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Sicily Explorer

Overview

These adventurous riding holidays are the perfect way to experience Sicily. You will usually be riding with Alex, one of Sicily's most knowledgeable riding guides, on multi day trail rides through different parts of the island (depending on which route you book). Riders will spend full days in the …

Highlights

  • Follow trails through spectacular Sicilian landscapes
  • Marvel at the majestic active volcano, Mount Etna
  • Long hours in the saddle across some tricky terrain
  • Enjoy delicious Italian food, and plenty of it!
  • Learn from an experienced and passionate local guide

Essential Facts

  • 6 itineraries available
  • Max 10 riders per group
  • Average of 6 - 7 hours riding per day
  • Weight limit: 90kg / 198 lbs / 14 st 2 lbs

Description

These adventurous riding holidays are the perfect way to experience Sicily. You will usually be riding with Alex, one of Sicily's most knowledgeable riding guides, on multi day trail rides through different parts of the island (depending on which route you book). Riders will spend full days in the saddle riding through the beautiful landscapes of this special island and learning about its history. Alex is ably supported by Lizzie from the UK - she has ridden trails all around the world but fell in love with this magnificent island. She guides some of the trails and provides logistical support.

During the exciting multi-day trails such as 'Wild Sicily' and the 'Coast to Coast', you will move between comfortable accommodations, spending long hours in the saddle, riding through different national parks and exploring varied landscapes. These multi-day trails are generally suitable for fit riders as the hours are sometimes long and there is some challenging terrain, although some routes are trickier than others and we are happy to advise on which option will suit you best.

Both Holly and Cathy from our team have ridden with Alex (owner) and would be happy to tell you more about their great experience of Sicily. You can be assured of a great horseback adventure and wonderful Sicilian hospitality!

"To have seen Italy without having seen Sicily is to not have seen Italy at all, for Sicily is the clue to everything." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Horses & Riding

Tack

Mostly English but western saddles are available on request.

Horses

All the horses are Sicilian bred and are mostly Sicilian indigenous breeds crossed with Arabs. They live out all year round and are hardy and sure-footed. The horses are trained to be forward-going and energetic, but obedient and well behaved. They are the heart of the team and treated with the utmost care and respect.

Riding

There are 6 itineraries:

  • Tour of Etna is a trail ride
  • Wild Sicily Trail (formerly Cefalu to Etna Trail) is a trail ride
  • Coast to Coast Trail is a trail ride
  • Corleone to Madonie Trail is a trail ride
  • Madonie Trail is a trail ride
  • Deep Sicily is a trail ride

Ages

16+

Health

Good fitness required.

Weight

90kg / 198 lbs / 14 st 2 lbs

Food & Accommodation

Food

Guests will enjoy typical Sicilian cooking during the rides - this includes a buffet style breakfast and a dinner comprising several courses and accompanied by local wine. The food here is fresh, traditional and absolutely delicious.

Lunches may be a proper picnic brought in the support vehicle and laid out on a table - this generally includes local produce such as cheeses, meats, salads and breads with soft drinks and some local wine. If you are riding in a more remote area, such as on the slopes of Etna, then you may have to settle for something more simple such as a sandwich from your saddlebag.

Accommodation

During the trail rides, guests will stay in different guesthouses/hotels along the trail route. Mostly they are rural guesthouses of around 3* level and these are simple but clean, comfortable and generally with en suite bathrooms. They all serve traditional cuisine.

The accommodations are selected for their locations and authenticity so some are smarter than others.

Itineraries

Tour of Etna Standard accommodation.

Wild Sicily Trail (formerly Cefalu to Etna Trail) Standard accommodation.

Coast to Coast Trail Standard accommodation.

Corleone to Madonie Trail Standard accommodation.

Madonie Trail Standard accommodation.

Deep Sicily Standard accommodation.

Other Activities

These are point to point trails so there isn't time for other activities during the rides.

Travel

This destination offers several different trail routes, many of which start and finish at different points. The nearest airport depends on which trail you book:

- Madonie Trail: arrival and departure Catania
- Wild Sicily Trail (formerly Cefalu-Etna): arrival and departure Catania
- Coast to Coast Trail: arrival and departure Palermo
- Etna Circular Trail: arrival and departure Catania
- Corleone to Madonie Trail (formerly Corleone-Cefalù): arrival Palermo, departure Catania

Testimonials

Ilena, Feb. 18, 2020

The best riding holiday i've ever been on. An amazing experience with spectacular scenery on fantastic horses the most enjoyable week with a great group of very good horse riders, everything was excellent. Mount Etna - breathtaking views at the end of a an extremely varied week, better than anything I expected or imagined.


Yvonne, Oct. 18, 2019

Words can’t fully express my holiday adventure... It was truly wonderful, fabulous and everything else !!


Kate & Peter, Oct. 20, 2018

A real adventure with fabulous food, good horses and stunning scenery. Favourite memory - galloping through the forest tracks of Nebrodi. Alex was conscientious, knowledgeable, thorough and generally excellent


Veronica S. (Coast to Coast)., Aug. 8, 2018

Great trail! Full of challenging routes and amazing sceneries; fantastic food throughout; Alex, Alberto and Riccardo top guides and entertainers. the tack used was one of the best I have ever used! Ash, my steed, was an amazing horse and reactive when needed, otherwise, he was Mr. Cool. (Favourite memory?) Canter at sunset towards Aragona; diving in the swimming pools at dusk after the rides and the chats at dinner with the group.


Sarah and Pablo, March 23, 2018

We have had the most amazing time which exceeded all our expectations! The authenticity of Francesco and Alex and their passion for all things Sicilian permeates every aspect of this wonderful trail ride and for those looking for something “different” and away from the crowds we cannot recommend it enough.


