A Taste of Sicily riding holiday in Sicily - Far and Ride
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A Taste of Sicily, Sicily




Programmes


•†Farmhouse Programme

•†Short Break


Reviews



The holiday was fantastic fun! As well as great riding that catered for, my husbands 'get on the horse and see how fast we can go style' and my 'I am a novice that does not want to fall off style', we had the very best time. The family are really lovely people who really go out of their way to make you feel welcome. As well as making it their priority that you have a wonderful holiday they are great fun to be around. The accommodation was excellent. The centre is surrounded by wonderful views, especially at sunset, I think it would be hard to beat. So, if you want great riding, great scenery and wonderful company I would highly recommend a visit, we will be back!

Lynne G.
We had a great time, excellent hosts and great horses. The location and set up is very simple which some may not like but we thought it was ideal. We really liked the flexibility and relaxed atmosphere. Our hosts were good fun and very happy to change the itinerary to suit personal requirements. Accommodation was really good. Food for me was the highlight, meals and bbqs at the the house were good and meals out very good. Don't miss the cheese factory lunch! Good choice of horses for all abilities - we rode about 8 horses between the two of us- within two days you find your favourite.

Allyson & Bob A.
We had a brilliant holiday, Mark and Andrea are lovely people and my daughter got on famously with their daughter! The holiday was very varied, both myself and my daughters riding has improved greatly. It is also in a beautiful spot where they live and Mark has discovered some excellent rides.

Jim G.
Just writing to tell you what a lovely holiday John and I had in Sicily. The accomodation was beautiful as was the views, it was breath taking. Nothing was too much trouble for our hosts and we loved the way they welcomed us into their home. All the animals were obviously well loved and looked after, their welfare means a lot to them. This holiday was nothing like I have ever done before and I would truly recommend it in every way. Since coming home John has now got the bug for riding and it has given us a hobby we can both share together and for that I am grateful for. Thank you Far and Ride for helping John organise this brilliant 40th birthday suprise for me and thank you Mark for chauffeuring us around, giving us history lessons and for the riding out. You haven't got rid of us that easily, we will return.

Debbie B
I had a marvelous holiday - the anticipations of visiting somewhere new to me lived up to and exceeded all expectations. (Favored memory) It is hard to select just one! The hospitality we were shown, the terrific views from the accommodation and the saddle, a great mixture of guests and the overall experience. (We stayed in) Cute little rooms, comfortable beds and good showers! The food was delicious and there was a good variety throughout the week, much of which was locally sourced - impressive! I rode two horses and enjoyed them both and felt I ahd been well matched. They were both calm and responsive to my aids. I was also happy with the tack. Our guide (Mark) was courteous and helpful with good knowledge of the pathways and tracks along which we rode, and set the pace according to our wishes. I felt that the holiday provided a well-rounded and more than satisfactory experience and can think of nothing which can be improved upon.

Trudy M. (May 2016)
Our week in Sicily was fantastic. We were the only two people on the ride so were very well looked after by Mark and his daughter Pippa. The horses and riding were great especially the ride where we stopped for a midday meal in the middle of nowhere! Mark took us to some very good local restaurants which would have been impossible to find if one was in Sicily on ones own. He also made a very knowledgeable tour guide at the Mafia museum, the Catacombs and Palermo. We had plenty of time for relaxing in the afternoon with books and wine/beer. I would recommend the ride to anyone wanting a thoroughly relaxing quiet week in pleasant company sampling the local way of life.

Robert B.
Great location, fab hosts, horses amazing. From start to finish had a brilliant time. Well looked after, Mark was attentive to every detail, a very caring and trustworthy man. (Favourite memory?) Riding through fields of spring flowers and going up trails to the top of the mountain; spectacular views. (Rooms and Food?) On (the) riding holiday you spend little time in your room, only for sleeping. Beds comfy. House open 24/7. Food; fantastic and plentiful. (Horses?) I rode two different horses during the week, both excellent. Tack was comfy and carefully fitted. Mark and Pippa are excellent and couldn't do enough for you. It would be hard to improve, it was an amazing holiday and hoping to return!

Dawn M. (May 2016)
The holiday was great fun, exciting rides, beautiful landscape, friendly and helpful hosts. The meals were delicious and all the people were friendly. The hosts tried their best to satisfy all riders needs and we all had a good time.

