This 8-night, self-guided cycling holiday provides a wonderful introduction to Sicily's south-east, a part of the island renowned for its beautiful, unspoilt coastline, spectacular Baroque architecture and sumptuous regional cuisine. Your journey takes you along a mix of inland and coastal routes, starting amidst the Baroque splendour of Ragusa and Modica and ending in stunning Siracusa on the east coast. You'll cycle through lush valleys filled with olive trees, almond groves, vineyards and citrus orchards and patchwork puzzles of dry-stone-wall farms, as you cycle between UNESCO World Heritage Sites rebuilt in the typical late Baroque style after the famous 1693 earthquake.
You'll take in plenty of Inspector Montalbano country - a treat for fans of the fictional detective series - including Scicli with its atmospheric streets and hilltop mausoleum as well as the charming fishing villages of Punta Secca and Sampieri. Following the scenic Mediterranean Route cycleway you'll head towards the sea, taking in sublime coastline, punctuated by golden sandy beaches and picturesque fishing villages such as Portopalo di Capo Passero and pretty Marzamemi with its Arab history. After passing through Nero D'Avola wine country your holiday finishes in beautiful Siracusa, an ancient Greek city whose 'historical heart' is the island of Ortigia, accessed by a bridge from the mainland. Ortigia's grand squares, narrow medieval streets and romantic palaces and castles are a delight to behold.
You'll stay in a wonderful mix of accommodation including a charming villa hotel boasting fabulous views over Noto from its outdoor pool terrace and a minimalist design hotel in the centre of bustling Portopalo. Given the wonderful local cuisine on offer, including such Sicilian specialities as Pasta alla Norma and Pasta con le Sarde, we've included three evening meals on this holiday, leaving you free to dine out on the remaining nights.
Arrive at your luxury 4 star hotel in Ragusa.
You stay at the De Stefano Palace Hotel
We strongly recommend spending some time in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ragusa Ibla before setting off this morning. The simply stunning old town of Ragusa, rebuilt in 1693 after a huge earthquake, is full of enchanting Baroque architecture, along with a number of tempting cafes and restaurants for lunch. Follow your visit with a climb above Modica, skirting Modica Alta (the upper part of the city), before passing quaint, dry-stone-wall farms through a rich, fertile valley of cacti and pomegranate orchards as you weave your way to Cava d'Ispica - a verdant gorge full of thousands of caves and grottoes, stretching for 13 kilometres between Modica and Ispica!
You stay at the Ferro Hotel (breakfast included)
Often referred to as the Baroque capital of Sicily, the atmospheric city of Modica sits in a dramatic setting, perched between limestone cliffs. This UNESCO-listed city is home to an impressive 29 churches including two grand Baroque cathedrals, along with charming narrow streets peppered with cafes, restaurants and a number of tempting chocolate shops! Modica's chocolate is one of the Ragusa area's most famous products and to this day it's still made to ancient Aztec methods. Make sure you sample some at Antica Dolceria Bonajuto, the oldest chocolate factory in Sicily!
You stay at the Ferro Hotel (breakfast included)
Start today with a feel-good freewheel through a valley rich in pomegranates, cacti and quaint little farmsteads, on your way to the unmissable little town of Scicli. Overlooked by an imposing rock on which sits the magnificent Church of San Matteo, Scicli, like the other towns in the area, has been totally rebuilt in a pure Sicilian Baroque style following the 1693 earthquake. Wander its atmospheric streets and you'll feel like you're on the set of Inspector Montalbano - Via Mormino Penna is where you'll find the fictional police station from the TV show! Be sure to check out the impressive, hilltop cemetery, just out of town, full of mausoleums and surrounded by magnificent pines and tall cypress trees. You reach the coast and continue to Cava d'Aliga and Sampieri, a picturesque fishing village with a lovely sandy beach and another of Montalbano's favoured locations. Continue along the coastline to Pozzallo, home to no less than four Blue Flag beaches.
You stay at the Hotel Danieli (breakfast and evening meal included)
Cutting inland you'll cycle through pantani, a series of saltwater lagoons rich in birdlife such as mallards, flamingos, herons and storks, on your way to today's highlight - the Isola delle Correnti (the 'Island of Currents'). The southernmost point of Sicily's mainland, this isolated, seemingly adrift island is also the point at which the Ionian and Mediterranean seas meet. It's quite a sight to behold!
