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 Activity
  • Ideal for energetic beginners to more experienced riders.
  • Airfare Packages Available

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Why You'll Love This Tour

Overview

Sicily: Biking the Southern Coastal Villages

Sicily is a world apart. Inhabited over millennia by Phoenicians, Greeks, and Romans, this compact yet geographically rich island provides a tantalizing web of traditions, cuisines, aromas, and hospitality. There’s a reason why so many civilizations have converged here, and we’ll experience it directly with farm-prepared meals, personalized tours and tastings, and cycling routes that display the serene beauty of countryside, mountain, seashore, and orchard. Stroll stunning Modica and admire its Baroque churches. Share a lovely outdoor picnic and a dinner at a traditional local restaurant. Explore the charming fishing village of Marzamemi. Revel in the beaches of Ognina. Taken altogether, you’ll find Sicily a rare jewel.

Cultural Highlights

  • Cycle past stone walls, olive groves, rural masserie, and elegant villas in Ragusa.
  • Delight in rare views of beautiful Scicli as you pedal down to this Baroque city.
  • Prepare Sicilian dishes, including cannoli, under the guidance of a local chef.
  • Enjoy a peaceful ride to the ancient fishing village of Marzamemi, where lunch awaits.
  • Visit the chocolate factory of the Bonajuto family in Modica, with a tasting.
  • Relax and restore for two nights each at three of our charming, local hotels.
  • Explore the ruins of Noto Antica, then share lunch prepared at a local farm.
  • Pedal to the lovely beaches south of Syracuse for a dip, followed by a picnic.

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 High/Low Temperature (°F) – Syracuse
Mar 65º/42º  Apr  70º/46º  May  78º/52º  Jun  86º/59º  Sep 87º/62º  Oct 78º/56º  Nov 69º/48º

Average Precipitation (in.) – Syracuse
Mar 1.5  Apr 1.5   May 1  Jun .5  Sep  1.5  Oct 4  Nov 2

What’s Included:

Bicycle Tour Only – without Air

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

Air Package Plus

  • Roundtrip international airfare
  • 8 nights in 4-star hotels
  • 15 meals – 8 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 4 dinners
  • Transfers
  • AND the option to add our Low-Cost Trip Extensions: Pre-trip: Taormina – 2 nights for only $545* • Post-trip: Syracuse – 2 nights for only $345

Both Vacations Include

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2016 Air Package Plus Single Supplement: $295 | 2017 Air Package Plus Single Supplement: $345 | 2016 / 2017 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. 2016/2017 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.
2007399E-LOGO AFKLM QStar Alliance

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

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

DAY 2: Arrive in Catania / 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 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 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 p.m. 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: Ragusa Ibla / Warm-up ride / Welcome reception

VBT No-Air Package guests: Meet your VBT representative and the rest of the group at 8:30 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 8:30 a.m. 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 hours by private taxi, with rates to be negotiated onsite) and you will miss part of the program. 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 8:30 a.m. The VBT representative will be holding a VBT sign and will be easy to recognize.

From Taormina, we transfer to Ragusa Ibla. The transfer lasts about 2 hours and 15 minutes with a stop on the way before getting to destination. Ragusa Ibla is listed among UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites for its Baroque palaces and churches. There you will follow our local guide to learn about the Baroque architecture before picking a café or visiting a trattoria for lunch on your own.

Meet your Trip Leaders at 2:00 pm in Ragusa Ibla and continue to our first land hotel. After settling in, you will receive a safety and bike-fitting session followed by a short warm-up ride in the beautiful country side of Ragusa along typical “dry” stone walls (muri a siccu). Later, gather with the group for a welcome cocktail reception outside on the baglio. Dinner is at the hotel’s quaint hosteria.

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.

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

DAY 4: Picnic / 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 surrounded by the quiet countryside, where miles of 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 are still inhabited by local landowners.

In time for lunch, we arrive in a peaceful pine forest near the sea, the perfect place for a picnic prepared by our VBT Trip Leaders. After, we continue pedaling mostly along the sea to Marina di Ragusa. Its’ main square is a typical Italian piazza where many local families gather to play, chat, and relax. Marina is a summer resort town, and in the summer its beaches are perfect for swimming after our ride. Enjoy time to stroll around and reward yourself with a delicious gelato. From here, you can opt to cycle or shuttle to our hotel and relax at our hotel swimming pool and spa.

