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Sicily E-Bike Tour and Mount Etna

Italy
Cycle
Guided Group
MODERATE MODERATE

Gravel road E-Biking holiday in a part of Sicily famous for its Baroque heritage, finishing off with a hike to the top of Mount Etna

Trip Code: GGMB
Holiday Grades

Our Holiday Grades Explained

To show the relative difficulty of our holidays, each trip is graded on a scale of 1 to 12, with 12 being the most challenging. Although we have tried to make our grading system as clear as possible, it cannot take into account your personal interests, abilities or experience. If you have any questions about the nature of a particular trip or its suitability for you, please read the 'Is this holiday for you?' section or contact us.

 1 - 3 LEISURELY
1 - 3 LEISURELY

Suitable for most people in good health, holidays at this grade include only limited amounts of activity.

View leisurely holidays
4 - 6 MODERATE
4 - 6 MODERATE

Suitable for reasonably fit individuals, such as weekend walkers and cyclists. There can be the occasional more difficult day.

View moderate holidays
7 - 9 CHALLENGING
7 - 9 CHALLENGING

Physically challenging holidays, where you need to be prepared before you go.

View challenging holidays
10 - 12 TOUGH
10 - 12 TOUGH

Our toughest holidays, involving many long days, often in isolated areas. A high level of fitness and previous wilderness and mountain experience is essential.

View Tough holidays

Sicily E-Bike Tour and Mount Etna

Highlights
  • Cycle on gravel roads through the limestone landscape of Pantalica
  • Visit a succession of stunning ‘Baroque’ towns and villages
  • Italian hospitality and the famous food and wines of the region
  • Hike to the crater rim on Etna, the tallest active volcano in Europe
  • Bianchi E-Impulso Gravel bike included in the trip cost

At a Glance
  • Group Size 6 to 8
  • 4 days cycling
  • 1 day walking
  • Join In Catania

Accommodation & Meals
  • 6 Breakfasts
  • 3 Dinners
  • 4 nights Hotel
  • 2 nights Farmstay
Overview

Just off the ‘toe’ of Italy, Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean and one of the most varied, historically and culturally. Starting this unique e-biking holiday from Catania on the island’s east coast, you’ll make an exploration of the provinces of Syracuse and Ragusa which run down to the island’s southern tip. During the first 4 days you will be riding pedal-assisted Bianchi E-Impulso Gravel e-bikes which are perfect for the quiet gravel roads and farm lanes that make up a big part of the route.


You’ll cycle a loop through the limestone canyons of the Pantalica Reserve with its amazing rock-cut tombs and continue your journey through the Hyblaean Hills and down to Sicily and Italy’s southern tip at Capo Passero. Destroyed by an earthquake in 1693, many of the towns in this region, such as Ragusa, Modico and Noto, were rebuilt from scratch in the Baroque style and there are sumptuous palaces and churches with rich inlaid facades to be admired. Then, after a blissful day of coastal cycling beside the Ionian Sea, you’ll transfer to the lower slopes of Mount Etna and on the final day hike to the top of this iconic peak. Fully guided and with a comfortable mix of farmhouse and family hotel accommodation, this is a great way to experience the best of Sicily.

Is this holiday for you?

This is a not-too-challenging cycling holiday, with just 4 days on the bike and an average of only 55 kilometres of cycling on each of those 4 days. The types of terrain encountered will include quiet backroads, unsurfaced farm and forest tracks and coastal footpaths. The toughest day is probably the first one, centred on the Pantalica Reserve when much of the ride is on gravel roads and there are …

This is a not-too-challenging cycling holiday, with just 4 days on the bike and an average of only 55 kilometres of cycling on each of those 4 days. The types of terrain encountered will include quiet backroads, unsurfaced farm and forest tracks and coastal footpaths. The toughest day is probably the first one, centred on the Pantalica Reserve when much of the ride is on gravel roads and there are a number of hills to overcome. But, of course, this is where the modern e-bikes we provide come into their own – their smooth electric motors helping to make any uphill sections relatively straightforward. The Bianchi E-Impulso Gravel bikes are well suited to the types of trail you will encounter. They have drop handlebars and suitable off-road tyres. The final day’s ascent of Mount Etna will involve a 5-hour walk on a trail across volcanic lava and ash, with the first hour and a half uphill section made more of a challenge by the 3000 metre altitude.

