A BIKING TOUR IN THE WEST OF SICILY, AWAY FROM MASS TOURISM, In search of the 'real island'

BIKING WEST COAST SICILY

Up Erice, Sicily
  • Starting price

    Guided tour: € 1599
    Self-Guided: € 899

  • Duration

    8 days/ 7 nights

  • Activity level

    Enthusiast

  • Departing dates

    20 June 2020 

  • Guided group tour

    Small group minimum 6 riders | Private groups, any size on requested dates

  • Starting location

    Castellammare del Golfo

  • Final Destination

    Palermo

  • Accommodation

    4 nights at 4-star | 1 night at 3-star | 2 nights at Agriturismo

  • Meals

    5 dinners

  • Support level

    Guding, van assistance, mobile workshop, bar, gel and electrolytes available on purchase

Support levels

Guided tour

  • ACCOMMODATION

    4 nights at 4-star | 1 night at 3-star | 2 nigths at Agriturismo

  • MEALS

    5 dinners; all breakfasts.

  • SUPPORT LEVEL

    Guiding; van assistance; mobile workshop; bars, gels and electrolytes available on purchase; 10% discount on bike rental.

  • NOT INCLUDED

    Flight tickets; extras in hotel, etc.; drinks during the dinner; city tax (if any); travel insurance; individual arrival and departure transfer from/to Palermo or Trapani airport; bike rental.

  • ON REQUEST

    Individual arrival transfer from Palermo or Trapani airport to Castellammare del Golfo; individual departure transfer from Palermo to Palermo or Trapani airport; supplement for single accommodation € 250 p.p.; bike rental. Extra night in Palermo € 60 (Breakfast included).

Self-guided tour

  • ACCOMMODATION

    4 nights at 4-star | 1 night at 3-star | 2 nights at Agriturismo

  • MEALS

    5 dinners; all breakfasts.

  • SUPPORT LEVEL

    Detailed briefing and a Road-Book containing tour details; GPS with preloaded stage routes; telephone assistance during your stay; 10% discount on bike rental.

  • NOT INCLUDED

    Flight tickets; extras in hotel, etc; drinks during the dinner; city tax (if any); travel insurance; Transfer from/to Palermo or Trapani airport; bike rental; luggage transport.

  • ON REQUEST

    Individual arrival transfer from Palermo or Trapani airport to Castellammare del Golfo; individual departure transfer from Palermo to Palermo or Trapani airport; supplement for single accommodation € 280 p.p.; bike rental; luggage transfer (€ 600 p.p. + € 10 per pax - min 2 persons). Extra night in Palermo € 60 (Breakfast included).

Send us a quick inquiry

Western Sicily is simply a different world. But different from what? For sure from the rest of Italy, but primarily from the eastern part of the island, way more touristy.

You find here the same astonishing beauty, history and culture spread out in the whole island but with fewer tourists, less bustle and exactly the same great food.

One of the things that makes western Sicily a so unique destination is its proximity to Africa, much stronger here then in the more developed areas on the east side, with Moorish influences either in the architecture - like in the tight passages of the old quarters - and in the local cuisine.

But this land, so strategical since the ancient times, has known so many dominations, from so many civilizations. And each domination has left its footprint in the culture, architecture, language, cuisine, wine.

“Sicily has suffered thirtheen foreign dominations from wich it has taken both the best and the worst. The sequence of different cultures has made Sicily a fascinating place, quite unlike any other." - Andrea Camilleri - one of Italy's most famous contemporary writers.

Naming all the highlights of this tour in the hearth of western Sicily would require pages and pages. Just think about Palermo, where the tour starts and ends, or Monreale, Erice, Mazara del Vallo. Each of this towns would deserve a longer visit: have a look at the resources here below to get a better insight.

Is Sicily paradise? We can say it is for us who like to travel on a bike, but we cannot deny that is also the most controversial and complicated Italian region, in which the poignant beauty of the places and the warm hospitality of the local people is opposed to well known social problems. We'll talk about that when crossing towns like Corleone or when visiting Palermo.

Love it or hate it: that's Sicily.

Biking is a great way to explore this portion of the island, as cycling provides the slow approach that makes travelers appreciate every single sight.

The tour is designed in the shape of a ring that embraces Sicily's western end, proposing relatively low elevation gains on gentle gradients as well as distances that leave us plenty of time for not only exploring what geography and architecture have to show us, but also to taste - stage after stage - the world-class cooking and wine that is a recognized asset of this region.

