A taste of Sicily

  • Location

    Sicily, Italy

  • Duration

    6 nights / 7 days

  • Length

    20 - 120km

  • Climb

    300 to 2,050m daily

1 Nov 2021 - 7 Nov 2021 / 11 Apr 2022 - 17 Apr 2022 / 31 Oct 2022 - 6 Nov 2022

Sicily ... the perfect destination for a cycle tour in off-season, well before the summer crowds descend or to finish the year on the Mediterranean. Ride, discover and enjoy the incredible surprises that Sicily offers including visiting the prestigious sites and of course the famous ascent of volcanic Mount Etna.

With a rich history that dates back more than 10,000 years, visitors of all ages and backgrounds will be delighted at all there is to see and do in Sicily. Initially settled by neolithic groups, it's strategic importance in the Mediterranean has mean that is has been recurringly invaded . The Phoenicians with their maritime trading, the settlement of Greek cities, Roman domination, the Germanic vandals and then the Byzantine control followed by the Arabic period and the Vikings of Normandy taking control but retaining Arabic influence. And then the royal houses of Europe fighting at regular intervals for control through marriage and war. In 1861, Sicily became part of the Kingdom of Italy.

Despite the millenia of invasions, the 20th century world wars, and the Sicilian dispora, Sicily offers visitors tangible glimpses into its past. Grand Tours Project plans to introduce you to not only the modern roads and environment of today, but also to the cultural whispers and remnants that those invaders left on Sicily - the unique cuisine, the architecture, the cultural traditions and of course the archeological sites.

This tour is designed to enjoy routes offering magnificent views, visiting the world class attractions and some of the most beautiful cities in Sicily. We’ll ride at our own pace along roads lined with olive, almond and carob trees and views of the coastline and Mediterranean Sea.

Highlights of the tour include the ascent to the legendary volcanic Mount Etna. Staying in the beautiful Greek city of Taormina and riding along the east coast to Catania, Syracuse, before heading inland to Noto and Ragusa and beyond to other old towns. Each evening, we'll enjoy the local cuisine and stay in a specially chosen hotel - for this tour, the quality of hotels, food and wine are as important as the cycling.

Seven days provides a snapshot of a corner of this stunning island. There is so much more to see and experience. If you want to continue your Sicilian tour we can help you extend your trip to other parts of Sicily.

Total price: FROM €3,490

  • Ride some of the best roads of Sicily, an underrated cycling paradise.
  • Excellent routes with minimal traffic in breathtaking historical places and landscapes
  • Visit some of the most beautiful and well-known cities and attractions in Sicily like Taormina, Ragusa, Noto, Syracuse, Catania and many others.
  • Ride up volcanic Mount Etna and tick the box on your bucket list.
  • Savour fantastic Italian food and wine, and relax in our hand-picked high-quality hotels each evening
  • Expert planning and support from our team (guides, mechanics, drivers)
  • Bike rental (carbon frame and Shimano Ultegra or equivalent) available
  • Max group size of 14 (Max client to guide ratio 7:1)
  • DAY 1 –MONDAY

    BENVENUTO IN SICILY, ITALIA

    We'll greet you at Catania Airport, and transport you to our luxury 4* hotel in Taormina. Our team will help you unpack and build your bike, we'll hand out the team kit, and make final preparations before tomorrow's ride. After discussing the week's programme, the team will enjoy a relaxed warmup ride around this beautiful city. We'll savour dinner in one of the excellent restaurants specialising in local Sicilian dishes. This assumes we can tear ourselves away from the beautiful pool at our spa hotel.

    Hotel Capotaormina****
  • DAY 2 – TUESDAY

    TAORMINA, ETNA & CATANIA

    88km / 2,000m

    Your epic tour starts today with an epic ascent up to Mount Etna, the largest active volcano in Europe. Have you ever cycled up an active volcano before? Here's your chance. The Giro ascended Mt Etna in 2017, 2018 & 2020, becoming a classic epic ride. You have a choice of riding from our hotel to the town of Linguaglossa at the base of Etna, or if you prefer, to save your energy and we'll drive you there. Our ascent starts from Linguaglossa. The 18.2km / 1,235m ascent of Etna is a truly unique experience, with solidified black lava flows a key feature towards the top. Then an incredible descent will take us all the way to the beautiful city of Catania. We'll then get to our hotel, where we'll enjoy our well deserved rest and get ready to explore the city.

    Katane Palace Hotel****
  • DAY 3 – WEDNESDAY

    CATANIA & SYRACUSE

    64km / 370m

    Today is the shortest stage of our tour, allowing our legs to recover from the Mount Etna ascent. We'll ride as a group along undulating roads overlooking the coast directly to Syracuse. There will be photo opportunities and we should reach Syracuse with plenty of time to spare to allow a leisurely exploration of this really beautiful and ancient city.

    Later in the evening, we will find ourselves enjoying a delicious dinner overlooking the water in Syracuse.

    Caportigia Boutique Hotel*****
  • DAY 4 – THURSDAY

    SYRACUSE, NOTO, MODICA & RAGUSA

    89km / 1,180m

    Today we say goodbye to Syracuse and head inland to the UNESCO Heritage Site, Noto, yet another incredibly beautiful city on our way to Ragusa. We will be visiting the Baroque centre and will enjoy rich coffee or refreshing gelati before continuing our journey to UNESCO Modica, rebuilt in the Baroque style after the massive earthquake in 1693. Possibly a light lunchhere before reaching our destination, the deeply divided city of Ragusa – divided by deep ravines!

    We’ll help you settle into your hotel and then explore this city of two parts followed by a well-deserved dinner.

    De Stefano Palace Luxury Hotel ****
  • DAY 5 – FRIDAY

    RAGUSA, VITTORIA & VIZZINI

    75km / 1,100m

    On today's menu, right after our delicious breakfast, we will leave for Vittoria, one of the youngest towns (all relative of course!) in this region and where women continue to create elaborate embroideries first introduced during the Arabic period.

    We’ll stop for a gelato or gelati (yes there is a difference!) before continuing with our ride to a town on the opposite side of the age spectrum - Vizzini is one of the oldest towns in Sicily. We’ll pass through Vizzini to our delightful castle hotel.

    In the afternoon, you can choose between visiting Vizzini or resting and enjoying the castle's wonderful pool and spa.

    Hotel Castello Camemi*****
  • DAY 6 – SATURDAY

    VIZZINI, CALTAGIRONE & CATANIA

    80km / 1,000m

    The last day of our Sicilian tour. Today we embark on a journey through the rolling hills of interior Sicily. We’ll stop by for a double espresso and sweet pastry in Vizzini and start our ride to Caltagirone. Interesting fact, the name is derived from Arabic qal'at-al-jarar" – the castle of (pottery) jars and it remains a thriving pottery centre.

    Like much of this region, the town was destroyed by the 1693 earthquake and rebuilt in the Baroque style. After a light lunch, we will ride our last gentle descent to Catania, where you can spend the afternoon to exploring the city.

    In the evening, we will have our last dinner celebrating a small journey through south eastern Sicily.

    Katane Palace Hotel****
  • DAY 7 – SUNDAY

    ARRIVEDERCI!

    After last night's celebratory dinner and this morning's sleep-in, a hearty breakfast, it’s time to say goodbye... A last espresso (or latte macchiato, or cappuccino) a sweet Sicilian pastry and we'll drive you to Catania Airport.

    If you are continuing your trip in Sicily, we'll help you and if not, then remember to come back as there is so much more to Sicily.