Why KE?

Special Adventure Holidays With 35 years experience of adventure travel, we know how important it is to offer something different, something special. E-Biking on gravel roads on the spectacular Island of Sicily, topped off with a hike to the top of Mount Etna... that ticks a lot of boxes in our opinion. We include the hire bike on this trip - a modern, Bianchi E-Impulso Gravel bike.

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Itinerary

Meet at our delightful first night agriturismo base close to the small town of Sortino. Sitting at around 450 metres above sea-level in the Hyblaean Hills, Sortino is mainly an agricultural centre, producing olives, cereals and citrus fruits, as well as livestock farming. You'll get your first taste of the Baroque here, as there are a number of important Baroque buildings in the town which has a population of around 8500. From this slightly elevated location Mount Etna is clearly visible to the north. A single transfer from Catania Airport will be provided in the early afternoon. In the late afternoon, there will be a first meeting and briefing with the guide who will accompany you throughout the week. The guide will also help with bike fitting, before dinner and overnight at the accommodation.

Accommodation

Farmstay

Meals

D

After a farmhouse breakfast, we will cycle straight from our accommodation into the nearby Pantalica Reserve. Following a fairly smooth white gravel road, we will wind our way into this very impressive limestone landscape through a canyon carved by the crystal clear Anapo River. Rich vegetation, including holm oaks and oleander, cloaks the valley sides and there are river pools where we can stop for a swim. The reserve was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005, but it is perhaps most well known for a large necropolis comprising several thousand burial chambers cut into the limestone cliffs and dating back to 1300 BC. This site has an earlier UNESCO listing and we will have the chance to check it out. Leaving the reserve, we will loop around towards the south, to the village of Palazzolo Acreide, where we can stop for a coffee and a snack in the pretty central square. It's just a short ride from here to our farmhouse accommodation close to Giarratana. Dinner and overnight at the accommodation.

Accommodation

Farmstay

Meals

B D

Ascent

1000 M

Descent

800 M

Time

4 to 5 hrs cycling

Distance

45 KM

Today's ride will take us further south towards the tip of the island and still within the Hyblaean Hills (Monti Iblei in Italian). We'll be following in part ancient paths once used by monks and pilgrims to reach the convents scattered throughout the region. Again, mostly on gravel roads with scarcely any vehicles, we will ride through fields of wheat and olive groves and by way of abandoned mills. We will cycle through the picturesque villages of Monterosso Almo and Chiaramonte Gulfi to arrive at the very heart of Sicilian Baroque: Ragusa, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2002 and famous for a wealth of outstanding architecture. Like many of the towns in this part of Sicily, Ragusa was largely rebuilt following the catastrophic earthquake of 1693. We will find a place to sit and do some people-watching and to admire something of Ragusa's splendour, before continuing on minor roads to Modica. Another Sicilian gem, Modica nestles amongst the craggy hills of the 'Iblei' and is famous, among other things, for culinary delights including chocolate which is sold throughout Italy.

Accommodation

Hotel

Meals

B

Ascent

800 M

Descent

1400 M

Time

5 hrs cycling

Distance

50 KM

Heading towards the south-west, we leave the hills behind, cycling on minor roads between drystone walls with olive, carob, almond and citrus trees dotted across the landscape. Our first destination is Portopalo di Capo Passero, a fishing village at the southernmost tip of the island (and of Italy) between the waters of the Mediterranean to the south and west and those of the Ionan Sea to the east. The island of Malta is just 70 kilometres away to the south. Continuing our ride to Marzamemi, we will stop in the picturesque square of Regina Margherita (part of an old tuna fishery) where we can sample locally caught fish delicacies. After lunch we will visit and cycle through the reserve of Vendicari where there are some of the most beautiful 'wild beaches' of Sicily, before continuing to our accommodation in Noto. Another icon of Sicilian Baroque, Noto was entirely rebuilt by the most famous architects of the day following the 1693 earthquake.

