view of Mt Etna along the walk

Walking in the foothills of Mt Etna

Greek/Roman theatre in Taormina

Stone carving of Argimusco

Alcantara River

Walking over the 1981 lava flow

Walking through the vineyards

The main square in Montalbano Elicona

Wine tasting at Fattorie Romeo del Castello

The town of Randazzo

North-East Sicily Guided Walking Tour

Montalbano Elicona -Nebrodi Mountains – Etna – Alcantara River - Castelmola/Taormina

 

 

This extraordinary walk encompasses the North-Eastern triangle of Sicily, beginning above the Tyrrhenian coastline at Montalbano Elicona, (named ‘The Most Beautiful Town in Italy’ in 2016), and ending at the town of Castelmola above the Ionian Sea.

 

The itinerary takes you through lesser known areas of Sicily such as the ‘Argimusco’, (the Stonehenge of Sicily), the Bosco of Malabotta with its ancient oak trees and sensational views of the coastline of Calabria on one side and the Aeolian Islands on the other.

 

There is an overnight stay in Floresta, the highest town in Sicily at 1,275m above sea level, nestled in the alpine landscape of the Nebrodi Mountains with spectacular views towards Etna.  From Floresta, the walk follows the river Alcantara down to the medieval town of Randazzo, known as the ‘Black Town’, then on to Castiglione in Sicilia. You have the opportunity to swim along the way, and visit sites such as the famous Alcantara Gorge.

 

At the foothills of Mt Etna, you walk through fertile land where the Etna Rosso, one of the most prestigious wines in Sicily, is grown and produced. 

 

The walks are mostly easy to moderate level, however there are two days which are slightly more demanding.  

 

 

Day 1:

Transfer from Catania airport to Montalbano Elicona

Montalbano Elicona is a medieval town originally built in 1233 by Emperor Frederick II, known for its most impressive monument, the castle, and the fact that it won the title of the ‘Most Beautiful Town in Italy’ in 2016.  It sits perched on a mountain top overlooking the Aeolian Islands.

 

 

Day 2:

Bosco Malabotta to Argimusco

The short drive to the beginning of the walk at Bosco Malabotta. takes you past the 2,000BC dwellings called ‘Tholos’. A forest track leads you past ancient oak trees to an open landscape with sensational views.  The walk continues on a country road to the site of ‘Argimusco’ where you have a guided tour of the Mystical site known as the Stonehenge of Sicily.

Return to our accommodation.

Breakfast, picnic lunch and dinner included.

Distance: 10.6km; ascent: 224; descent: 237m

 

Day 3:

Montalbano Elicona to Floresta

Leaving Montalbano Elicona, you follow an ancient path down to the river Elicona, from where there is a steady walk uphill on a wide track passing through hazelnut groves and open farmland to reach Floresta, located at 1,275m above sea level.  From here you are able to admire spectacular views towards Etna and the Peloritani Mountains. 

Breakfast, packed lunch and dinner included.

Distance: 14.7km; ascent: 700m; descent: 287m

 

Day 4:
Floresta to Randazzo

Today’s walk is the longest in distance, but not difficult, as it’s a gradual descent from Floresta travelling along the river, mostly through woodlands.  Half way through your journey, there’s a lovely picnic area with fresh drinking water available from a fountain, where you may like to stop and have lunch. The day ends with your arrival into Randazzo, known as the ‘Black Town’, as it's built almost entirely of volcanic lava, time to explore Randazzo before a 10 mins drive to our accommodation.

Breakfast, packed lunch and dinner included.

