will be welcomed by the owner (Mama Nella) who oversees the many activities of her 123.5-acre (50-hectare) farm while making focaccia bread, jams, sherbets, and much more for her guests. Fresh ricotta, made especially for you by a local cheesemaker, will be included in your lunch.

Your afternoon ride from Balata di Modica follows a mostly downhill route to your hotel, along scenic country roads flanked by elegant olive and carob trees. Relax at this stylish hotel, which features a large outdoor swimming pool and spa, and enjoy dinner at its restaurant accompanied by local red wine.

Accommodation: Hotel Kallikoros, Noto
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today’s Ride Choices:
Cumulative Distance Range: 24 – 65 km (14 – 38 miles)
Morning
Scicli to Modica: 15 km (9 miles)
Modica to San Giacomo: 26 km (15 miles)
Afternoon
San Giacomo to Kallikoros: 24 km (14 miles)

What to Expect: Some guests will shuttle from the hotel to Modica but others may opt for an moderate bike ride starting at the bottom of a canyon and heading up to the Bonajuto chocolate factory, progressively gaining almost 1,000 feet of elevation. The standard morning ride starts after the chocolate factory visit and is one of the most scenic routes offered on this tour. It unfolds in the rolling countryside of Modica and Val di Noto, past rural areas and through little hamlets to San Giacomo, the lunch stop. The afternoon ride from the lunch stop to Hotel Kallikoros is a mostly downhill route. The landscape reminds one of Tuscany with quiet country roads flanked by terraced fields of olive groves and carob trees. For many, this is the best ride of the week.

After a hearty breakfast, pedal along quiet, mostly easy country roads, toward the sea. On the way, you’ll want to stop to admire the fourth-century Roman villa mosaics.

Your destination is the recently restored, ancient fishing village of Marzamemi, nestled on a small promontory south of Syracuse. In good weather, you can take a break at the San Lorenzo beach for a refreshing swim. Marzamemi was developed in the 17th century around a tuna fishery, which is now the second-largest in Sicily and a national monument. The family known as the Princes of Villadorata still visit their 17th-century palace, a beautiful summer residence. Marzamemi is a good place to find a relaxing café or local fish restaurant for lunch on your own.

Retrace your way back to the hotel in the afternoon. You can spend the rest of the day relaxing or opt to follow your hotel hosts on an interesting, short walk around their large estate to learn about the crops used in traditional Sicilian cuisine. Then, shuttle to Noto for a stroll in this famous baroque city to admire the local architecture. Dinner is on your own.

Accommodation: Hotel Kallikoros, Noto
Included Meals: Breakfast

Today’s Ride Choices:
Cumulative Distance Range: 27 – 64.5 km (16 – 40 miles)
Morning
Kallikoros to Marzamemi: 35 km (21 miles)
Afternoon
Marzamemi to Kallikoros: 29.5 km (18 miles)

What to Expect: Today’s loop is on remote country roads, away from traffic, to Marzamemi and the coast. Marzamemi is completely free from car traffic and pleasant to stroll on foot. The afternoon route is moderate with some hills on paved country roads. The VBT support vehicle is available for guests wishing to shuttle back to the hotel for free time at the pool and gardens.

A short shuttle takes you to your starting point near Testa dell’Acqua. From here, you will pedal a panoramic route ending for lunch at a local farm, where Salvo and his brothers tend their donkeys. One of the brothers is a chef, and he’ll prepare delicious local specialties, including empanadas, for lunch.

In the afternoon, another scenic route leads to your final destination: an ancient fortified masseria, or farm estate, surrounded by acres of carob and olive trees. This fine country inn, Borgo del Carato, is your home for the next two nights. You will be seduced by the quietude, the sweeping views, the elegant spa, and the panoramic pool set in a manicured garden of fragrant flowers. Horseback riding is also available. Tonight, you will meet the owner and discover why the carat, or carob seed, is the unit of weight for diamonds and the name of the Borgo. Tonight’s dinner will be prepared with fresh vegetables and herbs from the garden.

