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Italy - Sicily, Volcanoes & Ancient Sites
27th April 2019 - 11th May 2019 (15 days)
Sicily, the largest island in the Mediterranean, is a rugged hilly island with a stunning coastline. It was settled by ancient Greeks, ancient Romans, Moors, Normans and Spanish, and a little bit of each culture remains. This has led to an eclectic mix of architecture and culinary art. It is particularly lovely in the spring with flowers bursting out everywhere.
This is a moving-on tour heading down the coast to Siracusa, then inland and north towards Mount Etna through amazing and hilly countryside. Not only will this tour spend time at gorgeous Syracuse with ancient Greek ruins including an ancient theatre and its wonderful old town on the island of Ortigia, but also the amazing baroque villages of Noto, Modica and Ragusa and Scicli where the TV series Montalbano was set.
- Holiday Type Guided
- Tour Manager Greg Woodford
- Grade Moderate
- Booking Status Fully Booked
- Accommodation Hotel
- Board Basis Half Board
- Travel Arrangements Land Only
- Road / Off Road Road
- Holiday Style Moving-on
- Vehicle Support Luggage Transfer
- Holiday Ref 01902
Saturday 27th April
Arrive at hotel in Catania. Stay 1 night. Bike bags left at hotel.
Sunday 28th April
Cycle via the coast and Lentini to Sortino. 55km (700m total ascent). Stay 1 night.
Monday 29th April
Cycle via two rail trails: one through Valle dell’Anapo nature reserve and another round the rocky coast into Siracusa. 51km (480m total ascent). Stay 2 nights.
Tuesday 30th April
Free day in ancient Syracuse with time to visit the Greek amphitheatre and explore the old town on Ortegia island.
Wednesday 1st May
Cycle to Noto, a 17C town-planning masterpiece, re-built in baroque style after the 1694 earthquake. 35km (270m total ascent). Stay 1 night.
Thursday 2nd May
Cycle via Modica to Scicli, two beautiful baroque towns and haunts of Montalbano. 53km (620m total ascent). Stay 1 night.
Friday 3rd May
Cycle via the coast and Marinella (really Punta Secca), passing Castello Sinigras (Donnafugata) en-route to Ragusa. 60km (790m total ascent). Stay 2 nights.
Saturday 4th May
Free day in the spectacular city of Ragusa, which decorates the vertiginous edges of a gorge with gorgeous baroque architecture.
Sunday 5th May
Cycle through the hills to Gramichele. 59km (880m total ascent). Stay 1 night.
Monday 6th May
Cycle to Piazza Armerina where there is a well-preserved Roman villa with world famous mosaics. 46km (700m total ascent). Stay 1 night.
Tuesday 7th May
Time to visit the villa, then cycle to Enna. 36km (770m total ascent). Stay 1 night.
Wednesday 8th May
Cycle to the spectacular hilltop town of Centuripe. 57km (960m total ascent). Stay 1 night.
Thursday 9th May
Cycle via Adrano castle up the volcanic slopes of Etna to Rifugio Sapienza. 36km (1780m total ascent; uplift available). Stay 1 night.
Friday 10th May
Opportunity to visit the crater, then cycle 34km downhill (1900m!) all the way into Catania. Stay 1 night.
Saturday 11th May
Tour finishes after breakfast.
Accommodation & Meals
This will be in 3-star hotels in double or twin rooms. Single rooms, where available, will incur a supplement. In some of the smaller hotels it might be necessary to use triple or even quadruple rooms. Anyone requesting a single room should indicate if they will accept occasional sharing. All breakfasts and evening meals are included. Vegetarian meals can be obtained (vegan probably as well) if noted under Special Requests on the Booking Form. Non-meat eaters should indicate if they will eat fish.
There will be a van transferring luggage from hotel to hotel and supporting the group where necessary.
Passports, Visa & Health
EU citizens must hold a passport that is still valid on the date of their return to their home country. Holders of non-EU passports are advised to check whether they require a visa. There are no compulsory health related requirements for UK residents, but you are strongly advised to check that your tetanus protection has not expired. You must also carry your European Health Insurance Card.
Our Booking Conditions stipulate that, for holidays outside the UK, travel Insurance is mandatory. Details of the level of cover needed and other conditions you should check are stated in the Booking Conditions. CTC Cycling Holidays & Tours Ltd cannot accept responsibility for any costs that may be incurred due to insufficient insurance cover.
The price of £1,640 is based on a minimum number of 10 people taking part in the holiday and is calculated at a rate of 1.12 Euros to £1 sterling (Based on exchange rates published on www.x-rates.com on 14 September 2018; please note Booking Conditions, clause 3). If there are insufficient bookings by 16th February 2019, we will contact you and return all monies paid, although in certain circumstances the holiday may still run at below minimum numbers but at the same price.
