Trip Type : Group Tour
Sicily Magnifica Tour tour
Palermo Sicily Sicily Magnifica Tour Trip
Culinary & Wine Cooking Sicily Magnifica Tour package
Cultural Culture Sicily Magnifica Tour package

Sicily Magnifica Tour

Tourissimo
5.0 . Excellent
100%
Travel Style: You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level: Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level: 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards. Premium - 4 star
8 days
From: $ 4,495 $ 562 / day
Checking price

Overview

Highlights

  • Palermo’s amazing Arab-Norman architecture, including 9 buildings recognized by UNESCO
  • Guided visit to Monreale Cathedral
  • Corleone: the rebirth of an iconic mafia village
  • Wine tasting at Planeta Winery
  • Picnic with Poggioreale Antica inhabitants
  • The Museum Ex Stabilimento Florio on Favignana Island
  • History of salt trading
  • Unique mix of cultures and influences
  • The slow rhythm of proud people who have experienced many invasions and dominations and have always come out on top
  • Traditional Sicilian cannoli made just for us by Signor Nino

Short Description

A Flavorful Mediterranean Bike Journey through Timeless Sicily

The largest island in the Mediterranean is arguably the most beautiful and certainly the most dense with history and humanity. Sicily's complex culture is matched only by its stunning natural beauty and the incredible, diverse landscape: rolling hills and valleys swathed in grapevines, miles of aquamarine coastline and a series of archipelagos that can be reached via a quick boat ride. We will pedal back in time to a colorful and enigmatic past that has never left the island. With Tourissimo, you will see the real Sicily.

Groups are between 25-60 people, typically ~30-40. Usually there will be many opportunities to split off and enjoy meals and excursions in smaller groups. This is the most economical way to travel, saving up to 40% versus booking the same itinerary yourself.
Trip Type Group Tour
Spend most of the time outdoors. Common trip themes and activities include cycling, hiking, kayaking, whitewater rafting.
Itinerary Focus Active
3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards.
Lodging Level Premium - 4 star
Flights & Transport Only ground transport
Start City Palermo
End City Palermo

Trip Includes

  • Bikes equipped with Garmin GPS (choice Bianchi road carbon or hybrid; Ebike for an extra charge)
  • Two professional tour guides throughout the program
  • All accommodations
  • All breakfasts, all lunches and all dinners
  • Wine and beer with meals, coffee, cappuccino, and gelato stops
  • Support vehicle during the tour and luggage transfer
  • Shuttle at the beginning and at the end of the tour
  • All activities mentioned in the day-by-day description

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Itinerary

Day 1: Palermo

Terrain: Flat

Ride: 15 mi or 24 km

Meals: Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Massimo Plaza (alternative Centrale Palace)

One of your guides will meet you at Palermo Airport for a late morning shuttle to your hotel in the city center where everyone will gather for an introduction over lunch at one of the famous open markets. In the afternoon, we will go for a short warm-up ride to test our bikes and to tune into vacation mode. Palermo is the cultural center of Sicily and is known for its architecture, which has just been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. You will get to appreciate this during a walking tour guided by Giuseppe Di Giorgio, a local friend of Beppe Salerno who co-designed the tour. The walk will end with an exclusive access to a noble palace where one of the most iconic scenes of Italian filmography was shot. Dinner will be at one of the best restaurants in town.

Day 2: Ficuzza

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodations: Antica Stazione di Ficuzza

Terrain: Hilly

Ride: 25/46 mi or 40/73 km

Today we start our bike journey, leaving Palermo and traveling into an unexpected, rural Sicily. Orange, olive and almond trees are abundant in the fertile valleys as we transfer to Monreale. In Monreale we visit the Cathedral, also recognized by UNESCO, and considered the best expression of Norman architecture in Sicily. Monreale is situated on the slopes of Monte Caputo and the ride will afford breathtaking views of the valleys below as we descend. In the town of Piana degli Albanesi we’ll stop to taste the best cannoli in Sicily! Rolling, secondary roads take us to our accommodation near Corleone in the middle of the Sicilian countryside, an area characterized by cultivated fields and Mediterranean scrub. If you’ve read The Godfather by Mario Puzo or seen the blockbuster film of the same name by Francis Ford Coppola, you’ve heard of Corleone. The young Vito Corleone flees to the New World to become the respected man of honor that the Italian immigrants called Padrino (Godfather). After the movie, Sicily became synonymous with the Mafia and omerta, the code of silence.