You stay at the Portopalo Suite (breakfast included)
Today's cycle takes you to the beautiful old fishing village of Marzamemi - one of Sicily's prettiest - with its colourful wooden boats, fishermen's houses and charming buildings such as the Baroque church of San Francesco di Paola. Marzamemi became the centre of Sicily's tuna fishing industry under its Arab influence and it keeps the tradition alive today, using artisanal fishing methods to produce a number of delicacies including canned tuna, smoked swordfish and marinated anchovies! Making your way to Noto you'll head inland on a virtually traffic-free road that winds its way through olive groves, vineyards, almond trees, sugar cane and beautifully perfumed citrus orchards - idyllic surroundings for a picnic lunch.
You stay at the Villa Favorita (breakfast and evening meal included)
Your hotel is located in a lovely courtyard setting with an outdoor pool and superb views over Noto. If you can tear yourself away from the 4 star luxury, you could cycle to the nearby seaside resort of Lido di Noto for a lazy day on the beach, or opt for our recommended cycle ride into atmospheric Noto itself. Perhaps the most beautiful of all the cities you visit on this holiday, Noto's current centre was rebuilt after the 17th century earthquake and is considered a Baroque masterpiece as well as being an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Wander down the Corso Vittorio Emmanuele, overlooked by Noto's elegant cathedral and explore the side streets filled with an array of fine architecture and cafes serving delicious local treats such as the savoury arancini and sweet cannoli.
You stay at the Villa Favorita (breakfast and evening meal included)
What a final day! You'll follow the coast to the stunning city of Siracusa, built on an ancient Greek settlement and boasting a treasure trove of temples, amphitheatres and an ancient castle. On the way you'll cycle through Avola - home of the famous Nero D'Avola red wine grape. You'll also enjoy views of the majestic Mount Etna, and discover Plemmirio, an important area for flora and fauna and whose waters are home to a number of species including tuna, sea urchins, dolphins and sperm whales. After passing the Murro di Porco Cape, a striking landmark in the 1943 Conquest of Sicily, a final stretch takes you along the Bay of Siracusa and into the city itself.
You stay at the Grand Albergo Alfeo (breakfast included)
Leave Siracusa or maybe spend extra nights in the Island's second city.
During your holiday you stay at the following hotels. If you'd like to extend your time at any of these or, if you'd like to enhance your stay with an upgraded room, just let us know at the time of booking.
NEARBY:The Hotel de Stefano Palace, located in Ragusa's historic town centre and just a short walk from the path up to Ragusa Ibla, is a wonderful example of Baroque, neo classical and art nouveau architecture, housed within a 19th century nobleman's house. Rooms here are beautifully decorated in a modern style but with the original stunning tiled floors, and many still retain some features from the building's illustrious past including stone vaults and frescoed ceilings. The hotel also comes with a wellness centre with indoor pool and hammam as well as a bar. Guests staying at the Hotel de Stefano are able to use the outdoor pool at the sister hotel, Villa del Lauro.
Room upgrades: Deluxe, prestige and suite
Deluxe rooms are larger than standard rooms. Prestige rooms are larger again with balcony and come either with vaulted ceiling or with frescoes on the ceiling. The suites are the same size as the prestige rooms and have 2 separate bedrooms
Extra nights: Please contact us for details.
NEARBY:A modern design hotel just 10 minutes from the centre of charming Baroque Modica, overlooking the old train station. The hotel building was once a hostel for railworkers but has now been turned into a very good comfortable hotel with large rooms and bathrooms.
The Hotel Danieli is a modern and elegant 4 star hotel located just outside Pozzallo, a lively coastal town of about 19,000 inhabitants, just 8km from Marina di Modica. The rooms and suites are tastefully furnished, with a blend of Sicilian artistic handicraft and modern design, using woodwork, iron, fabrics and finishes to create an elegant atmosphere with a Mediterranean flavour. There is a veranda, a lovely garden and a swimming pool area where you can relax after your cycling day.
Room upgrades: Superior
Superior rooms are larger than standard rooms
NEARBY:This charming 10-room boutique hotel is located in the centre of Portopalo di Capo Passero. The rooms have been created to a high standard and have a modern quirky design. The hotel has used many environmental materials in the renovation of the old apartment block, and it has philosophy of mixing nature, culture and activity.
Read customer reviews on Tripadvisor.
