Sicily Explorer riding holiday in Sicily - Far and Ride
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Sicily Explorer, Sicily





Reviews



I would highly recommend this holiday. The horses were perfect: I would've happily brought mine home with me - with very comfortable saddles. Our guide, Alex, was very knowledgable about Mount Etna and frequently stopped to tell us something of interest. The scenery was amazing and varied, along with the terrain!

Judith W.
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!).

Russell
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!

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

Andrea T.
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!!

Jenny S.
This was hands down the best trail I've done. Everything was simply brilliant - Alex is an excellent guide, the horses are fun to ride and well-natured, the scenery was incredibly varied and beautiful and the food was delicious. I'll definitely be going back!

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

Sarah C.
"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!

Glenys R. (2nd visit)
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.

Veronica S. (Coast to Coast, July 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.

Sarah and Pablo, Read review
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

Kate & Peter (2018)
Words can’t fully express my holiday adventure……. It was truly wonderful / fabulous and everything else !!

Yvonne F
 

Horses



Type of horses:

Mixed breeds, primarily of Sicilian and Arabian backgrounds.

Nature of horses:

Sure-footed and well-trained but forward-going.

Height of horses:

15 - 16hh.

Weight limit:

90kg / 14st 2lbs / 198lbs

Tack type:

Mostly English but western saddles are available on request.

 

Travel Advice



Please ensure you read the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) advice before you travel.
 

Ride 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 Far and Ride have ridden with Alex 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

See Programmes.

 

Food & 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.

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.

 

Activities

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

 

Further Details

Languages: English, French, Italian.

Health requirements: Good fitness required.

Age limit: 16+

Tuition: No.

Included: Accommodation, meals, riding, airport transfers.

Not included: Flights, travel insurance, extra drinks, tips and souvenirs.

 

Travel Information

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

Airport: Catania

Alternative Airport: Palermo

 

Programmes


Mini Tour of Etna



This four day trail is the ideal way to explore the landscapes of Mt Etna and its surrounding countryside in a limited time. The ride is suitable for experienced riders who are fit to cope with long hours in the saddle, covering varied terrain and perhaps experiencing all sorts of weather along the way. In the evenings you will dine on delicious Sicilian cuisine and wine before sleeping in comfort. 

Itinerary:

NB: The following is an example itinerary which may be subject to change at your hosts discretion.

Day 1: Arrival

You will arrive in Castiglione di Sicilia with wonderful views of Mount Etna. Dinner and overnight.

Day 2 (c.7 hours of riding): Castiglione di Sicilia - Villa Dorata 

Departure from Castiglione at 8:00. After crossing a path in the middle of a lava flow from 1911 and passing by the village of Solicchiata, famous for its production of fine wines, you begin the ascent from the north, riding through forests of oak and chestnut. After around three hours riding you will reach the cave "Palombe", one of the many caves of Etna formed during the effusive eruptions, and will arrive soon at the Pista Altomontana, a track with an average height of 1700 meters above sea level. You will follow this track to the refuge of Monte Spagnolo, riding on through lava flows, past craters and beech forests. You will see Monte Nunziata Cave before coming to the refuge Galvarina where you will take your picnic break. 

 In the afternoon you continue to follow the track from which, during the days of good visibility, you can see half of Sicily. You pass by the cave of Santa Barbara and will finally reach your hotel Villa Dorata. Here you can enjoy breathtaking views of the city of Catania, its plain and its Gulf, all the way to Syracuse. Dinner and overnight.

Day 3 (c.6 hours of riding): Villa Dorata - Etna Mille77

Breakfast and departure at around 7:30. On leaving your hotel, you start to climb towards the Rifugio Sapienza, the most visited place of Etna, from where the cable car takes tourists in the summer to the summit of the volcano and in the winter to the ski resort. You will reach a height of about 2000 meters form where you can admire the 'mouth' of the 2001 eruption which spewed millions of cubic meters of lava that engulfed many of the buildings and streets on Etna's southern side. You pass then through the Silvestri Craters, born during a big eruption at the end of nineteenth century, so called “bottoniera” because they follow a line of fracture like the buttons of a shirt. You descend then through very rough paths across recent and older lava flows and thick forests until you reach the territory of Zafferana Etnea, famous for its large production of honey. You will stop here, spending the night at the B&B Etna Mille77, a beautiful house with sea views where you will also have dinner.

Day 4 (c. 6 hours of riding): Etna Mille77 - Chalet Clan dei Ragazzi

Breakfast followed by departure at around 9am. The ride today begins with a climb up Etna's north-eastern side through oak forests, passing the famous Ilici du Carrinnu, huge trees which are several centuries old. You will then ride along the edge of the Valle del Bove which is a famous depression in the landscape into which all the lava from eruptions (on the eastern side) flows. 

