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Italy: Sicily, the Noto Valley & Syracuse

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If you have dreamed of road cycling in Sicily, this tour has it all: scenery, history, a hearty cuisine, and a robust welcome from the people who call it home.
Former tour name: Sicily: Biking the Southern Coastal Villages

Guided Biking

  • Duration: 10 Days|
  • Daily Mileage: 15 - 35|
  • Biking: 2 - 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

Bike Vacation + Air Package

$3,845

Bike Vacation Only

$2,995

(per person, double occupancy)

Italy: Sicily, the Noto Valley & Syracuse

A banquet of sensory delights awaits in Sicily, from pounding surf and dramatic vistas to jasmine-scented breezes and the delicious bounty of land and sea. You’ll sample it all on an artfully crafted itinerary that features exhilarating rolls 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.

  • Duration: 10 Days|
  • Daily Mileage: 15 - 35|
  • Biking: 2 - 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 creations 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.
  • Taste fresh ricotta made especially for you by a local cheesemaker.
  • Roll along scenic roads flanked by olive groves and carob trees.
  • Complement your cycling with basking 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 4- and 5-star hotels Check
6 nights in 4-star hotels Check Check
12 meals—6 breakfasts, 2 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, Mar 31 to Thu, Apr 9 - 2020

Show Itinerary:

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

Arrive at the Catania airport, where a VBT representative holding a VBT sign will meet you outside of customs. From the airport, you 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. 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. However, 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.

If you arrive early, your hotel room may not be available until 2:00 p.m. 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.

Hotel: Hotel Monte Tauro

Meet your VBT representative and the rest of the group in the lobby of our Taormina hotel at 8:30 a.m. The VBT representative will be holding a VBT sign and is easy to recognize.

From Taormina, you’ll transfer to Scicli by private motor coach (transfer time is approx. 2 hours and 30 minutes). The city is listed among UNESCO’s World Heritage sites for its baroque palaces and churches. There 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 and then a true Sicilian dinner at a local restaurant.

Hotel: Borgo Hedone
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Today’s Ride Choice:
Cumulative Distance Range: 16 km (10 miles)

Afternoon
Warm-Up: 16 km (10 miles)

What to Expect: The warm-up ride explores Altopiano Ibleo, a rural and peaceful region outside of 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 sea and coastline. On the way back, you will have a wonderful panoramic view of the baroque town.

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

Before lunch, you reach Marina di Modica on a bike path along the sea. Marina is a summer resort town, and its beaches are ideal for swimming. Your morning ride ends in the peaceful pine forest of Sampieri for a picnic prepared by your VBT trip leaders. Enjoy time to stroll around and take a dip. Reward yourself with a delicious gelato. From here, you can opt to cycle or shuttle to your hotel, relax at the hotel swimming pool, or discover Scicli. The city has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site for the extraordinary beauty and 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.

Hotel: Borgo Hedone
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 leads through quiet countryside and a patchwork landscape accentuated by lovely stone walls. The roads are paved with little car traffic and gradually lose elevation. Along the way, you will see large greenhouses, a main income source for the economy, as Sicily provides 10% of Europe’s fruits and vegetables. The ride then takes you on a scenic, flat bike path through a park on the sea and sandy beach for swimming. Trip Leaders prepare a picnic lunch under shady 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 with a free afternoon to visit the baroque city. You can opt for van shuttle to skip the hill.

Today you shuttle to 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 start riding north in the peaceful countryside of the Noto Valley, with a stop on the way for lunch on your own at an organic farm. You are welcomed by the owner (mama Nella) who oversees the many activities of her 123.5-acre (50-hectare) farm while making breads, focaccia, jams, sherbets, and much more for her guests. You will taste fresh ricotta, made especially for you by a local cheesemaker.

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.

Hotel: Hotel Kallikoros
Meals: Breakfast, 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: The first stretch from the hotel to Modica is a moderate extra ride following the bottom of a canyon to the Bonajuto chocolate factory, progressively gaining almost 1,000 feet elevation. The standard morning ride starts after the chocolate factory visit in Modica and is one of the most scenic rides 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 of Tuscany with quiet country roads flanked by terraced fields of olive groves and carob trees. To most, it is the best ride of the week.

After a hearty breakfast, pedal along quiet, mostly easy country roads, toward the sea. On the way, be sure to pause to visit the fourth-century BC 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 may stop en route 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 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 to your hotel in the afternoon. Later, relax or opt to follow your hotel hosts on a short and interesting 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.

Hotel: Hotel Kallikoros
Meals: Breakfast

Today’s Ride Choices:
Cumulative Distance Range: 27 – 62 km (16 – 37 miles)

Morning
Kallikoros to Marzamemi: 35 km (21 miles)

Afternoon
Marzamemi to Kallikoros: 27 km (16 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 pedal a panoramic route to your lunch destination at a local farm, where Salvo and his brothers tend their donkeys. Salvo’s brother is a chef, and he’ll prepares delicious local specialties, including empanadas, for lunch.