NEARBY:Villa Favorita is an old grand villa on a hill looking over to the magnificent Baroque town of Noto. Once the grand house of an olive oil producer, it is now a grand hotel with its own pretty courtyard and lovely outdoor pool. The rooms retain an old elegance to them but have the right modern amenities to make your stay a comfortable one.
Room upgrades: Superior Room.
NEARBY:The Grand Albergo Alfeo, is a 4 star hotel which was once a bank. The hotel building has been restored to a high standard and the rooms are large and airy. The hotel is just 300m from the enchanting island of Ortigia, the beating heart of Siracusa.
Room upgrades: Executive Room.
If you'd like to extend your trip with extra nights at the start or end, or if you'd like to arrange a stop off point en-route, then we recommend the following hotels.
Located in the heart of historic Catania, Sicily's second biggest city which lies at the foot of Mt Etna. Catania's old town boasts one of the largest collections of baroque architecture in Italy and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Food is another forte here, don't miss the opportunity to try Sicily's iconic pasta alla Norma.
Everyone who goes on a Headwater holiday will be emailed a link to our post-holiday questionnaire where they can give us an honest assessment of all aspects of their holiday - everything from how quickly we answer the phone to how clean the hotels were - plus an overall rating and comments about their holiday.
Any feedback collected is posted to our website, so that people can make an informed decision based on past experiences before heading off on holiday. We don’t edit the reviews, the only thing we do is proofread them and alter any typos, where necessary, to ensure they are easy to read for everyone. All reviews will be published (except in certain extreme circumstances), and a member of the Headwater team will respond to any constructive criticisms/comments under the reviews, at their discretion. So, for the real tales, twists and turns of our holidays, look no further than the reviews from our previous travellers.
We've holidayed with Headwater for many years in many countries and loved their GPS routes and journeying through a variety of different, characterful hotels they have provided with careful thought. This summer's route across the SE tomato growing region of Sicily was contracted out to a local agency & too busy with too heavy road traffic for our liking in June 2022 and breath-taking views were spoilt by significant roadside rubbish all along the route which had been fly-tipped (discarded loos, fridges, building material, endless bags of rubbish). Our local taxi driver explained that the Mafia wait for rubbish emergencies to be declared and then they pick up the contracts. Make sure 1. You challenge the hotel rooms you are given when busy as we had unacceptably poor rooms offered for the price we paid. (clearly some were struggling post pandemic) 2. You know how to change tyres (bring plastic gloves and wipes). 3. It can be very hot so ask hotels to freeze your water bottles overnight.
Thank you for taking the time to post your review and for the additional comments made. We are truly sorry that certain elements of your holiday were disappointing. Fly tipping unfortunately does appear to be commonplace in this region, and I feel that the taxi driver explained the situation well. I’m glad that we were able to discuss your holiday with you directly.
Very enjoyable. The first day's cycling is the hardest - make sure you have plenty of water. We also managed to view Ragusa on our arrival day so were able to set off and do the major climb before the main heat of the day. There is a beach bar at the Isola delle Correnti which we really enjoyed - it may not be open all the time but if fun if it's open.
We loved Sicily and the routes we biked through. The countryside was varied and the town’s spectacular. My bike was perfect but my partner’s had both technical difficulties and two flat tires on the last day. We were very quickly rescued though and that made all the difference. The GPS worked beautifully and we felt guided the whole way. Most of the hotels were lovely and beautifully located but a couple were disappointing so we would suggest you research the choices and make sure you like where you are going to be. Generally it was a very fun and interesting trip and with a few tweaks would have been perfect.
A great way to see beautiful countries, keep fit and enjoy good food & wine
Great holiday cycling through beautiful countryside with wonderful historical UNESCO cities to explore.
You need to be an experienced cyclist as there are some pretty busy roads. Scenery spoiled somewhat by the amount of litter. All,hotels excellent. Electric bikes superb. Baroque landscape superb.
In general the holiday was good. Some of the hotels (eg Portopalo Suite, Ferro Hotel) were not of the usual Headwater standard in particular with regard to location. Some outdoor space and perhaps a pool would have been nice. Torre Dantona and Villa Favorita were far more what we expected. We loved both of these places.
Good cycling with some climbing in a fascinating part of Italy. Beautiful scenery, friendly people, but this is a poor part of the country and prepare to be alarmed by the amount of dumped rubbish by the roadside.