This tour is offered either as guided or self guided. But we suggest to take a chance to discover 'real' Sicily supported by our local team. You'll see it makes big difference!

Our Route

Day 1: Arrival day

Arrival at Palermo or Trapani airport, transfer (not included in the package price) and accommodation in Castellammare del Golfo, pleasant seaside town. Overnight at a three-star hotel. Dinner not included. 


DAY 2: Castellammare del Golfo - Trapani (Saline di Nubia) 66,5km - 1271m elevation gain

Stage with medium difficulty level. Left Castellammare del Golfo, our route features a continuous up and down for about 30km. Then a long and spectacular hairpin climb will take us to the small village of Erice, considered as one of the most beautiful villages in Italy. A cappuccino break in Erice is mandatory, especially when accompanied by a local specialty like the Genovesi cookies. Tasty, right? After this sweet break, we'll descend to Trapani, one of the most important towns in Sicily, and famous for the centuries-old marine salt production. Our hotel is not far from there, and in the last 6km of our ride, we can take a chance to admire the stunning salt pans of the natural reserve of Trapani and Paceco, visit the Museum of Salt and learn about the "white gold" that drove the local economy for hundred years. Overnight and dinner at a four-star hotel at Saline di Nubia (Trapani).

climbing to Erice

DAY 3: Trapani (Saline di Nubia) - Castelvetrano 87km - 429m elevation gain

On this day we leave the coastline and explore the inner regions of western Sicily. Left Trapani, after 25 km, we'll reach Marsala, sea town known for the homonym Marsala wine, a fortified wine famous all over the world, but also for being the landing town of the "Expedition of thousand": the campaign undertaken in 1860 by Giuseppe Garibaldi that overthrew the Bourbon Kingdom of the Two Sicilies (Naples) and reunited southern Italy and Sicily with the central and northern part.

"Marsala wine is worthy of any gentleman’s table"- Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson.

We'll accept Horatio Nelson's suggestions later, while tasting the famous Sicilian pastries at dinner! But back to the cycling... past Marsala we'll ride along the enchanting coastline towards Mazara del Vallo, an ancient town that is synonymous with fresh fish, here in Italy. The ancient fishing tradition is testified by the largest fishing fleet in Italy. But there's more here... like the world famous statue of a Dancing Satyr netted from the sea, a labyrinthine North African Kasbah in the town centre and some delightful architecture. Again, layers from many different cultures that make this island so special. From Mazara, last 30 km to reach our hotel, situated between the village of Castelvetrano and Selinunte, the westernmost outpost of the Greek territories in Sicily and nowadays is the biggest Archaeological park in Europe. Overnight and dinner at a four-star hotel.

Salt pans in Trapani

Day 4: Castelvetrano - Sambuca di Sicilia 69 km - 1035m elevation gain

Out of Castelvetrano we'll keep exploring the wildest areas of western Sicily, through the hilly countryside of the Belice Valley, for us cyclists a region where scenic roads go through vineyards, but historically an area of great interest, as it was totally destroyed by an earthquake in 1968. We'll see around us the indelible signs of that disaster either in the landscapes and in the memories of the local population: from the small village of Partanna, and for the next 30 km we'll mostly encounter ghost villages, aside the ever present vineyards and pastures.

Noteworthy, the suggestive Cretto di Burri (or Cretto di Ghibellina): a huge land artwork, built as a form of memorial on the ruins of the town of Gibellina and conceived by the artist Alberto Burri, that has followed the former street plan covering the village with a white concrete maze.

...it is a sort of concrete labyrinth, which, seen from above, is similar to the maze of lies in which the judges had to orient themselves to find the thread of the investigation" - Alberto Burri

Past this artwork, our ride will continue through the vineyards of Belice, crossing the important wine towns of Poggioreale, Salaparuta, Santa Margherita del Belice up to Sambuca di Sicilia, our destination. A day rich in culture ends in a comfortable accommodation at Sambuca di Sicilia. Overnight and dinner at a four-star hotel.

Near Cretto di Ghibellina

Day 5: Sambuca di Sicilia - Santo Stefano di Quisquina 73 km - 1700m elevation gain

Today we'll face a demanding stage in one of the wildest area of the island, very poor in settlements. And during our ride, we will encounter only two villages. Left Sambuca di Sicilia we'll ride on a continuous up and down across the Sicani Mountains up to Chiusa Sclafani, a small village active in the cherries production (capable of 3800 quintals/year), but also rich in more typically Mediterranean products like olives and peaches.