- 14 nights hotel, sharing room, half-board
- Services of backup vehicle for transporting luggage and giving some help to riders if needed
- CTC Cycling Holidays & Tours costs
Price Does Not Include
- Travel to and from the tour
- Drinks with evening meals
- Lunches or refreshments at moring ande afternoon stops
- Entry fees at any attractions
- Any other personal expenses, fees, taxes or gratuities
- Travel Insurance
- Single room supplement (£340, subject to availability)
A deposit of £600 per person is payable upon booking, with the final balance of £1,040 per person to be paid ten weeks prior to departure, by 16th February 2019.
Should you be forced to cancel your booking for any reason you must notify us in writing. Cancellation charges are as follows:
Written notice received:
Before 16th February 2019
From 16th February 2019 through to departure
The Area Covered By The Holiday
The island of Sicily is rugged and hilly, but we do not climb too high except for Mount Etna. We will be spending more time in the hilly interior than on the coast but with stunning views and quiet roads it will be worth it. However, climbs will be steady and the longest one, the climb up Etna, there will be an option of an uplift.
Fans of Inspector Montalbano will enjoy location-spotting on our route, which has been carefully planned to touch as many places featured in the TV series as may be sensibly daisy-chained by bike.
Cycling though the hinterland will give us a real taste on how the Sicilians live. The tour includes a trip up Mount Etna, with a stay at the refuge at the top of the road, about 2000m, with the option of a trip up to the view the unique crater.
Rides & Rest Days
The roads we use are largely tarmac and in probably quite good condition. However, there are climbs, and you should have low enough gears to manage. We will have some shorter days to do some sightseeing, and two rest days are included in wonderful places in order to maximise the site seeing opportunities. Most inland roads are extremely quiet and the drivers give cyclists plenty of room. It is generally a quiet island, but it gets really busy on the coast in the summer, but we should find virtually no tourists.
The rides will be supported by the leader, at a pace of approx 20kph on the flat, a lot slower on the hills. The routes have been carefully designed to minimise climbing and maximise enjoyment. However, a training regime before the tour is recommended, as a good level of fitness will allow you, and the group as a whole, to enjoy the riding.
Route instructions and GPX tracks will be sent out to all participants approximately three weeks before the tour starts.
Accommodation & Meals
Accommodation will generally be in 3-star hotels, some in towns and some nestled in the mountains. Double and twin rooms will be the standard, with some singles available for a supplement. In some smaller hotels three or four to a room might be necessary. Anyone requesting a single room should indicate if they will accept occasional sharing.
If you know you are a noisy sleeper, then we ask you to request and pay the supplement for a single room. This should be stated on the booking form. In the event of an odd number of individual participants expecting to share with another of their sex, one person might sometimes be accommodated in a single room at no extra charge.
All breakfasts and evening meals are included, either at the hotel or in a restaurant nearby. One of the key areas where Italy is different to any other country is food. We all know how good the Italian food is, but what is less well known is that the Italians will often bend over backwards to see that their guests eat well. That bodes well for vegetarians and vegans who usually eat better than in most other countries. Sicilian food is eclectic, not only is it basically Italian, but also has much Moorish influence, with the deserts and use of nuts and dried fruit quite apparent. Fish is very common on the coast, and supremely fresh. Sardines and Anchovies are typical Sicilian, as is Tuna steak either grilled or carpaccio. The Sicilians are incredibly welcoming and we should eat really well in the evenings.
Participants will be expected to make their way to and from Catania, but you should not make any travel arrangements until you have been informed that you have a place and that the tour is definitely running.
The maximum group size will be 22 excluding the Tour Managers.
Weather & Clothing
Sicily can be very warm in April / May, however Etna is quite high and typically still has snow in May. The refuge is at 2000m, and the top is at 3000m!
Cycles & Equipment
A lightweight road bike, touring cycle or hybrid is suitable. You should ensure your cycle is well maintained, paying particular attention to wheels, tyres and brakes. A low bottom gear (e.g. small chainring the same size or smaller than the largest cog on your rear wheel) is recommended. If unsure about gears, please discuss with the Tour Manager. Lights are recommended but might not prove essential.
Each participant is expected to carry what they need during the day, but the rest of your luggage will be transferred for you to the next hotel. Please try to travel light.
An equipment list will be included with the final documents.
Maps & Guides
You should carry a map in case you become separated from the group. The Touring Club Italia map of Sicily area is sufficient, but Freytag & Berndt and Marco Polo also offer good maps of the region.
Travel Insurance & Advice
In addition to travel insurance, EU nationals should carry a European Health Insurance Card, obtainable from www.nhs.uk/NHSEngland/Healthcareabroad/EHIC/. This enables you to take advantage of emergency medical services free or at a discount under a reciprocal provision that exists between EU member states. Your travel insurer may refuse to meet the extra costs of medical treatment if you do not carry this card.
Before booking you should check the latest travel advice from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office including security and local laws, plus passport and visa information, at www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice or on 0845 850 2829.