Landscape and colors of the Madonie Mountains in Sicily
Landscape and colors of the Madonie Mountains in Sicily

Madonie: the mountains of Sicily

Level
2
Distance
60 km
Duration
7 days | 6 nights
period
Jul Sep Oct
price from
€ 758
CO2 footprint
141 Kg/person
  1. Italy
  2.  | 
  3. Self-Guided
  4.  | 
  5. Tourcode ITSW060

Not far from Mount Etna, Sicily rises beyond 2,000 meters with its highest mountains. The Madonie Mountains represent an alternative side of Sicily, a rugged and earthy part of this region adorned with perched villages and countryside. Here, they cultivate vegetable gardens and olive groves, producing almonds, figs, and hazelnuts.

You'll walk with frequent, breathtaking views of central Sicily, Mount Etna, and the sea. At the end of the journey, you descend to the Mediterranean scrubland and the emerald sea of Cefalù, known for its Norman Cathedral and Byzantine mosaics.

Highlights

  • Enjoy the wonderful open landscapes dotted with medieval villages and hamlets;
  • Relax in authentic accommodations in traditional farms;
  • A rich history brought to life in castles, churches and museums;
  • Take a bath in Cefalù, vibrant fishing town with a fabulous beach;
  • Eat mouth-watering Sicilian culinary specialties.

Itinerary

Day 1

Arrive in Petralia Sottana

Arrive in Petralia Sottana

Arrive in Sicily and breathe in the warm island breeze and aroma of the outstanding local flora. If pre-arranged with us, a private transfer takes you from airport to your accommodation in Petralia Sottana, in the south of the Monti Madonie. Enjoy your first dinner in a local restaurant of your choice trying the many flavors of the tasty regional cuisine. 

Day 2

Loop walk around Petralia Sottana, 16 km

Loop walk around Petralia Sottana, 16 km

Today’s walk It is a quite easy path through Petralia's hills from where it is possible to enjoy superb landscapes over the southern side of Sicily, inclunding Mt. Etna. Some stretches of the route are on clayey terrain which can be challenging in case of rain. The elevation is fairly gradual; there is only one steep stretch. The walk can start in Portella Ferrone (wp17) with transfer organized by the accomodation; the walk is then shortened of 2 km and the steep stretch to wp14 is avoided.

Distance: 16 km

Elevation gain: +734/-713 m

Day 3

Pomieri loop via Monte San Salvatore, 15 km

Pomieri loop via Monte San Salvatore, 15 km

A morning trasnfer will take you to the start of the walk in Pomieri. The walk starts off on a fairly steep and rough surface but it eases out as you reach the higher lands where views begin to unfold and you follow panoramic dirt roads and well-marked trails, making a loop around the fascinating Vallone degli Angeli.

From Vallone you can take a detour to Scalone from which you have a good view of Polizzi Generosa and valleys located tot he North of the Madonie Mountains. Monte Salvatore is one of the highest peaks of the Madonie Mountains, from the top there is a spectacular 360° view of the central part of Sicily. You can also admire the Sanctuary of Madonna dell’Alto, a regular destination for religious pilgrimages. Part of the route follows the long distance ‘Sentiero Italia’ where you can still find a few examples of the Nebrodi Fir tree, that once covered a vast section of the uplands. At the end of the walk a private transfer will take you back to the accommodation in Petralia Sottana.

Distance: 15 km

Elevation gain: +763/-754 m

Day 4

Rocca di Gonato, 13 km

Rocca di Gonato, 13 km

A morning transfer will take you to Parco Avventure Madonie from where you will start your walk. Climb from Pomieri to the “Piano Battaglia” plateau (1.700 metres), a well-known area which name derives from a battle which took place here in the 11th century between the Arabs and Normans. Take a large circular tour around the picturesque Monte Ferro (1.900 metres) before walking down to a one-of-a-kind agriturismo (farm) where you will spend the night.

Distance: 13 km

Elevation gain: +600/-450 m

Day 5

From Gonato to Castelbuono, 13 km

From Gonato to Castelbuono, 13 km

Bid adieu to the lovely Madonie Mountains an descend to the hills around Castelbuono. A short and easy descent brings you to Agriturismo Bergi. Here you can spend the afternoon relaxing into the village of Castelbuono. Do not miss a visit to the nearby medieval village of Castebuono. Stroll along ancient narrow streets and squares for a true taste of small-town Sicily. 

Distance: 13 km

Elevation gain: +206/-635 m

Day 6

Cefalù loop walk, 3 km

Cefalù loop walk, 3 km

After breakfast, a short transfer takes you to the bus stop in Castelbuono where you board the bus with your luggage to Cefalù. Check in at your hotel and explore the town’s breathtaking Norman Cathedral and awe-inspiring Byzantine mosaics. Climb the ancient fortifications of the Rocca or go for a refreshing swim on the long sandy beach in front of the hotel. To end this fabulous walking trip celebrate with a delicious dinner in one of Cefalù’s many fine fish restaurants. 

Distance: 3 km

Elevation gain: +207/-203 m

Day 7

Arrivederci Cefalù!

Arrivederci Cefalù!

The trip and services end after breakfast. From Cefalù you depart by train to reach Palermo or Catania Airports.

Details

Is this for me?


A journey to discover the lesser-known part of Sicily, that of the mountains, and then descend to the sea in one of its most enchanting coastal cities. It's not a particularly demanding trip for those accustomed to walking but does require some mountain experience. Furthermore, it's not recommended for those who suffer from vertigo or have stability issues while walking, as the terrain can be uneven at times, as is common on mountain trails.

Included


What is included

  • 6 Nights in double room in **/*** hotels , B&B and agriturismi with breakfast
  • 2 dinners (Castelbuono)
  • 1 packed lunch
  • transfers as described in the day by day program
  • luggage transportation from hotel to hotel
  • maps and detailed description of the itinerary in digital form, app
  • Medical and luggage travel insurance
  • 24h phone assistance

What is not included 

  • Transfers to the starting location and from the arriving location of the tour
  • lunches and dinners, if not otherwise stated
  • visits and entrance fees - tips
  • personal expense
  • possible sojourn taxes
  • everything that is not mentioned in the "What is included" section.

Optional Services

These services can be added to the ones included in the base price of the tour:

  • Single room supplement
  • cancellation insurance
  • Transfers to reach the starting location or to leave the arriving location of the tour, which will be quoted on request.
  • travel documentation in printed form (maps and detailed description of the itinerary), shipped to the first hotel

Accommodation


We work with 3* hotels, B&Bs and farmhouses that reflect our way of experiencing travel: they are comfortable and characterful structures, which we choose one by one, managed by passionate and welcoming people.

Unless otherwise specified in the travel listing, all provide private en-suite rooms with breakfast included.

 

Hotel Il Castello Petralia Sottana
Hotel Il Castello - Petralia Sottana

Hotel Il Castello is housed in ancient Norman Castle dated back to 1062. It offers well-furnished rooms with free Wifi, satellite TV, private bathroom and rustic style. Staff is courteous and helpful. Highly recommended the restaurant. Buffet breakfast with homemade products.

www.il-castello.net

Masseria Rocca di Gonato Castelbuono
Masseria Rocca di Gonato - Castelbuono

The Masseria Rocca di Gonato is a rural tourism located in the Regional Park of Madonie. Rooms are well-finished, comfortable and essential with private bathroom. Cuisine is good and proposes dishes with local products. Italian breakfast with homemade cakes.

roccadigonato.it

Agriturismo Bergi Castelbuono
Agriturismo Bergi - Castelbuono

Agriturismo Bergi is a part of the Farm Azienda Agricola Bergi that produces and commercilizes quality biological products by Sicily from years. Rooms are well-finished, elegant and welcoming with private bathroom, air conditioning/heating and TV. The cuisine offers typical dishes from Sicily and the buffet breakfast is both savoury and sweet.

www.agriturismobergi.com

Hotel Riva del Sole Cefalù
Hotel Riva del Sole - Cefalù

Hotel Riva del Sole is located along the seafront of Cefalù and it offers a panoramic terrace overlooking the sea. Hotel offers spacious rooms, clean and well-finished with free Wifi, TV, private bathroom. International breakfast is rich and various of sweet and savoury products.

www.rivadelsole.com

What to bring


Clothing and other items
You will need your regular walking/cycling gear, including some sort of reflective garment. For the evenings, smart outdoor style trousers (or shorts) are invaluable, as are quick-dry t-shirts. These can be washed easily and will dry overnight and still look good for sightseeing or having a drink in town.

Take as little as possible to avoid potentially lugging a heavy suitcase up three flights of stairs at the end of the day. Please be aware that laundromats (“Laverie”) are not common in rural areas, so plan to do handwashing of small items.

Lightweight walking shoes/ trainers
For wearing around towns & villages. They can also be a back-up pair.

Socks & underwear
Take only good quality socks with quick-dry and insulating qualities. Road test them before you go on the trip. Take a suitable quantity of underwear as washing facilities are limited.

Warm jacket, hat, gloves
Bring a fleece, Polartec or warm layers for the evenings especially in spring or autumn; be sure it is totally suitable for your needs.
A fleece jacket which blocks the wind (Wind-stopper) is the most preferable. In the summer months a lightweight jacket is suitable for evenings.
If you are cycling/walking in mountainous or coastal areas, even in the height of summer, the weather can change very quickly and unexpectedly and you should be prepared for fog, mist, rain, snow or hail at any time. Always take an extra layer with you, as well as a warm hat and gloves.

Waterproof jacket & trousers
If you are caught in heavy rain, with good waterproof clothing you should remain dry. Remember that most garments will lose their properties over time. Few will remain waterproof for more than five years and many deteriorate in three years or less. We recommend a rain jacket with a good hood and collar and waterproof or thermal walking/cycling trousers or tights.

Dress code
In general, you should wear suitable clothing when entering a church (in many places, it is considered unacceptable to go inside wearing shorts or a tank-top). We suggest that women carry a shawl to cover up bear shoulders or low-cut tops. It also comes in handy when your shoulders get sunburned!

It is considered inappropriate for men to go without a shirt / T-shirt (other than at the beach).

Trekking poles (adjustable)
Highly recommended. A pair works best, depending on what you are comfortable with. If you suffer from back or knee pain this should be considered essential. Remember to practise walking with your pole(s) on different types of terrain in the months preceding your trip.

Walking boots
The importance of good footwear cannot be stressed enough. Your boots should be sturdy and of good enough quality to handle all types of terrain. Lightweight boots, (cordura/leather boots) which have Gore-Tex or sympatex water-proofing are most suitable for this trip. They should provide good ankle protection and be well broken in. Waxing leather boots regularly prolongs their life.

Walking tops & trousers
We recommend walking trousers and shorts and quick-dry wicking t-shirts. These can be washed easily and will dry overnight and still look good for sightseeing or having a drink in town. Wicking T-shirts are fast drying, keep moisture away from your skin and are available at outdoor stores. You should also bring one pair of loose-fitting trousers to wear in cities and for evenings out, etc. Shorts or zip-off trousers are useful in warmer weather.

Practical info

How to arrive


From the airport PMO, you first need to reach Palermo train station by bus. From Palermo bus station (located in front of the train station), busses run directly to Petralia Sottana. Check times and prices on www.saistrasporti.it

From Catania airport (CTA), you can reach the train station by bus. Once there, take a train to Palermo, and then a bus to Petralia Sottana.

On departure from Cefalù, take a train to Palermo Centrale and then a bus connection to Palermo Punta Raisi airport (PMO). Click here for further info.

If flying from Catania (CTA), take a train from Cefalù to Catania Centrale (with change in either Messina or Palermo), and then a bus to the airport.

Train timetables available on www.trenitalia.com.

Mobile App


Use the SloWays APP for iOS and Android smart phones in combination with the written documentation provided.

The App has the detailed tracks and maps that you can use offline and without roaming. Thanks to the phone’s internal GPS, you can check your exact position on the map, so you always know exactly where you are. It also helps you self-navigate you way while travelling. More information on how to use the App inside the roadbook documents.

The navigation features include:

  • Offline navigation. Mobile data not required after initial download
  • Accurate GPS tracks
  • Autorotation of the maps
  • Daily route summary and elevation chart
  • Panorama of the track and at street level
  • Alarm and vibration that alerts you in case you go off track.
  • Emergency SMS button with position coordinates
  • Possibility to record and take georeferenced photos of problems on route alerting fellow travelers
  • Hotel information
  • Points of interest along the way
  • Historical background

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Wanderlust Nominee Best Specialist Tour Operator 2023
Wanderlust
Nominee Best Specialist Tour Operator 2023
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Touroperating
S-Cape Countryside Travels srl
Borgo Allegri 16R
50122 Firenze FI
P. IVA 05227330486

 
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Touroperating S-Cape Countryside Travels srl Borgo Allegri 16R 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
VAT Nr 05227330486

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