TOUR OF SICILY - April 15-22, 2014
Topbike 2014 Tour of Sicily - 8 days (7 nights) fully supported, off the tourist route where possible, riding up to 100 k a day (but not every day), starting and finishing in Catania. We will take a 40/60 coastal/inland route, including a 2 night visit to the island of Lipari. Group size will be limited to 13, with 3 staff.
Topbike Tours Tour of Sicily
Tour of Sicily 'Eat-Drink-Ride' 15/04/2014 – 22/04/2014
Pickup: Fontanarossa airport Catania, 9.00am, Tuesday April 15
Drop off: Fontanarossa airport Catania, 11.00am, Tuesday April 22
Tuesday, April 15
9am, pick up at your designated hotel. Transfer by car to town of Caltagirone, 70k south-west of Catania. Once ‘check-in’ is complete we can commence orientation to our new surroundings and assembling of bikes etc. The riders will go for a short ride, to spin the legs out, and ease the travel stiffness while checking all equipment. All going well, we’ll end up outside Piazza Armerina, at Villa Romana del Casale, where the richest collection of Roman mosaics can be found. Tonight we shall dine in a top local ristorante, for our welcome meal. Later we might venture out for a passegiata through the streets of Caltagirone, whilst eating gelati (served in a bun, to be a true Sicilian)
Accommodation - Caltagirone B & B (one Topbike has used for ten years).
Ride: easy 1-2 hour.
Wednesday, April 16
Today we head out by bike, kicking off our Tour of Sicily, in a clockwise direction. We’ll take the road north-west out of Caltagirone, out through San Michele. At Mazzarino we’ll have covered 40k, in time for today’s lunch stop. Not a bad place to have a picnic in the park. After Mazzarino we have a solid inland route to Agrigento on the coast, where the road cycling world championships were held in 1994. More recently, in 2008, the Giro d’Italia finished a stage here, after starting in Cefalu.
Accommodation: A good B & B in the centre of town.
Dinner tonight: Trad Sicilian Ristorante, 500m from our accomm.
Ride: <70 ks, undulating.
Thursday, April 17
Day three, and it’s a rest day (already?). Yes, we are making the most of a wonderful location to explore the roman ‘Valley of the Temple’ ruins of Agrigento.
This splendid archaeological park consists of eight temples (and various other remains) built between 510 BC and 430 BC.
For those of us who may want to skip the ruins, there’s always a healthy bike ride out towards the mafia town of Corleone. The agony of choice. Independent lunch arrangements today.
Dinner tonight: Another Trad Sicilian Ristorante
Ride: <70 ks, undulating.
Friday, April 18
The epic crossing of Sicily, south to north. We’ll transport out of Agrigento (trust me, it’s the easiest way) and mount up at Canicatti. From here we’ll ride to Villarosa for a picnic lunch. It’s almost the dead centre of Sicily, and most appropriately, we reach there on our hump day, halfway through the tour. From here we’ll continue on to Nicosia, and if you can ride up the driveway of our accomm (it’s longer than 1k, and averages greater than 10%) after today’s ride, you’ll have earnt more than one beer by the pool.
Ride: <95k, <2,500m of ascent.
Accommodation: Nicosia, our only Sicilian Agriturismo. Features a renovated farm house, pool & Ristorante on site. And sometimes, donkeys by the pool. (we’ve used this one for ten years, also)
Nicosia (Sicilian: Nicusìa) is a village and comune of the province of Enna in Sicily, southern Italy. Nicosia, along with Troina are the northernmost towns in the province of Enna. The vicinity traditionally contained salt mines and arable lands.
Saturday, April 19
Departing Nicosia, we’ll head east, towards Cerami. Our favorite pasticerria is here, where we can all enjoy some sweet Sicilian Cannoli. Post morning tea we’ll enjoy the scenery towards Troina and beyond. At Cesaro we will enjoy a picnic lunch, where we’ll rack the bikes and head for the ferry to Lipari, from Milazzo. We’ll be taking the evening ferry to Lipari, leaving at 6pm. ETA at Lipari is 8.30 so after check in we’ll be having a late dinner in the old port of Lipari.
Dinner tonight: Restaurant in town.
Accommodation – hotel in Lipari town
Ride: <50k, 1500m asc.
Lipari (Sicilian: Lìpari, Latin: Lipara, Ancient Greek: Meligunis) is the largest of the Aeolian Islands in the Tyrrhenian Sea off the north coast of Sicily, and the name of the island's main town. It has a permanent population of 11,231; during the May–September tourist season, its population may reach up to 20,000.
Easter Sunday, April 20
There is a good road on Lipari, and it makes a fine 25 k loop. Now while this may not sound like much, in Topbike’s well traveled opinion, it is the best 25k loop in the world. So it'll be up to you to do as many laps as you wish, before dinner. NB There really is only one road on the Island, so if you do get lost, it will only be a short matter of time before you find yourself again. 500m of ascent per lap here, too. Probably not too bad an idea to knock off by lunch time, to squeeze in a meal in town and a little exploratory walk? Some time at the beach? Morning, afternoon or evening mass? Or maybe even a siesta?
The only appointment today will be dinner time… downtown Lipari, portside
Ride: 25k (x times number of laps)
Dinner tonight: seaside dining.
Accommodation – hotel in Lipari town
Monday, April 21
Our ferry back to the mainland of Sicily departs at 6.30am, so after an early start and quick breakfast, we’ll be down to the porto and onto our ferry, for a two hour cruise back to Milazzo. Once on the mainland we’ll continue driving along the coast, maybe launching the bikes from San Filipo, and ride 20k up the range, and across some undulations in the interior of Sicily, and into our hotel in Montalbano. There is a 50k loop, out through Tripi, that we can add on, for those of us who require a little more cycling on our penultimate day.
Accommodation: 4 star hotel, just outside town
Dinner tonight: 4 star Hotel Ristorante, inhouse. Followed by a passegiata (walk) through the historic centre of town.
Ride: <20/70 ks, with hills.
Montalbano Elicona (Sicilian: Muntarbanu) is a comune (municipality) in the Province of Messina in the Italian region of Sicily, located about 150 km east of Palermo and about 50 km southwest of Messina. As of 2004, it had a population of 2,687 and an area of 67.4 km². It is mainly known for the castle built in 1233 by the Emperor Frederic II and the medieval architecture of its streets.
Tuesday, April 22
After breakfast, if time permits, we’ll fit in a ride around Montalbano, before we load the car and drive out of town. We can drop you off at Catania’s Fontarossa airport or Ferry terminal. Or anywhere that is in the direction we are heading. Arrivederci!
This tour includes:
- 8 days, 7 nights, all breakfasts and dinners, accommodation
- Ground transport in the Topbike air-conditioned van - back up vehicle on every ride (except the 'Lipari loop')
- Airport pick up and drop off in the Topbike A/C van
- See the full list of inclusions on all Topbike Tours
- Does Not include 'Ferry/Hydrofoil' tickets.
- Please pack your bike in a collapsible bag or disposable cardboard box.
[See our FAQ's and recommendations section on packing your bike]
- Please also see our recommended list of things to bring, it is most important to bring front and rear flashing lights.
- NB: The itinerary above is to be used as a guide only, as Topbike Tours are well known for making use of all (and creating some extra) opportunities, expect that variations from the above can happen at any time.