Glenys R. (2nd visit), Nov. 2, 2017

"Overall, how did you find the holiday?" Simple - it was amazing! Alex was brilliant. Don't think it could be improved.
"Would you book another riding holiday with us in the future?" Yes, probably back to Sicily for a third time!


Sarah C., May 30, 2017

Excellent - one of the best rides that I have done!


Jenny S., April 25, 2017

Just letting you know that I had the most amazing holiday with Alex in Sicily last week! It was beyond my expectations from start to finish. Alex and Attila were wonderful guides and such knowledgable horsemen. Our group bonded really well and we had so many laughs along the way. Most importantly the horses were fabulous - so nimble and forward going and very well cared for and trained by Alex. After the wonderful Sicilian food I'm now back on salads for a while!!


Andrea T., May 16, 2016

An amazing experience. Lovely horses, stunning scenery, an expert guide and loads of wonderful local food and wine.


Paula M., May 16, 2016

Fantastic - could not fault a single thing. The whole experience surpassed everything I was expecting. The whole trip was amazing - the horses, the scenery, food, hotels and guides - so many memories, cannot choose a favourite!


Russell C., Nov. 4, 2015

Alex is a fantastic guide, he has a really deep knowledge of Sicily's cultural history as well as its natural beauty. He was also great with the horses. He was very attentive to all our needs, we felt safe and in good hands at all times and he had a real passion for Sicily (as well as horses!).


Itinerary & Pricing

Day 1

Riding: No riding.

Transfer from the airport in time for dinner and overnight in Castiglione di Sicilia.

Day 2 - Castiglione di Sicilia - A Barunissa

Riding: 5 hours

Breakfast and departure at around 9:00 am. You will begin by heading in the direction of the river Alcantara, toward the small gorges at Castiglione. Passing by the Byzantine Cuba (place of worship from the VII century), you will follow the paths up the valley and through the Parco fluviale dell'Alcantara. After a full morning, you will reach the area surrounding Mojo Alcantara, where there will be a picnic lunch setup and awaiting your arrival. An enjoyable rest here and then back in the saddle to head to your accommodation for the night, A Barunissa, which is immersed in woods. Dinner and overnight.

Day 3 - A Barunissa - La Fucina di Vulcano

Riding: 5 hours

Breakfast and an early departure at around 8:30am. Today you will begin to ascend the north-east slope of the volcano, Etna, through forests of oak, chestnut, beech and Sicilian brooms (genista aetnensis). This highly perfumed species of tree flowers between May and September, filling the slopes of Etna with its heady aromas and can be recognised at this time by its wonderful yellow flowers and considerable size. Coming up above the trees, you will reach the Pista Altomontana (the high mountain paths), near to the mount of Santa Maria. You will continue to follow the tracks up to the mount of Spagnolo, passing through the lava fields left behind by the eruption of 1981. Here you will spot the "Hornitos" (from the Spanish "little ovens") which appear as small mouths that opened up during the violent eruption. You will find a sheltered place to enjoy your picnic, with an amazing view over - seemingly - all of Sicily, before again descending from the western slope towards tonight's accommodation. La Fucina di Vulcano is a very comfortable hotel which offers magnificent views of the western slopes of Etna. Dinner and overnight.

Day 4 - La Fucina di Vulcano - Villa Dorata

Riding: 5 hours

Breakfast and another early departure from our hotel at around 8:30am. Again, you will start the day by heading uphill from the western leg of the Pista Altomontana to reach the mount of Scavo. From here you will pass through a succession of charming beech and conifer forests, reaching yet more recent lava flows. On the days of good visibility you can enjoy breathtaking views over Sicily and then onwards along the high western slope of Etna, where you can have some nice gallops. You will take your picnic lunch near the mountain refuge of Galvarina. Then, riding through the afternoon, you will reach your fourth accommodation of the trip, Villa Dorata. This is a beautiful small villa overlooking the Gulf of Catania and the mediterranean sea. Dinner and overnight.

Day 5 - Villa Dorata - Etna Mille77

Riding: 6 hours

Following breakfast you will have a very early departure from Villa Dorata today, at around 7:30am. You will start by crossing a reserved area known as the ​​"Rifugio Sapienza", where you will be able to visit the Silvestri Craters (large lateral craters born during a major eruption in the late XIX century). You will then start to descend through the "Desert of Etna", so called because of the harshness of the territory and absence of any marked trails running through it. Finally you will return to the tree line and then through forests of oaks, holm and chestnut trees, before reaching the village of Zafferana Etnea, famous for its production of honey. Here you will also find your next accommodation at the B&B Etna Mille77, a beautiful house with sea views. Dinner and overnight.

Day 6 - Etna Mille77 - Chalet Clan dei Ragazzi

Riding: 6 hours

After breakfast you will enjoy a relatively leisurely departure at around 9:00am. Starting off by climbing back up the slopes from the east side of Etna, through predominantly oak forests with the inclusion of the famous "Ilici du Carrinnu", large specimen of oak tree with enormous size, believed to be around 700 years old! You will pass along the edge of the Valle del Bove, a great gorge on the eastern slope of the mountain which channels the flow of lava during eruptions. You will enjoy a picnic lunch up on the slopes, before mounting up and resuming your journey uphill to the Sartorius Craters. These fantastic scars on the landscape were created during a large flank eruption in 1865 and now forms an interesting piece of geological marvel. Finally you will begin to head down from the slopes, through forests of birch and beech and arrive in the Pineta Ragabo, with its great umbrella-like pine trees (pinus larix). Here is also located your accommodation for the night, Chalet Clan dei Ragazzi. Dinner and overnight.

