From Mount Etna to the sea
From Mount Etna to the sea: a fantastic 3-stages bike tour starting on Mount Etna, followed by exploring the wild Nebrodi Mountains before descending along the Alcantara river valley to the beaches of 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.
Etna South –> Floresta 56 km with 970 meters of uphill ascent
Departure to explore His Majesty Etna, the highest active volcano in Europe, through a unique territory for an unforgettable experience on your mountain bike. You will cycle through fields of lava rock where the black is interrupted abruptly to give space to the greenery of the thick pine forests and chestnut woods, in a continuous alternation of predominance of the forces of nature.
From Piano Vetore (Etna South) we head towards the North side, along the famous Pista Altomontana, meeting several mountain refuges in their characteristic lava stone construction. The terrain will put cyclists and bikes to the test. Rock and lava sand will be with us for part of the ride, and then suddenly leave the pass to thick pine forests and rich undergrowth with beautiful vegetation.
Mount Etna is a living mountain that breathes. Often you find yourself pedaling and hearing in the background the powerful “voice” of the volcano that accompanies cyclists towards the arrival at altitude.
We leave Mount Etna cycling towards Randazzo. On the way down to the beautiful medieval village, we ride through the dramatic 1981 lava flow which threatened the village stopping just a few hundred metres before.
This will be an unforgettable ride.
After that, we cycle on the Alcantara river bridge, near Randazzo before entering into the wild of the Nebrodi Mountains.
Riding along the Alcantara river we get up to Floresta, the highest village in Sicily, where we stop for dinner and overnight stay.
Third day: Nebrodi Mountains -> Alcantara Valley 46 km with 600 meters of uphill ascent
We leave Floresta to explore the paths of the Parco dei Nebrodi with its breathtaking landscapes.
We go downhill along the Alcantara river bed for a while before encountering the Monte Colla climb. It’s a quite demanding climb of about 6 km, the only one of the day, but the view at the end of it will be extremely rewarding. On your way up you will ride through a wooded area with monumental beech trees. That will be a perfect time to have a break and embrace one of them!
Almost at the summit of Monte Colla, we will have one of the most spectacular views of Mount Etna.
The route leads us to the track that runs along the Flascio stream at the foot of Monte Colla. Exciting course through the dense forests of the Nebrodi Park and spectacular views. A wide variety of indigenous flora and fauna.
Then we go down towards Randazzo, a beautiful medieval town nestled between Etna, the Alcantara river and the Nebrodi mountains, with its antique stunning churches. The route will take us closer to some of them: Chiesa di San Martino, Chiesa di San Nicola and Basilica di Santa Maria. Near the Basilica di Santa Maria, a stop at the Pasticceria Musumeci to try the ice cream or the typical Sicilian almond flavoured “granita”, is a must!
Then we 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 Agriturismo, where we stop for dinner and overnight stay.
Fourth day: Alcantara Valley -> Sea and back 60 km and 930 meters of uphill ascent
Leaving the Agriturismo we head for the Cuba Byzantine, an ancient Byzantine chapel of the 7th century. Just 200 metres away we may stop a while by the small waterfalls of the Alcantara river.
We head then uphill for Castiglione di Sicilia where we will make a short visit to beautiful Castello Lauria, on top of the village, where we will have a magnificent view of the whole Alcantara Valley.
After Castiglione. through an off-road route, you can admire the wonders of the Valley, where the Alcantara river has carved out its bed, creating at the end of its course a fracture between two basalt walls: the famous Alcantara gorges. The structure of the walls, which are tens of metres high, is characterized in some places by colonnar structures that recall aligned “organ reeds”, elegant “fans” and ordered “stacks of wood”. The river environment, between lakes and waterfalls, is mainly characterized by Mediterranean scrub. We will follow the river up to its mouth to the sea, at the San Marco beach, where we will have, if possible, a nice bath in the Ionian Sea.
A nice ride along the sea, going south, will take us to the Natural reserve of Fiumefreddo river, before heading back uphill to the Agriturismo.
The route, characterised by trails, away from traffic and ancient “trazzere” or country roads, will make us discover suggestive corners. In gradual ascent, we will go to the discovery of ancients Sicilian Masserie o farmhouse, Norman bridges and above all the Alcantara river,
Fifth day: Departure
Transfer to Catania airport.