Italy : Sicily

Cycling through Baroque Sicily

Trip code: C08BS 4.4 (19 reviews)

Self-guided cycling

8 nights,
hotel-to-hotel

Level: 2
Moderate

15.0Kg CO2e

Headwater
Navigation App

Optional
e-bike hire

SUMMARY

  • Beautiful, unspoilt, coastlines; charming fishing villages; rich fertile valleys
  • Inspector Montalbano country - visit the haunts of the famous TV detective
  • Authentic Baroque architecture and UNESCO World Heritage Sites
  • Superb regional food and excellent Nero D'Avola wines

WHAT'S INCLUDED?

  • 8 nights accommodation
  • All continental breakfasts and 3 evening meals
  • Bike fitting and briefing at the start of your holiday
  • Headwater navigation app
  • Bike hire included
  • Luggage transfers between hotels

TRIP DESCRIPTION

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.

Terrain

Routes are predominately on asphalt, using quieter secondary roads, with limited, small sections on main roads on cycling day 1. You should expect more traffic in and approaching the towns. There are ascents and descents but routes become more gentle along the coastline.

READ MORE

DAY-BY-DAY ITINERARY

 

Day 1: Arrive in Ragusa

Arrive at your luxury 4 star hotel in Ragusa.

You stay at Hotel Di Stefano.

hotel details



Hotel de Stefano Palace, Ragusa

HOTEL WEBSITE      TRIP ADVISOR

Shops
Market
Bank
Cash machine
Mastercard
Visa
AmEx
Hairdryer
WiFi
TV
Minibar
Aircon
Safe


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: Superior, prestige and suite
Superior rooms are larger than classic 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.

Day 2: Ragusa to Modica (42km/26.1mi)

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!

elevation

You stay at Hotel San Giorgio.

hotel details



Hotel San Giorgio, Modica

HOTEL WEBSITE      TRIP ADVISOR

Mastercard
Visa
Hairdryer
WiFi
TV
Minibar
Aircon
Safe


Situated in the historic centre of Modica, the Hotel San Giorgio is only a few steps away from the wonderful Cathedral of San Giorgio and from Corso Umberto I, the main street of the city from where you can observe the other historical beauties of Modica and enjoy a walk among shops and restaurants. The unique rooms are all different with a boutique style.

Room upgrades: Cathedral view room

Day 3: At Modica

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!

Day 4: Modica to Pozzallo (50km/31.1mi)

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.

elevation

You stay at Hotel Danieli.

hotel details



Hotel Danieli, Pozzallo

HOTEL WEBSITE      TRIP ADVISOR

Shops
Cash machine
Mastercard
Visa
Pool
Hairdryer
WiFi
TV
Minibar
Aircon
Safe


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

Day 5: Pozzallo to Portopalo di Capo Passero (43km/26.7mi)

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!

elevation

You stay at Portopalo Suite.

hotel details

 equivalent

Portopalo Suite, Portopalo di Capo Passero

HOTEL WEBSITE      TRIP ADVISOR

Mastercard
AmEx
Hairdryer
WiFi
TV
Minibar
Aircon


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.

Room upgrades: Deluxe Room and Suite
Deluxe rooms are larger and come with jacuzzi bath The suite is much larger with a lounge area

Day 6: Portopalo di Capo Passero to Noto (47km/29.2mi)

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.

elevation

You stay at Villa Favorita.

hotel details



Villa Favorita, Noto

HOTEL WEBSITE      TRIP ADVISOR

Mastercard
AmEx
Pool
Hairdryer
WiFi
TV
Minibar
Aircon


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: Standard Plus, Superior, Marchesa and Suite
Standard Plus are larger with a different design Superior rooms are larger still and furnished with antique furniture. Marchesa room comes with a private terrace. The suite is larger than the marchesa room and also comes with private terrace overlooking the citrus groves and the sea.

Day 7: At Noto (10km/6.2mi)

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.

elevation

Day 8: Noto to Siracusa (49km/30.4mi)

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.

elevation

You stay at Gran Hotel Bretagna.

hotel details



Gran Hotel Bretagna, Siracusa

HOTEL WEBSITE      

Shops
Market
Bank
Cash machine
Mastercard
Visa
Hairdryer
WiFi
TV
Minibar
Aircon


The 3* Gran Hotel Bretagna is just a short stroll from the tree lined Porto Grande and the Temple of Apollo in Siracusa's Ortigia district. Housed in a historic building, it is traditional yet comfortable with Headwater customers being allocated the spacious deluxe rooms here. Please note that there is no lift at the Gran Hotel Bretagna.

Extra nights: Please contact us for details.

Day 9: Leave Siracusa

Leave Siracusa or maybe spend extra nights in Sicily's second city, Catania

Extending your holiday

If you'd like to extend your trip with extra hotel nights we recommend: Il Principe, Catania.

hotel details



Il Principe, Catania

HOTEL WEBSITE      TRIP ADVISOR

Hairdryer
WiFi
TV
Minibar
Safe


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.

The Il Principe Hotel has elegantly furnished and comfortable rooms, all with air conditioning, satellite tv, wifi, minibar and safe.

CHOOSE A DEPARTURE DATE

Show prices including flights?  