Distance: 17km; ascent: 117m; descent: 627m

 

Day 5:

Mt Etna

This morning we drive 15 mins to start our walk at an altitude of 1,250m. The walk is mainly on wide forest track that initially climbs uphill gently, then evens out through pine woods and onto the 1981 lava flow.  The landscape is dramatic, walking nearby lava walls (approx. 10m) with wonderful views into the valley and mountain ranges.  The walk continues through beech woods, before returning on a small path on the 1981 lava flow.
After the walk we will visit Castello di Romeo in Randazzo, an aristocratic country house owned by a Sicilian family. Here there is a wine museum and we will be able to taste local home-made specialties (organic wines, liqueurs, jams etc.) produced and served by the owners.

Early evening visit to the House of Music and Lutherie.

Breakfast, lunch with wine tasting and dinner included.
Distance: 10.15km; ascent: 244m; descent: 244m

 

Day 6:

Randazzo - Castiglione di Sicilia - Alcantara

The walk follows the Alcantara river, with a detour to the ‘Cuba Bizantina’ (Byzantine chapel). You may like to stop for a swim in a shady spot along the way before you walk the last section which is uphill, on an ancient path, taking you into the town of Castiglione di Sicilia, where the Greeks built a fortress in the 5th century BC. 

Descending from the town of Castiglione di Sicilia, you’re once again on the fertile plains of Alcantara river. The plains are surrounded by beautifully cultivated fields consisting of vineyards, olive groves, fruit trees and well cared for gardens. The first interesting stop is at ‘Le Gurne’ which are small pools found in the river of the nearby town of Francavilla.You have time to enjoy a swim or just relax by the Gorge of Alcantara.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

Distance: 18km; ascent: 174m; descent: 541m

(Option to shorten the walk at Castiglione di Sicilia after 8kms).

 

Day 7:

Graniti to Castelmola

A 5-minute drive takes you to the town of Graniti, situated in a nearby valley, where your walk begins. From here the path starts to wind uphill gently through olive and almond groves.  Half way up, views of the coastline of Giardini Naxos begin to appear, increasing until you reach the peak, where breathtaking views of Castelmola and Taormina appear below.

Breakfast, packed lunch and dinner included.

Distance: 12.7km; ascent: 708m; descent: 384m

 

Day 8:

Free day

A free day for you to visit Taormina and explore this, the most well-known tourist destination, in Sicily. Walk through the elegant medieval streets lined with bougainvillea, once a haven for the world famous writers, poets, musicians and painters who were inspired by her beauty.

A visit to the magnificent Greek/Roman theatre, with Mt Etna in the background, is not to be missed.

Breakfast and dinner included.

 

Day 9:

Transfer to Catania airport

Breakfast included.

 

 

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Cost:   Euro 2,560 per person
(two people sharing a double room)

Single room supplement Euro 400

Tour Dates:  5th to 13th October
                      2018
                      (9 days / 8 nights)

The tour includes:

  • Transfers from and to Catania airport.
  • Accommodation in double rooms.
  • Meals as specified.
  • Wine tasting and lunch at Fattorie Romeo del Castello.
  • Guided visits to Argimusco and House of Music and Lutherie.
  • All transfers including luggage during the tour.
  • Back-up vehicle during the tour.
  • Service of a local knowledgeable English speaking guide. 

 

The tour does not include:

  • Air travel to Sicily.
  • Personal items or services not specified in the itinerary.
  • Travel insurance which is a requirement of the trip.
  • Single room supplement.

 

The walks:

The walks are on obvious paths/tracks and even though they aren't always marked, they can be easily followed. There are only very short sections of steep uphill, with mostly gentle ascents on wide tracks. We try to balance out the walks so that after a more strenuous day, a shorter day with an easier walk usually follows. A moderate level of fitness is required.

 

The accommodation:

Different styles of accommodation are experienced based on what is available in the region, and also to provide you with an interesting and varied experience, thereby giving you a better understanding of the location and its history.

 

The food:

Recommendations for authentic and unique dining experiences, using fresh local produce, are provided for places visited throughout the tour.

The Nebrodi mountains are famous for farming animals. The cold meats made from a special breed of black pig found only in this area are renowned, as are the numerous varieties of local cheeses. 

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