After a picnic lunch you will set off again, climbing to reach the impressive Sartorius craters which were formed during a major lateral eruption in 1865. You will descend through forests of birch and beech trees before finally arriving at the Ragabo pine forests with giant pine trees and your accommodation, the Chalet Clan dei Ragazzi, where you will have dinner and overnight. 

Day 5 (c.7 hours of riding): Chalet Clan dei Ragazzi - Castiglione di Sicilia

Breakfast and departure around 9am. You will ride up through the pine forest to the Piano Provenzana, a well-known ski resort where you can climb a series of tracks and paths through a moonlike landscape, passing through the site of the last major eruption in 2002. You will wind your way along the craters that were formed on 26th October in that year before riding around Monte Nero and stopping for a picnic lunch near the Timpa Rossa refuge. This is immersed in a beech forest, one of the furthest south in the Northern hemisphere. You will then begin your descent on Etna's north side, through various forests, until reaching the vineyards of Solicchiata. You will arrive back at your starting point for dinner and overnight.

Day 6: Departure

Departure after breakfast. 



Minimum group size: 2
Maximum group size: 10
Ability description: Strong intermediate 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.
Type of ride: Trail.
Total riding time: 4 days in the saddle, hours ranging from 6 - 8 per day.
Departure dates: 2020: Dates available on request for 2 or more riders, subject to availability.
 
Pricing: 2020:

£1110 per person.
Single supplement: £180 per person, if available.

Price includes 5 nights of accommodation, all meals from dinner on arrival day to breakfast on departure day, 4 days of guided riding, airport transfers.


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.



Wild Sicily Trail (formerly Cefalu to Etna Trail)



This horseback journey will surprise even the most seasoned equestrian with its beauty as you ride through four Sicilian parks: the Madonie, Nebrodi, Etna and Alcantara. The itinerary from Cefalù to Etna is characterised by an evocative landscape as well as a mixture of history, culture and tradition.

Through the ancient “Regia Trazzera” across the Madonie park you will follow old trails where Sicilian cowboys used to drive their herds from winter mountain pastures to summer lowland pastures. From there it is onwards to the Nebrodi and to the slopes of the famous Mt. Etna. This is an extraordinary adventure during which you will feel part of nature, riding a hardy and well cared for horse over a variety of interesting terrain. You will ride through some wild isolated country during the day but return at night to 3 star comfort and some local gastronomic delights. The traditional Sicilian cuisine is a source of great pride in the land's tumultuous history and reflects the influences of the changes. The isolated countryside will be a welcome change from city pollution and together with the extraordinary beauty and variety of landscapes it will ensure riders have a trip to remember.

The Madonie park, created in 1988, protects the variety of wildlife and vegetation present on the island. The land is rich with history: Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs and Normans all had influence on the towns and villages in this area of Italy. You will find castles and monasteries unique in Italy and the theatre of the famous “Targa Florio" car race.

The Nebrodi contains over 70km of mountains in which 50% of Sicilian forests are found; this is truly the green heart of the island. Riding on you reach Alcantara park where waters flow for about 40km in between castles and stunning landscapes, complete with lava gorges and native vegetation. Mt. Etna is unique in the Mediterranean. Its continuous succession of eruptions and variety of terrain from the sea to the forest make it a diverse ecosystem in which an incredible quantity of animals and plants are founded.

Alexandre is a very experienced trail guide and his knowledge of the countryside is matched with their passion for the environment and their pride in Sicily. The calm, good-natured horses will ensure that your trip is enjoyable, comfortable and safe with the long hours in the saddle. The route covers a distance of more than 200km at heights between 200 metres above sea level and 1600 metres on Nebrodi. Depending on the season it could take you to 2000 metres on Mount Etna. Most of the route leads through wild, wooded landscapes of Sicily, only short stretches are paved road. Accommodation is in high quality 3 star hotels/guesthouses and you will enjoy typical Sicilian food. Lunches are taken en route and are often in the form of a picnic.  

Itinerary

NB - please note that the itinerary is subject to change due to unforeseen circumstances such as weather or volcanic conditions. 

Day 1:

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 (c.7 hours of riding): Casalvecchio - San Mauro Castelverde

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 (c.6 hours of riding): San Mauro Castelverde - Monte Soprano

You will set out from the convent hotel after breakfast, following an old "trazzera" (transhumance road dating back to at least the Bourbonsand 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 (c.7 hours of riding): Monte Soprano - Villa Miraglia

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 (c.8 hours of riding): Villa Miraglia - Monte Colla 

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 (c.7 hours of riding): Monte Colla - Etna North 

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 enchating pine forest.

