Get the best parts of inner Sicily, the Ionian seaside, the volcano Etna and Taormina! Starting from Caltanissetta, you cycle westwards on old asphalt roads towards Enna, Leonforte and Agira. You approach Etna slowly circling it from the north and start cycling up the mountain. Instead of cycling up the last part, you may take a taxi up to the volcano-side and be guided on foot to discover it. The last day you cycle to Taormina, which is considered one of the most famous Sicilian tourist attractions.
FROM INNER SICILY TO ETNA. Cycling from Caltanissetta to Etna and Taormina
DAY 1. ARRIVAL
You arrive at the airport in Catania or Palermo and reach Caltanissetta by bus. Here you’ll be checking into a cozy B&B. After a good night’s sleep, you’ll receive bicycles with equipment, map and route description. In the evening, there will be a welcome dinner.
DAY 2. CALTANISSETTA – VILLAROSA – ENNA. 50 KM
In the morning, you pass by Caltanissetta’s local market to find some snack for the ride. You leave town cycling north between grapevines, almond and olive groves. Along the route there are farms, fields of wild flowers and durum wheat, as far as the eye can see. Foreign cyclists stir lots of attention here, and many locals like talking to you. The route goes west to the town of Santa Caterina, which has a nice old part of the town and an abundant number of bars for a stop. You continue cycling east over the Salso River, passing the village of Villarosa and continuing to Enna, where you’ll check in and spend the night at a B&B in the old town. 2000 years ago, Enna was called ‘Urbs Inexpugnabilis’ by the Romans, meaning “the unconquerable city”. Here you have great views and a chance to have dinner in one of the many trattorias.
DAY 3. ENNA–ASSORO–AGIRA–REGALBUTO. 66 km
You will cycle down along the winding roads from Enna, and then uphill toward the small town of Assoro. The town was founded many thousand years ago and is famous for the San Leone basilica. Here choosing a good bar for lunch won’t be hard. Later you continue through the landscape marked by olive, almond and carob trees. You’ll pedal through the densely populated Nissoria and further eastward, through the magnificent scenery towards Agira. This town was founded long before the Troian war, some think that it’s been inhabited for over 30,000 years. Here several good bar options are available. In the evening, you cycle to Regalbuto, which is also some thousands years old. Here dinner and accommodation in a cozy farm hotel.
DAY 4. REGALBUTO–ADRANO-BRONTE–RANDAZZO. 55 km
After breakfast, you head downhill towards the River Simeto. On the other side, Mount Etna is seen standing tall. You’ll also see the town of Adrano with the Norman castle. The volcano slopes are not very attractive, therefore it’s better to cycle north along the river, where the narrow asphalt road winds between small farms built of lava stone, prickly pear, olive and almond trees. Eventually, as you approach the town of Bronte, there will be more pistachio trees. Pistachio is the main industry here: Sicily is the only place in Italy where this beautiful plant is cultivated, and the pistachio from Bronte is said to be the best. It’s called ”the green gold”. You can have lunch at a local trattoria. During the afternoon, you’ll be going north along the river through the valley. Then you’ll come to the northeast side of Mount Etna. The tour then goes uphill with the most magnificent scenery. In Randazzo, you can visit one of the town’s good bars. This medieval town is situated close to Mount Etna’s craters, but was never destroyed by volcano eruptions. A little further up the side of the volcano you can check into a cozy farm hotel. Here you will dine and spend the night.
DAY 5. RANDAZZO–CASTIGLIONE DI SICILIA–LINGUAGLOSSA-MILO-ZAFFERANA ETNEA. 45 km
You’ll be cycling along narrow roads surrounded by dry lava stone walls, grape plants and olive trees. This is one of the places in Sicily that are famous for oil and wine production. Eventually you arrive at the village of Castiglione di Sicilia. The views are phenomenal here and you can enjoy lunch in the characteristic old town. Then you continue south, on roads going among grape plants. Here the grape type Nerello Mascalese is especially cultivated, which is important for making Etna’s d.o.c. wines. Continuing upwards to 800-1000 meters you will enter the hazelnut, chestnut and oak woods. You will arrive to Linguaglossa, known to be the point of departure of the excursions on the northern part of the volcano. You will find bar opportunities for a break. You continue southwards on a height of 800 meters to Milo, a mountain village which lives on wine production, lumber and tourism. You will end in the ride in Zafferana Etnea. From here the day after you will start climbing up to the top of Etna. You will stay at the Villa Rosa B&B in the center.
DAY 6. ZAFFERANA ETNEA–RIFUGIO SAPIENZA–ZAFFERANA ETNEA. 40 km
Etna is ca. 3350 meter high. It is Europe’s biggest and most active volcano. It is an amazing but hard ride up on good asphalt roads. First you travel through a forest belt until you arrive at the lava desert. You will cycle up and in between volcanic rocks from different eruptions, but only a few of you may have the energy to arrive completely up by bike. It is possible to continue by cable car, jeep and then on foot with a local guide towards the top of the volcano. There are nice downhill slopes as you once again head toward Zafferana Etnea, where you’ll spend the night at the same B&B.
DAY 7. ZAFFERANA ETNEA-SANTA VENERINA-TORRE ARCHIRAFI-GIARDINI NAXOS-TAORMINA. 40 km
After breakfast you cycle on narrow asphalt roads downhill passing cozy small villages towards the Ionian sea. The route takes you along the beach. At the San Marco beach, it perfect to stop for a swim. You will see Taormina and Castelmola in the distance. After a while you arrive to Giardini Naxos and up to Taromina. The small town is one of Sicily’s best known tourist attraction, with its roman theater, nice streets, bars and a gorgeous view on the volcano Etna.