Day 7 - Chalet Clan dei Ragazzi - Castiglione di Sicilia

Riding: 6 hours

Breakfast followed by departure from the chalet at around 9:00am. Today you will begin again by ascending through the pine forests of the lower slopes until you reach Piano Provenzana - renowned ski resort in winter months. Here you will climb yet further, following a set of tracks and paths through an almost lunar landscape. This plateau was the scene of the last major eruption of Etna, back in 2002. The craters you will ride along up here were only created in October of that year following ongoing ground movements on this side of the Volcano. You will continue along the camber of the craters until you loop around to the mount Nero. Here you will stop in a shelter place to enjoy a picnic lunch, near the refuge of Timpa Rossa. You'll find yourself completely immersed in one of the most southerly beech forests of the hemisphere, before beginning the descent from the northern side of Etna. Winding down through mixed deciduous forests, up through vineyards near Solicchiata, to finally arrive back at the home base in Castiglione di Sicilia. Dinner and overnight.

Day 8

Riding: No riding.

Breakfast and departure for the airport or onward travel.

Accommodation

Accommodation will be provided in a range of comfortable hotels, country homes and villas along the trail route. The stops are chosen for their character, unique situation and Sicilian authenticity. Most offer twin and double bedrooms (unless a single room is specified) and some have swimming pools for guests to enjoy on warm sunny days.

Experience Intermediate / Experienced

Intermediate and experienced riders with good fitness. You will need to be happy riding over challenging terrain and at great heights. The pace is not overly fast (mainly walking due to the terrain) although there are opportunities for plenty of trots and canters along the route.

Minimum group size 4
Maximum group size 10
Departure windows

June 19, 2021 - June 26, 2021

Sept. 4, 2021 - Sept. 11, 2021

July 9, 2022 - July 16, 2022

Sept. 3, 2022 - Sept. 10, 2022

Pricing

2021/2022
Sharing double/twin
£1575 $2190 €1845
2021/2022
Single room
£1795 $2500 €2110
Single room price has to be paid if there is nobody for you to share with (or if you are not willing to share a room and would prefer to pay the extra).
Included 7 nights accommodation in shared rooms, all meals with local wine, beer and soft drinks, 6 days of guided riding and support vehicle, return Catania airport transfers
Not included Flights, extra drinks, travel insurance, tips & other personal expenses.
Note: All programmes and itineraries are weather dependent; in the face of adverse, or unexpected, weather conditions reasonable attempts will be made to provide equivalent riding. All programmes are accurate at the time of writing. However, the team may adapt or modify details, whilst aiming to provide a similar experience.

Day 1

Riding: No riding.

Transfer from the airport to Casalvecchio Geraci, an old farmstead dating from the 1800's which has been restored and transformed into an agriturismo on the border between Madonie national park and the islands agricultural hinterland. Enjoy a dinner of local produce before your first nights sleep.

Day 2 - Casalvecchio - San Mauro Castelverde

Riding: 7 hours

After breakfast you will be suitably matched to a horse, tack will be checked and you will be made aware of the characteristics of your particular horse. At approximately 8.30am the trail begins through the wild valley of River Pollina, following ancient 'trazzere' surrounded by fields of grain and hay, before entering a very wild area covered in Mediterranean vegetation where you will have a picnic. After your lunch stop you will ride on to the village of San Mauro Castelverde, a medieval town on the top of a mountain, standing at about 1100m above sea level. Have dinner and spend the night in an old Franciscan convent which has been transformed into a hotel.

Day 3 - San Mauro Castelverde - Monte Soprano

Riding: 6 hours

You will set out from the convent hotel after breakfast, following an old "trazzera" (transhumance road dating back to at least the Bourbons) and enjoying scenic views over the fields. You will ride directly under the huge blades of a wind farm before descending into the woods of the 'Sambughetti-Campanito' reserve, where you will eat your picnic. In the afternoon you continue into the territory of Nicosia and Cerami, following a steep path through a cork forest, before reaching the agriturismo Monte Soprano (with pool) where you will enjoy a delicious dinner and stay the night.

Day 4 - Monte Soprano - Villa Miraglia

Riding: 7 hours

Today you enter into the heart of Nebrodi Park, riding along the famous 'Ridge of Nebrodi' - this is a long, dirt track which runs between forests and high mountain pastures. Nebrodi is a charming area which offers incredible views of the Tyrrhenian Sea and the Aeolian Islands to one side, with the Sicilian hinterland provides of Enna, Caltanissetta, Agrigento, Siracusa, Catania and Etna to the other side. Alex will lead you through the beech woods in the territory of San Fratello which is famous for its horse breed which is very hardy and has a large, strong head. It's possible to see them grazing in the wild. 

Lunch today is taken in a small clearing in the shade of the trees, close to a water source (Nocita). In the afternoon you will reach the Relais Villa Miraglia where you will eat a great dinner of local Nebrodi produce.

Day 5 - Villa Miraglia - Monte Colla

Riding: 8 hours

This is arguably the most beautiful part of the trail - over 40 kms in the wild and green territory, riding along the 'Dorsale dei Nebrodi'. You will come to the Lake Maulazzo which is overlooked by Mount Soro, the highest peak in the Nebrodi (1847m) and covered by impressive beech woods. The trail comes next to the famous lake Biviere di Cesarò which is a stop-off for migratory birds. Riding along the 'Dorsale' brings you from lush forests into beautiful clearings which offer views of the Aeolian Islands to the north and to the majestic peak of Mount Etna to your south. Your afternoon ride will bring you to Monte Colla, the most isolated farmhouse in the island dating back to the 18th century and now converted into an agriturismo. It is an ancient aristocratic residence situated at about 1400m high in the territory of Randazzo. You will be tired but no doubt feeling satisfied, ready to enjoy a wonderful traditional Sicilian meal cooked with local fresh produce.