An excellent holiday and itinerary, embracing 5 fascinating baroque towns and 2 pleasant coastal resorts. The cycling is not particularly demanding and passes through some lovely countryside. Usually, there are a fair number of cafes/refreshment places on the route. Most of the roads are reasonably quiet although there is the occasional fairly busy road for short periods. The hotels chosen are very good, especially The Stephano Palace and Villa Favorita. Claudio, our representative, was charming, informative and very helpful. He came out to rectify a mechanical problem within an hour of being called. The whole trip worked seamlessly including the audio app and transport to and from the airport.
Pleasant rides, but a fair amount on relatively busy roads. Good and varied styles of hotels.
In all good holiday if you enjoy cycling.
Headwater came through as a very ambitious counterparty. The planning and execution of our tour was professional, excellent route notes and good accommodation.
You can be confident that our pricing includes all the standard requirements of your holiday and many additional extras. Always ensure that you are comparing like for like when booking your holiday.
This 8 night self-guided cycling holiday includes:
Hotel-to-hotel accommodation in a mix of and hotels
All continental breakfasts and 3 evening meals
Management by your local Headwater-appointed agent
GPS route directions and maps
Headwater navigation app
High quality bikes
Standard transfers at the start/end of the trip (if booking inclusive flights)
Luggage transfers between hotels
How to book:
For further details, or to check availability, speak to our sales team on 1-800-267-3347 or click on the 'check availability' links below to complete our holiday enquiry form (we'll contact you at a time that's most convenient for you).
To enquire about this holiday, or for further information, call our sales team on 1-800-267-3347 or click on the 'Check availability' links below to complete our holiday enquiry form.
|1st Oct 2022||US$3149||Tour only: US$3149||Check availability|
|2nd Oct 2022||US$3179||Tour only: US$3179||Check availability|
|8th Oct 2022||US$3149||Tour only: US$3149||Check availability|
|15th Oct 2022||US$3149||Tour only: US$3149||Check availability|
|22nd Oct 2022||US$3279||Tour only: US$3279||Check availability|
|24th Oct 2022||US$3299||Tour only: US$3299||Check availability|
|29th Oct 2022||US$3279||Tour only: US$3279||Check availability|
|5th Nov 2022||US$3279||Tour only: US$3279||Check availability|
|1st Apr 2023||US$3579||Tour only: US$3579||Check availability|
|8th Apr 2023||US$3449||Tour only: US$3449||Check availability|
|15th Apr 2023||US$3449||Tour only: US$3449||Check availability|
|22nd Apr 2023||US$3449||Tour only: US$3449||Check availability|
|29th Apr 2023||US$3449||Tour only: US$3449||Check availability|
|6th May 2023||US$3449||Tour only: US$3449||Check availability|
|13th May 2023||US$3449||Tour only: US$3449||Check availability|
|20th May 2023||US$3449||Tour only: US$3449||Check availability|
|27th May 2023||US$3449||Tour only: US$3449||Check availability|
|3rd Jun 2023||US$3449||Tour only: US$3449||Check availability|
|10th Jun 2023||US$3449||Tour only: US$3449||Check availability|
|17th Jun 2023||US$3449||Tour only: US$3449||Check availability|
|24th Jun 2023||US$3449||Tour only: US$3449||Check availability|
|2nd Sep 2023||US$3449||Tour only: US$3449||Check availability|
|9th Sep 2023||US$3449||Tour only: US$3449||Check availability|
|16th Sep 2023||US$3449||Tour only: US$3449||Check availability|
|23rd Sep 2023||US$3449||Tour only: US$3449||Check availability|
|30th Sep 2023||US$3449||Tour only: US$3449||Check availability|
|7th Oct 2023||US$3449||Tour only: US$3449||Check availability|
|14th Oct 2023||US$3579||Tour only: US$3579||Check availability|
|21st Oct 2023||US$3579||Tour only: US$3579||Check availability|
This holiday is unsuitable for children.
Self-guided cycling Managed locally by Headwater appointed agent.
Selected Saturdays from 1st Oct 2022 to 21st Oct 2023, for 8 nights. All dates are subject to availability, please contact us to check.
All continental breakfasts and 3 evening meals
It is possible to hire electric bikes for this holiday at a supplement of £192 per person. As these are available on a first come first served basis, we recommend early booking to avoid disappointment.
Transfers can be arranged at a supplement from Catania airport at 11:30 (Saturday 10:30), and back to Catania airport at 09:30 (Sunday 13:30).