Up and down again to Palazzo Adriano, a village founded in the XV century by Albanian emigrants and known for being film set of Nuovo Cinema Paradiso, the masterpiece of Giuseppe Tornatore which won an Oscar in 1990. Nothing more fascinating than having a break right there!

Maybe with cappuccino and "cuddureddi" - a sweet pastry characterized by a filling of cooked wine and almonds. So much tasty!

Past Palazzo Adriano, nature becomes the unique protagonist, and riding through pastures, cultivated fields and eventually forests we'll reach Santo Stefano Quisquina, last village and our destination. The hotel, a comfy four-star, is 3 km out of village. Dinner at hotel.


Day 6: Santo Stefano di Quisquina - Masseria Rossella 70 km - 870m elevation gain

Another hilly stage. From Santo Stefano di Quisquina we'll ride northwards. All around us prairies, cultivations and pastures. Past Prizzi, we'll head towards Corleone. If you're a fan of the Godfather trilogy, this name will remind you for sure the movies directed by Francis Ford Coppola.

The movies were inspired right by this place - Corleone - which has gained notoriety because of the mafia. However, if you speak to the residents of the town, they'll tell you they don't know anyone belonging to that criminal organization. And that the mafia itself doesn't actually exist. And of course the big business of mafia doesn't take place in the small center, where there's a lack of possible business opportunities, but in the big towns, like Palermo. Actually Corleone was the town where the main mafia's families used to live.

We don't agree to much with that local way to analyze this very complex organization and have our opinions, which we'll be of course happy to share with you. Past Corleone, we'll ride onto rolling hills through the countryside up to our hotel, situated under the limestone massif of Rocca Busambra, and covered by the biggest forest in western Sicily: the Ficuzza forest. A peaceful place to recover. Overnight and dinner at a Agriturismo. 

SANTO STEFANO DI QUISQUINA

Day 7: Masseria Rossella - Palermo 50 km - 650m elevation gain

Short stage on our last day: this would give you some more time to visit Palermo, a really stunning place, you'll agree with us. Left our hotel we'll reach Piana degli Albanesi, considered one of the most important Arbëreshe colonies (decedents of Albanian refugees) in Sicily. Locals maintain the typical traits of Albanian culture, preserving their language, traditions and religion.

Piana degli Albanesi is also known for being the best cannoli place, and after tasting this delicacy you will agree with the famous sentence of Peter Clemenza - right-hand man of Vito Corleone in the Godfather - when he said: "leave the gun, take the cannoli".

Past Piana degli Albanesi, we'll approach the Palermo area. The hilly landscapes step aside to show us the sea and the coastline. Before reaching Palermo, we'll pass through the village of Monreale, famous for its magnificent Cathedral, a Sicilian masterpiece built during the Middle Age, perfect example of coexistence between Islamic, Byzantine and Romanesque cultures. We are 7 km far from Palermo. Our hotel is situated in the heart of the town. A perfect position to experience a bit of the Sicilian lifestyle, walking through the picturesque markets of Ballarò and Vucciria, tasting the amazing Sicilian street-food and feeling the warmth of this friendly population. Overnight at a 4-star hotel. Dinner not included.

A note for those either on the guided or self guided tour: we offer the opportunity to get an extra night at Palermo (check in the 'ON REQUEST' items). And we warmly suggest to take it!

Palermo

Day 8: Farewell and departure day.

Transfer from Palermo to Palermo airport or Trapani airport (not included in the package price) and end of services.


Resources

Similar Trips

Trans Dolomites

Commodo mi euismod diam ac vehicula duis, ut euismod erat posuere velit vel, pretium at pretium. Sapien leo id iaculis fermentum massa nulla, eget vestibulum tempor. Posuere praesent dolor nibh in, ut egestas.

Alp Challenge Week

Pretium suscipit, nunc vestibulum et nisi sociosqu lectus velit, arcu est massa est pharetra in ut, expedita viverra nihil cum elementum et. Varius porttitor class nec elit consectetuer, lorem ac luctu.

We have (so far) three offices accross Italy. Contact us via email, call us or drop by.

Cagliari

Headquarters

Via Gaetano Donizetti, 7
Quartu Sant'Elena, Italy
+39 070 204 10 29
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Costa Smeralda

@ Hotel Airone

SP59 to Baia Sardinia
Arzachena, Italy
+39 070 204 10 29
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Letojanni

Sicily headquarters

Via Vittorio Emanuele, 130
Letojanni, Italy
+39 340 342 6320
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Support from 9 AM to 1 PM | 16 to 19 (GMT+1)

Newsletter