On this cycle trip we explore the western corner of this beautiful island and discover a melange of cultures, stunning beaches, the ancient Greek temple of Segesta and the capital Palermo. We base our rides from Marsala, Bruca and Trapani with a day trip for tranquil cycling on Favignana island. Experience the relaxed and friendly island lifestyle and sample delicious Sicilian culinary specialties accompanied by great local wines.
- Cycle Sicily - peaceful coastal roads, charming villages and wonderful land and seascapes
- Palermo - Sicily's main city and a cultural melting pot
- Favignana Island - Peaceful island cycling with wonderful beaches, inviting waters and no traffic
- Marsala - Wine tasting and visit the Salt Mining Reserve and windmills
- Gastronomic Sicily - Delicious culinary specialties, accompanied by superb local wines
Our trip starts today in Palermo, a city rich in contrasts with imposing baroque churches, run-down noble palaces and loud and lively narrow streets lined with hanging washing. The hotel is located close to the Teatro Massimo, the 3rd largest historical Opera house in Europe and the largest in Italy, and just steps away from the bustling street market and elegant shopping streets. The rest of the day is free to explore this fascinating city.
Day 2: Palermo city tour, and transfer to Marsala
We start the day with a guided 2 hour walk around Palermo to see the Duomo, through the narrow streets of the Vucciria market, the noble quarters lined with gilded churches and decadent baroque palaces that help us understand the complex history of the capital of Sicily. After lunch we have some freetime to further explore this atmospheric city before we drive for about 2 hours to Marsala in the late afternoon. Shortly after checking into our hotel we will commence our bike allocation and fitting session so everything is ready for the first ride tomorrow.
Day 3: Cycle to the salt pans & Marsala wine tasting
Distance: 25 km
Today's flat ride takes us to the characteristic Infersa salt flats, a patchwork of shallow coastal lakes and salt pans lined with ancient windmills and home to many migratory birds and a small salt museum (optional). There is the option to catch a small ferry the short distance to Mozia Island, once home to an important Phoenician settlement. The museum on Mozia tells the story of this colony and helps build a picture of how many cultures have influenced modern day Sicily. For those not visiting Mozia it is possible to cycle a self-guided 10km loop ride. Once everybody is back together we return by bike, using the same route to our hotel in Marsala and once back in town we visit a famous winery and taste some of the excellent locally made sweet Marsala wines.
Day 4: Ride to Buseto Palizzolo
Distance: 52 km
Leaving the bustling seaside towns behind we head inland, gradually ascending via a succession of pastures and fields of wheat. For the first part of the ride when leaving Marsala there will inevitably be more traffic and there are some up hill sections. Once away from the coast this sparsely populated, vast expanse of beautiful nature dotted with crumbling, old farm houses is a joy to the eye and a pallet of contrasting colours that change with every season. Spring is ripe with the lush green wheat that turns bronze yellow in summer then ochre and brown as the fields are ploughed. Our destination for the next two nights is a small family-run organic farm or agriturismo, located just outside Bruca, serving wonderful home grown and locally sourced Sicilian specialties prepared by 'mamma'.
Day 5: Ride to Segesta Greek Temple
Distance: 35 km
We start the day with a short and easy ride through the rolling hills to the imposing archaeological site of Segesta - an ancient 'Elimian' town. You may start to wonder if you are hallucinating as you see perched on top of a hill overlooking a deep canyon, an unusually well-preserved (though unfinished) Doric temple built sometime in the late 5th century BC. A pleasant walk up the hill past a series of buildings dating back to various periods takes us to the ancient Greek theatre carved into a natural rock hollow. In the afternoon we plan to continue by bike to some public hot springs. Alternatively you may choose to return directly to the accommodation and relax by the pool in which case you will have cycled a total of 16 km (total 180 metres ascent/descent). After relaxing our muscles in the warm waters, we return to the hotel by the same route we came.
Day 6: Ride to Trapani. Optional cable car to Erice
Distance: 35 km
Heading back towards the coast today we wind our way through the hills and then speed down to the lively city of Trapani where we spend the next two nights. Along the way the ancient town of Erice looms high above us and is said to have been founded by exiled Trojans. This was also an important religious site and a famous temple dedicated to Aphrodite (Venus in Roman times) allegedly stood here. After free time for lunch in Trapani, spend the afternoon mingling with the locals enjoying a stroll and people watching along the pedestrianised historic centre. Later this afternoon there is the option to take the cable car from Trapani up to Erice.
Day 7: Ride on car-free Favignana island
Distance: 25 km
This morning we take the local ferry (40 mins) to Favignana island; the largest of the three Aegedian Islands, set just off the western coast of Sicily and well known for its tuna fishing tradition. Cycling its flat coastal roads we will contour the turquoise coloured coves and bays that tempt you to go for a dip before relaxing in the village square, drinking a coffee and watching the locals come and go.. There are no cars on the island which makes for peaceful cycling.
Day 8: Trip ends at Palermo Airport
After breakfast we drive (1hr) to Palermo Airport where the trip ends.
Boat excursion to Favignana island
Professional multi-lingual tour leader
On this tour we cycle 170 km over five days.
The terrain is virtually all on tarmac, and mostly along quiet country roads.
The route is generally flat.
The tour leader will cycle with the group every day.
We have graded the route as EASY