Hike and Bike Tour Etna – Mare

Hike and Bike tour Etna-Mare is a full immersion into the imposing, wild and majestic Sicilian nature. Three hiking days and three mountain biking days to live and discover Mount Etna, the highest active volcano in Europe, the wild Nebrodi Mountains and the Alcantara Valley, ending to the Ionian Sea.


First day: Arrival and Mount Etna stay

Arrival at the airport and transfer to the hotel on Mount Etna. Dinner and overnight stay

 

Second day: hike Mount Etna – Valle del Bove

6 km and 600 metres of uphill vertical gain

The first itinerary will lead us to the discovery of the magnificent and solitary Valle del Bove. It is an ancient volcanic complex, 200,000 years old. The departure is settled at the bottom of  Rifugio Sapienza at an altitude of 1800 meters, and from here a path will take us to the edge of the Vale del Bove and once reached 2400 meters, we will admire the majestic landscape in all its grandeur. After the packed lunch, we will go down following a path that from the Donkey Back way will lead us to the Sapienza Refuge.

Third day: mountain bike – from Mount Etna to the Nebrodi mountains

60km and 1000 metres of uphill vertical gain

From Mount Etna, we continue our trip on trails which take us through the Parco dei Nebrodi with its breathtaking landscapes.

Starting with a morning departure from Mount Etna, we cycle towards the beautiful medieval town of Randazzo and then upwards to Floresta, a small village in the heart of the Nebrodi mountains. The route takes us through dense forests full of indigenous flora and fauna, by the Alcantara river and past the foot of Monte Colla. On a bright day, you will have unbelievable views of Mount Etna, the Tyrrhenian Sea and the Ionian coast. Dinner and overnight stay in Floresta.

Fourth day: hike Nebrodi mountains – Lago Cartolari

7 km and 850 metres of uphill vertical gain

We start from Floresta, the highest town of Sicily located at 1200 meters, which with its green landscapes even in summer reminds us Northern Europe. But we are in Sicily! Reached by van the beginning of the track called Altomontana. Its runs along Monti Nebrodi or Sicilian Apennines, and reached 1450 meters. During your walking, you can admire on the left the Etna and on the right the Tyrrhenian Sea and possibly the Aeolian Islands. The clearings, the green pastures, the rivers and the herds make us think of an alpine landscape. Along the way, we will meet a mountain lake before returning to the starting point. Return to Floresta by van for dinner and overnight stay.

 

Fifth day: from Floresta to the Alcantara Valley

45 km and 700 metres of uphill vertical

From Floresta, we will ride down the River Alcantara valley towards Castiglione di Sicilia, a thrilling ride through the Nebrodi mountains park’s dense forests with soaring aerial views, featuring a great variety of native flora and fauna. We pass by the medieval Randazzo and its beautiful churches and head towards the Alcantara Valley and the Ionian Sea along an ancient Roman road, known today as the ‘wine road’ due to the many wineries in the area. We cycle down along the river towards the town of Castiglione di Sicilia, where we will stop to admire its imposing Castle, built on an ancient Greek fortress, a beautiful building dominating the entire Valley. Dinner and overnight stay in Castiglione di Sicilia.

Sixth day: The Alcantara Gorges

7 km and 300 metres of uphill vertical gain

Day dedicated to the discovery of the Alcantara River. The departure set at 600 meters nearby the Agriturismo, will make us discover an enchanting landscape, where the vine of Etna is grown and not only. The route, characterised by trails, away from traffic and ancient “trazzere” or country roads, will make us discover suggestive corners. In gradual descent, we will go to the discovery of ancients Sicilian Masserie o farmhouse, Byzantine churches, Norman bridges and above all the Alcantara river, with all its charm remained unaltered until present days. The path will end right at the foot of the famous Alcantara Gorges. Here it will be possible take a refreshing swim in the cold waters of the river. Return to the farmhouse by van.

Seventh day: from the Peloritani mountains to the sea

55 km and 800 metres of uphill vertical gain

A day-long ride in the Peloritani Mountains.  Setting off from Castiglione di Sicilia towards the Peloritani Mountains which run along Sicily’s eastern coast, passing through the agricultural area of Francavilla. Then we will continue on an off-road climb towards Portella Mandrazzi.  Here the views are breathtaking, and riders can feel the peace and tranquillity of the Peloritani mountains surround them.  Going downhill we will go back to the Alcantara Valley, and we will follow the river up to its mouth to the sea near Giardini Naxos, where we will have time for a short visit to the ancient Greek ruins and, weather-permitting, a nice swim in the Ionian Sea. We will head back to the Agriturismo with the van for dinner and overnight stay

Eighth day: departure

Transfer from Castiglione di Sicilia to the airport.

Tour itinerary

Etna - Valle del Bove
Etna - Nebrodi - Floresta
Nebrodi - Lago Cartolari
Nebrodi - Alcantara Valley
Alcantara Gorges
Peloritani - Ionian Sea