Jane M.
We had a lovely time, the riding was great and Mark was the perfect host. I ate too much, thought my poor horse would collapse when I got back home from the extra weight! It was a great combination of riding and, as it says, a taste of Sicily. I would be happy to recommend this holiday to anyone.

Jim P.
Excellent. Very personal. Very warm and welcoming people. Well-trained and healthy horses. The excursions that are part of the programme are very nice. Mark went to a great length to make my holiday perfect. The knowledge he has of Sicily and the stories he tells about the places you visit make the history really come to life. During the rides your safety is his number one priority.

Annette H.
Excellent - beautiful location, great food, wonderful horses. Accommodation is basic but comfortable and clean. Food was amazing - home-cooked or at amazing restaurants. Horses were wonderful, healthy and happy, a pleasure to ride. Mark is a very competent and gentle horseman. Always felt safe.

Bernadette P.
I thought that the holiday was fantastic. Mark is a superb host. He made a lot of effort to make the days interesting and to include any specific requests. It was my birthday and the birthday of another of his guests, so he took us out for a wonderful meal but had phoned and asked them to make a cake with our names on it which was a very kind gesture. He has extensive knowledge of the history of the island and is a natural story-teller, so was able to make all of his stories very interesting. The riding was excellent and varied. The weather was beautiful, hot and sunny, all day, everyday. The accommodation was fine, clean, tidy and comfortable. The food was fantastic. The horses were all well looked after and although some of the tack was a bit old, it was all in good repair and more than adequate.

Jane N.
Very different! Mark really does tailor it to your requirements, I had enough riding to suit me, and rode at a good pace. A good combination of learning about and exploring the country with a knowledgable guide, and seeing the countryside from horseback.

Jan G.
The right balance of riding and sightseeing. Mark is an exceptionally good host. My favourite memory from the holiday was the relaxed, happy ambience with the true experience of everyday life in Sicily, as well as it's culture.

Beverley C.
It was great, very laid back with enough variety and a good insight into the way of life. The guest rooms were clean and had everything you needed, along with a "help yourself to whatever you need" from the kitchen. All of the tack and equipment used on the horses was good, and the health and wellbeing of the animals was paramount.

Anne L.

Horses



Type†of†horses:

A mix of breeds including an Andalusian, some local warm bloods and some part breds.

Nature†of†horses:

Calm and experienced.

Height†of†horses:

14.3 - 15.3hh

Weight†limit:

15 stone/210lbs or 95kgs

Tack†type:

English


Weather




Ride†Description

This lovely Sicilian farmhouse offers relaxed horse riding holidays, combining riding in the beautiful Sicilian hills with sightseeing, eating at local restaurants and exploring what Sicily has to offer. They cater for small groups and aim to provide a very personal service. They hope to share with their guests the different aspects of Sicily, including introducing them to the lesser known areas which are often the most beautiful. They are friendly, welcoming hosts and they have a small selection of excellent horses who offer you the perfect mode of transport for touring the farmhouse surroundings.

Sicily has a longer warm season than northern and central Italy and it is often possible to sunbathe and swim in the sea well into November. Spring also starts early with a carpet of wild flowers usually appearing at the end of February. This means that horse riding can be enjoyed throughout the year, the wonderful views and peaceful valleys offering an ideal escape. The rides lead to interesting destinations with something to see or do on every trip, such as having a tasty barbecue with the locals in the Gurfa valley or visiting typical Sicilian farms. You will enjoy excursions to spots of particular interest - Palermo is usually a "must" and you may also enjoy a night out in bustling Cefalu. Most evenings you will enjoy a visit to a traditional Sicilian restaurant√‚¬… after all, the food in this part of the world is of course one of the highlights! You should expect to sample tasty pasta and delicious pizzas, as well as good local wine.

The typical week package is aimed at riders of a confident novice standard and above, able to walk, trot and canter and comfortable riding for up to three hours at a time. There is a variety of trails and the rides can be catered to suit your ability and preferences. If you would prefer a shorter stay or you have something particular that you would like to see or do, please get in touch as the packages here are very flexible. Returning to the comfortable farmhouse each night, after a good day of riding and a delicious meal, means that this trip is a relaxed and easygoing holiday.

See Programmes.


Food†&†Accommodation

Accommodation is provided in a traditional family style bed and breakfast in central Palermo (with four bedrooms) on your arrival night, then in a tastefully decorated farmhouse from then on. The accommodation is simple but comfortable.

