In the shadow of Sicily’s world-famous volcano, Mt. Etna, emerge the incredibly beautiful mountains of the Parco delle Madonie, with peaks reaching up 2.000 metres.
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During your trip you will climb up rugged cliffs for breath-taking views of small villages perched like eagle’s nests on the steep slopes. Walk this timeless landscape at ease, as daily life passes slowly here, following the endearing rhythm of the seasons. You will enjoy delicious fresh food, prepared by locals who still live off the land, tending their vegetables, olive groves and vineyards and harvesting figs, almonds and hazelnuts.
Walking from the high mountains to the emerald sea at Cefalù you will have a first rate hiking experience.
• Wonderful open landscapes dotted with medieval villages and hamlets
• Authentic accommodations in traditional farms
• Gorgeous flora and fauna
• A rich history brought to life in castles, churches and museums
• Cefalù, vibrant fishing town with a fabulous beach
• Warm, welcoming locals
• Mouth-watering Sicilian culinary specialties
8 DAY PROGRAMME
Day 1 - Arrive in Petralia Sottana
Petralia Sottana on BB basis
Arrive in Sicily and breathe in the warm island breeze and aroma of the outstanding local flora. If pre-arranged wit 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 – Transfer to Portella Ferrone and walk to Pomieri.
Piano Battaglia on HB basis + lunch package
A short transfer in the morning will lead you to Portella Ferrone, where today’s walk starts, taking you into the heart of the Madonie Mountains. A sturdy climb through wooded hills leads you up a 1.500 metres high pass to your rustic accommodation at Pomieri. Immersed in the woods, this isolated mountain hotel offers outstanding high elevation panoramas. During springtime walks, look down at the limestone rocks and marvel at the gorgeous assortment of wild orchids. km 10
Day 3 - Pomieri loop via Vallone Madonna degli Angeli or Monte San Salvatore walk.
Piano Battaglia on HB basis + lunch package
Today’s 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. km 15
Day 4 - Pomieri to Rocca di Gonato
Gonato on HB basis + lunch package
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. km 9
Day 5 - Gonato to Castelbuono
Castelbuono on HB basis
Bid adieu to the lovely Madonie Mountains an descend tot he 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 tot he nearby medieval village of Castebuono. Stroll along ancient narrow streets and squares for a true taste of small-town Sicily. km 13
Day 6 – Rest day in Castelbuono
Castelbuono on HB basis
After 4 days of walking, today you will have the chance of taking your own time, surronded by the wonderful countryside of Castelbuono. Bask in the sun at poolside or enojy one of the many activities offered by the organic farm where you are staying. You might take a cooking class, learning how to prepare delicious Sicilian food, as well as visit the agriturismo’s laboratories for the production of jams and honey, or just taste home-made wines and oils. If you feel like you still want to be more active, then you can be driven to Castelbuono, starting point for a guided tour of the town or for walks and bike rides
Day 7 - Cefalù loop walk
Cefalù on BB basis
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 breath-taking 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. km3
Day 8 – Arriverderci Cefalù!
The trip and services end after breakfast. From Cefalù you depart by train to reach Palermo or Catania Airports.
Getting there and away
Fly in to Palermo Punta Raisi Airport. The arrival transfer from Palermo Airport or Palermo down town to the first accommodation in Petralia Sottana is optional, so you could book it with the package if needed.
As an alternative, Palermo is connected to Petralia Sottana by public bus transport. From the airport to Palermo train station the service is run by Prestia & Comandè (that runs every 30 minutes until midnight towards Palermo train station and until 22:30 hrs. towards the airport). From Palermo train station (Via Paolo Balsamo) you will find the SAIS buses that bring you directly to Petralia Sottana in 1 hour and 40 minutes (there are just 3 buses for the whole day from Monday to Saturday included: at 12:20 – 14:15 and 18:30 hrs. On Sundays there are just two buses at 8:00 hrs. and at 17:00 hrs.). For more information you can visit the websites www.prestiaecomande.it and www.saistrasporti.it/ or phone numbers: SAIS 0039.091.617.1141 and Prestia & Comandè 0039.091.586.351.
From Cefalù, at departure, you can book a private transfer to the airport. As an alternative, take a train to Palermo (check the website www.trenitalia.it) and then another one to Punta Raisi airport. You can find more information and timetables at this link: www.trenitalia.com/cms/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=e769880f60eea110VgnVCM1000003f16f90aRCRD
Accommodation and Meals
The accommodation chosen for this tour, are all unique and diverse, ranging from a small-town hotel to a quintessential Sicilian farms (Agriturismo). The rooms in all of the accommodation have private en-suite bathrooms. In Cefalù the hotel is just outside the city centre, on the beach promenade and leaves you many wonderful options for dinner in town.
During high season it is possible that you might sleep in accommodation different from the ones indicated in the description. In some cases it is possible that your list of accommodation differs somewhat. This means that the start or end of the routes are slightly altered. Therefore you should check to see if your accommodation is the same as that mentioned in this programme. If not, you must be alert at the start and end of the routes.
In choosing alternative accommodation we have tried to maintain the same standards and quality. We have also tried to stay in the same towns and villages, in order to change routes as little as possible.