After lunch, 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, 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 is prepared with fresh vegetables and herbs from the garden.

Hotel: Hotel Borgo del Carato
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today’s Ride Choices:
Cumulative Distance Range: 23 – 46 km (14 – 28 miles)

Morning
Testa dell’Acqua to Agri Milo: 23 km (14 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 is on paved country roads with little car traffic to the lunch stop, the Agri Milo farm. Afterward, the ride retraces that route for a couple of miles, then follows the crest of a scenic plateau on a road with almost no car traffic. Though some stretches have broken pavement, 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 natural reserve and archaeological site. Over the centuries, the mysterious and mythological Anapo River eroded the soft limestone and created deep canyons and caves, partly still unexplored. You will see in the distance some of the 5,000 cave tombs carved in the steep limestone cliffs, dating from prehistoric to Byzantine times.

A local specialty of this area is honey. Stop to meet Michele and his family and visit his organic farm, where he shows his bees and products, strictly respectful of the climate and plant biodiversity. Depending on when you visit, you may find orange, honeysuckle, cardoon, or thyme honeys. Don’t miss to the opportunity to taste the Spirito dei Fascitrari, an alcoholic drink made by fermenting 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 pastry shop: 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.

Hotel: Hotel Borgo del Carato
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 takes down the Anapo River canyon and cross the mythological 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 then coasts the canyon on a long and gradual downhill route into the small city of Solarino, the lunch stop. The afternoon ride follows a slightly rolling and very panoramic route on a slope, leading into the large cropped estate of our hotel. It is a very quiet route, with the sea far at your back, and is all paved.

After breakfast, transfer by private minibus (about 30 minutes) to your centrally located hotel in Syracuse for your final overnight. You arrive at 9:30 a.m. Follow a VBT local guide on a two-hour 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 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.

Hotel: Grand Hotel Ortigia
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.

*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: Breakfast

Thu, Apr 2 to Wed, Apr 8 - 2020

Show Itinerary:

Meet your VBT representative and the rest of the group at 8:30 a.m. in the lobby of our Taormina hotel. If your arrival at the hotel is scheduled later than 8:30 a.m. or if you are delayed, you will travel at your own expense to your Scicli hotel (approximately 2.5 hours by private taxi, with rates negotiated onsite). In the event you miss our transfer, please contact the Scicli hotel to advise 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 approx. 2 hours and 30 minutes). The city is listed among UNESCO’s World Heritage sites for its baroque palaces and churches. There 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 and then a true Sicilian dinner at a local restaurant.

Hotel: Borgo Hedone
Meals: Dinner

Today’s Ride Choice:
Cumulative Distance Range: 16 km (10 miles)

Afternoon
Warm-Up: 16 km (10 miles)

What to Expect: The warm-up ride explores Altopiano Ibleo, a rural and peaceful region outside of 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 sea and coastline. On the way back, you will have a wonderful panoramic view of the baroque town.

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

Before lunch, you reach Marina di Modica on a bike path along the sea. Marina is a summer resort town, and its beaches are ideal for swimming. Your morning ride ends in the peaceful pine forest of Sampieri for a picnic prepared by your VBT trip leaders. Enjoy time to stroll around and take a dip. Reward yourself with a delicious gelato. From here, you can opt to cycle or shuttle to your hotel, relax at the hotel swimming pool, or discover Scicli. The city has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site for the extraordinary beauty and 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.

Hotel: Borgo Hedone
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 leads through quiet countryside and a patchwork landscape accentuated by lovely stone walls. The roads are paved with little car traffic and gradually lose elevation. Along the way, you will see large greenhouses, a main income source for the economy, as Sicily provides 10% of Europe’s fruits and vegetables. The ride then takes you on a scenic, flat bike path through a park on the sea and sandy beach for swimming. Trip Leaders prepare a picnic lunch under shady 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 with a free afternoon to visit the baroque city. You can opt for van shuttle to skip the hill.

Today you shuttle to 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 start riding north in the peaceful countryside of the Noto Valley, with a stop on the way for lunch on your own at an organic farm. You are welcomed by the owner (mama Nella) who oversees the many activities of her 123.5-acre (50-hectare) farm while making breads, focaccia, jams, sherbets, and much more for her guests. You will taste fresh ricotta, made especially for you by a local cheesemaker.

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.

Hotel: Hotel Kallikoros
Meals: Breakfast, 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: The first stretch from the hotel to Modica is a moderate extra ride following the bottom of a canyon to the Bonajuto chocolate factory, progressively gaining almost 1,000 feet elevation. The standard morning ride starts after the chocolate factory visit in Modica and is one of the most scenic rides 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 of Tuscany with quiet country roads flanked by terraced fields of olive groves and carob trees. To most, it is the best ride of the week.

After a hearty breakfast, pedal along quiet, mostly easy country roads, toward the sea. On the way, be sure to pause to visit the fourth-century BC 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 may stop en route 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 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 to your hotel in the afternoon. Later, relax or opt to follow your hotel hosts on a short and interesting 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.