Day 6 - Monte Colla - Etna North

Riding: 7 hours

After breakfast the group will leave Monte Colla heading in the direction of the source of the Alcantara River. You will ride on towards Randazzo, a typical Sicilian Village between the Nebrodi and Etna parks, which you will pass through before ascending Etna's northern slopes. Eventually you reach Mount Spagnolo where you follow the Altomontana piste to your accommodation, the Chalet Clan dei Regazzi immersed in an enchanting pine forest.

Day 7 - Etna North - Castiglione di Sicilia

Riding: 7 hours

Today you will leave at 9.00 am after breakfast. Crossing lava flows from various older and more recent eruptions you climb through forests of pine, oak and chestnut and past volcanic caves, enjoying views of the mountains of Sicily. Eventually you reach the Rifugio di Timpa Rossa at an altitude of 1844m where you stop for a picnic lunch. Depending on the season and weather you may be able to climb up to the craters from the latest eruption in 2002. 

After lunch you follow small country lanes bordered by stone walls made from lava rock, and cross backwards and forwards over the river before reaching the Gorges of Castiglione and the Cuba Bizantina, a place of worship built in an unusual quadrangle shape and dating from the 7th or 8th century AD. Finally you arrive at Castiglione di Sicilia for your last dinner and overnight.

Day 8

Riding: No riding.

After breakfast you will be transferred to the airport for your journey home.

Accommodation

Accommodation is in good quality 3 star hotels and guesthouses.

Experience Experienced

Experienced rider with good fitness. You need to be able to ride at all paces and for long hours, comfortable with covering a variety of different terrain. This is the most challenging trail at this destination with several days of 7+ hours riding - you should be up for an adventure! Riders joining in November should be of an especially adventurous spirit, fit to ride long hours and in any kind of weather and happy to start early each day so as to get the riding done before dark.

Minimum group size 4
Maximum group size 10
Departure windows

June 12, 2021 - June 19, 2021

July 10, 2021 - July 17, 2021

Aug. 28, 2021 - Sept. 4, 2021

Sept. 25, 2021 - Oct. 2, 2021

May 28, 2022 - June 4, 2022

July 2, 2022 - July 9, 2022

Aug. 27, 2022 - Sept. 3, 2022

Oct. 29, 2022 - Nov. 5, 2022

Pricing

2021/2022
Single room
£1855 $2580 €2175
2021/2022
Sharing twin/double room
£1630 $2265 €1910
Included 7 nights accommodation in shared rooms, all meals, drinks with meals including wine, beer or soft drinks, 6 days of riding & set-time Catania airport transfers
Not included Flights, additional drinks, travel insurance, tips & other personal expenses.
Note: All programmes and itineraries are weather dependent; in the face of adverse, or unexpected, weather conditions reasonable attempts will be made to provide equivalent riding. All programmes are accurate at the time of writing. However, the team may adapt or modify details, whilst aiming to provide a similar experience.

Day 1 - Arrival

Riding: No riding.

Guests will arrive to Cefalu for dinner and overnight at Villa Magara, a beautiful panoramic property which faces the Tyrrhenian Sea and has a swimming pool. If you arrive earlier in the day then you have a chance to visit the wonderful old town.

Day 2 - Cefalu - Piano Battaglia

Riding: 7 - 8 hours

After breakfast you will be assigned your horse for the trail, then departing from Villa Magara at approximately 8am. The ride begins with a climb through dense Mediterranean vegetation and breathtaking views of the Tyrrhenian Coast and the Gulf of Cefalu. After a few hours of riding you will reach the famous sanctuary of Gibilmanna, an ancient place of worship where 'Our Lady' is venerated. There will be a short stop here with time to visit the sanctuary. 

You will mount again and ride in the direction of Isnello, a small medieval mountain village, crossing the northern slope of the Carbonara Massif which is Sicily's second highest mountain (1979m). There will be a picnic stop in the woods before you ride on through oak, holm and beech trees to Piano Battaglia, a mountain location in the heart of Madonie Park. Here you will dine on typical products and spend the night.

Day 3 - Piano Battaglia - Sciaritelle

Riding: 6 - 7 hours

Breakfast and departure at around 08:30am. Today you begin with a high mountain path through the middle of Madonie Park - you will need to dismount and lead your horse for a few hundred metres where the terrain is stony and steep. You will pass Portella Mele and you begin to finally see the inner Sicily and, in the case of clear days, can see more than half of this special island. Today's picnic will be near Nociazzi, in the region of Castellana Sicula, and the afternoon ride continues on trazzere (old routes used for livestock) up to the river Imera Meridionale. This waterway crosses and climbs in the direction of the Sciaritelle farm, a renovated 19th century farmhouse with pool where you will enjoy another local dinner and spend the night.

Day 4 - Sciaritelle - Mappa

Riding: 5 - 6 hours

Breakfast and departure at around 08.30am. The route begins to head deep into agricultural lands, Sicily being well-known for its production of grain since early history, following along the 'trazzere' established by the Bourbon government in the 18th and 19th centuries to ensure free movement of people and livestock across the island. You will pass by the Madonna del Bilici which lies at Sicily's geographical centre and then by Marianopoli railway station, a eucalyptus forest and into a private hunting reserve. You will arrive at Agriturismo Mappa, the former residence of Prince Spadadora, which has also has a swimming pool. There will be a sumptuous dinner before bed.

