Cycling Val di Noto: Ragusa, Noto & Modica
Marzamemi and Porto Palo southernmost point of Italy
At the crossroads of Africa, the Middle East and Europe, Sicily is pure magic.
Cycle the breathtaking landscapes around, Syracuse:a Greek-Roman-Byzantine-Bourbon-Arab-Norman-Aragonese-Italian city with an island historical center Ortigia, and Val di Noto – area of Unesco Heritage sites which includes many city visited on this tour!
This bike route winds entirely across the countryside of the Hyblaean area, biking on this path will be an amazing chance to discover and visit many of the marvellous naturalistic sites which embellish this part of land. You set off at Cava d’Ispica, a 13 km-long canyon still preserving its untainted ecosystem, then you cross an area famous for the presence of the oldest trees in Sicily which leads us to Frigintini, a village clustering farms devoted to high-quality production. The next step is the crossing of another valley, chiselled by Fiumara creek, heading to Scicli from Modica.
This itinerary will lead you through the discovery of Europe’s most southern shoreline with its marvellous beaches of golden, satin sand from the Sahara desert and its lush Mediterranean dune vegetation.
Sicily Adventure Wow Moments
- Relax over a glass of Nero d’Avola wine in Noto’s historical city center
- Handmade Cannoli siciliani sweet with ricotta cheese
- Ride along the coast to a just-caught seafood lunch in the village of Marzamemi
- Spend a day in the Baroque city of Ragusa, home to a booming foodie scene and one of the most iconic skylines on the island
- Taste Sicily’s famous granita at one of the best spots in the main square of Noto
Do you want to explore another island by bike? Sardinia is perfect emergent destination
Welcome to Sicily
Noto, capital of Sicilian Baroque and a living art gallery. Its historical center is rich with churches, aristocratic palaces, stately piazzas and beautiful streets, both grand and small which wind harmoniously about one another. A perfect location for the shooting of the world-wide known TV series Commissario Montalbano. Noto, along with every other city in the area, was completely razed by a devastating earthquake in 1693, after which the noble aristocracy decided to rebuild the city stone‐for‐stone, 3km from its original site.
Welcome meeting at your hotel set in the old town, after the briefing and the bike fitting, it’s time for visit the city or enjoy an APERITIVO on the stanning terrace of your hotel.
Noto & the Barocco Siciliano
Distance: 44 km / 27 mi. Ascent +1010 m.
Today a loop ride brings us along secondary roads which snake through Noto’s inner mountain area. Hop on your bike along a climbing to San Corrado and then continue riding through the country toward the ruined site of Ancient Noto. Then continue riding through the country toward Cavagrande del Cassibile nature reserve. Here the landscape begins to change, now dominated by Sicily’s Grand Canyon, the deepest canyon in Europe, whose steep walls descend 800 feet to a picturesque river below. The land is protected for it’s fascinating geology.
From here you can stretch your legs on a fun downhill passing through Avola Antica and then toward Avola with amazing views over the Ionian coast and its seaside-villages. The final part heads to Noto, passing through a quiet and lively rural district with some farms and farmhouses along the way. You will follow an old back road connecting the two towns.
Once again in the historic Noto, we suggest you to visit “Caffè Sicilia” well known for its pastry made of almond, granita and ice-creams.
From Buonivini wine area core to Portopalo
Distance: option A: 35 km / 21 mi Ascent +210m.
Option B: 75 km / 44mi Ascent + 800m.
Your today’s destination is the Southernmost point of Sicily and Italy, Portopalo di Capo Passero, an old fishermen village.
On your track, the Roman Villa Tellaro,a 4th century partially‐excavated palace boasting magnificent floor mosaics they tell stories of roman life with scenes of hunting, erotic dances, Illiad tales, an unusual geometric designs, a visit won’t be missed.
Riding through Contrada Buonivini, the cradle of Nero d’Avola. The easy routes run through vineyards, citrus and almond groves offering spectacular views. All around, old palm groves and modern cellars are scattered, just pick one for a guided tour and a degustation. Arriving at Marzamemi is a dive in the past: the milieu of tonnare, the boat sheds for tonnaroti and their houses, the palace of the local ruling aristocratic family have been restored and converted into restaurants, cafés and boutiques.
Just few kilometers more to reach Portopalo with nice beaches around and an important fishing port. Here you can taste the best local and fresh fish! We suggest to approach the village, walking along the pedestrian area with some restaurants, cafés and boutiques that brings you to beach and its clear water with the view of the ancient tuna factory, the small island of Capo Passero and the fishermen houses.
Modica & the Chocolate
Distance: Option A: 30 km / 19 mi. Ascent +605m.
Option B: 59 km / 37 mi. Ascent +1186m.
Your ride follows the cycle paths of wine in Val di Noto softly entering Noto countryside to cross Tellaro valley along the river. Once on top a stunning view of the Hyblean Plateau will delight you. Bike ride from Portopalo to Modica.
In this stage you will get acquainted with a varied food production of peasant tradition, from bread to scacce, from honey to cheese oil and wine.
A lovely view of the extreme eastern spur of Hyblean Mountains, marking the border between the Siracusa and Noto provinces. The peaceful and quiet mule-track is shaded by the wide crowns of carob trees skirting it for many kilometres.