The farmhouse is situated at an altitude of 2500 feet above sea level in the Madonie mountains. It is to be found in one of the most fertile valleys of the region - the Gurfa valley, named after the prehistoric caves found there. At this altitude there are sometimes some spectacular views to be had of the mountain tops sticking up through the clouds below.

The accommodation is a restored farmhouse complex with the four grain barns becoming the guests living quarters. The area surrounding the guest rooms has been enhanced by a large terrace which overlooks the picturesque valley with its ever changing seasonal colours. The terrace is ideal for BBQs and social events and is regularly used for these.

The buildings are surrounding by fields where the horses graze. The stables are situated on the premises.

Traditional, fresh and tasty Sicilian food is available in the excellent local restaurants which are often used for evening meals. Some nights you will eat on the terrace at the farmhouse. In keeping with the location, you should expect to eat lots of pasta and pizza!

Breakfast is usually taken at the farmhouse and is simple fare. Packed lunches might be provided when out riding.

Your hosts make their own olive oil using olives from the trees surrounding the farmhouse!


Activities

Your hosts at this destination specialise in arranging sightseeing holidays as well as riding holidays and so they can help you plan your stay, giving you tips on where to go and what to expect. They can answer your questions and make your holiday as near perfect as they can.


Further†Details

Languages: English and Italian.

Health requirements: Fit and healthy, able to withstand at least 3 hours in the saddle.

Age limit: 11 years upward

Tuition: No

Included: Accommodation, all excursions and outings transport, meals, drinks.

Not included: Flights, travel insurance, transfers or car hire.


Travel Information

- easyJet flies to Catania and Palermo Airport.
- British Airways flies to Catania from London Heathrow or Bristol.
- Ryanair also flies into Palermo from Stansted.

Transfers are available from all airport.

Palermo Airport (Punta Raisi) is a 1.5 hour drive. Return transfer is 75 euros (up to 3 persons). Alternatively it is possible to take a train to Palermo central station and take a train so you will arrive locally (around 8 euros).

Catania Airport (Fontarossa) is a 2 hour drive. Return transfer is 95 euros (up to 3 persons)

Trapani Airport (Birgi) is a 2.5 hour drive away. Return transfer is 95 euros (up to 3 persons). Alternatively it is possible to reach the farmhouse by bus and train.

Airport: Palermo

Alternative Airport: Catania


Programmes


Farmhouse Programme



Please note this itinerary is flexible and sometimes changes from the following programme. The typical week long package offers horse riding in combination with sightseeing, eating in local restaurants and exploring areas of interest. All throughout the summer months there are village feasts, horse shows, marches, special fairs and a multitude of other events going on all throughout Sicily. Your hosts try to plan riding around this, driving to the nearby town and taking in what the special events have to offer in order to make the most of your Sicilian experience.†

Please note that the below is a sample itinerary, subject to change due to weather, your riding ability and preferences or simply to make the most of interesting things which might be going on at the time of your travel. It is designed to give you a taste of the sorts of things to expect on your trip.

Day One:

Arrival at Palermo airport. You will be picked up and transferred either to your accommodation at Palike B&B or the farmhouse depending on the time of arrival.† If staying in Palermo guests can rest after their flight and then go out for a meal and some night life. Around the area are many restaurants, cafes and bars offering a wide choice of food and beverages. The surrounding streets buzz with activity until the early hours of the morning. (Evening meal not included in price if staying in Palermo).

Day Two:

Breakfast at the B&B if you are in Palermo. You will be picked up at 09:00 and transferred to Alia (expected arrival around 10.15). You will settle in to the farmhouse accommodation, with time for a drink, and then head off to a local family run Sicilian restaurant in the centre of the village for lunch.

In the afternoon you will be assessed for your ability and introduced to the horses. You will then head out for a short one and a half hour ride to the famous archeological Gurfa Caves, carved out by prehistoric man over 7000 years ago. This will be followed by a BBQ with lots of food and free wine and beverages on a large terrace, overlooking the beautiful Gurfa valley.

Day Three:

After breakfast you will embark on a long ride up the valley and across into another valley, heading towards a town called Valledolmo. On the way back you will stop for a delicious BBQ lunch on top of the mountain and will enjoy a visit to a local Sicilian farm. In the evening you will dine at Casa Sagona.

Day Four:

Today you will have a break from horse riding to take an all day tour of Palermo, visiting some of the many beautiful and fascinating places of Sicily's capital. You can visit markets for shopping, view places of interest, taste some typical local specialities and generally take in the heart and soul of all that is Sicilian in this vibrant and exciting city.

