Total tour distance: 129 miles
Daily tour distance: 33 miles
Difficulty: 40 / 100
Sicily is a beautiful and very varied land, shaped by the myriad invaders and settlers who have all left their mark. Influenced by so many cultures, Sicilian cuisine is surprisingly lavish, while the people are very warm - just like the sunny island itself. This tour focuses on Western Sicily and offers ancient windmills and medieval hill-top hamlets of square, whitewashed houses, glistening salt pans, colorful fishing villages, ever present Mediterranean sea with a backdrop of rugged limestone peaks
A self guided cycling tour in Sicily Italy takes you back in time and to a calm and simple way of life that has been host to numerous cultures of many millenniums. The best periods to travel are March 15 to July 15 and from Sept 1 to November 15.
Day 1 | Arrival in Trapani and Marsala
ARRIVAL. Your first two nights are at the Hotel Carmine in Marsala, a charming blend of ancient and contemporary architectural styles, situated in one of Marsala’s most famous squares, beside the monastery of the Convento del Carmine. On the way you will see the historic wine baglii (warehouses) once owned by British wine merchants in Sicily. After the orientation, you can have dinner on your own in the town. We include recommendations.
We will pick you up at the airport and transfer you to the first night's hotel. Trapani airport is closest, but we can also pickup at Palermo. Orientation and bike set up on arrival at the hotel. Mid day to mid-afternoon airport arrivals are best.
Day 2 | Bike loop to Mazara del Vallo; 44km + option for 32km (+313m elev gain)
Cycling along the coast! First, you take a gentle route that heads along the coast to the historic town of Mazara del Vallo, with its medieval centre and Arabic architecture. There is a longer inland cycling option that follows a meandering route down to the sea. After a leisurely lunch, you can pop your bikes on the train for the return to Marsala, or cycle back along the coast. Dinner on your own back in Marsala. (B)
Day 3 | Cycling tour to Segesta; 64km (+394m elev gain)
WINDMILLS & WINE: Vast white salt pans and slowly turning windmills line the shore as you head north, before turning inland to wind your way through quiet villages and vineyards to your next hotel. At Segesta, take time to visit the wonderful Doric temple – 2500 years old, yet almost intact and surrounded by carpets of flowers in the springtime – before continuing the short distance to the rural Agriturismo Arcudaci, where you stay one night in this nice rural hotel with a fine restaurant, pool and extensive views. Breakfast and dinner included. (B,D)
About Segesta: an icon of the archaeological sites in Sicily is one of the most important and representative in Sicily. The site is renowned for the temple, one of the most representative images of tourism in Sicily, and for the theatre that like a shell suspended in space looks towards the Gulf of Castellammare. Segesta, together with Erice and Entella, was a powerful city of the Elymians, population coming from Turkey, and was marked by several conflicts with Selinunte. During the first Punic War, under the rule of the Romans and the Greeks the town underwent periods of glory; then it was destroyed by the vandals and occupied by the Saracens and ceased to exist in the Early Middle Ages.
Day 4 | Cycling tour to Scopello; 34km (747m elev gain)
SCOPELLO: Seaside charm in the theme of pirates and tuna!. A shorter route today leads through rugged hills of Mediterranean shrubs and herbs, and down to the sea at the delightful fishing village of Scopello. You have two nights at the Tenute Plaia, a stylish agroturismo with pool and an excellent restaurant serving food and wine from the hotel’s own farm. Set above the sea, the hotel is built around a large courtyard, and there are several shady terraces on which to enjoy spectacular views along the coast. Enjoy the view on the near “tonnara” (tuna factory), the best preserved in Sicily. (B,D)
Day 5 | Rest day; walking itinerary to Zingaro Park
ZINGARO NATURE RESERVE: Leave your bike behind and spend a day exploring this fascinating and beautiful nature reserve just north of the village. Using our walking notes as your guide, discover a wild stretch of coast where precipitous cliffs swoop down to a series of idyllic, white-shingled coves behind which are mountains that shelter a rich diversity of wildlife. Dinner on your own. (B)
About Zingaro: The coastline that stretches between Scopello and San Vito Lo Capo has become a nature reserve, the first established in Sicily, in 1980. It is one of the unspoiled and most charming areas in Sicily and can be explored only on foot. The reserve is a place of great value not only for the beauty of the little bays where you can stop for a refreshing swim, but, above all, for the presence of endemic species both animal and vegetal and the woods of dwarf palm. You can stop for a swim at any of the little bays along the coast path or climb up the mountain to enjoy a wonderful view on the Gulf of Castellammare. Visiting the Museum of Contrada Sughero it’ll be possible to discover the way of life and customs of the people that lived in the Park at the beginning of the twentieth century.
Day 6 | Cycling to Fontanasalsa (Trapani) 66km (608m elev gain)
Today is a bicycle ride into the heart of Sicily! Leaving Scopello, head south-west through the rugged interior of towering limestone peaks to reach the agriturismo Fontanasalsa, an authentic farm involved in the production of olive oil. You spend your final two nights at this lodging, located near the nature reserve, close to glistening salt flats and surrounded by windmills so typical of the area. Dinner on your own tonight. (B)
Day 7 | Off bike trip to the Egadi Islands or Optional Cycling to Erice
THE EGADI ISLANDS: Take a short boat trip from nearby Trapani to discover the remote and staggeringly beautiful Egadi Islands; alternatively, cycle a steep uphill for a leisurely lunch in the medieval hill-top town of Erice (or take the easy option and go up by cable car!) where you can fully appreciate the tranquility of this mesmerizing corner of western Sicily. Back to the same hotel and dinner on your own. (B)
About Egadi: The Egadi Islands lie off the Western coast of Sicily, they have been a Marine Nature Reserve since 1991. The historical and archaeological importance of the Archipelago of the Egadi Islands dates back to the famous battle of the Egadi Islands in 241 B.C. Boats leave from Trapani.
About Erice: located on the top of the mountains that tower above Trapani. The town nowadays has a very pleasant medieval atmosphere, but in ancient times it was an important religious centre for the Elymians, a population that lived in western Sicily before the Greek colonization. Here they built a temple to the goddess of fertility where the Phoenicians worshiped Astarte, the Greeks Aphrodite and the Romans Venus. Erice was contended by the Syracusans and by the Carthaginians till the Roman conquest in 244 BC. During the Arabian invasion it was called Gebel Hamed (Mount of Hamed). In the XII century it gained again some of the lost importance and then followed the political fate of the Island. A Cooking class can be arranged with advance notice. Ask us for details. To cycle up, the climb is steep. Bikes can go on the cable car too for a small fee. Once at the top, you will be very well rewarded with views and this charming town. For Favignana, which is the closest and largest with a nice ancient tuna factory and nice village to visit: Cost: €12,00 pp Duration: 20 min Schedule: roughly every 1.5 hours
Day 8 | Departure Day
Departure after breakfast, at your leisure. To depart, we suggest a taxi to Trapani airport. We can also arrange in advance a transfer to the airport. Ask for a quote. (B)
Enjoy charming 3 star quality lodging while discovering the Sicilian history and culture as well as the scenic beauty of the coast and inland hills. This trip is a moderate trip rated level 3: Learn more about SELF GUIDED
Duration : different options are available: 7 Nights & 8 Days
Guided trips possible for groups of 4 or more. Customize this trip for groups of 4 or more
Dates : On request from March 15-July 15 and Sept 1-November 15; July and August are not recommended. No minimums.
Level 3 Fit
Slightly rolling countryside variation in ride miles; moderate terrain requires regular cycling fitness; longer routes and additional riding possible.
Wine tasting, Park visits, extra nights to the Islands