Accommodation

Hotel

Meals

B

Ascent

650 M

Descent

1000 M

Time

5 to 6 hrs cycling

Distance

75 KM

On this last day of cycling, we'll discover the sun-kissed coastline of the Ionian Sea, following paths and tracks beside a succession of beautiful beaches. We will have no excuse not to stop off for a dip wherever the fancy takes us and we'll also be on the look out for coffee and ice-cream stops in one or two of the places we pass through. We reach the end of the ride on the outskirts of one of the most important Sicilan cities of the Greek period: Syracuse. Here, we meet up with our transport and transfer in under an hour to our accommodation in Nicolosi, a settlement on the northern outskirts of Catania below Mount Etna.

Accommodation

Hotel

Meals

B

Ascent

200 M

Descent

350 M

Time

4 hrs cycling

Distance

50 KM

In a suitably dramatic finale to our time on Sicily, we will today tackle Mount Etna, but not on our bikes. After breakfast, a transfer by bus will take us to the Rifugio Sapienza (1900m), from where we will continue our ascent of the mountain by cable-car and 4WD minibuses as far as 2900 metres. From here, having been provided with a safety helmet, it's about an hour and a half's walk up to the Bocca Nuova Crater and the Central Crater where we can feel the 'breath' of Etna and enjoy a 360 degree view that sweeps from the Aeolian Islands and the Gulf of Taormina to the Bay of Catania. From the top we will descend on foot through the majestic Valle del Bove and finally take a private transfer to our hotel accommodation in Catania. We will celebrate the completion of the week with a farewell dinner (included) and overnight in the hotel.

Accommodation

Hotel

Meals

B D

Ascent

500 M

Descent

800 M

Time

5 hrs walking

Distance

10 KM

Your holiday ends after breakfast. A transfer to Catania Airport is not provided - taxis are readily available. Depending on your departure time you may wish to have a final stroll through Catania, a fascinating city and a great place to explore over a few days. If you would to extend your time in the city, then please contact the KE office and we can book extra nights in the group hotel for you.

Meals

B
Download Trip Notes
The Route
Airport Airport
Peaks Peaks
Point Point
Direction Direction
Transfer
Bike
Trek

Essential Information

We've compiled some of our Frequently Asked Questions to help you learn more about this amazing trip.

  • An experienced local English-speaking cycling guide
  • A single group Catania Airport transfer on arrival
  • Etna summit excursion including all transfers and specialist guide
  • Baggage transfers and partial vehicle support
  • All accommodation as described
  • Meals as described in the Meal Plan
  • Hire bike - Bianchi E-Impulso Gravel bike

  • Travel Insurance
  • Some meals as per the Meal Plan
  • Tranfer to Catania Airport on the final day
  • Miscellaneous expenses - drinks and souveniers etc


TRAVEL TO YOUR DESTINATION

If flying from the UK there are low cost airlines available to the start and from the end of your holiday.

To benefit from full financial protection, ease your holiday planning, and avoid dealing with airlines, we can book scheduled flights from the UK as part of a flight inclusive package. Scheduled flights are usually more expensive that low cost alternatives, however potentially less stressful if your flight is cancelled or delayed. If you book flights through KE Adventure Travel we will offset the carbon of your flight.

The group will meet at the first night's farmstay accommodation near Sortino.

A single transfer is included from Catania Airport on Day 1. On the final day of the holiday a transfer from the hotel in Catania to Catania Airport is not included - taxis are readily available.

Hotel contact details and an emergency number will be provided with your booking confirmation.

All breakfasts and 3 dinners are included.

Water is drinkable from the taps on this holiday. Please fill your personal bottles for your day in the morning. We do not encourage the purchasing of single use plastic bottles.

Part of the experience of any visit to Sicily and Italy is the opportunity to taste its wonderful cuisine. Breakfasts are usually continental in style - bread, pastries or cakes, yoghurt, jam and honey served with tea or coffee. For lunch, there will usually be time each day to visit a local supermarket to buy picnic items; bread, dried meats, cheeses, fruit and vegetables. Alternatively, the group may choose to stop at a snack bar or cafe at lunchtime. Dinner will be taken at small local restaurants, which gives us a chance to try traditional Sicilian food and get a real taste of Italy. Pasta alla Norma, combining local tomatoes, aubergines, garlic, basil and salted ricotta cheese, is a popular dish in the Catania region. Alongside food, Sicilian wine is excellent and an important part of any meal – lunch and dinner!