In the evening you will return to dine at "Chaplins" where Giacomino, the host, takes extreme pride in his cuisine and especially the sea food. A real treat for food lovers!†

Day Five:

After breakfast you will take a ride up the mountain. You will stop at a typical Sicilian farm for some refreshments and a look around, and proceed along the trail to a nearby village. The ride will be around 4 hours long. Lunch will be at the restaurant "Sotto l'Archi" and the afternoon is free. For the evening meal you will be taken to another nearby village called Roccapalumba ("Rock of the Doves"). Before dining at the local pizzeria (itself a very interesting converted 16th century mill), you will visit a planetarium and star observation centre. The clear Mediterranean night sky provides a lovely appetiser!

Day Six:

After breakfast you will ride to Mercato Bianco, a village across the valley. This minute village of about 500 inhabitants is one of those places where the proverbial phrase "time has stood still" springs to mind. Except for the odd car, nothing has changed here for at least a hundred years. You will visit a local cheese factory-turned restaurant and stay for lunch, riding back in the afternoon.

In the evening you will dine at a typical, small, family-run Sicilian restaurant in the heart of Alia.

Day Seven:

After breakfast you will take a long ride crossing into the nearby valley. You will enjoy a tasty picnic on the way which will be delivered by friends in the 4WD vehicles. Your last evening will be spent wining and dining with another BBQ on the terrace which overlooks the Gurfa valley.

Day Eight:

After an early breakfast (and bags packed) you can enjoy one last short ride on one of the mountain trails. After lunch at Casa Sagona you will be transferred to the Alia train station or the airport for your journey home.†



Minimum group size: 1
Maximum group size: 6
Ability description: Riders are expected to be of novice level, able to walk, trot and canter.
For absolute beginners we suggest you opt for a non-riding holiday and you can then have some riding lessons and perhaps some short walks out.
Type of ride: Based stay with rides out from the farmhouse.
Total riding time: As per itinerary.
Departure dates: All year round with flexible dates.
Pricing: 2017:
Adult rider: £880
Non Rider : £832
Single supplement: £123

Includes full board accommodation and riding (dinner on first day not included). Free transfers are included from and to the local train station which takes you to Palermo airport (5 mins from the check in desk).

NB: Short breaks and weekend programmes are also available. Just contact us for more information.




Short Break



This short break†package offers horse riding in combination with sightseeing, eating in local restaurants and exploring areas of interest.†

Please note that the below is a sample itinerary, subject to change due to weather, your riding ability and preferences or simply to make the most of interesting things which might be going on at the time of your travel. It is designed to give you a taste of what to expect and is generally followed as much as possible.

Suggested Itinerary

Day One:

Upon your morning arrival you will be picked up at the airport and transferred to the farmhouse in the Madonie Mountains. After lunch you will go on your first ride and get to know your horse. Dinner will be pizza in a converted granaries restaurant in a local town.†

Day Two:

After breakfast you will ride over the mountains to a nearby town on the outskirts of which you will come to a picturesque country house. The horses will be corralled whilst a delicious home made lunch is served. After a relaxed long lunch at the country house you will tack up and ride home. The evening meal will be at the farmhouse.†

Day Three:

After a morning ride lunch will be served at the farmhouse. In the afternoon you will be driven to a 2500 year old Arab town to watch the sun setting. You will enjoy a sumptuous dinner at a local agriturismo on the way back.

Day Four:

This mornings ride will take you over a mountain bringing you to the outskirts of Alia. You will ride right through the town centre amongst the hustle and bustle of daily life. Lunch will be at the farmhouse. After lunch you will visit Corleone, the infamous mafia hometown and visit a photo exhibition recounting the rise of the Sicilian mafia. Dinner will be at a small family run restaurant in the centre of the village you will have ridden through in the morning.†

Day Five:

After breakfast you will be transferred back to the train station or airport. If time allows you may ride in the morning.†



Minimum group size: 1
Maximum group size: 6
Ability description: Novice to Advanced
Type of ride: Based stay with rides out from the farmhouse
Total riding time: 3 riding days
Departure dates: All year round with flexible dates.
Pricing: 2017:
Price is £625 per person.
Includes 4 nights full board accommodation and riding. Free transfers are included from and to the local train station which takes you to Palermo airport (5 mins from the check in desk).