Hotel: Hotel Kallikoros
Meals: Breakfast

Today’s Ride Choices:
Cumulative Distance Range: 27 – 62 km (16 – 37 miles)

Morning
Kallikoros to Marzamemi: 35 km (21 miles)

Afternoon
Marzamemi to Kallikoros: 27 km (16 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 pedal a panoramic route to your lunch destination at a local farm, where Salvo and his brothers tend their donkeys. Salvo’s brother is a chef, and he’ll prepares delicious local specialties, including empanadas, for lunch.

After lunch, 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, 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 is prepared with fresh vegetables and herbs from the garden.

Hotel: Hotel Borgo del Carato
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today’s Ride Choices:
Cumulative Distance Range: 23 – 46 km (14 – 28 miles)

Morning
Testa dell’Acqua to Agri Milo: 23 km (14 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 is on paved country roads with little car traffic to the lunch stop, the Agri Milo farm. Afterward, the ride retraces that route for a couple of miles, then follows the crest of a scenic plateau on a road with almost no car traffic. Though some stretches have broken pavement, 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 natural reserve and archaeological site. Over the centuries, the mysterious and mythological Anapo River eroded the soft limestone and created deep canyons and caves, partly still unexplored. You will see in the distance some of the 5,000 cave tombs carved in the steep limestone cliffs, dating from prehistoric to Byzantine times.

A local specialty of this area is honey. Stop to meet Michele and his family and visit his organic farm, where he shows his bees and products, strictly respectful of the climate and plant biodiversity. Depending on when you visit, you may find orange, honeysuckle, cardoon, or thyme honeys. Don’t miss to the opportunity to taste the Spirito dei Fascitrari, an alcoholic drink made by fermenting 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 pastry shop: 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.

Hotel: Hotel Borgo del Carato
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 takes down the Anapo River canyon and cross the mythological 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 then coasts the canyon on a long and gradual downhill route into the small city of Solarino, the lunch stop. The afternoon ride follows a slightly rolling and very panoramic route on a slope, leading into the large cropped estate of our hotel. It is a very quiet route, with the sea far at your back, and is all paved.

After breakfast, transfer to your Syracuse hotel and meet your local guide. Follow her on a two-hour walk of Ortigia. The rest of the day is 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).

Meals: Breakfast

Enjoy Your Vacation Longer With Low-Cost Trip Extensions

Airplane

Air Package Only

2020

2020 Pre-Trip Extension - Taormina

2 Nights From $495 per person, double occupancy
Single Supplement: From $295

  • Two nights at Hotel Monte Tauro
  • Daily breakfast
  • VBT City Information
  • Hospitality Desk and City Orientation Tour
  • Full day excursion with local guide on Mt. Etna
  • Airport transfers

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

Arrive at the Catania airport, where a VBT representative holding a VBT sign meets you outside of customs. They will 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 airport staff know by calling or sending a text message to +39 347 9246190. 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. However, 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.

If you arrive early, your hotel room may not be available until 2:00 p.m. 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.

Hotel: Hotel Monte Tauro

At 9:30 a.m., our VBT representative will be in the hotel lobby to answer any questions and help organize your time here. Then, enjoy a walking orientation through the historic center of Taormina. You’ll explore the main street 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; 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 look for more, visit the Greek Theatre, then take a 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.

Hotel: Hotel Monte Tauro
Meals: Breakfast

This morning, put on your hiking boots, wear layers, and be ready for a truly unique hike on Mount Etna. Your small group meets the guide at the hotel at 8:30 a.m. and shuttles to the base of the volcano. Then, set off with your expert guide, qualified in volcanology and art history. Based on the weather, your guide will determine the best starting point for your walk. Expect to hike at approximately 6,000 ft (1,829 m) on unpaved terrain covered with ash and rocks. You explore lava fields, hike around craters, and walk inside a lava tunnel. Along the way, you have rest breaks and lunch on your own. A visit to the basalt column formations of the famous Alcantara gorges concludes your experience. Return to Taormina in the late afternoon around 5:30 or 6:00 p.m.

You do not need to be an expert to go on this hike, but be prepared with 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.

Hotel: Hotel Monte Tauro
Meals: Breakfast

Airplane

Air Package Only

2020

2020 Post-Trip Extension - Syracuse

2 Nights From $295 per person, double occupancy
Single Supplement: From $145

  • Two nights at Grand Hotel Ortigia
  • Daily breakfast
  • VBT City Information
  • Hospitality Desk and City Orientation Tour
  • Airport transfers

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 Sicily.

Hotel: Grand Hotel Ortigia
Meals: Breakfast

Continue your independent exploration of Syracuse. In the summer, you might enjoy swimming in the ocean. Your hotel is located near the beach. A day trip to Agrigento is another interesting visit.

Hotel: Grand Hotel Ortigia
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.

Meals: Breakfast

Reviews

Guest Reviews 130 out of 139 (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 $445

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