Get in Modica along its lively rural district. This section of the route, along old roads and the typical carob tree and old farmhouse with its continuous series of ups and downs is quite demanding, but your effort will be rewarded by views of unequalled beauty at each turn or hill.
A panoramic downhill will disclose you the beauty of the monuments of Modica
The stroll continues in the historic neighbourhoods of the city centre: alleys, little steps and medieval streets will lead you to the spectacular stairways of the most majestic churches. Modica is well worth a break to revel in the sweets of Sicilian pastry and the delicious chocolate.
Ragusa & Iblean Mounts
Distance: Option A: 30 km / 19 mi. Ascent +605m.
Option B: 59 km / 37 mi. Ascent +1186m
This moderate to challenging ride, rise and fall stage unrolls like a film of snapshots from the past: olive and carob trees, farmhouses and villas of the past rural aristocracy.
You arrive in the magnificent Baroque city of Ragusa. With 18 UNESCo Heritage monuments, the entire historical center is a fun and fascinating maze of archways, exquisite Baroque churches, staircases, and stately palaces. You’ll explore on your own the public gardens, the Cathedral of San Giorgio, or just relax with a chocolate granita. Then you will come back to Modica.
For dinner, choose from many wonderful restaurants, from hole‐in‐the‐wall trattorias to Slow Food Oserie or Michelin‐starred restaurants.
Donnalucata & the Southernmost Coastline
Distance: Option A: 37 km / 22 mi; Ascent +215m.
Option B: 65 km / 40 mi; Ascent +600m.
You leave Modica going on through the Fiumara valley surrounded by a lush vegetation: this wild wooded part of the route lead you straight to Scicli’s historic centre. To start, you go along the ancient street leading from Scicli to Donnalucata, stretching above a typical Iblean cave. After about 4 km you will reach a panoramic street hanging between countryside and sea; here you meet Sgarlata farmhouse, renowned for its ricotta cheese and delicious flavoured caciotte( you will experience a cheese-making laboratory and a tasting under request), and the Milizie cloister, legendary ground of the battle between Normans and Saracens. The cycling path goes on plunging into olive trees, carobs and almond trees.
This itinerary goes on a panoramic road coasting the Irminio river valley. Once we get to its mouth we suggest a stop to hike on the paths of the reserve.
You will pedal through a still-preserved rural area, among Scicli and Modica, where many estates appear, testifying a rich agriculture in the last centuries: just appreciate this flavours from the past, visiting genuine and family-run farms; you’ll sample mozzarella and ricotta cheese.
Along the coast road you meet Sampieri and its ancient fishermen houses. Here you can opt for some relax in one of the many chalets, beaches or cliffs at Costa di Carro and Punta Pisciotto.
Keep going along the Southernmost coastline in Europe, just head towards the East, reaching Donnalucata and Punta Regilione on the cycle path.
Donnalucata beach - Arrivederci
Hotel Gagliardi - NotoGagliardi is a Boutique Hotel from where the heart of Noto can be lived from a unique and privileged perspective. The Terrace embraces the historic centre of this baroque city with one gaze, transmitting a feeling of timeless beauty.
7 Rooms Villadorata upgrade - NotoFor centuries, residence of the illustrious Villadorata princely family, the palace, with its historical suites, is the ideal context to appreciate the charm of the Val di Noto where time left its track in the stones of the churches, convents and palaces today part of the suggestive landscape of the area
PortoPalo Suite - PortopaloCharming boutique hotel Portopalo Suite is set in the center of Portopalo di Capo Passero, 500 m from the Sicilian coast. Mediterrean style, with modern atmosphere, for the art lovers, Sicilian paintings can be appreciate in our bright rooms, all designed by famous Italians design brands, combining wellness and technology
Edel - ModicaYou will be seduced by the beauty of this Dimora Storica Edel and by the exclusive atmosphere.
In the center of Modica, this gorgeous charming building from the early 900s decorated with original Sicilian majolica.
Hotel Acquamarina - DonnalucataAcquamarina is a charming hotel located in a small seaside village called Donnalucata. The hotel is situated right on a rock overlooking the Mediterranean Sea and furnishings and colours evoke the sea world and the fascinating beauty of Sicily.
Zafran hotel upgrade - DonnalucataZafran is a boutique hotel boasting sleek design. Every detail of this property has been considered in a continuous effort to offer a unique, modern and charming atmosphere.
In the lobby, design and elegance blend in perfect harmony. The mosaic floors in the guestrooms and restaurant have been constructed with material sourced in Marrakech.
Price & Inclusions
Cost: Euro 1470 per person in double occupancy
Single room supplement Euro 400
Solo Traveller supplement Euro 500
Upgraded version: under request
Six nights in four & three-star superior hotels
Bike Delivery in Noto and professional bike fitting
Route notes, maps, elevation gain and city map, gpx with tracks
Sightseeing, restaurant and shopping suggestions
All Baggage transfers
Drop Off bikes and gear in Donnalucata
Keepsake Cicloposse water bottle
Bike Rental per entire tour
Hybrid bike euro 140
Race bike euro 180
E-Bike euro 210
City Tax each village charges a tax per each day between euro 0,70 to 2,50.