This tour is perfect for those wishing to cycle along the coast, but still want to have challenging routes! You have opportunities for a swim most of the days. Usually, you get the wind at your back and the sun in your face, you’ll pass through authentic small towns, and discover beautiful beaches, uncontaminated landscape and all the cultural attractions that the southern coast of the island offers you. Cycling in this part of Sicily means traveling through what once was the “Magna Graecia”.
CYCLING THE SOUTHERN COAST. A tour of medium difficulty from Erice to Syracuse.
DAY 1. ARRIVAL
You arrive at the airport of Palermo and take a bus or taxi to Trapani or Erice. You will check in a small hotel. Erice is a very old town at the top of the Erice mountain. It was one of the towns of the Elymians, the ancient people who inhabited western part of Sicily during the Bronze Age. In clear days, you have a wonderful view that can reach from North-Africa to Etna. You’ll receive bicycles with all the needed equipment along with maps and route descriptions.
DAY 2. ERICE–MARSALA–MAZARA DEL VALLO. 70 km
You will start this tour rolling down the Erice Mountain. You will soon arrive to the beautiful Stagnone reserve by the coast. Here, they’ve been extracting high quality salt since the 12th century. Continuing along the cost, you arrive to Marsala. This town is known for its dessert-wine production and because it was Garibaldi’s starting point in reuniting Italy in 1860. The old part is unusually charming and well preserved. Continuing your path, you pass by wine productions, grapevines and inviting beaches until Mazara del Vallo: one of Sicily’s most important harbor towns, which has always been characterized by an intense contact with North-Africa.
DAY 3. MAZARA DEL VALLO-SELINUNTE–MARINELLA–SCIACCA. 72 km
Heading east along the coast out of town, you cycle through the countryside along vines, wildflowers and peacefully grazing sheep. The landscape is no longer flat, but begins to stir. After a while you reach Selinunte: in the 5th and 6th century BC this city had over 100,000 inhabitants and was among the richest and most powerful cities in the world. You can visit the temples on foot. You will also have a chance to take a swim at one of Sicily’s most beautiful beaches. In the afternoon, you’ll cycle through a natural reserve until you reach the road to Menfi. Soon in the distance you’ll catch sight of Rocca Ficuzza where, under this cliff, lies Sciacca. It also has a lively harbor which is full of shops, selling pottery made by local artists. You will be staying for the night in a B&B in the old town.
DAY 4. SCIACCA-RIBERA-ERACLEA MINOA BEACH-MONTALLEGRO-SICULIANA MARINA. 57 km
You’ll start heading south and upwards to Ribera. This small town is known for having the island’s best orange production. You’ll have the opportunity to take a break in a bar before you go down the hills on roads without traffic towards the coast, and soon you’ll arrive in Eraclea Minoa. This Greek town was founded in the sixth century B.C. You can park the bikes and take a walk among the ruins, with the theater overlooking the lake: the view is fantastic. Under the cliff, lays one of the best beaches in Sicily. Here you have to take some hours of break. Usually, you have this place all for yourself. Behind the beach you find pinewoods, a perfect place to repair you from the sun if it gets too strong. In the evening, you will be cycling passing the small town of Monteallegro. Siculiana Marina will not be very far away. You will stay in a B&B some meters away from a nice beach.
DAY 5. SICULIANA MARINA-SCALA DEI TURCHI-THE VALLEY OF TEMPLES-AGRIGENTO-NARO-SAN NICOLA. 59 km
You start the day passing by the magnificent white rock formation Scala dei Turchi, another great place to take a swim! Then you’ll be rolling down towards the port of Porto Empdocle. There you’ll have the chance to take a break at a local bar in the characteristic old town section. Next you’ll cycle to the Valley of Temples in Agrigento: Sicily’s oldest and most important tourist attraction. You can take a walk among the temples. You may also take a ride to Agrigento. Continuing on the route, you pass Favara and cycle on old asphalt roads, where you will just encounter sheep and some tractors. In Naro, you take a well-deserved break. From here you also have a nice view. Characteristic, but quite abandoned old town. This is Sicily away from everything. Foreign tourists arouse strong curiosity when you cycle by. Dinner and accommodation in a nice farm hotel.
DAY 6. SAN NICOLA-CAMPOBELLO DI LICATA-RAVANUSA-MAZZARINO-SAN CONO-CALTAGIRONE. 82 km
After a good breakfast, you cycle on narrow roads among olive e vineyards. The landscape is easy to cycle, passing by Campobello di Licata and Ravanusa. Then you go towards the great town of Mazzarino, with its many baroque churches, bars and also a castle with the form of a cannon! You may stop for lunch here. Then the ride takes you out of the town and on small roads towards Caltagirone. The name of the town comes from the Arab form ‘Cal’at Ghiran’ (The jars’ castle). Here ceramics from the pre-historic period have been found and today the town’s ceramics production is renown all over the world. You will stay in a nice B&B in the old town, just over the public stairs with 142 steps covered by ceramics.
DAY 7. CALTAGIRONE-GRAMMICHELE-VIZZINI-MONTEROSSO ALMO-GIARRATANA-RAGUSA. 70 km
In the morning, you cycle eastwards, arriving first to Grammichele, the only town in Sicily with hexagonal form. You may take a break in the amazing central square. You are now in that part of the island that was hit by a terrible earthquake in 1693: the reconstruction was therefore in baroque style. When you continue cycling, the landscape is gorgeous, characterized by baroque villages, locust trees and animals grazing. No traffic. You pass Vizzini and you arrive to Monterosso Almo, where you can have lunch at the central square, in front of S. Giovanni church. You continue on great winding roads to Giarratana, the place where they cultivate the best onions! Then along the river, you arrive to Ragusa Ibla, where you stay in a hotel in the city center.
DAY 8. RAGUSA-MODICA-SCICLI-POZZALLO-PORTOPALO DI CAPO PASSERO. 77 km
Your cycling day starts at the bottom of the valley, alongside the Irmino river. Then you’ll go wheeling along a hillside towards the city of Modica. This town is known not only for its gorgeous baroque churches, but also for its chocolate production. When the Spanish arrived in this town a couple of hundred years ago, they brought this tradition, learned from the Aztecs in Mexico. If you‘d like, you may visit a chocolate factory and go for chocolate testing. The tour continues along the bottom of the valley passing the town of Scicli and ending up in the seaport of Pozzallo. By the Cabrera tower you may take a break at a nice bar and swim on the beautiful beach near town. Then you’ll head south along the coast passing Marza and wheeling up towards the city of Pachino, known for its production of cherry tomatoes. Bar possibilities. The landscape here is increasingly wind-swept and barren. You continue towards Europe’s southernmost city, Porto Palo di Capo Passero. You’ll be given accommodation at a hotel overlooking the sea.
DAY 9.PORTOPALO DI CAPO PASSERO-MARZAMEMI-AVOLA-SIRACUSA. 65 km
In the morning, you roll north along the coast towards the beautiful fishing village of Marzamemi. Here there’s been tuna fishery going on since the 800s AC, therefore it may be a good idea to take a trip down to the harbor and visit the local market. Bar and swimming opportunities. Also passing Avola, towards Fontane Bianche, you will encounter nice beaches again. Early in the afternoon you’ll arrive to Siracusa. This town was founded in 700 B.C. For a time, it was the town with most power and beauty in the Mediterranean region. According to Cicero, this city was the most beautiful in the world. You’ll cycle into the island of Ortigia and return the bikes here. The hotel will be in the city center.