For 2020 departures our trip inclusions are changing - please contact us for full details
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 mediaeval streets and romantic palaces and castles are a delight to behold.
You'll stay in a wonderful mix of accommodation including a lovingly restored, hillside masseria surrounded by olive trees and 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 four 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 (breakfast and evening meal included at a local restaurant)
You have two excellent choices today. We strongly recommend spending time in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ragusa Ibla - the simply stunning old town of Ragusa - rebuilt in 1693 after a huge earthquake and full of enchanting Baroque architecture, along with a number of tempting cafes and restaurants for lunch. Follow your visit with an undulating cycle through a rich, fertile valley of cacti and pomegranate orchards before freewheeling into the centre of Modica Bassa (the lower part of Modica City). Today's longer option climbs above Modica, skirting Modica Alta (the upper part of the city), before passing quaint, dry-stone-wall farms 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 Cava d'Aliga and Sampieri (one of Ragusa's most picturesque fishing villages and another of Montalbano's favoured locations) all offer beautiful sandy beaches where you can stop and take the weight off today.
You stay at the Torre Dantona (breakfast and evening meal included)
Hugging the coastline again you head to Pozzallo this morning, home to no less than four Blue Flag beaches - why not stop for a morning coffee and dip your toes in the Ionian Sea? 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 Stream'). 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)
Transfer back to Catania airport, 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. If you'd like to keep your bikes with you for any extra nights we can arrange this for you for just £25 per adult per day.
NEARBY:In the centre of 'new' Ragusa, the De Stefano Palace is a perfect example of Neo-Classical Baroque architecture. The 19th century residence has been restored to its original elegance complete with original frescoes. All the rooms have a lovely modern touch with refined decor, which fits in with the historic building. The hotel has a small spa, and bar area. The sister hotel Villa Del Lauro has a swimming pool, which can be used by guests staying at the De Stefano Palace.
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.
NEARBY:The Torre Dantona dates back to 1882 and is an old farm building in the middle of olive groves. The old buildings have been lovingly restored to create a peaceful oasis just kilometres from the coast. The rooms have been created from the old stables and lie in a row of terraces, inside they have been tastefully decorated with a modern touch.
Room upgrades: Superior Room or Deluxe Room.
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 Noto 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.
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.
See previous e mail
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.
Find out about The Headwater Price Promise to ensure you're getting the very best value for money.
For 2020 departures our trip inclusions are changing - please contact us for full details.
This 8 night self-guided cycling holiday includes:
Hotel-to-hotel accommodation in a mix of hotels
All continental breakfasts and 4 evening meals
Management by your local Headwater-appointed agent
GPS route directions and maps
RideWithGPS navigation app
High quality bikes
Standard transfers at the start/end of the trip
Luggage transfers between hotels
How to book:
|Aug 2019||Tour only||Availability|
|31st Aug||US$2979||Check availability|
|Sep 2019||Tour only||Availability|
|7th Sep||US$2979||Check availability|
|14th Sep||US$2979||Check availability|
|21st Sep||US$2949||Check availability|
|28th Sep||US$2949||Check availability|
|Oct 2019||Tour only||Availability|
|5th Oct||US$2899||Check availability|
|12th Oct||US$2899||Check availability|
|19th Oct||US$2899||Check availability|
|26th Oct||US$2749||Check availability|
|Apr 2020||Tour only||Availability|
|18th Apr||US$2949||Check availability|
|25th Apr||US$2949||Check availability|
|May 2020||Tour only||Availability|
|2nd May||US$2949||Check availability|
|9th May||US$2949||Check availability|
|16th May||US$2949||Check availability|
|23rd May||US$2979||Check availability|
|30th May||US$2979||Check availability|
|Jun 2020||Tour only||Availability|
|6th Jun||US$2979||Check availability|
|13th Jun||US$2999||Check availability|
|Aug 2020||Tour only||Availability|
|29th Aug||US$2999||Check availability|
|Sep 2020||Tour only||Availability|
|5th Sep||US$2999||Check availability|
|12th Sep||US$2999||Check availability|
|19th Sep||US$2979||Check availability|
|26th Sep||US$2949||Check availability|
|Oct 2020||Tour only||Availability|
|3rd Oct||US$2949||Check availability|
|10th Oct||US$2949||Check availability|
|17th Oct||US$2949||Check availability|
|24th Oct||US$2949||Check availability|
This holiday is unsuitable for children.
Self-guided cycling Managed locally by Headwater appointed agent.
Selected Saturdays from 31st Aug 2019 to 24th Oct 2020, for 8 nights. All dates are subject to availability, please contact us to check.
All continental breakfasts and 4 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 included from Catania airport at 11:30 (Saturday 10:30), and back to Catania airport at 09:30 (Sunday 13:30).
Due to the tailor-made nature of our holidays, we need a little more information in order for us to check availability for . Simply complete the form below (fields marked * are mandatory) and a member of our sales team will contact you (when it's most convenient for you) to provide availability information, travel options and an accurate price. Of course there's no obligation, but if you do wish to proceed with a booking they will be on-hand to assist you throughout the process.
Alternatively, you can call our sales team on 1-800-267-3347 to discuss your requirements in more detail.