The distances per day on this hiking trip are not very long, 16km at maximum. You climb and descend between 400 and 1000m per day. The walks follow mostly mountain paths, unpaved ways, forest trails and passable animal tracks. Around the villages some asphalt roads can’t be avoided and according to good Italian habit from time to time it is necessary to go cross country. Sometimes the trails are not marked. When the weather is bad the mountains can be wrapped in dense fog, when this occurs, it is not advisable to do the walks. In this case you can ask the accommodation owner to take you together with the luggage to the next hotel on the route. Even if the weather is nice most of the time, you must always be prepared for suddenly developing fog and showers, especially in spring and autumn. This is the wettest region of Sicily. The precipitation is however dependent on the season (summertime is as a rule dry and warm), AND rain clothing must be always part of the basic equipment.
The quality of the topographical maps which we have used for this hiking trip is reasonably good. The maps has been made recently updated (year 2000) and are in a useful scale 1:50.000. The original topographical maps (Carte dei Sentieri e del Paesaggio Cefalù o Madonie 1:50.000 Tavola V) of which you have useful prints in your travel kit, is available in most of the villages of the Monte Madonie area.
Luggage transfer is included in your package; this is normally provided by the accommodation itself or by a local taxi.
Please clearly mark all your belongings with your name and put a small note with the name of the next accommodation in order to indicate where the bags should go to next (check your accommodation list). Also ask the accommodation owner where the bags should be left in the morning. Labelling your belongings prevents mix ups, delays and loss.
Bags should be ready and at the reception or store room by 9:00 hrs. If you are unable to walk, you can always ask, if the luggage transporter can take you with him when transporting your baggage, but this is not always possible and sometimes you have to pay a small fee locally. In some countries there are special insurances for transporting peoples and sometimes the car is not suited for transporting persons.
When you travel with public transport you always take your luggage with you unless specified differently.
A note on our self guided adventures
Self guided walking or cycling requires individuals to use problem solving skills, be adaptable and have a keen eye. It is recommended that you are comfortable map reading, referring to route notes and that you have a good sense of direction (or are willing to work on improving this!) Sometimes route finding, losing your way, finding it again and asking the locals for help is all part of the adventure. If you’ve never been on a self guided trip, after the first couple of days you will get the hang of if as the vast majority of our first time travellers attest. Please be assured that our written material issued to you for route finding is updated regularly and we provide a 7day service hotline in the event of any problems. There is a certain level of the unknown that comes with self guided trips; however with a methodical approach potential problems will be averted. The freedom of a self guided trip is something that, once experienced, is sought time and time again.
The concept behind most of our trips is active holidays and the fitter you are the more easily you will adjust and enjoy yourself. We expect participants to take responsibility for their fitness and preparations on a consistent basis prior to departure, and INCREASE the regular weekly training schedule in the two months leading up to departure. That way, when you start walking, you will feel relaxed and comfortable and strong, having done more than sufficient preparation for the trip. You will also have more energy to enjoy the views, take photos and explore the sights in your spare time, rather than just make it to the next hotel. During the day is when the most interesting features of interest will be found, and being fit allows you to optimize every situation you encounter. As a minimum, we recommend 40 minutes of aerobic type exercise; running, swimming, biking, hill walking, or gym work two to three times a week for two to six months leading up to your walk. Note the best training is the activity that you are actually going to be doing; walking up and down hill, and cross-country. Practice this as much as possible. Training should be stepped up as you get closer to departure, to an amount you feel appropriate (you don’t want to cause yourself an injury!). Using your gear before departure (boots, daypack, clothing, etc.) gives familiarity and comfort whilst on the walk. It makes sense to know that all your gear ‘works for you’ BEFORE departure, rather than discovering how things work or fit (or don’t!) on the trip you have invested so much in. Use the philosophy of ‘getting fit to go walking’, rather than ‘going on a walk to get fit’, to avoid problems.
|Priser||Lav Sesong||Høy sesong|
|Walking in the MADONIA Montains, price 8 days and 7 nights||Dobbelt rom 2 personer||Pris per person fra||€||690||700|
|Enkelt rom 1 person||Pris per person||€||920||940|
|Tremanns rom||Per person||€||630||640|
|Enkelt rom||Per person||€||850||860|
|Turistskatter||Betales lokalt hvis de lokale myndigheter krever det.|
|Airports on arrival from Petralia Sottana||Palermo 137km, Catania 132km|
|Airports on departure from Cefaù||Palermo 107km, Catania 186km|
|Utstyr og tjenester|
|Number of Participants||Minimum 1 person|
|Trip Grade||The walks are moderate to demanding in mountainous terrain. You will climb and descend between 400 and 1000m per day. Although the majority of the walks are not difficult and fairly well marked, you should however have experience in mountain walking and orientation|
|Activity characteristics||The walks are along footpaths, mule tracks and some strade bianche, (small gravel roads). You will cross a few small hamlets and some larger villages.|
|Best arrival & departure airport||Preferably Palermo, but also Catania|
|Best arrival & departure stations:||Termini Imerese on arrival and Cefalù on departure|
|Trip availability||Any day from 01/4 to 25/7 and from 1/9 to 31/10. The trip is not possible on August because it gets too hot|
|People transfer Petralia Sottana-Portella Ferrone and luggage to Piano Battaglia||Included|
|Luggage transfer Piano Battaglia-Gonato||Included|
|Luggage transfer Gonato-Castelbuono||Included|
|People and lugagge transfer Castelbuono-Castelbuono bus stop||Included|
|RESTRICTIONS||Departure any day of the week|