Day 5 - Mappa - Aragona

Riding: 7 - 8 hours

Breakfast and departure from Mappa at approximately 8am. Your trail starts with walking through the fields towards the picturesque and ancient village of Sutera,  considered one of the oldest known in mankind's history and featuring several examples of prehistoric living. The route crosses and stops in the village before taking you to the Platani river valley, one of western Sicily's major watercourses, and through Monte Conca nature reserve. You will eat your picnic and ride on through the valley until your next stop at the farm Principe di Aragona, another old restored property with pool. Dinner and overnight.

Day 6 - Aragona - Agrigento

Riding: 6 - 7 hours

Breakfast and departure at around 08.30am in the direction of Agrigento, the ancient Akragas of the Greeks, founded in 580 BC by the people of Rhodes and Crete. After crossing the agricultural area near Aragona you will arrive at the Macalube, a fascinating methane gas outcrop that has created small craters by carrying clay up from the depths of the earth. You will ride on, making a short stop in the typical village of Monte Aperto where you will enjoy a picnic in the shade. 

In the afternoon you will ride in the direction of the temples, taking a guided tour of the key sights (the temples of Hera, Concordia, Hercules, Zeus, Castor & Polux) before heading to your overnight stop at the farm Passo dei Briganti. Dinner and overnight.

Day 7 - Agrigento - Torre Salsa

Riding: 6 - 7 hours

Breakfast and departure at around 08:30am. Today is an impressive route through the countryside of Agrigento with sweeping views of the Mediterranean coast. You will arrive in the Torre Salsa coastal reserve, one of the most beautiful and best-preserved coastlines in Sicily, where the adventure ends. Dinner and overnight at Agriturismo Torre Salsa, inside the reserve itself.

Day 8 - Departure

Riding: No riding.

After breakfast you will be transferred to the airport.

Accommodation

Accommodation will be provided in a range of comfortable hotels, country homes and villas along the trail route. The stops are chosen for their character, unique situation and Sicilian authenticity. Most offer twin and double bedrooms (unless a single room is specified) and some have swimming pools for guests to enjoy on warm sunny days.

Experience Intermediate / Experienced

Strong Intermediate and above with good fitness. You need to be capable riding at all paces, covering a range of terrain and riding for long hours. You will sometimes need to walk and lead your horse.

Minimum group size 4
Maximum group size 10
Departure windows

May 22, 2021 - May 29, 2021

Oct. 16, 2021 - Oct. 23, 2021  (FULL)

Oct. 30, 2021 - Nov. 6, 2021  (FULL)

April 16, 2022 - April 23, 2022

April 30, 2022 - May 7, 2022

Oct. 8, 2022 - Oct. 15, 2022

Pricing

2021/2022
Single room
£1855 $2580 €2175
2021/2022
Sharing twin/double room
£1630 $2265 €1910
Included 7 nights of twin/double room accommodation, all meals from dinner on arrival day to breakfast on departure day, table wine with lunches and dinners, 6 days of riding and transportation of luggage, set-time transfers from Palermo airport.
Not included Flights, personal travel insurance, extra drinks, tips and other personal expenses.
Note: All programmes and itineraries are weather dependent; in the face of adverse, or unexpected, weather conditions reasonable attempts will be made to provide equivalent riding. All programmes are accurate at the time of writing. However, the team may adapt or modify details, whilst aiming to provide a similar experience.

Day 1 - Arrival:

Riding: No riding.

You will be transferred from the airport to your first accommodation in Corleone, Agriturismo Ridocco. Here you will meet your guide and the other trail guests for a first dinner and a good sleep.

Day 2 - Corleone to Gorgo del Drago:

Riding: 7 hours

Your first riding day begins after breakfast with departure on horseback at approximately 08:30. The trail starts with the crossing of open fields which are planted with grains and fodder, still the island's main agricultural produce since Roman times. From here you will ride into the forest reserve of Pirello and after three hours or so of travelling you will reach the reserve of the Ficuzza Wood - this was established by King Ferdinand of Bourbon in 1799 as his personal hunting ground. At approximately 7400 hectares this is one of the largest and most well-preserved natural woodlands in Sicily. You will take your picnic under the imposing slopes of Rocca Busambra which is the highest peak in western Sicily, standing at 1602m, before mounting up again to ride further into the forests. This reserve is home to a range of indigenous plants including red oak, holm oak, ash and pine. Your guide will lead you through the village of Ficuzza where you can make a short stop in order to admire the eighteenth century palace of King Ferdinand, also pausing to enjoy a refreshing drink from a bar. 

After this break you will ride on towards your overnight accommodation, the farmhouse Gorgo del Drago which lies on the edge of the reserve. Here you will settle your horses for the night before enjoying a sumptuous dinner and overnight in the farmhouse rooms.

Day 3 - Gorgo del Drago to Villa Dafne:

Riding: 8 hours

Breakfast followed by departure from Gorgo del Drago at approximately 08:00. You will pass through the village of Godrano, which is famous for its cheese production, and onwards to Cefala Diana which is home to an old castle of Arab origins. From here you pass through Villafrati and then to Ciminna whose landscapes are characterised by rock formations composed of gypsum crystals, also where you will stop to enjoy your picnic lunch.

In the afternoon you will saddle up again and ride towards Roccapalumba, nicknamed "the town of the stars" for its planetarium and star-gazing opportunities. You will arrive at Villa Dafne where you will dine and sleep.

