8 day cycling holiday in Sicily around the highest active volcano in Europe, Mount Etna, which is now protected as a World Heritage site by UNESCO. The route runs through the gently undulating landscape at the foot of Mount Etna to medieval and baroque towns that are full of history and myths.
Dark lava stones from Mount Etna's numerous eruptions are visible throughout the landscape. The route follows the less trafficed backroads to some of the most important nature reserves in Sicily. The overnight stays take place at cozy hotels and the food is not just typical Italian, but with Sicilian flavors and fine wines.
The route is mostly flat or with small ups and downs and a few tougher ascents. It is possible to rent an electric bike on this tour.
Arrival in Nicolosi and check-in. Information meeting and hand-over of bikes, route directions and maps.
Today you will do a trip up to the volcano Etna. Take the bus (ticket not included) up to Rifugio Sapienza at 1900 meters altitude (6,233ft). Here you can choose between doing your own walks or joining an excursion with a certified guide higher up on the mountain. The greatest experience is to do a 6 hour guided walk up to the main crater at 3300 meters altitude (10,827ft). In the afternoon get on your bikes to enjoy an easy downhill ride back to Nicolosi. If the weather does not permit trips on the mountain, you can go sightseeing in Catania instead.
Fra Nicolosi går det på den første del af ruten nedad på mindre befærdede småveje. Undervejs passerer I talrige citrusplantager med både citroner og appelsiner, som Sicilien er så kendt for. Find en lille restaurant og nyd en lækker frokost, inden I fortsætter til floden Simetos lavakløfter, som kan ses fra en flot Saracenerbro - som i virkeligheden ikke er bygget af arabere men oprindeligt af romerne. Floden har skåret sig igennem den mørke basalt, som er størknet magma Etnas udbrud og kløftens sider er op mod fem meter høje.
Så er det tid at begive sig den sidste bid vej gennem pistacieplantager mod Bronte. Efter en fem kilometer lang stigning ankommer I til byen.
From Nicolosi you follow quiet backroads downhill. You'll pass numerous citrus plantations, which Sicily is famous for. Find a small restaurant and enjoy a delicious lunch before you continue to the lava canyons of the river Simetos. The river can be seen from an old Saracene bridge, which, in fact, was not built by Arabs but by the Romans. The river has cut through the dark basalt - solidified magma from volcanic eruptions from Etna - and the canyon sides are up to 5 meters high (16.4ft).
Then it's time to do the final section through pistachio plantations and you will arrive in Bronte after a 5 kilometer (3mi) climb.
Before leaving Bronte, you might want to check out one of the many pistachio products in the city. Then continue to Maniace, where you can visit the Castello Nelson and the church dedicated to Santa Maria di Maniace. Continue to the old medieval town Randazzo, located at the foot of the Nebrodi mountains. The city is more or less built of dark lava stone.
Except for the detour to Castiglione, most of the trip today goes downhill.
The route goes from Randazzo along the "Etna Wine Route" to the Byzantine chapel dedicated to Santa Domenica. From the village of Castiglione you have a nice view over the Alcantara valley which separates Etna from the Nebrodi forests. After a stroll around the old town center you head downhill towards the Alcantara river.
After a lunch stop in Francaville it's time to visit the Alcantara canyon, where the water has eroded the solidified lava and created beautiful gorges. Then you head towards today's final destination, Giardini Naxos, on the Ionian coast, where you can enjoy a well-deserved swim.
A short bike ride uphill takes you to Taormina, a gem on the Ionian coast and worth a trip in itself. Here you can visit Castelmola, an attractive medieval town 5km (3mi) further uphill. From here you have a lovely view over the coast.
Back in Taormina you can get on the cable car down to the waterside at Isola Bella and take a dip in the Mediterranean. Return for another night in Giardini Naxos.
The last cycling day follows the coast, also known as the "Lemon Riviera". A stretch of road follows the promenade along the water to the beaches of Marina di Cottone. After passing the fishing village of Stazzo you will arrive at Timpas steep lava slopes. A short climb takes you to the town of Acireale, and its interesting baroque city center. The tour finishes in Acitrezza, which is the perfect place to visit a fish restaurant overlooking the water.