At sunset, we shuttle to Ragusa Ibla to enjoy the views of the magnificent Baroque architecture at night and find the perfect place for dinner on your own.

Hotel: Poggio del Sole Resort
Meals: B
Daily Options: 23 miles or 48 miles (38 km or 77 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 stone walls and endless 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. Marzamemi is a good place to pick up a café or try a local fish restaurant for lunch on your own.

We retrace our way to our hotel in the afternoon. Later, we 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: B
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 a panoramic route to our lunch destination at a local farm where Salvo and his brothers take care of donkeys. Salvo’s brother is a chef and prepares delicious local specialties, including empanada for our lunch.

After lunch, 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, D
Daily Options: 15 miles or 34.5 miles (24 km or 55.5 km)

DAY 8: Discover Ognina Beach / Wine tasting

This morning, we cycle again toward the sea and beaches, so make sure to bring 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 amenities. 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 about 20 euros/$30 USD (travel time is about 20 minutes).

VBT Air Package and Post-Trip Extension guests: After breakfast, transfer by private minibus (about 30 minutes) to our centrally located hotel in Syracuse for your final overnight stay. We arrive about 9:00 a.m. 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 (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: B

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Accommodations

Hotel Villa Belvedere

Originally a private villa built in 1902, this charming hotel is conveniently located just 5 minutes from the city center and the Greek Theatre. An ample garden of high palm trees, lemon and orange trees, rambling bougainvillea. and jasmine, hibiscus shrubs, and other colorful flowers envelop the building and the swimming pool.
Free WiFi Included

Hotel Monte Tauro

Built in the 1970s (when large, raw concrete walls were in vogue), this fascinating 4-star hotel offers a sophisticated character and wonderful views of the Gulf of Naxos and Mount Etna. A panoramic glass elevator built in layers along the profile of the mountain connects the floors. Enjoy the modern ambiance and Italian-designed furnishings, as well as the swimming pool, breakfast room, and lobby, with its stunning view of the sea. Your quiet, comfortable room features a private balcony.
Free WiFi Included

Grand Hotel Livingston Relais Spa

The Grand Hotel Livingston Relais Spa is wonderfully located in Ortigia, Syracuse, right on the Ionian Sea. Offering the only access to the sea (via Forte Vigliena) from the city center of Syracuse, the hotel gives you the opportunity to swim in these clear blue waters during the summer. This small, refined hotel is also within walking distance of the city’s main monuments and Central Square. Enjoy breakfast in the rooftop restaurant, enjoying views of the sea as you sip your coffee. A small but well-equipped in-house spa is also available for guests. Your private bathroom features a Jacuzzi shower or bathtub.
Free WiFi Included

Poggio del Sole Resort

The Poggio del Sole Resort is a carefully  restored residence of the 1800s, and its rural annexes, master house, barn, stables, and guest rooms all reflect the era. Yet it is a modern and very comfortable property, set in the quiet countryside in the outskirts of Ragusa. 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: a casual hosteria with a traditional stone oven and a more upscale, gourmet venue. 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

Located only about four miles from central Syracuse, this tranquil, 4-star boutique hotel is set between the sea and the Ciane River, surrounded by the Saline Nature Reserve. Restored in 2010 from an old country estate, the hotel décor mixes ancient and modern styles with many artistic touches. One of its loveliest features is the large pool, which is set along fragrant lemon and orange groves, lit at night by candles and lanterns. You’ll also enjoy the hotel’s sauna, whirlpool, and massage, as well as outstanding Sicilian fare at the fine bar and restaurant.
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 an enjoyable stay. Local stone was used for the 2006 renovation and reconstruction of the property, and walking paths line the estate. While here, join your hosts and their chef on an excursion to pick wild fennel, borage, orange, and lemons to use for our cooking class.
Free WiFi Included
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Reviews

Enjoy Your Vacation Longer With LOw-Cost Trip Extensions

Pre-Trip Extension - Taormina

2 nights for only $545*

Post-Trip Extension - Syracuse

2 nights for only $345

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When you introduce new travelers to VBT, you’ll receive $150 in travel credits toward your next VBT vacation when the person you refer to us returns from her or his first trip. You can also get cash bonuses when you make additional referrals. Your friends benefit, too, with a $100 discount on their first VBT trip.

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VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations, 426 Industrial Ave, Suite 120 Williston, VT 05495
Talk to a VBT Tour Consultant: (800) 245-3868