Whilst we can cater for vegetarians, albeit sometimes with a more limited choice, we cannot always provide special diets.  Due to the nature of some of the trips that we operate and the countries in which we operate them, it can be very hard (and sometimes impossible) to cater for a wide range of dietary choices and you may have to supplement your diet with food/snacks from home.  If you have specific dietary requirements please do speak to our sales team and they will be able to advise you whether or not we will be able to offer your specific choice.  Please note that we are unable to provide separate menus and cannot accept liability for any problems arising from special dietary requirements or intolerances.

The first 2 nights are in comfortable 'agriturismo' (farmhouse) accommodation and the remaining 4 nights in 3-star hotels. All rooms have private bathrooms. The accommodation is arranged on a twin sharing basis. If you are travelling by yourself, you will be paired up with another single client of the same sex. Single rooms can be pre-booked at supplementary cost. If you are planning to extend your holiday additional nights at the Catania (final night) hotel are available on request.

The trip will be led by an experienced, local, English-speaking cycling guide. This guide will also be an experienced vulcanologist and will accompany the group on the Etna excursion. There will also be a minibus and driver who will provide the baggage transfers and act as back up for the group only if needed.

Approximately 300 euros should be allowed for non-included meals, snacks, soft drinks etc. You can either carry your travel money in the form of cash (euros) or pay (and withdraw euros if needed from local ATMs) using your credit or debit card. If you are intending to buy expensive souvenirs, you should budget accordingly.

Tips do not form part of the wages of local staff but they are very much appreciated. It is important to remember that tipping is voluntary and should be dependent on good service. It is best if the tip is given at the end of the trip by the group as a whole. We recommend that each group member contributes around €25 – 30 and that this is distributed between the leader and any support staff. It is a good idea to carry some small change for other tips such as in restaurants etc.

Bikes are provided locally within the cost of the holiday. Our agent on Sicily provides Bianchi E-Impulso Gravel bikes with Shimano components, a single (11-speed) chainset, Shimano disc brakes and a 250W Ebikemotion motor. The bikes are fitted with flat pedals and 35mm off-road tyres. Availability of sizes is limited – first-come, first-served. Please provide us with your height when you book, so we can check availability.

We do not have full-time vehicle support during this holiday. Some of the roads and trails that we ride are not suitable for vehicles. If there is a mechanical breakdown that the guide cannot sort out, he (or she) will call up assistance. In the case of one or more of the group being unable to continue, the guide will arrange a pick-up. Baggage transfers are provided each day. Your bags will be picked up from the hotel after you depart in the morning and will be waiting for you when you get to the next night’s accommodation.

For this holiday you should take one main item of luggage as well as a small day pack or cycle-specific hydration pack. The day pack can be used to carry valuable items such as cameras and GPS devices whilst travelling and will also carry your day-ride essentials during the rides. Luggage with wheels is useful for this holiday. For international flights please check your baggage allowance with your airline.

For each holiday there is a minimum number of participants required to enable it to go ahead. Once the minimum number is reached, the trip status will change from 'Available' to 'Guaranteed to run'. You can check the trip status for each departure in ‘Dates and Prices’ table. Other than in exceptional circumstances, we will not cancel a trip once it has achieved this guaranteed to run status and so you are free to proceed with your international flight booking and other travel arrangements.

The information that we provide is for UK passport holders. A passport with 6 months remaining validity at the end of your stay is generally required, and you should have at least 2 blank pages for each country that you visit.

It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct travel documents and visas for your holiday. Please ensure that you check for the latest advice before travel. For the most up to date information on entry requirements, please visit the UK Government website.

If you have a severe allergy please inform the KE office before you travel. We will do all we can to help, but we cannot guarantee an allergy free environment on KE trips. You will need to carry your own treatment for the allergy with you, as 'adrenaline auto-injectors' are not carried as standard by KE leaders and staff. You should inform your leader on arrival of your allergy, and let them know where you keep your adrenaline pen.

Vaccinations

You should contact your doctor or travel clinic to check whether you require any specific vaccinations.

