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SICILY AN INFINITE  ISLAND

A sunny cycle holiday in the southeast of Sicily

Sicily is an infinite island: mythical and very real, sunny and magnificent, rich in nuances and particularities. Its land has been inhabited over the centuries by Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs and Normans and each of these civilisations has left its signs in the culture, traditions and art. Touring the island by bike you come across Greek temples, Roman mosaics, Arab constructions and Norman buildings which coexist in perfect harmony and give this land an unquestionable uniqueness.

The most striking thing about Sicily is its unspoilt nature and its unusual and varied landscapes. Along the enchanting coasts you can find everything from rocky cliffs to great flat expanses of sandy beach. In the stony bays the ochre, grey and black of the pebbles remind us of their volcanic origin, while these tranquil bays are framed by the typical Mediterranean vegetation and brushed by the crystal clear waters of the sea. Inland the almost primitive landscape has been modelled by a combination of earth, water and fire; this is a very striking and evocative rural environment tinged with bright yellow and green.

Sicily is also a land rich with culinary traditions, and the food and wine reflect the numerous contacts between the various civilisations over the centuries. The typical dishes of this region are pasta alla Norma, pesce alla ghiotta, cuscusu (a Trapanese version of the fish-based couscous dish of Arab origin), arancini, and the famous cakes and pastries, of which its crowning glories are cassata, cannoli, almond pastries and crushed-ice drinks. Among the area's wines are the famous Passito di Pantelleria, Malvasia di Lipari and the renowned fortified wine of Marsala.

 

 

Highlights of this tour

·         The baroque town of Modica, also well known for its chocolate production

·         Noto and Scicli, since 2002 on the UNESCO world heritage list

·         The crystal blue see and endless beaches

·         Syracuse with its Greek theatre and baroque cathedral

·         Island of Ortigia

·         The oases of Vendicari

·         Isola delle Correnti (island of the sea currents)

·         the fishermen's village of Marzamemi

 

 

Programme

Day 1 

Palazzolo Acreide

Individual arrival at Palazzolo Acreide. At the end of the afternoon your bikes, route instructions and maps are handed over. During this meeting with your local agent you will get all the necessary information to make of this cycling holiday a success. 

 

Day 2 

Palazzolo Acreide – Modica  (50 km / 31 miles or 60 km / 37 miles)

After breakfast you still have time to visit the centre of Palazzolo Arceide with its many churches. The original Greek settlement is situtated on a hill above the modern town. The auditorium of the small theatre is still well preserved.

After your visit of Palazzolo ... in the saddle and your Discover Sicily tour starts ! You cycle through the beautiful landscape of the Hyblaean mountains, where rugged terrains alternate with gentle green scenery. Typical are the stonewalls surrounding the fields. A smooth climb will take you to Modica, a town with nice squares and luxurious palaces and churches. The town, part of the Unesco Heritage Sites, is dived in Modica Alta (Upper Modica) and Modica Bassa (Lower Modica). Modica has maintained in many buildings the beautiful Sicilian Baroque Style, not only recognizable by the typical fluent curves and Baroque flourishes, but especially by its flamboyance and the grinning masks and putti. A good example is the St. George Cathedral.

 

Day 3   

Modica – Pozzallo (36 km / 22,3 miles or 48 km / 29,8 km)

Modica is also famous because of the chocolate production and you can't leave town to taste some of it.  Very particular is the chocolate with the spicy hot pepper. Also today you can choose between a longer and shorter ride.  It goes freewheeling downhill to Scicli, also a UNESCO-listed Baroque town. Scicli is one of the filming locations of the popular Sicilian detective drama ' Il Commissario Montalbano'. Back in the saddle you continue descending till you reach the seaside resort of Pozzallo. The rest of the afternoon you can enjoy some relaxation on the beach. 

