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A Taste of Sicily Cycling

A TASTE OF SICILY CYCLING - DAY BY DAY

Di Stefano Palace 4****

Ragusa (Days 1+2)

In the centre of 'new' Ragusa, the Di Stefano Palace is a perfect example of Neo-Classical Baroque architecture. The C19 residence has been restored to its original elegance complete with original frescoes. All the rooms have a lovely modern touch with refined decor which fit in with the historic building. The hotel has a small spa, and bar area. The sister hotel Villa Del Lauro, which is used on certain dates has a swimming pool which can be used by guests staying at the Di Stefano Palace.

Further details on the hotel website.

Day 1 - Arrive in Ragusa

Arrive at your luxury **** hotel in Ragusa. (Staying at the De Stefano Palace, Half Board)

Day 2 - Ragusa to Modica 39km/24.5mi or 17km/11mi

You have two excellent choices today. We strongly recommend spending time in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ragusa Ibla - the simply stunning old town of Ragusa - rebuilt in 1693 after a huge earthquake and full of enchanting Baroque architecture, along with a number of tempting cafes and restaurants for lunch. Follow your visit with an undulating cycle through a rich, fertile valley of cacti and pomegranate orchards before freewheeling into the centre of Modica Bassa (the lower part of Modica City). Today's longer option climbs above Modica, skirting Modica Alta (the upper part of the city), before passing quaint, dry-stone-wall farms as you weave your way to Cava d'Ispica - a verdant gorge full of thousands of caves and grottoes, stretching for 13 kilometres/8 miles between Modica and Ispica! (Staying at the Ferro Hotel, Breakfast only)

Ferro Hotel 4****

Modica (Day 3)

A modern design hotel just 10 minutes from the centre of charming Modica. The hotel building was once a hostel for railworkers but has now been turned into a very good comfortable hotel with large rooms and bathrooms. The hotel is just a 10 minute walk from the centre of Baroque Modica, looking over the old train station.

Further details on the hotel website.

Day 3 - At Modica

Oft-referred to as the Baroque capital of Sicily, the atmospheric city of Modica sits in a dramatic setting, perched between limestone cliffs. This UNESCO-listed city is home to an impressive 29 churches including two grand Baroque cathedrals, along with charming narrow streets peppered with cafes, restaurants and a number of tempting chocolate shops! Modica's chocolate is one of the Ragusa area's most famous products and to this day it's still made to ancient Aztec methods. Make sure you sample some at Antica Dolceria Bonajuto, the oldest chocolate factory in Sicily!(Staying at the Ferro Hotel, Breakfast only)

Day 4 - Modica to Contrada Piombo 42km/26.5mi

Start today with a feel-good downhill through a valley rich in pomegranates, cacti and quaint little farmsteads, on your way to the unmissable little town of Scicli. Overlooked by an imposing rock on which sits the magnificent Church of San Matteo, Scicli, like the other towns in the area, has been totally rebuilt in a pure Sicilian Baroque style following the 1693 earthquake. Wander its atmospheric streets and be sure to check out the impressive, hilltop cemetery, just out of town, full of mausoleums and surrounded by magnificent pines and tall cypress trees. Your last stop of the day is the lively town of Santa Croce Camerina, which you'll reach after a scenic cycle through a verdant valley, rich in olive groves. Enjoy a well-deserved drink in one of the piazzas before your final stretch to the ***** Donnafugata Golf Resort and Spa, your home for the next two nights. (Staying at the Donnafugata Golf Resort, Half Board)

Donnafugata Golf Resort & Spa, Contrada Piombo 5*****

Contrada Piombo (Days 4+5)

The Donnafugata Golf Resort & Spa is set in acres of parkland and pastures surrounded by two golf courses, this luxury resorts with its small block of rooms is an oasis in the countryside. It has a large spa, outdoor pool, piano room and wine bar. The rooms have all mod cons and are of a good size, the main public areas are housed in original farmhouse buildings giving a nice feel to the place.

Further details on the hotel website.

Day 5 - At Contrada Piombo

You could be forgiven for holing up in your luxurious hotel today, enjoying a dip in the pool, a relaxing spa or perhaps a round of golf. There are also a number of pristine beaches nearby (we're particularly fond of the small fishing village of Scoglitti). If you're itching to get out and explore, we recommend following a 19km/20mi circular route to the striking Castello di Donnafugata (the castle of the fugitive woman), which sits atop a hill overlooking the glistening Mediterranean. The castle allegedly derives its name from the imprisonment of Queen Blanche of Navarre in the C15, who refused the amorous attentions of Count Bernardo Cabrera and was subsequently locked in the castle! Take some time to explore the formal gardens, full of exotic and Mediterranean plants, perhaps enjoying a traditional Sicilian lunch in one of the restaurants. (Staying at the Donnafugata Golf Resort, Half Board)

Day 6 - Contrada Piombo to Marina di Modica 47km/29.5mi

The unspoiled coastline beckons and today you'll follow an idyllic route along the Mediterranean, taking in a number of charming coastal towns. A real highlight is the small, sun-kissed fishing village of Punta Secca - the perfect place to stop for a leisurely lunch overlooking the village's powder-soft sands and striking lighthouse. Marina di Ragusa, Cava d'Aliga and Sampieri (one of Ragusa's most picturesque fishing villages) all offer beautiful sandy beaches where you can stop and get off the saddle today. (Staying at the Torre Dantona, Half Board)

Torre Dantona 4****

Marina di Modica (Day 6)

The Torre Dantona dates back to 1882 and is an old farm building in the middle of olive groves. The old buildings have been lovingly restored to create a peaceful oasis just km's from the coast. The rooms have been created from the old stables and lie in a row of terraces, inside they have been tastefully decorated with a modern touch.