Accommodation: Hotel Borgo del Carato, Palazzolo Acreide
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today’s Ride Choices:
Cumulative Distance Range: 23 – 49 km (14 – 30 miles)
Morning
Testa dell’Acqua to Agri Milo: 26 km (16 miles)
Afternoon
Agri Milo to Borgo del Carato: 23 km (14 miles)

What to Expect: Take a 25-minute bus shuttle to the starting point near Testa dell’Acqua. From there, the ride will follow paved country roads with little car traffic on the way to your lunch stop, the Agri Milo farm. Afterwards, the ride retraces part of that route before following the crest of a scenic plateau on a road with almost no car traffic. Some stretches of the ride have broken pavement, but all the roads are paved, with the exception of the farm driveway.

This morning’s ride heads to Pantalica Canyon and Anapo River Valley. A UNESCO World Heritage site, today it’s a vast nature reserve and archaeological site. Over the centuries, the mysterious and mythological Anapo River eroded the soft limestone and created deep canyons and caves, some of which have yet to be explored. Archeologists have discovered more than 5,000 cave tombs carved in the steep limestone cliffs, dating from prehistoric to Byzantine times.

A local specialty of this area is honey. You will stop to meet Michele and his family and visit his organic farm, where he will introduce you to his bees and his myriad of honey products, which are grown in a way that respects the climate and plant biodiversity. Depending on when you visit, you may find orange, honeysuckle, cardoon, or thyme honeys. Don’t miss the opportunity to taste the Spirito dei Fascitrari, an alcoholic drink made by fermented honey.

Stop for lunch on your own in the little town of Solarino, with its typical Italian piazza filled with cafés beloved by locals. Try the specialties of the local eatery: stuffed calzoni, pizza and arancini di riso, pasta di mandorle, cannoli, and gelato!

Back at the hotel, learn about Sicilian cuisine by preparing dinner with a local chef. Share the fruits of your labor with fellow travelers at a farewell dinner in the hotel restaurant.

Accommodation: Hotel Borgo del Carato, Palazzolo Acreide
Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Today’s Ride Choices:
Cumulative Distance Range: 10 – 39 km (6 – 24 miles)
Morning
Borgo del Carato to Solarino: 29 km (18 miles)
Afternoon
Solarino to Carato: 10 km (6 miles)

What to Expect: This morning, the ride travels down the Anapo River canyon and crosses the mythological Anapo River on a paved narrow country road. Caution must be used on the steep downhill stretch to the bottom of the valley and where some potholes form after rain. The ride continues down the canyon on a long and gradual route into the small city of Solarino, which is your lunch stop. The afternoon ride follows a slightly rolling and very panoramic route, leading to the large estate of our hotel. It is a very quiet, fully paved route, with the sea at your back.

After breakfast, transfer to our Syracuse hotel located in Ortigia. You will arrive at approx. 10:15 a.m. Follow a VBT local guide on a private two-hour walk of Ortigia. The rest of the day you are free to explore 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 about 35 euros/$45 USD (travel time is about 30 minutes).

Included Meals: Breakfast

Enjoy Your Vacation Longer With Low-Cost Trip Extensions

Airplane

Air Package Only

2021

2021 Pre-Trip Extension - Taormina

2 Nights From $395 per person, double occupancy
Single Supplement: From $195

  • Two nights at Hotel Monte Tauro
  • Daily breakfast
  • VBT City Information
  • Hospitality Desk
  • Full day excursion with local guide on Mount Etna
  • Airport transfers
  • Private tour of Taormina with local guide
  • Admire the beauty of the bay of Taormina with Mount Etna as a backdrop

Depart home for Italy. The particulars of your arrival overseas are detailed with your flight itinerary.