After breakfast, the trip ends and it is time to head to the airport for your return journey.
After your arrival there will be a welcome meeting, where you will be briefed about relevant information in regards to your trip and the bicycles.
The holiday can be booked with departure dates on Saturdays between March and November.
The price is based on at least two participants accommodated in a double or twin room. It is possible to book the trip for one person at an additional fee. You can find the exact price for that by choosing "1 adult" in the booking form.
Note: When you fill out the booking form and click Next, arriving on page 2, you'll see the total price for your holiday, including all your additional selections.
Please note that transportation to and from the destination in Italy is NOT included in the package, and that you have to make sure to book your own flight that matches the holiday start- and end date. This is easily done online or by contacting us for an offer on firstname.lastname@example.org
Important: We recommend that you book the trip with us before you buy your plane tickets.
Day 1: From Catania railway station, it is possible to take a local bus to Nicolosi. Your host in Nicolosi can pick you up at the bus if you call ahead.
We can also arrange a transfer directly from the airport to the first hotel. The price per person is 25€, which is payable directly to the driver. A taxi from the airport to Nicolosi costs about 60€.
Day 2: You can bring your bikes along on the bus to Rifugio Sapienza. Should the bus be full, you can ask your host to drive you and your bike up there (15€ per person).
Day 3: It is possible to pre-book transportation for yourself and your bike the last 5km (3mi) up the hill to Bronte. The price is 7.50€ per. person and payable on the spot. This transfer must be ordered upon arrival at Nicolosi.
Day 8: Transfer from Acitrezza to Catania airport costs 25€ per person
More detailed information about the local transportstion will be available in the Pre-departure information material, forwarded to you when you book the trip.
It is possible to walk on your own around the Silvestri craters, which are close to the Rifugio Sapienza. These craters are no longer active.
There is also the option to take the cable car up to 2500 meters (8,202ft.) altitude and walk around on your own. The price for the cable car is around 50€ per person.
The cable car can be combined with both a guided walk and a drive in four-wheel buses up to about 3000 meters (9,842ft.) altitude, from where you walk up to the main crater at about 3300 meters (10,826ft.) altitude. Trips to the main crater can only be done together with authorized volcano guides. The tours will last between 2-6 hours and cost between 55 to 75€ per person. All tours on Etna are dependent on the weather and the volcanic activity.
Note: It is likely to be cold at the summit. Even during the summer there may be snowfall, so warm clothing is necessary.
Breakfast is included.
Lunches and dinners are not included. The route notes contain suggestions for restaurants on the route.
It is possible to upgrade to half board (breakfast and dinner, excl. beverage). This can be done on page 2 of the booking form.
On this trip you stay at handpicked 3-star hotels incl. breakfast. It is possible to book extra nights before and after the trip.
We highly recommend that you are covered by a good travel insurance covering at least Medical Expenses, Illness, Personal Accident, Baggage and Repatriation. The customer is responsible to take the necessary travel insurance that covers these costs. Mountain Adventures, or our local partners, do not have any responsibility for our customers not being covered by a necessary travel insurance. You have to arrange your insurance in your home country.
The bikes, available in both women's and men's models, have been selected for solid quality combined with the best comfort. The bikes have aluminum frames and are equipped with luggage racks, screens, 24 shimano gears, locks and a comfortable gel saddle. In addition, there is a bag- or a map holder on the handle, as well as a water-repellent bag on the luggage carrier. We've also included a small emergency kit with relevant tools, extra bicycle hose and a pump.
In order to individually adjust the bikes to fit you, it is important that you inform us of the height of all participants in the "comments" box when booking the trip.
Bicycle rental can be selected in the booking form.
On this trip, it is also possible to book an electric bike, making it possible to cross any terrain with a smile. If your legs get tired the electric engine will support you to not fall behind.
It does not require any training to go on an e-bike. As long as you stay active on the pedals, the engine will assist the rider to a max speed of 25 km/h.
A removable, rechargeable battery, reaching 120-180 km on one charge, energizes the bike.
The electric bikes have the same equipment as the ordinary bicycles.