Day 4 - Villa Dafne to Mandragiumenta:

Riding: 5 hours

This morning you will leave your accommodation on horseback at approximately 08:30, riding through arable farmlands following royal 'trazzere'. These are routes established during the Bourbon period for the relocation of livestock from north to south, still used today. You will then pass under the town of Alia and on to the caves of Gurfa, in the territory of Alia, which is home to the tomb of Minos. This king of Crete came to Sicily to hunt for Daedalus, who had helped Minos' daughter Ariadne and her lover, Theseus, to slay the Minotaur and escape from Crete. Minos was said to have been enraged at the loss of his daughter and therefore sought to find Daedalus who had settled in Sicily, but he was lured and killed by the daughters of Cocalos, the Sican king, before he could find him. Minos' tomb was transformed into a temple during the classical era, then used as a grain store in Roman times and even a luxury home in the Arab era. It was then used as a stable until 1997 and now stands as part of Alia's cultural heritage. 

Following a picnic lunch at these fascinating caves, you will re-mount your horses and follow the trazzere to the agricultural town of Valledolmo for a drink at the bar. From here you will ride on to the farmhouse Mandragiumenta where you will eat dinner and spend the night.

Day 5 - Mandragiumenta to Terravecchia:

Riding: 6 hours

Following breakfast and departure at approximately 08:30, you will ride through fields in the valley of the Northern Imera River, which forms the north-western boundary of the Madonie mountains. Stop for a picnic lunch at Polizzi Generosa, an ancient village with breathtaking views over the high Madonie mountains and the River Imera valley.

In the afternoon you continue to ride towards Agriturismo Terravecchia in the territory of Castellana Sicula, home to a swimming pool with panoramic views of the Sicilian hinterland.

Day 6 - Terravecchia to Rifugio Marini:

Riding: 6 hours

Breakfast and departure at 08:30 again. This day of riding takes you through the heart of the Madonie Natural Park, home to the largest biodiversity on the island - its 40,000 hectares is home to more species than the whole of Great Britain! On leaving the agriturismo you will start to climb to high altitudes, witnessing the dramatic changes in vegetation and landscapes as you go, passing through dense forests of red and holm oak. In the afternoon you will arrive to Piano Battaglia which is the only ski station in the province of Palermo. Tonight you dine and sleep at Rifugio Marini.

Day 7 - Rifugio Marini to Casalvecchio:

Riding: 6 hours

Another 8.30am departure after breakfast to start your second day of trail riding in the Madonie park and your last day in the saddle. You being by passing through areas of great botanical and scenic interest. Continue through wild territories, stopping for a picnic lunch in the area of Geraci Siculo, before descending to your hosts base at Agriturismo Casalvecchio on the eastern edge of Madonia park. Spend your final night here, enjoying a delicious dinner prepared with produce straight from the farm.

Day 8 - Departure:

Riding: No riding.

After breakfast it is time to head to the airport or to continue your travels in Sicily.

Accommodation

Accommodation will be provided in a range of comfortable hotels, country homes and villas along the trail route. The stops are chosen for their character, unique situation and Sicilian authenticity. Most offer twin and double bedrooms (unless a single room is specified) and some have swimming pools for guests to enjoy on warm sunny days.

Experience Intermediate / Experienced

Strong intermediate - advanced. You MUST have good riding fitness and be able to spend several long days in the saddle in a row. There is some challenging terrain and occasions when you may need to lead your horse on foot.

Minimum group size 4
Maximum group size 10
Departure windows

May 21, 2022 - May 28, 2022

Pricing

2022
Single room
£1855 $2580 €2175
2022
Sharing twin/double room
£1630 $2265 €1910
Included 7 nights accommodation in shared rooms, all meals with local wine, beers and soft drinks, 6 days of guided riding and support vehicle, set-time transfers from the closest airports (Palermo on arrival day and Catania on departure day).
Not included Flights, personal travel insurance, extra drinks, tips and other personal expenses.
Note: All programmes and itineraries are weather dependent; in the face of adverse, or unexpected, weather conditions reasonable attempts will be made to provide equivalent riding. All programmes are accurate at the time of writing. However, the team may adapt or modify details, whilst aiming to provide a similar experience.

Day 1

Riding: No riding.

You will arrive at Villa Magarà, equipped with a swimming pool and only two kilometres from the historic centre of Cefalù. Seafood dinner in a typical local restaurant.

Day 2 - Gibilmanna - Casale Drinzi

Riding: 6 hours

After breakfast, you will be assigned your horse for the trail and the group will set off from Villa Magarà at about 8.30 in the morning.  You will begin by riding through an area covered in mediterranean brush with breathtaking views over the Tyrrhenian coast, and will arrive after a few hours at Gibilmanna, a famous sanctuary and Franciscan monastery dedicated to the Virgin, the patron and protector of the diocese of Cefalù.  You will visit the sanctuary, which contains one of the most beautiful works by Gagini, a famous Renaissance Sicilian sculptor.  You will then continue towards the charming medieval village of Gratteri, where you will stop for a picnic lunch. In the afternoon, you will continue the ride through the San Giorgio forest, dense with oak and durmast trees, and you will pass the ruins of the San Giorgio abbey, dating from the twelfth century, and the Madonna del Pedale, dating from the seventeenth century. Finally, you will arrive at Casale Drinzi, near Collesano, an ancient village of Arab origin (Qal'at as-sirat), where you will enjoy a delicious dinner and spend the night.

Day 3 - Casale Drinzi - Rifugio Marini

Riding: 5 hours

You will have breakfast and leave Casale Drinzi at around 9.00 in the morning, crossing the Mugerrati forest, which is dense with cork, holm oak and durmast trees.  You will ride then ride on towards Piano Zucchi, where you will stop for a picnic lunch, beneath the imposing calcium massif of Carbonara.  You will continue towards Piano Cervi, immersed in thick forests of oak, which slowly give way to beech trees, and finally reach Piano Battaglia, a famous ski station at 1600 metres. You will enjoy a rich dinner prepared using local produce and spend the night at the Rifugio Marini.