Arrive at the Catania airport, where a VBT representative holding a sign will meet you outside customs and assist with your transfer to your centrally located hotel in Taormina (about 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 representative know by calling or sending a text message to +39 388 93 44 528. Please type VBT Guest at the beginning of your text. Our drivers are generally able to wait for up to 45 minutes from the time your flight lands, after which you would be responsible for your own transfer. They might be able to reschedule your transfer if they are aware of the delay. You may also contact Allianz Global Assistance about your delay, and they will contact our transfer service.

Your hotel room may not be available until 2:00 p.m., but you can store your luggage at the reception desk.

Your VBT City Information will help you explore the city. For dinner, pick a restaurant in delightful Taormina, and enjoy your first night in Sicily!

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.

Accommodation: Hotel Monte Tauro, Taormina

At 9:30 a.m., our VBT representative will be in the hotel lobby to answer any questions and help you organize your time here. Then, enjoy a walking orientation tour through the historic center of Taormina. You’ll explore the main street which is full of historic landmarks, and browse the shops and cafés on Corso Umberto, the city’s pedestrian-only thoroughfare with its many baroque and gothic churches and palaces. Other attractions include the Piazza Duomo, beloved by such artists as Oscar Wilde, Alexander Dumas, and Richard Wagner and Piazza IX Aprile, a terrace-like square overlooking Mount Etna and the bay. This easy city walk takes about two hours.

If you’re hungry for more, visit the Greek Theatre and then walk up to the Castello Saraceno. Take the funicular down to Mazzaro beach for a swim in the Mediterranean or simply relax at our hotel’s magnificent swimming pool with its stunning views.

Accommodation: Hotel Monte Tauro, Taormina
Included Meals: Breakfast

This morning, put on your hiking boots, dress in layers, and be ready for a truly unique hike on Mount Etna. Your small group will meet your guide, an expert in volcanology and art history, at the hotel at 8:30 a.m. and shuttle to the base of the volcano. Based on the weather, your guide will determine the best starting point for your walk, but you can expect to hike at approximately 6,000 ft (1,829 m) on unpaved terrain covered with ash and rocks. You’ll explore lava fields, hike around craters, and walk inside a lava tunnel. There will be plenty of rest breaks and time for lunch on your own. Your hike will conclude with a visit to the basalt column formations of the famous Alcantara gorges and you’ll return to Taormina around 5:30 or 6:00 p.m.
You do not need to be an expert hiker for this excursion but it is important to have appropriate clothing and footwear. In the event of bad weather conditions (most likely in March and April, when snow may prevent hiking at that altitude), you will remain at a lower altitude and visit the Alcantara gorges or be reimbursed by VBT.

Air Package guests arrive throughout the day.

Accommodation: Hotel Monte Tauro, Taormina
Included Meals: Breakfast

Airplane

Air Package Only

2021

2021 Post-Trip Extension - Syracuse

2 Nights From $245 per person, double occupancy
Single Supplement: From $145

  • Two nights at Grand Hotel Ortigia
  • Daily breakfast
  • VBT City Information
  • Hospitality Desk
  • Airport transfers
  • Stroll the seaside promenade and dine in one of the many cafes
  • Take a dip in the sea

Continue your exploration of Syracuse, perhaps taking advantage of the optional tours described in your VBT City Information. These include a visit to Piazza Armerina and Villa del Casale, a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the most beloved destinations in all of Sicily.

Accommodation: Grand Hotel Ortigia, Syracuse
Included Meals: Breakfast

Continue your independent exploration of Syracuse. Your hotel is located near the beach so in the summer, you might enjoy a refreshing swim in the ocean. A day trip to Agrigento makes for an interesting visit, as well.

Accommodation: Grand Hotel Ortigia, Syracuse
Included Meals: Breakfast

After breakfast,* transfer to Catania Airport (about 50 to 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.

Included Meals: Breakfast

Reviews

Guest Reviews 131 out of 140 (94%) of reviewers recommend this tour

4.7 out of 5 stars.

Dates & Prices

Bike Vacation + Air Package

10 days, includes round-trip international airfare , airport shuttle, and additional hotel nights with included breakfast.

Single Supplement: From $495

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