GHIC / Medical cover

UK residents should carry a free Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC). This entitles you to state provided medical treatment when you're visiting an EU country or Switzerland. This is not a substitute for medical travel insurance which is vital when travelling overseas.

The currency for part or all of this holiday is the Euro.

The better shape you are in, the more you will enjoy your holiday. You should adopt a sensible weekly exercise regime and fit in a number of long cycle rides in hilly country ahead of the trip. As well as cycling, running and swimming are also good for developing aerobic fitness and stamina.

Sicily has a typically Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers and cool winters. April to June and September to October are when temperatures are the most pleasant. At these times of year, daytime temperatures will vary between 20 and 30 degrees centigrade, falling to between 10 and 20 degrees centigrade at night.

As a reputable tour operator, KE supports the British Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office's ‘Travel Aware campaign to enable British citizens to prepare for their journeys overseas. The 'Travel Aware' website provides a single, authoritative source of advice for all kinds of travellers and we recommend that prior to travel, all KE clients visit the official UK Government website at travelaware.campaign.gov.uk and read the FCDO Travel Advice for their chosen destination. North Americans can also check out the U.S. Department of State website: www.travel.state.gov for essential travel advice and tips.

KE treat the safety and security of all clients as the most important aspect of any trip we organise. We would not run any trip that we did not consider reasonably safe.  Should the FCDO advise against travel for any reason, we will contact everyone booked to travel to discuss the situation.  We receive regular updates direct from the FCDO and are in constant touch with our contacts on the ground.  If you have any questions about government travel advice, please call our office.

KE do not encourage the use of single use plastic items. We are ensuring that our agents all over the world are working together to reduce the problem and educate those around them. We are leading by example in our KE office by reducing our plastic use.

  • Lonely Planet Sicily (Travel Guide).
  • The Rough Guide to Sicily
  • A House in Sicily - Daphne Phelps
  • Sweet Honey and Bitter Lemons Travels in Sicily on a Vespa - Matthew Fort

Sicily – Freytag & Berndt – 1:150,000 scale.

Large, double-sided map in F&B’s popular Top 10 Tips series.

It is an essential condition of joining a holiday with KE Adventure Travel that you have a valid travel insurance policy to cover the cost of medical treatment and to protect the value of your holiday in the event of cancellation.  When taking out insurance please ensure the policy you choose covers you for the activities and altitude included in your itinerary.

For appropriate insurance cover we recommend Campbell Irvine Direct.  Please go to our Travel Insurance page for further information and to get a quote.

Please note that a paper copy of your travel insurance is required if you are travelling to Huaraz and the Huayhuash region.

For this holiday you will need normal cycling clothing, including suitable shoes, cycling gloves and a helmet (which you must wear at all times when on the bike).

BIKE GEAR

  • Cycling helmet
  • Cycling shoes or trainers
  • Small day pack or cycle-specific hydration pack – approx. 20 litres (e.g. Camelbak or Osprey)
  • Padded cycling shorts
  • Long leg cycling trousers or leg warmers
  • Base-layer – short sleeve cycling tops
  • Mid-layer - long sleeved cycling tops
  • Lightweight windproof/waterproof jacket
  • Light fleece jacket or jumper (for evenings and for the Etna hike)
  • Regular biking gloves
  • Buff
  • Sunglasses
  • Sun cream (inc. total bloc for lips/nose)
  • Camera

 OTHER STUFF

  • Travel and off-the-bike clothing and footwear
  • Robust and lightweight walking boots for the Mount Etna hike
  • Lightweight walking trousers
  • Sun hat
  • Warm hat
  • Wash bag, towel, toiletries, including anti-bacterial handwash
  • Swimwear
  • Basic First Aid kit and personal medication

SPARES AND REPAIRS

You do not need to take any tools or spares. The local guide will take care of any and all issues. Please contact us if you have any questions about your equipment.

Cotswold Outdoor Red PantonMany of the Equipment items listed above are available from Cotswold Outdoor - our 'Official Recommended Outdoor Retailer'. When you book a holiday with KE you will receive 12.5% discount voucher from Cotswold Outdoor and other retailers.
>> Find out more

DATES & PRICES
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