MON
TUE
WED
THU
FRI
SAT
SUN
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
1
 
2
 
3
 
4
 
5
 
6
 
7
£2189
£2539
8
 
9
 
10
 
11
 
12
 
13
 
14
£2189
£2539
15
 
16
 
17
 
18
 
19
 
20
 
21
£2189
£2539
22
 
23
 
24
 
25
 
26
 
27
 
28
£2189
£2539
29
 
30
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

These tour only prices are based on two people sharing. Single supplement from £384.

These flight inclusive prices are based on two people sharing. Single supplement from £384.

OPTIONAL UPGRADES
  • Flights from Gatwick to Catania with British Airways
  • Other flights, including regional departures
  • Alternative flights, including regional departures
  • Business/club/first class fares
  • Electric bikes
  • Room upgrades and extra nights at selected hotels
  • Transfers available at a supplement for tour only packages
  • City break add-ons in Catania and Palermo
TRAVEL DETAILS

Our aim is to provide holidays that are unbeatable for choice and flexibility. We've listed our most popular travel options below, however you aren't limited to these - we can tailor-make virtually any holiday to suit.

Air prices include our standard flights/transfers
Out: British Airways Gatwick to Catania transfer to hotel 1 hour 40 minutes. Return: Transfer to airport 45 minutes British Airways Catania to Gatwick

Business/club/first class seats are available on request.

Alternative transfers
If you require alternative transfers (because you will be arriving at a different time to our standard flights), then we can usually arrange these for you (there may be an additional charge).

To find out more about the travel options available call our sales team on 01606 720199, use our live webchat (we're open until 10pm today) or email sales@headwater.com

Should you require overnight airport accommodation, airport parking or even a uniformed chauffeur to take your car from your departure terminal and park it for you, we can arrange this for you through Holiday Extras. You can book airport parking, airport hotels and executive lounges through their website or contact us for further details. Early booking is recommended to obtain the best availability and prices.

REVIEWS

Positive. I got confused at one stage with downloading the app. I recall you used an acronym for final joining instructions (FJI?) which is not obvious as so many companies use different slang!

App worked well.

Office helpful and responded very efficiently

Nicholas Hedges, 13 Apr 2024

 

Our second ebike holiday with Headwater: again a most enjoyable experience. The routes chosen were on good roads with little traffic and provided lots of time for exploring towns /beaches etc. Small problem with one of bikes dealt with well, excellent battery so no range anxiety! Headwater app worked very well. With one exception (where we were marooned in a comfortable but soulless hotel in residential area outside Pozzallo) the hotels were excellent with Baglio Siciliamo a country house with excellent restaurant and pool, very close to Lido di Noto and within easy reach of Noto was absolutely delightful in every way.

Michael Williams, 7 Oct 2023

 

We had an excellent trip that met our needs to explore baroque architecture and the Sicilian coastlines. The initial organisation by Lauren and Stephanie was excellent and flexible in terms of us adding days. The transfers and bags movement were very good. The hotels were of good/excellent quality with the Baglio country house our favourite for location/style and food. The routes were good but not as interesting as our trips in Spain and Portugal and included many busy roads near the coast. We felt we had a real flavour of the country in terms of the people/food/scenery and architecture.

FURNESS, 19 Jun 2023

 

A good mix of beautiful countryside, fascinating towns and scenic coast.



Mr Clarke, 29 Apr 2023

 

A wonderful introduction to Sicily that leaves you wanting to come back for more.

Mrs Dempster, 1 Apr 2023

 

Excellent holiday. Villa Favourita at Noto a real highlight

Dr Petter, 1 Oct 2022

 

The route takes you through beautiful cities, where you eat delicious local food and sample local drinks. Cycling through the beautiful agricultural land and coast lines is throughly enjoyable on quiet roads. The routes each day are enjoyable but not too challenging. All the accommodation is delightful.

Mr Baston, 1 Oct 2022

 

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.

Mrs Watson, 21 Jun 2022

 

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.

Mrs Dedrick, 2 Oct 2021

 

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.

Mrs RAYNES, 18 Sep 2021

 

A great way to see beautiful countries, keep fit and enjoy good food & wine

Mrs Evans, 14 Sep 2019

 

Great holiday cycling through beautiful countryside with wonderful historical UNESCO cities to explore.

Mr Houston, 31 Aug 2019

 

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.

Mr Heath, 28 Aug 2019

 

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.

Mrs Fletcher, 9 Jun 2019

 

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.

Mr Hall, 2 Jun 2019

 

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.

Mr May, 2 Jun 2019

 

Pleasant rides, but a fair amount on relatively busy roads. Good and varied styles of hotels.

Dr Galpine, 6 Sep 2018

 

In all good holiday if you enjoy cycling.

Ms Ward, 5 Sep 2018

 

Headwater came through as a very ambitious counterparty. The planning and execution of our tour was professional, excellent route notes and good accommodation.

Mr Palsson, 17 May 2018

 


Self-guided cycling

8 nights,
hotel-to-hotel

Level: 2
Moderate

15.0Kg CO2e

Headwater
Navigation App

Optional
e-bike hire

8 nights from £2139

CHOOSE A DEPARTURE

Call: 01606 720199

 

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE