Cycling in Sicily- Advice please

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Cycling in Sicily- Advice please

Postby Rajkumar » 7 Feb 2020, 10:55pm

I am planning to cycle south coast of Sicily, known as SIBIT route. In all the websites which describes this route, the directions are given from Trapani in north west to Syracuse in south east.

Due to various practical reasons I had planned the ride on the opposite direction, from Syracuse in the south west to Trapani in the North East.

Any idea about wind directions in this part of Italy? Is it okay to do it from East to West?

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Re: Cycling in Sicily- Advice please

Postby raybo » 8 Feb 2020, 4:31am

I rode from Siracusa to Selinunte along the south coast and then up to Palermo, so not all the way to Trapani. I saw signs for SIBIT, even followed one for a short while, but didn't actually follow the route, as far as I know. I recall there being some wind, at times strong, but don't remember that it was a major factor every day.

What I do recall is the main highway along the southern coast. It is an SS road (SS115) with 2 lanes that carries heavy, fast traffic and has a few tunnels. Avoid it if at all possible. I was forced onto this road at one point because the "bike route" I'd mapped included a road that had been washed out years before but was still on maps.

Sicily gets hilly once you are away from the coast or on roads away from the main ones. Avoiding the busy coastal road means meandering up and down hills.

From Siracusa, I visited Noto, Modica, Gela, Agrigento, Sciacca, Selinunte, and up toward Palermo. There is no reason to visit both Noto and Modica. Of the 2, Modica would get my vote. Do miss Gela. Agrigento is a fabulous town where an extra day would be worth it. The ruins are definitely worth a visit. Sciacca is a beach town but I didn't explore it. Selinunte is a village next to extraordinary ruins.

I wrote a detailed journal of this trip with hundreds of photos. The trip started in Naples. The day I left Siracusa starts here.
Visit my on-line bike touring archive at

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Re: Cycling in Sicily- Advice please

Postby ConRAD » 8 Feb 2020, 8:32am

Rajkumar wrote:... known as SIBIT route ...

SIBIT - Sustainable Interregional Bike Tourism is, or better it was, a project co-funded by the European Union and the European Regional Development Fund originally intended to promote the biketourism as a sustainable form of local knowledge and integration of territories such as Sicily and Malta. The project, to my knowledge, at least in Sicily and despite one million Euros already spent in the past, is presently experiencing a sort of an evident general abandon of which you can find traces in a dozen of rusted and totally useless signposts.
The path basically follows the SS115-Strada Statale Sudoccidentale Sicula n. 115, not always but often busy with heavy traffic.
With a good map, paper or gps as you prefer, you may avoid it and take some detours, be however careful because these detours are often likely to take you to “nowhere”.
In between Sciacca and Agrigento I remember something like five or six tunnels, not very long indeed (less than 1 km), all signed as “unlit” but in reality lit just a little bit!!
Except for some heavily spoiled areas and uncontrolled dumping Sicily is, or better it might be, a cycling paradise.
Here below my fourteen trips in Sicily of which you can find details in my blog. Wind and trip direction have never been of any specific concern.

Here my last one, completed just a few days ago Castelli e Torri di Guardia della Provincia di Siracusa [DEC2019-JAN2020]

1. Castelli e Torri di Guardia della Provincia di Siracusa [DIC2019-GEN2020]
2. Castello del Marchese di Cassibile (SR) [APR2019]
3. Area Marina Protetta del Plemmirio (SR) [APR2019]
4. Etna: da Acireale a Falcone passando per Bronte, Randazzo, Montalbano [APR2019]
5. West Sicily: da Mazara del Vallo a San Vito passando per Favignana [FEB2019]
6. Nelle terre del Commissario Montalbano [FEB2018]
7. Eolie [NOV2017]
8. Dalla Sicilia a Milano seguendo la "Rotta Balcanica" [OTT2017]
9. Sicilia, in giro per tonnare [OTT2016]
10. Giro delle isole di Sicilia: Eolie, Egadi, Pantelleria [MAR2017]
11. Giro delle isole di Sicilia: Malta & Gozo [GEN2017]
12. To the bottom tip of Sicily [FEB2016]
13. TI3IT-Thru Italy's 3 Islands Trail, ultima parte [OTT2015]
14. Al di là del ponte: Sicilia, "isola plurale" [NOV2012]

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Re: Cycling in Sicily- Advice please

Postby recumbentpanda » 8 Feb 2020, 9:14am

My experience is limited to a week long tour of south eastern Sicily.

I did not find wind to be an issue, but heat certainly was. This was in September. Our very good hybrid hire bikes came with two water bottle cages, but after the first day I insisted we put two litre bottles each in the panniers.

On one particular day, when a refreshment stop was unexpectedly closed, this proved to be barely enough. I can imagine getting into serious trouble in some of the remoter spots without enough water.

Of course they do have fabulous lemon or almond granita ices which does aid the recovery!

I found Sicilian drivers to be all courteous and considerate. There was quite a bit of beeping, but it was all of the ‘hey, please be aware I’m about to overtake’ variety, -a single short ‘bip’, rather than the British road rage fanfare.

I’m a bit puzzled at the idea of trading Noto or Modica for each other, I thought both were fascinating towns with very different characters. Also take a day to explore the amazing Pantalica Necropolis and gorge on foot. The archaeological area at Syracuse is also worth a day on foot, as are many other spots, depending on your interests.

There are some pretty stiff hills, and once up on the plateaux, the countryside can be a little bare and bleak in places.

Our itinerary was organised by InnTravel.

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Re: Cycling in Sicily- Advice please

Postby toontra » 8 Feb 2020, 10:21am

My abiding memory of a tour of Sicily was, as others have said, once you get away from the coastal roads it's hilly! Bear than in mind when planning daily mileages. I didn't, and ended up arriving at destinations far later than anticipated (with the hotel locked up for the night on one occasion!).

I seem to recall that every inland town visited was perched on top of a bloody steep hill, but that may just be my imaginings.

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Re: Cycling in Sicily- Advice please

Postby Rajkumar » 9 Feb 2020, 1:43pm

Thank you all for your replies. It is very helpful.
I was planning the tour with this very helpful website, it just came up on Google search few years ago.

In the past, I have done a tour of Puglia as described in that website. Yesterday I contacted the website using its link. He replied to me. Wind is not an issue. I will follow the map and GPX files that he had uploaded.

This time I am cycling with my son who is very new to touring. So I will do shorter distances with good rest. So I may not be able to cover the whole route in one week but will plan to get to at least Marsala.
Once again thank you all for your help.