Further details on the hotel website.

Day 7 - Marina di Modica to Portopalo di Capo Passero 49km/31mi

Hugging the coastline again you head to Pozzallo this morning, home to no less than four Blue Flag beaches (see our blog for the importance of Blue Flag beaches).  Why not stop for a morning coffee and dip your toes in the Ionian Sea? Cutting inland you'll cycle through pantani, a series of saltwater lagoons rich in birdlife such as mallards, flamingos, herons and storks, on your way to today's highlight - the Isola delle Correnti (the 'Island of Stream'). The southernmost point of Sicily's mainland, this isolated, seemingly adrift island is also the point at which the Ionian and Mediterranean seas meet. It's quite a sight to behold! (Staying at the Portopalo Suite, Breakfast only)

Portopalo Suites Hotel 4****

Portoplao di Capo Passero (Day 7)

This charming 10 room boutique hotel is located in the centre of Portopalo di Capo Passero. The rooms have been created to a high standard and have a modern quirky design. The hotel has used many environmental materials in the renovation of the old apartment block, and it has philosophy of mixing nature, culture and activity.

Further details on the hotel website.

Day 8 - Portopalo di Capo Passero to Noto 45km/28.5mi

Today's cycle takes you to the beautiful old fishing village of Marzamemi - one of Sicily's prettiest - with its colorful wooden boats, fishermen's houses and charming buildings such as the Baroque church of San Francesco di Paola. Marzamemi became the centre of Sicily's tuna fishing industry under its Arab influence and it keeps the tradition alive today, using artisanal fishing methods to produce a number of delicacies including canned tuna, smoked swordfish and marinated anchovies! Making your way to Noto you'll head inland on a virtually traffic-free road that winds its way through olive groves, vineyards, almond trees, sugar cane and beautifully perfumed citrus orchards - idyllic surroundings for a picnic lunch. (Staying at the Villa Favorita, Half Board)

Villa Favorita 4****

Noto (Days 8+9)

Villa Noto is an old grand villa on a hill looking over to the magnificent Baroque town of Noto. Once the grand house of of an Olive Oil producer it is now a grand hotel with its own pretty courtyard and lovely outdoor pool. The rooms retain an old elegance to them but have the right modern amenities to make your stay a comfortable one.

Further details on the hotel website.

Day 9 - At Noto

Your hotel is located in a lovely courtyard setting with an outdoor pool and superb views over Noto. If you can tear yourself away from the **** luxury, you could cycle to the nearby seaside resort of Lido di Noto for a lazy day on the beach, or opt for our recommended cycle ride into atmospheric Noto itself. Perhaps the most beautiful of all the cities you visit on this holiday, Noto's current centre was rebuilt after the C17 earthquake and is considered a Baroque masterpiece as well as being an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Wander down the Corso Vittorio Emmanuele, overlooked by Noto's elegant cathedral, and explore the side streets filled with an array of fine architecture and cafes serving delicious local treats such as the savory arancini and sweet cannoli. (Staying at the Villa Favorita, Half Board)

Day 10 - Noto to Siracusa 47km/29.5mi

What a final day! You'll follow the coast to the stunning city of Siracusa, built on an ancient Greek settlement and boasting a treasure trove of temples, amphitheatres and an ancient castle. On the way you'll cycle through Avola - home of the famous Nero D'Avola red wine grape. You'll also enjoy views of the majestic Mount Etna, and discover Plemmirio, an important area for flora and fauna and whose waters are home to a number of species including tuna, sea urchins, dolphins and sperm whales. After passing the Murro di Porco Cape, a striking landmark in the 1943 Conquest of Sicily, a final stretch takes you along the Bay of Siracusa and into the city itself. Here you'll find your **** hotel located just 300 metres from the island of Ortigia, known as the city's 'historical heart'. (Staying at the Grand Albergo Alfeo, Breakfast only)



GRAND ALBERGO ALFEO ****
SIRACUSA (Day 8)

The Grand Albergo Alfeo, is a high standard 4* hotel which was once a bank. The hotel building has been restored to a high standard and the rooms are large and airy. The hotel is just 300m from the enchanting island of Ortigia, the beating heart of Siracusa.

Find out more on the hotel website.

Day 11 - Leave Siracusa

Transfer back to Catania airport, or maybe spend extra nights in the Island's second city.

For a longer tour, why not consider combining this with our Secrets of Sicily Cycling.



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