Day 4 - Rifugio Marini - Terravecchia

Riding: 5 hours

After breakfast, you will set off from Rifugio Marini at around 8.30 in the morning.  You will climb up to Pizzo Carbonara (1979 metres), Sicily's highest peak after Mount Etna, and stop for a picnic lunch in the area of the Battaglietta, a depression in the landscape where all of the meltwater gathers and then travels along underground tunnels to Cefalù.  You will then ride through the Vallone Madonna degli Angeli to admire the last remaining examples of the Nebrodi fir (abies nebrodensis), the symbol of the park.  You will continue to the sanctuary of Madonna dell'Alto (at 1819 metres) – when visibility is good, you can enjoy views of most of the island from here.  You will then descend towards our agriturismo, Terravecchia, in the territory of Castellana Sicula, where you can enjoy a swim in the pool with wonderful views towards Sicily's enchanting hinterland. Here you will have dinner and spend the night.

Day 5 - Terravecchia - Casalvecchio

Riding: 6 hours

You will have breakfast and leave Terravecchia at around 8.30 in the morning. On this day of the trail you will ride along the southern slopes of the Madonie, famous since time immemorial for the production of wheat and hay, the island's primary agricultural resource, and the reason why Sicily was once known as "Rome's granary", as well as constituting the island's main source of nourishment.  You will pass through Petralia Soprana, nominated the most beautiful village in Italy in 2018, and arrive in the afternoon at agriturismo Casalvecchio Geraci, after riding along "trazzere" (old pathways) through beautiful scenery. You will enjoy a delicious dinner, made from the agriturismo's own produce, and spend the night here.

Day 6 - Casalvecchio - Tiberio

Riding: 7 hours

After breakfast, you will leave Casalvecchio at around 8.00 in the morning, and begin by riding along the route of the Pollina River, which marks the eastern boundary of the territory of the Madonie, and which is characterised by its wild beauty, which made the perfect hiding places for the famous bandits who ruled the area in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. You will stop for a break at the Gorges of Tiberius, a very interesting geological marvel, where the riverbed narrows and passes through a limestone canyon which can only be navigated by swimming or by dinghy.  You will have a picnic lunch and then ride on to our agriturismo, Villa Tiberio, where you will enjoy a dinner prepared with typical produce of the area and spend the night.

Day 7 - Tiberio - Cefalù

Riding: 7 hours

You will have breakfast and set off at around 8.00 in the morning. You will descend towards Castelbuono, the largest village in the Madonie, with around ten thousand inhabitants, and the former seat of the Ventimiglia Barons, who ruled for centuries over the entirety of the territory crossed during this trail. You will visit the castle at Castelbuono and stop for a picnic lunch. In the afternoon you will return to Cefalù, riding through very wild areas covered in woods and mediterranean brush. You will enjoy a seafood dinner on the coast and spend the night at our base, Villa Magarà.

Day 8

Riding: No riding.

Breakfast and departure.

Accommodation

Accommodation will be provided in a range of comfortable hotels, country homes and villas along the trail route. The stops are chosen for their character, unique situation and Sicilian authenticity. Most offer twin and double bedrooms (unless a single room is specified) and some have swimming pools for guests to enjoy on warm sunny days.

Experience Intermediate / Experienced

Intermediate to advanced - riders should be happy to ride at all paces over varied terrain, to spend long hours in the saddle and to dismount and lead their horse if required.

Minimum group size 4
Maximum group size 10
Departure windows

July 3, 2021 - July 10, 2021

Sept. 18, 2021 - Sept. 25, 2021

Nov. 6, 2021 - Nov. 13, 2021

April 9, 2022 - April 16, 2022

May 7, 2022 - May 14, 2022

June 18, 2022 - June 25, 2022

July 23, 2022 - July 30, 2022

Sept. 24, 2022 - Oct. 1, 2022

Oct. 15, 2022 - Oct. 22, 2022

Pricing

2021/2022
Single room
£1755 $2440 €2055
Single price is payable if you end up in a single room (or request one).
2021/2022
Sharing twin/double room
£1530 $2125 €1790
Included 7 nights accommodation in shared rooms, all meals from dinner on arrival day to breakfast on departure day, drinks with meals (local wine, beer or soft drinks), riding and luggage transportation, set-time transfers from Catania airport.
Not included Flights, insurance, extra drinks, tips & other personal expenses.
Note: All programmes and itineraries are weather dependent; in the face of adverse, or unexpected, weather conditions reasonable attempts will be made to provide equivalent riding. All programmes are accurate at the time of writing. However, the team may adapt or modify details, whilst aiming to provide a similar experience.

Day 1 - Arrival

Riding: No riding.

Transfer from the airport and arrive at Casalvecchio Geraci, an old farm dating from the eighteenth century which has been restored and is immersed in the green hills of the River Rainò valley. Delicious dinner prepared using produce fresh from the farm and overnight at the agriturismo.

Day 2 - Casalvecchio - Baglio San Pietro

Riding: 6 hours

After breakfast, you will be assigned your horse for the trail before leaving Casalvecchio at around 8.30 in the morning. Begin by riding along a “trazzera” (an old pathway used for transporting goods and animals across the island) in the direction of Gangi, a hilltop town of ancient and mysterious origin. After passing below Gangi, ride through mountain pastures with beautiful views across the surrounding countryside, to reach the Bosco di Sperlinga, a natural forest, where you stop for a picnic lunch. In the afternoon, you ride on to the village of Sperlinga, a fascinating place characterised by troglodyte dwellings, some of which are still in use today, and its unique castle, which is carved into the rock. Visit the village and its castle before a short ride to reach Baglio San Pietro, a restored farmstead dating from the seventeenth century and equipped with a swimming pool, where you have dinner and spend the night. Your accommodation sits on the edge of the town of Nicosia, one of the most important towns in the province of Enna.