Day 7 (c.7 hours of riding): Etna North - Castiglione di Sicilia 

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:

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



Accommodation: Accommodation is in good quality 3 star hotels and guesthouses.
Minimum group size: 4
Maximum group size: 10
Ability description: 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.
Type of ride: Trail
Total riding time: 5 - 8 hours per day (25 - 50km).
Departure dates: 2020: 23 - 30 May, 27 June - 4 July, 5 - 12 September, 10 - 17 October.
 
Pricing: 2020:

£1630 per person, based on double/twin room accommodation. Price includes transfers from the closest airports (please contact us for specific details), accommodation, all meals with local wine, beers and soft drinks, guided riding and support vehicle.

Single supplement (where available): £225 *

*Single supplement 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).

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.



Corleone to Cefalu Trail



This adventurous but comfortable trail ride will take you through some of Sicily's lesser-known areas, starting in the famous town of Corleone and leading you to the seaside town of Cefalu. During the ride you will explore a multitude of charming landscapes and terrain including dense woodlands, cultivated farmland, mountains of chalk or limestone, endless fields of grain, mysterious caves and ancient farms, towns and villages with fascinating histories. 

Whilst you will spend long days in the saddle and will need to be fit, you will receive a warm welcome every evening at a quality guesthouse and will have a chance to rest. Each place serves delicious Sicilian cuisine and wine, with meals created using local produce. Dinners are a minimum of four courses and lunches are eaten as picnics during the rides. 

Itinerary

Day 1 - Arrival: 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: 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. 

Approximate hours on horseback: 7.

Day 3 - Gorgo del Drago to Villa Dafne: 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. 

Approximate hours on horseback: 8.

Day 4 - Villa Dafne to Mandragiumenta: 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. 

Approximate hours on horseback: 5.

Day 5 - Mandragiumenta to Casale Drinzi: Following breakfast and departure at approximately 08:30, you will ride over fields towards Sclafani Bagni, an ancient village perched on the mountainside. Here you can visit the panoramic ruins of a medieval castle and enjoy a coffee at the bar, before riding on towards a thermal spring for your picnic and a dip in the health-giving waters. 

After lunch and your thermal bath you will follow Salito, a tributary of the northern Imera river which represents the western limit of the Madonia territory. Dinner and overnight will be at Casale Drinzi.

Approximate hours on horseback: 6.

Day 6 - Casale Drinzi to Feudo Galefona: Breakfast and departure at 08:30 again. Today's ride takes places in 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 farm 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 reach the medieval village of Isnello. Tonight you will dine and sleep at Feudo Galefona.

Approximate hours on horseback: 6.

Day 7 - Feudo Galefona - Cefalu: Breakfast and departure, beginning in the direct of the sea and passing through some areas of great botanical and scenic interest. You will reach Gibilmanna in time for a picnic lunch - this is home to the famous shrine of Our Lady, a spiritual destination for pilgrims travelling from all over Sicily. 

In the afternoon you will continue your descent on horseback, eventually arriving to the seaside resort town of Cefalu. After a fond farewell to the dear horses who have carried you on this ride, they will be loaded onto trucks and transported back home for a well-earned rest. You will then be transported to Villa Magara where you will enjoy a seafood dinner before spending the night. 

Approximate hours on horseback: 6.

Day 8 - Departure: After breakfast it is time to head to the airport or to continue your travels in Sicily. 



Minimum group size: 4
Maximum group size: 10
Ability description: 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.
Type of ride: Trail.
Total riding time: 6 days riding with up to 8 hours a day.
Departure dates: 2020: 16 - 23 May.
 
Pricing: 2020:

£1630 per person, based on double/twin room accommodation.

Price includes transfers from the closest airports (please contact us for specific details), accommodation, all meals with local wine, beers and soft drinks, guided riding and support vehicle.

Single supplement (where available): £225 *

*Single supplement 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).

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.



Mysterious Sicily Mini Trail



This mini trail includes three days in the saddle and is a chance to discover a little taste of beautiful Sicily from horseback. You will explore one of the most picturesque and mysterious areas of this special island. With comfortable farmhouse accommodation, delicious food and lots of riding hours, this is the ideal way to fit some riding into a limited amount of time! With beautiful views of Mt Etna and a range of intriguing landscapes to explore, this short break will no doubt leave you wanting to visit Sicily again.

Itinerary:

NB - Please note that this is a guideline and may be subject to change at the discretion of your host and guide.

Day 1: Arrival in time for dinner and overnight in Castiglione di Sicilia. 

Day 2 (c.7 hours of riding): Castiglione di Sicilia - Montalbano Elicona 

At approximately 8am you will start out from Castiglione di Sicilia, in the Alcantara Valley, and after crossing the river will begin to climb through the forest reserve Malabotta. This lies on the extreme eastern propensity of the Nebrodi mountain range and offers breathtaking views of the valley and of Etna. You will ride up to about 1200m above sea level where you will find the 'Patriarchs of the Forest', represented by ancient oak and beech trees of considerable size, where you will stop for your picnic lunch. From here you will ride on to the Argimusco, nicknamed "the Sicilian Stonehenge", famous for its megaliths and very suggestive forms which some believe have occurred due to weathering and others think to be eroded sculptures of an ancient civilisation, unrecognised in official history. Your ride then heads down towards the north where you will pass by the medieval town of Montalbano Elicona, taking time to make a short tour of the old town and to visit the castle. You will then head to your hotel in the town's main square where you will have dinner and overnight. 

Day 3 (c.6 hours of riding): Montalbano Elicona - Monte Colla 

After breakfast you will start climbing into the eastern territory of the Nebrodi mountains, crossing arable lands and woodlands, passing under big wind turbines and meeting the so-called "tholos" - these small, circular, stone buildings have been used by unknown civilisations since prehistoric times and, until a few years ago, by local shepherds. Riding on, you will arrive in Floresta which is Sicily's highest town, located at 1275m above sea level. After a picnic break the ride will continue inside Nebrodi Natural Park, following winding paths through beautiful landscapes and forests of oak, maple and beech trees before bringing you to Monte Colla, the most isolated farmhouse of the island. The house is 7km from the nearest paved road and is an aristocratic home from the 18th century with an attached barn at about 1400m high. Dinner and overnight here. 

Day 4 (c.7 hours of riding): Monte Colla - Castiglione di Sicilia 

After breakfast you will begin by walking towards the direction of the source of the Alcantara and then on towards Santa Domenica di Vittoria, a traditional village on the border of the park, which you will cross before making your way down to the fertile valley lying between Etna and the mountains Nebrodi and Peloritans. Passing by orchards of fruit trees and vegetables you will come to Mojo Alcantara, a village which is famous for its "eccentric crater" meaning that it lies outside the perimeter of Etna. It exploded a few thousand years ago and its lava flow has followed the course of the river which first modelled it, carving the famous Alcantara Gorges which are known far and wide. After your picnic break your guide will lead you on country lanes which are bordered by lava stone walls and on to multiple river crossings, taking you up to the "small gorges" and the "Byzantine Cuba". This place of worship dates back to the 7th or 8th century, recognised by its particular squared shape. After visiting these fascinating sites you will ride back to the starting point of your trail, Castiglione di Sicilia. Generally speaking you will finish the ride at approximately 5.30 - 6pm. 

Day 5: Departure after breakfast.



Minimum group size: 2
Maximum group size: 10
Ability description: Strong intermediate 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.
Type of ride: Trail.
Total riding time: 3 days in the saddle, hours ranging from 6 - 8 per day.
Departure dates: 2020: Dates available on request for 2 or more riders, subject to availability.
 
Pricing: 2020:

£880 per person sharing.
Single supplement: £90 per person, if available.

Price includes 4 nights of shared accommodation, dinners, breakfasts and 3 days of guided riding with picnic lunches, airport transfers.


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.



Coast to Coast Trail



An exciting adventure from Sicily's north coast all the way to the south! This fascinating trail connects the two famous and ancient cities of Cefalu and Agrigento by crossing the Sicilian hinterland between them. The first exploratory ride was carried out in November 2014 after months of planning and since then, many riders around the world have had the opportunity to experience this beautiful ride. Now Alex and his team have improved and perfected the ride and reinstate it for their customers in 2018.

Day 1: Arrival

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

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. 

Approximate riding hours: 7-8.

Day 3: Piano Battaglia - Sciaritelle

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. 

Approximate riding hours: 6 - 7. 

Day 4: Sciaritelle - Mappa

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. 

Approximate riding hours: 5-6.

Day 5: Mappa - Aragona

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. 

Approximate riding hours: 7-8.

Day 6: Aragona - Agrigento

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 which 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. 

Approximate riding hours: 6-7. 

Day 7: Agrigento - Torre Salsa

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. 

Approximate riding hours: 6-7.

Day 8: Departure

After breakfast you will be transferred to the airport.



Minimum group size: 4
Maximum group size: 10
Ability description: 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.
Type of ride: Trail.
Total riding time: 6 riding days with some long hours.
Departure dates: 2020: 18 - 25 April, 6 - 13 June, 31 October - 7 November.
 
Pricing: 2020:

£1630 per person
£225 single supplement

Price includes transfers from the closest airports (please contact us for specific details), 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.

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.



New Year Programme



Celebrate the New Year in a unique and memorable way, exploring the wild Sicilian territories of Geraci Siculo, Gangi and San Mauro Castelverde on horseback, accompanied by delicious food and wine. This is a stationary programme including five nights of quality accommodation, all meals, four full days in the saddle and special New Year celebrations. 

Day 1 (29th December 2019): 

Arrival to Casalvecchio, a restored nineteenth century farmhouse, which has been transformed into an agriturismo. Delicious welcome dinner prepared using local produce. 

Day 2 (30th December 2019):

After breakfast you will set off and descend the River Pollina valley to reach a very wild area, densely covered in Mediterranean vegetation. You will stop for a picnic lunch at Botindari, a small agricultural village which is very characteristic of the local area, before riding back towards our agriturismo in the afternoon. There you will enjoy a rich dinner prepared using local produce.

Day 3 (31st December 2019):

After breakfast you will begin the day’s ride by climbing an ancient trazzera (old paths used for transporting animals which date from the Bourbon era) in the direction of Gangi, one of Sicily’s most beautiful villages, perched on a mountaintop. You will visit the village and enjoy lunch in an agriturismo, before riding back to Casalvecchio in the afternoon. In the evening, you will enjoy a special meal to celebrate New Year’s Eve.

Day 4 (1st January 2020):

After breakfast you will set off along old trazzere, climbing through fields of wheat and hay, before passing beneath the giant turbines of a wind farm and arriving at the so-called Rocca Monaco. Situated on the border between the provinces of Enna, Palermo and Messina, this is the site of a cave that in ancient times was used to store grain, before being used as a hideout for local bandits and later the hiding place for a small group of German soldiers who put up a desperate and strenuous fight from there against the Americans during the Second World War. You will have a picnic lunch and return to your agriturismo in the afternoon.

Day 5 (2nd January 2020):

After breakfast you will set off in the direction of Geraci Siculo, one of the highest villages in the Madonie Park, and the seat of the Ventimiglia Barons, the Marchesi di Geraci, who ruled over the area for centuries. You will ride through very wild and steep terrain, through oak and ash trees, to reach the village where you will stop for lunch. You will visit the ruins of the castle, situated in a very panoramic position, before riding back to your agriturismo in the afternoon.

Day 6 (3rd January 2020):

Breakfast and transfer to the airport. 

Please note that the itinerary is a guide and may have to be changed depending on weather and local conditions. 



Minimum group size: 4
Maximum group size: 10
Ability description: Strong intermediate 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.
Type of ride: Stationary programme with daily hacks.
Total riding time: Four full days in the saddle.
Departure dates: 29th December 2019 - 3rd January 2020
 
Pricing: 2019:

Double/twin room: £900 per person
Single room: £1035 per person

Price includes airport transfers, five nights of accommodation, all meals, four days of riding and special New Years Eve celebrations.

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.



Madonie Trail



A fascinating ride through the Madonie Natural Park, which extends to approximately 40 thousand hectares and is home to more than 70% of the island's wildlife. This is a circular route which starts and ends in the historic coastal town of Cefalu. You spend around six hours a day in the saddle on average, exploring the best of the Madonie region.

Day 1: Arrival

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: Villa Magarà – Gibilmanna – Casale Drinzi (hours of riding: 6)

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 (hours of riding: 5)

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 (hours of riding: 5)

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 (hours of riding: 6)

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 (hours of riding: 7)

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 (hours of riding: 7)

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: Departure

Breakfast and departure.



Minimum group size: 4
Maximum group size: 10
Ability description: 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.
Type of ride: Trail.
Total riding time: 6 days, 5 - 7 hours per day.
Departure dates: 2020: 11-18 April, 25 April - 2 May, 13 - 20 June, 11 - 18 July, 19 - 26 September, 17 - 24 October, 7 - 14 November.
 
Pricing: 2020:

£1530 per person in a twin/double room.
£1755 per person in a single room.

Price includes Palermo airport transfers, 7 nights of accommodation, all meals from dinner on arrival day to breakfast on departure day, select drinks with meals, 6 days of riding and transportation of luggage.

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.