- Ride the UNESCO Noto Valley
- Visit the Baroque towns of Modica and Noto
- Ride through picturesque countryside and quaint villages
- Sample superb regional cuisine
Start Palazzolo Acreide, a charming maze of narrow streets and Baroque churches built following an earthquake in 1693 on the site of the Greek colony Akrai, which itself was founded in 664 BC. The town is situated in the heart of the Iblean Mountains, overlooking the upper valleys of the Anapo and Tellaro rivers, which helped the Corinthians control a broad swathe of Sicily.
We start our exploration with a ride through the beautiful lower valleys of the Iblean Mountains, passing olive plantations and dry-stone walls that characterise this area. We then climb into the highlands to the delightful town of Ragusa Ibla, built over three hills separated by a deep valley, and home to beautiful Baroque churches and buildings. After visiting Ragusa, we cycle for another 14km to the town of Modica, another gem of the Sicilian Baroque, nestled at the bottom of a deep gorge.
Before leaving Modica, we have the opportunity to taste its famous chocolate with chilli, which is still prepared using the original Aztec recipe brought over by the Spaniards in the 1500’s. We leave Modica behind and ride along a ravine with a downhill bias until we reach another outstanding example of Sicilian Baroque architecture, Scicli, where the popular Inspector Montalbano TV series has been filmed. From here, we move to the picturesque surrondings of Marzamemi, one of Sicily’s prettiest fishing villages offering postcard views, numerous cafés, and restaurants.
A circular ride takes us through vineyards and then follows the coastline to Portopalo di Capo Passero, the southernmost village of Sicily (further south than Tunis), following the coast we reach Marzamemi, a picturesque fishing village of Arab origins. Back at the agriturismo, we can enjoy an optional fun cookery demonstration and class (payable locally) followed by a delicious dinner (bookable and payable locally).
A short ride brings us to the beautiful Vendicari Nature Reserve. This narrow stretch of marshy coastline provides a rare and now completely protected habitat for migratory species and for the local flora and fauna. There are some beautiful sandy beaches, perfect for a swim in the clear waters of the Mediterranean Sea. As we leave the reserve behind, we head north to the elegant town of Noto, another UNESCO World Heritage site. Noto is an absolute gem, a planned town in the unique Sicilian Baroque style, all built in a beautiful honey-coloured stone. A must try in Noto is the delicious almond granita (similar to sorbet) with brioche, typical of the area!
We start our day with a challenging but rewarding 5km climb to San Corrado and the ruins of Noto Antica, the original settlement of Noto that was completely destroyed by the earthquake of 1693. We continue up reaching the viewpoint of Cavagrande del Cassibile (505m.), one of the deepest canyons found in Europe. The scenery here is spectacular and offers sweeping views of the valley far below. In the afternoon we enjoy a beautiful descent with hairpin bends towards the coast and then back to Noto.
Today’s gentle ride follows the coast all the way to Syracuse, passing beautiful beaches where, weather permitting, we will stop for a refreshing dip in the sea. The afternoon will be spent in Ortigia, the island where Syracuse was founded. After a short orientation tour, there is free time to explore at our own pace, head to the beach, do some shopping, or visit the famous archaeological park.
The trip ends in Syracuse in the morning of day 8.
- 7 nights standard and comfortable hotels, all en suite
- 8 days land only / flight inclusive
- 6 days cycling with partial vehicle support (limited seats)
- Group normally 6 to 16. Min age 16 yrs
- 90% tarmac and some short sections of gravel; quiet rural undulating roads
- Local bike hire included
- E-bike hire available on request, supplement from £70, USD $98 or CAD $116
- Countries visited: Italy
- All breakfasts and 1 dinner
- All accommodation
- Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
- Local bike hire
Images courtesy of Exodus Travel
EXT – MWY