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SICILY: CYCLING ACROSS THE LAND OF THE ETNA 

an individual 8 days cycling tour in Sicily

 

 

A holiday on Sicily, the most fascinating island of the Mediterranean, combines enchanting coastal villages, excellent Sicilian cookery, white beaches with deep blue sea and sites brimming with history. During this tour you cycle through the region at the foot of Etna, the mighty fire-spitting volcano, where the earth whispers its lively history. You will pass the friendly, authentic fishing villages of the 'Riviera dei Limoni' and evocative little towns such as Randazzo, Maniace, Bronte, Taormina, pearl of the Ionian coast, and the baroque town of Acireale. You pedal through the Etna national park, the park of the Alcantara valley and the nature reserve "Forre Laviche del Simeto" and these landscapes will surprise you with their natural beauty. cross its national park, visit ancient towns, full of history and art, and will enjoy the excellent wines and delicious food of these area. 

 

 

 

Programme

 

Day 1 

Individual arrival at your hotel in Nicolosi 

Before diner the bikes and route instructions will be handed over. Nicolosi is located at 700m a.s.l. on the slopes of the volcano. Nicolosi has numerous buildings of architectural and historical interest like the Benedictine monastery of S.Nicolς l'Arena.

 

Day 2 

 

 

Etna - Nicolosi (20 km /12,5 miles))

Today a visit of Mount Etna, the largest volcano of Europe. By public bus you will reach the mountain hut 'Rifugio Sapienza' From here it is possible to continue till the top of the volcano with a funicular, four-wheel-drive and a guide. After you visit you will return to Nicolosi with the bikes, who are brought up for you. In case of unfavourable weather conditions you could go by public bus to visit Catania.

 

Day 3   

Nicolosi - Adrano - Bronte (km 49 / 30,4 miles) 

After breakfast you will say goodbye to Nicolosi and cycling most of the time downhill along quiet quiet back roads and cross the 'Ponte dei Saraceni' (bridge of the Saracens), an 11th century stone bridge over the river Simeto. The next stage crosses the Nature Reserve of the 'Forre laviche del Simeto' (lava gorges). These impressive gorges, gouged out of the solidified lava by the river Simeto, are between 5 and 15m high and are punctuated by waterfalls, pools and rapids. Your overnight stay is in Bronte, the town  renowned for its pistachio groves. On request a transfer can be booked to avoid the climb of the last 5 km to your hotel. Bronte is a rural city renown for the pistachio nuts, which were imported by the Arabs in the 9th century.  You can visit small family companies specialized in the manufacture of pistachio.

 

Day 4

Bronte - Maniace - Randazzo (30-33 km /19-20,5 miles)

You will leave Bronte and cycle towards Maniace where you can visit the Castle of Nelson and the ex monastery of Santa Maria di Maniace, built in the 12th century by the Benedictine's. Continuing on secondary streets you will reach Randazzo with it's rich and interesting medieval town centre. Worthwhile to visit are the 13th century cathedral, the museum of natural scienze and the archaeological museum, where you can admire the Oinochoe Vagliasindi, a vase in the red and black figure style.

Day 5 

Randazzo - Castiglione- Gole dell'Alcantara - Giardini di Naxos (46 km / 29 miles)

Today an easy downhill ride is waiting for you. You leave Randazzo cycling along the 'strada del Vino' (a wine route) and of course, you will have the opportunity to taste some of the excellent wines from the vineyards on the sunny slopes of Etna and to try some local specialities at a winery. After this you will visit the impressive gorges of Alcantara, which in some places reach a depth of 25m. The widest parts of the gorge are only 4-5m wide, narrowing to 2m at some points. The gorges mark the course of the Alcantara river over the years. Your overnight stay is in the town of Giardini Naxos, site of the first Greek colony on Sicily, on the Ionian coast, where you might enjoy a regenerating bath in its splendid blue waters.

 

Day 6 

 

 

Giardini Naxos - Taormina - Giardini Naxos (20 km / 12,4 miles)

This morning there is still time left to visit the archaeological site with the museum of the antique Naxos. A few kilometres uphill cycling will take you to Taormina, pearl of the Ionian coast. There is a lot to see and you can take a walk around the town to visit some of the fascinating sites, such as the Cathedral dedicated to San Nicolς, the many other churches and imposing historic buildings and of course the well-known Greek theatre. Before you return to Giardini Naxos you could also visit Castelmola, a picturesque medieval village 5 km from Taormina. From here you will have a breathtaking view over the whole bay from Calabria to Mount Etna. 

Day 7 

Giardini Naxos - Acitrezza (km 37 / 23 miles)

A last an easy ride along the Ionian coast, also known as "riviera of lemons" will take you, after a short climb to Acireale, whose baroque centre has earned world fame. Amongst the churches worthwhile visiting is the one of San Sebastiano with its ten statues of old testament figures and the frescoes of the painter Paolo Vasta. But before reaching the town you will pass the natural reserve of Timpa with several predatory birds nest, and an undisturbed dense vegetation which grows luxuriant thanks to the springs that pour into the Ionian Sea. Overnight stay in Acitrezza

 

Day 8   

Departure

 

 

 

 

 

The tour includes:

  • 7 overnight stays in good B&B's and ***  hotels with breakfast

  • Luggage transportation

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

  • Hotline 24 hours

  • Tour information

 

 

Period

Every Saturday from 04/03 to 18/11/2017

Level 2/3

Moderate cycling in hilly or flat landscape with now and then longer not steep climbs. The daily distances are between 20 and 49 km (12,5- 30,5 miles). Total distance: 205 km / 128 miles.

Participants

minimum due persons (travelling alone on request)

Prices p.p. 2017 In double room      € 650,00

In single room     € 830,00

Supplement high season (July-August)     € 90,00 

Supplement half board € 180,00

Supplement travelling alone  € 100,00

Child reduction Sharing in room with adults: 0-5,99 yrs 100%; 6-10,99 yrs 50%; 11-13,99 yrs 25%; > 14 yrs 10%

ebike rental   € 150,00

City Bike rental    € 90,00

Tandem rental € 190,00

transfer to avoid the climb to Bronte  € 15,00 p.p.

transfer Acitrezza - aeroporto  Catania € 25,00 p.p. (min. 2 - max 4 persons)

transfer aeroporto Catania - Nicolosi  € 25,00 p.p. (min. 2- max 4 persons)