Day 3: Menfi

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Foresteria Planeta (alternative Relais Casina Miregia)

Terrain: Rolling

Ride: 51/66 mi or 81/105 km

Today’s panoramic morning ride involves a gradual descent and a short climb on the crest of the Sicani Mountain Regional Park. We stop and have a lecture on the history of mafia right in Corleone. Nowadays, we are seeing the rebirth of Corleone where the mob used to rule, thanks to the government and NGOs, and to the new generations believing in a legal alternative (such as tourism). Annalisa, from the Laboratorio della Legalita’ Association, will guide us through an eye-opening exhibit on mafia and its many facets. Upon leaving, a coffee at The Godfather bar is a possible stop. We continue on to Lake Arancio, a slice of paradise between Sambuca di Sicilia and Menfi. After crossing several sleepy villages, we will reach our wine tasting destination, the beautiful Ulmo Wine Estate owned by the Planeta family. The winery lies on the banks of the Lake Arancio in especially beautiful countryside and just a few meters from the 15th century farmhouse which has belonged to the family since then. We will take a tour of the winery and taste the local production, from international grapes such as chardonnay and syrah, to indigenous grapes such as grecanico and nero d’avola. Our hotel is just outside of Menfi. Planeta’s Foresteria is a romantic mix of rural luxury and Sicilian hospitality. Relax by the swimming pool and enjoy the view before a cooking class with a local chef. After the class you will own Planeta’s family recipes, from Sicilian-style pasta with sardines to caponata, from the superb timbale in Ricotta cheese crust to scabbardfish with herbs. 

Day 4: Menfi

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Foresteria Planeta (alternative Relais Casina Miregia)

Terrain: Hilly

Ride: 53 mi or 85 km (shorter and longer options available)

Today’s loop ride takes us inland to the ghost town of Poggioreale. This town (and others) was almost destroyed and then abandoned in 1968 due to a violent earthquake. The ruins show a somehow sinister, yet fascinating pre-1968 Sicilian Village. The lush, fertile Belice River Valley is home to shepherds who proudly carry on their cheesemaking traditions (Slow food presidia), unwilling to settle for the comfort and opportunities of the coastal towns. What better way to enjoy the day than a picnic with fresh vegetables, crispy bread, and cheese sampling? Our host is Signor Giacinto of Poggioreale Antica. He will tell us about old Poggioreale and his dream of making it an open air museum. In the afternoon we meet Stefano, a young wine maker that with much pride and against all odds has started an interesting production and he is in the process of bringing back the indigenous grapes such as Catarratto (white) and Perricone (red). We will take a tour of the vineyard which is next to the old village of Montevago, also destroyed by the earthquake. The way back to Menfi is a rolling ride with very little traffic and some gorgeous photo opportunities. For dinner, we will transfer along the coast to Porto Palo for a seafood dinner at a restaurant that is known all over Sicily for its mouthwatering seafood dishes prepared with the daily catch such as mussels, sardines, octopus and lobster.

Day 5: Marsala

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodation: Carmine Hotel

Terrain: Rolling

Ride: 51 mi or 83 km

After our breakfast "made in Sicily", following the Ciclovia of the Southern Coast we’ll arrive in Selinunte, one of the most impressive archeological sites of ancient Greece. In the 6th century it was a city with 100,000 inhabitants, and was one of the most powerful in the world. Today it impresses visitors with its striking waterfront setting. Leaving Selinunte we’ll pedal along golden, sandy beaches to reach Mazara del Vallo. It is not a touristy town, but a busy workaday port with the largest fishing fleet in Italy. We’ll have lunch here which will feature the best of the daily catch. There’s a strong north African influence in this town which can be seen in the labyrinth of streets called the Casbah. The eastern half of the island is almost completely flat and very easy to explore by bicycle. Continuing along the Southwest coast of Sicily we reach Marsala. Marsala is located at the westernmost part of Sicily and it is in the Italian history books for the docking of Garibaldi on May 11th 1860. Nowadays, Marsala is best known for its sweet dessert wines. We spend one night in Marsala, a town worth exploring and learning about.

Day 6: Favignana

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodations: Relais Antiche Saline

Terrain: Boat and swim day

Ride: none

From Marsala we’ll sail to butterfly-shaped Favignana Island, the largest of the Egadi islands. We’ll learn about the Florio Museum, a former tuna processing plant, and the history of tuna fishing on the island, including the “mattanza,” the traditional ritual of trapping and killing tuna. After taking in the sights we’ll gather at the port and board a boat for a private tour. Around the coast tufa quarries are carved out of the crystal-clear waters. We’ll stop at protected coves to swim in clear, blue water and enjoy lunch on the boat. The rest of the day is open to enjoy the relaxed pace of island life, taking a stroll through the piazzas and small streets or maybe relaxing on the beach! We make our way back to the Sicilian coast via hydrofoil to reach our next hotel. We spend two nights in a Relais in the middle of saline, yet another spectacular setting hand-picked by Tourissimo tour designers.

Day 7: Nubia

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Accommodations: Relais Antiche Saline

Terrain: Rolling with one long climb

Ride: 40/58 mi or 64/92 km

The province of Trapani is known for its coral, tuna fishing tradition, and wine. We will ride south through the peaceful landscape of saline, which are artificial ponds where salt, a very precious product traded in the Mediterranean since the Bronze Age, is still collected. Salt was a highly valued trade item to the point of being considered a form of currency. Dotted along the salt pans are tiny windmills that were used to grind salt. From there we’ll ride into a nature reserve and every turn in this network of secondary roads affords stunning views of the Egadi Islands to the West and Erice to the North. We then ride to the top of Mount Erice, at around 750 meters (2,460 ft) above sea level (but there is also a chairlift option). Our celebratory dinner will be in the magic setting of the Antiche Saline.

Day 8: Nubia

Meals: Breakfast

Terrain: Departure

Ride: None

After breakfast you will be transferred in private taxis to the Palermo airport according to your travel plans and flight schedule.

Availability

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Price From $ 4,495
Price Per Day: $ 562 per day
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  • Single Supplement (Single Occupancy): $ 600

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Prices may vary due to local taxes and trip seasonality. Click "Request Info" to inquire directly with the tour operator for the final trip price.

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Details

Flights & Transport

Only ground transport

Private transfer by Tourissimo from the Palermo airport to the first Hotel. Upon request, guests can be picked-up elsewhere (additional cost).

Private transfer by Tourissimo from last hotel to the Palermo airport.

Group Size:

Intimate Group - 12 max

Accomodations

  • Relais Antiche Saline Trapani (Sicily)
  • Foresteria Planeta Menfi (Sicily)

Cancellation Policy:

If Days Prior to Departure is 91+, then the Cancellation Fee is Admin fee – 250 USD

If Days Prior to Departure is 61-90, then the Cancellation Fee is 25% of tour price

If Days Prior to Departure is 31-60, then the Cancellation Fee is 50% of tour price

If Days Prior to Departure is 0-30, then the Cancellation Fees is 100% of tour price

Additional Information:

Tour Level

 

Recreational/Active/Athletic - Active: 30 to 55 mi a day along flat and rolling terrain. Additional miles available on some days.

 

Climate Data

 

In May, temperatures average 16C (62F) low / 24C (75F) max - precipitation probability is 4%.

 

In September, temperatures average 16C (63F) low / 25C (76F) max - precipitation probability is 4%.

 

In October, temperatures average 16C (62F) low / 23C (73F) max - precipitation probability is 8%.

 

Info about food and wine, and Slow Food products

 

Sicilian cuisine shows traces of all of the cultures which established themselves on the island over the last two millennia. Although its cuisine has a lot in common with mainland Italian cuisine, Sicilian food also has Greek, Spanish, French and Arab influences. The use of apricots, sugar, citrus, sweet melons, rice, saffron, raisins, nutmeg, clove, pepper, pine nuts, cinnamon (along with fried preparations) is a sign of Arab influences from the Arab domination of Sicily in the 10th and 11th centuries. Normans influences are also found, such as in the fondness for meat dishes. Later, the Spanish introduced numerous items from the New World, including cocoa, corn, peppers, and tomatoes.

 

In Catania, on the east coast, initially settled by Greek colonists, fish, olives, broad beans, pistachio and fresh vegetables are preferred instead. Much of the island's cuisine encourages the use of fresh vegetables such as eggplant, peppers, and tomatoes, and fish such as tuna, cuttlefish, and swordfish. In Trapani, in the extreme western corner of the island, North African influences are clear in the use of couscous. Sicily is a wine-lover's paradise, such is the variety, complexity and abundance of Bacchus' unique gift! There are 23 DOC zones in Sicily: Alcamo,Contea di Sclafani, Contessa Entellina, Delia Nivolelli, Eloro, Erice, Etna, Faro, Malvasia delle Lipari, Mamertino di Milazzo, Marsala, Menfi, Monreale, Moscato di Noto, Moscato di Pantelleria, Passito di Pantelleria, Moscato di Siracusa, Riesi, Salaparuta, Sambuca di Sicilia, Santa Margherita di Belice, Sciacca and Vittoria. Many grape types are grown, used either in purezza (single grape variety wines), or blended. Some have been around for centuries while others are more recent imports.

 

The following are some of the main varieties: red grapes - Nero D’Avola, Nerello Mascalese, Nerello Mantellato, Perricone, Frappato, Calabrese and the more recently introduced Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Shiraz (Syrah); white grapes - Cataratto, Grecanico, Grillo, Inzolia, Zibibbo, Damaschino, Trebbiano, Ausonica, Moscato Bianco, Carricante, Corinto Nero and the more recently introduced Chardonnay, Viognier and Fiano. Sicily has the most Slow Food Presidia (local projects) of all of the Italian regions. That means that the island has lots to offer in terms of gastronomical discoveries ranging from greens and vegetables to cheese and artisanal bread. Among a few that we will experience are Trapani Sea Salt, The Menfi Artichoke and the Belice Vastedda that is Italy’s only stretched-curd sheep’s milk cheese.

Trip ID#:

SicMagTou

Trip Excludes

  • Airfare
  • Personal expenses  such as phone and hotel extras
  • Guide gratuity

Meals Included:

7 Breakfasts, 7 Lunches and 7 Dinners

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