 

Day 4  

Pozzallo – Marzamemi  (57 km / 35 miles)

Today no uphill and downhill cycling, but you will cross  the typical wetlands of "Patano Longarini" and "Patano Cuba", a popular stopover amongst the migratory birds on their trips between Africa and Europe. Cycling along the shore you will reach the southernmost point of Sicily, the island "Isola delle Correnti", which lies on the same latitude as Tunis and marks the frontline between the Ionian and the Mediterranean Sea. You continue crossing Portopalo di Capo Passero and Marzamemi, an ancient fishermen's village, and will finish your ride in the seaside resort of San Lorenzo.

 

Day 5 

Marzamemi – Noto  (35 km / 22 miles)

You continue north along the coastline and arrive at the entrance of the reserve  "Oasi di Vendicari", one of the more representative humid zones of Europe. Hundreds of species of birds choose it every year as their stopover before continuing to the reproduction zones. You continue cycling till Noto, another baroque town on the Heritage List of UNESCO. Also this town is rebuilt in the Sicilian Baroque Style after the earthquake of 1693. 

 

Day 6

Noto - Syracuse  (35 km / 21,7 miles or 55 km / 34 miles)

Also today a nice ride along the seashore before reaching Syracuse, noted for its rich Greek history, culture, amphitheatres and theatres and as the birthplace of Archimedes. Very nice to visit is  Ortigia (Ortygia), a small island and the old centre of town. This heart of Syracuse is connected to the main land with three bridges. The ting tangle of alleys with lively decorated balconies in the baroque style, town palaces, churches and cosy restaurants are a perfect ending of this holiday.  

 

Day 7

Departure after breakfast

 

 

 

 

Possible extensions of your holiday 

A. An extra day in Syracuse: Visit the fascinating Ortigia island, the historical and cultural centre of the city. This old town part of Syracuse offers more than 3000 years of history and archaeological evidence of practically all great civilizations of the Mediterranean, like the temple of Apollo. But also worthwhile to visit are the Baroque Cathedral, the medieval castle of Maniace… 

 

B.A cycle tour to the national park of  “Valle dell'Anapo. You leave Syracuse along a less frequented road in direction of Sortino. You will reach the entrance of the natural preserve of Anapo Valley, where you can admire the hills of Pantalica, which harbours the oldest European necropolis with more that 5000 tombs in caves. The national park has a rich flora and fauna.

 

Included in the cycle tour:

  • Cat. Standard: B&B and ** hotels / Cat. Deluxe  *** and **** star hotels 

  • Luggage transportation from hotel to hotel 

  • Detailed maps and route instructions (English, German, French or Italian). 

  • Assistance hotline

 

Not included in this tour

  • Transfer to and from the airport of Catania  

  • Evening meals and lunches

  • Wine-tastings, entrance fees

  • Tourist taxes

  • Everything not mentioned onder 'Included in the cycle tour'

 

 

Period

Every Saturday from 21 January till 02 December 2017 (other starting days on request) 

Level 2

medium. You cycle as most as possible along quiet country roads. Cycling through a landscape with gentle rolling hills. The steeper climbs are short and the longer ones not too steep. For a large part you cycle along the coastline. The daily distances are restricted to between 35 and 55 km Minimum total km: 216 km /  134 miles - maximum 258 km / 160 miles

Price p.p. 2017 Standard Version

In double room      € 570,00 p.p.

 

In single room    € 705,00

High season supplement (July and August)   € 80,00 p.p.

Deluxe Version

In double room      € 640,00 p.p.

In single room    € 840,00

High season supplement (July and August)   € 100,00 p.p.

Half board supplement  € 170,00 

Single traveller supplement  € 100,00

Bike rental city bike 24 or 27 gears   € 85,00

Tandem rental  € 190,00

Ebike rental   € 140,00

transfer from Catania airport to Palazzolo Arcreide   € 45,00 p.p. (min 2 pax-max 4)

transfer Syracuse to Catania airport    € 35,00  p.p. ( min.2 pax-max 4)