Day 3 - Baglio San Pietro - Agriturismo Lo Sperone

Riding: 6 hours

After breakfast, you set off at around 8.30 in the morning. Begin the day riding through farmland and rolling hills along scenic tracks and old “trazzere” before stopping for a picnic lunch. For most of the afternoon’s ride you will follow an old railway line, out of use since the 1950s, which you pick up in the modern outskirts of the town of Leonforte. Follow the railway line to the town of Assoro, crossing impressive bridges, before winding down on the other side of the town through dramatic scenery and passing through several tunnels. You have dinner and spend the night at Agriturismo Lo Sperone, an old farmstead which has been restored, surrounded by citrus groves and equipped with a swimming pool.

Day 4 - Agriturismo Lo Sperone - Torre di Renda

Riding: 8 hours

Set off from the farm at about 8.00 in the morning and cross rolling hills, riding through endless fields of grain and forage. After about three hours, you reach the breathtaking and little-known Castello di Pietratagliata, a castle perched precariously atop a jagged rock, first documented in the fourteenth century, whose origins are shrouded in mystery and legend. Ride on through agricultural land to reach the site of Morgantina, one of the largest archaeological sites in Sicily, which was a city founded by the island’s Sicel populations. You briefly take in the site as you ride past and stop here for a picnic lunch. In the afternoon, you ride through rolling fields, climbing to take in beautiful views of the surrounding countryside, reaching as far as Mount Etna on a clear day. Then continue along sandy tracks through woods of eucalyptus and pine to reach Torre di Renda, an old structure which was formerly the local bishop’s residence, equipped with a swimming pool, in the territory of the famous medieval town of Piazza Armerina. Dinner and overnight.

Day 5 - Torre di Renda - Baglio Pollicarini

Riding: 6 hours

After breakfast, leave the hotel at around 8.00 in the morning and descend a scenic valley for about one hour, to arrive at the Villa Romana del Casale, one of the most important historical sites in Sicily and boasting around 3500m² of spectacular mosaics dating from the fourth century. After visiting the Villa Romana, you ride north through rolling farmland and stop for a picnic lunch. In the afternoon, ride through peaceful eucalyptus forests and reach the interesting area of Grottacalda, which was an important sulphur mining site. Continue on through woods of pine and eucalyptus to reach Baglio Pollicarini, originally a small convent built in the seventeenth century, which has been transformed into a charming farm hotel surrounded by olive trees and equipped with a swimming pool. Enjoy a rich dinner and overnight at the farm.

Day 6 - Baglio Pollicarini - Agriturismo Villa Assunta

Riding: 7 - 8 hours

Set off after breakfast, at about 8.30 in the morning, and ride through agricultural land, passing below the impressive town of Enna, to reach the territory of Calascibetta. Stop for a picnic lunch at the Necropolis of Realmese, an ancient site consisting of 288 tombs carved into imposing rock faces. In the afternoon, you descend towards the lake of Villarosa before riding through the small town, characteristic of deep Sicily. Ride on through rolling fields to reach your accommodation for the night, Agriturismo Villa Assunta, in the territory of Santa Caterina Villarmosa, equipped with an indoor swimming pool, jacuzzi and sauna.

Day 7 - Agriturismo Villa Assunta - Casalvecchio

Riding: 7 hours

Depart at around 8.30 in the morning and climb up the beautiful valley of the River Salso, the longest river in Sicily, which begins in the Madonie Mountains and reaches the southern coast after about 140km. Then climb to admire spectacular views across the surrounding hills and fields, before stopping for a picnic lunch at the ancient site of Alburchia, an impressive rocky outcrop, with breath-taking, panoramic views. In the afternoon, ride through agricultural land towards the glistening image of Gangi, perched impressively on its hillside and bathed in the afternoon sun. Then ride along an ancient trazzera to return to your base, Casalvecchio Geraci. Rich dinner prepared with homegrown produce and overnight.

Day 8 - Departure

Riding: No riding.

After breakfast you will be transferred to the airport

Accommodation

Accommodation will be provided in a range of comfortable hotels, country homes and villas along the trail route. The stops are chosen for their character, unique situation and Sicilian authenticity. Most offer twin and double bedrooms (unless a single room is specified) and some have swimming pools for guests to enjoy on warm sunny days.

Experience Intermediate / Experienced

Strong Intermediate and above with good fitness. You need to be capable riding at all paces, covering a range of terrain and riding for long hours. You will sometimes need to walk and lead your horse.

Minimum group size 4
Maximum group size 10
Departure windows

May 29, 2021 - June 5, 2021

Oct. 9, 2021 - Oct. 16, 2021

June 11, 2022 - June 18, 2022

Sept. 17, 2022 - Sept. 24, 2022

Pricing

2021/2022
Single
£1795 $2500 €2110
2021/2022
Sharing twin/double room
£1575 $2190 €1845
Included 7 nights of twin/double room accommodation, all meals from dinner on arrival day to breakfast on departure day, table wine with lunches and dinners, 6 days of riding and transportation of luggage, set-time airport transfers.
Not included Flights, personal travel insurance, extra drinks, tips and other personal expenses.
Note: All programmes and itineraries are weather dependent; in the face of adverse, or unexpected, weather conditions reasonable attempts will be made to provide equivalent riding. All programmes are accurate at the time of writing. However, the team may adapt or modify details, whilst aiming to provide a similar experience.