Horseback riders on a trail ride to Mount Etna

Wild Sicily - Madonie to Etna

Join a trail riding adventure across Sicily, discovering surprisingly green and remote parts of this Italian island. You will set off from the eastern Madonie Mountains and ride across the wooded Nebrodi Mountains before you arrive at your destination: Mount Etna, one of the world's most active volcanoes. This riding holiday is the perfect combination of adventure and comfort, and is ideal for riders not willing to sacrifice a comfortable bed and good meal after a full day in the saddle!
Book now Print the details for this ride
Trail Riding
8 days/ 6 days riding
From £1,652

From the horse’s mouth

  • Wild Sicily - Madonie to Etna
    July 2023 Imme Dorothea aged 44
    First I rode Dedalo who was quite the opposite of what I described as preference. I prefer horses with a strong „Go“ whilst he is a very very relaxed and slow horse. Because of a light injury I was asked to change the horse and could ride Viola who was perfect, motivated to move and easy to handle. I was impressed by... Read all
  • Wild Sicily - Madonie to Etna
    June 2022 Charlotte aged 72
    The horses were all well-trained, well-behaved, and strong enough to breeze through a grueling week of up & down paths for 7-8 hrs and 6 days long. I was given Zeus, a tiny Arab who they were converting from guide horse to customer horse. They said he might be difficult (which I don’t mind), but he was also fine.... Read all
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- Experience an adventurous trail ride without sacrificing levels of comfort - stay in lovely guest houses, B&Bs and agriturismi along the way
- Enjoy a varied route taking you from the Madonie National park to the mighty Mt Etna
- Discover the fantastic Sicilian cuisine, from lovely sitting-down rural picnics to belly-busting Italian dinners
- Ride with an experienced, multi-lingual team more than happy to share their love for Sicily with you.
  • Day 1 1 : EUROPE - PALERMO

    Agriturismo Casalvecchio Geraci
    Flight to Palermo in Sicily. Flights are not included but can be booked on request.

    You will arrive at Casa "Il Bosco", a charming restored nineteenth century country house, immersed in the wild countryside of the Madonie Park, with breathtaking views of the island's north coast and the Aeolian Islands. You will enjoy a dinner prepared with local produce and spend the night here.

  • Day 2 2 : IL BOSCO - CASALVECCHIO - 7 hours riding

    After breakfast your guides will assign your horse and set off from Casa "Il Bosco" at around 8.30. Begin the day riding through dense Mediterranean vegetation with beautiful views of the Tyrrhenian Sea. You will pass close to the town of Castelbuono and stop for a picnic lunch, before riding up the valley of the River Pollina, one of the most fascinating, wild, panoramic and least known areas of Sicily, between the territories of Castelbuono, San Mauro Castelverde and Geraci Siculo. Ride along enchanting and forgotten pathways to reach Agriturismo Casalvecchio. You will spend the night here and enjoy a delicious dinner prepared with produce straight from the farm.

  • Day 3 3 : CASALVECCHIO - MONTE SOPRANO - 7 hours riding

    Agriturismo Monte Soprano
    After breakfast, you will set off at around 9.00 in the morning, riding along a very panoramic ancient pathway (a "trazzera") which passes the boundary between the three provinces of Palermo, Enna and Messina, reaching an altitude of about 1200m, before passing below the great turbines of a wind farm. You then descend into the forests of the Sambughetti-Campanito reserve, where you will stop for a picnic lunch. In the afternoon, continue on to the territory of Nicosia, followed by Cerami, before arriving at the agriturismo Monte Soprano, a working farm set on the slopes of the Nebrodi Mountains, where you will have dinner and spend the night.

  • Day 4 4 : MONTE SOPRANO - VILLA MIRAGLIA - 7 hours riding

    Relais Villa Miraglia
    Today, your riding adventures take you through the heart of the Nebrodi Natural Park, along the famous "Dorsale" (the Nebrodi Ridge), a long dirt track (about 100 kilometres long) which passes through forests and high mountain pastures. This is a place full of charm, with extraordinary views: the Tyrrhenian Sea and the Aeolian Islands to the north, and the island's hinterland to the south – Enna, Caltanissetta, Agrigento, Siracusa, Catania, whilst Etna towers above everything else. You will enter the Nebrodi Natural Park through beech woods in the territory of San Fratello, famous for its sanfratellani horses, a native breed. You will stop for a picnic lunch in a shaded spot beneath centuries-old trees. In the afternoon, you will arrive at the Relais Villa Miraglia, where you will have a delicious dinner made with local Nebrodi products and spend the night.
  • Day 5 5 : VILLA MIRAGLIA - MONTE COLLA - 8 hours riding

    Today is often described as the most beautiful day of the trail. You will ride for more than 40 kilometres along the "Dorsale" through mountains, woods and lakes, in the midst of a strikingly beautiful landscape. First you will come to the Maulazzo Lake, dominated by Monte Soro, the highest peak in the Nebrodi mountain range (at 1847 metres) and covered in magnificent beech woods. You will then reach the famous lake Biviere di Cesarò, which is a resting place for migrating birds. Continue along the "Dorsale", with lush forests giving way to clearings with panoramic views, with the Aeolian Islands to the north and the majestic peak of Mount Etna to the south. In the evening you will arrive - tired but satisfied -at Monte Colla, the most isolated hotel on the island, housed in an eighteenth century aristocratic home at around 1400 metres above sea level in the territory of Randazzo. Here you will enjoy a delicious dinner prepared with local produce and spend the night.
  • Day 6 6 : MONTE COLLA - MALVAGNA - 8 hours riding

    After breakfast, you will set off at about 8.00 in the morning. After leaving the hotel and its cherry orchards, enter the surrounding woods once again and descend the valley where the source of the Alcantara River is found. You will then climb up towards the town of Floresta (the highest commune on the island at 1273m), before following the crest of the nearby mountains to reach the megalithic site of Argimusco (recently added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites), where you will stop for a picnic lunch. In the afternoon, ride down through the centuries old wood of Malabotta to reach the typical village of Malvagna, which looks out towards Etna. The group will have dinner and spend the night at the B&B Arco dei Sogni.

  • Day 7 7 : MALVAGNA - ETNA NORTH - 7 hours riding

    For your last day in the saddle, ride through the village of Malvagna before descending into the valley of the Alcantara River, which you cross near the little gorges of Malvagna, before beginning the climb up the northern slopes of Mount Etna. Stop for a picnic lunch on Mount Etna and continue to climb up through woods and lava flows until you reach the Rifugio Timpa Rossa (at 1844m). Depending on the season and the conditions, you will continue to climb up to the craters from the last major eruption of 2002. You will have dinner and spend the night at Rifugio Ragabo, immersed in a majestic forest of larix pines.


    Transfer to Catania airport after breakfast (or other locations on the island, as requested).

Dates & prices

Price details

- Flights to your destination (international/domestic) are not included, but can be booked on request - please contact us for rates. Please note that arrival airport is Palermo, departure is Catania.

- Rates are per person, based on two riders sharing a twin or double room.

- Groups are composed of a minimum of 4 international riders and a maximum of 10 riders, plus guides. There is one guide for groups up to 5 riders, two guides for groups of 6+ riders.

- If you sign up to the ride as a solo rider and there are no other riders likely to share your room, you will be charged a single room supplement of approx. £225/€260/$290. You will then be reimbursed if a sharer is found for you at a later date. Solo supplements are not guaranteed, please contact us if you would like to guarantee your own room.

- Transfers are included with an arrival in Palermo and departure from Catania airport. Your arrival flight should land in the morning. The journey from the airport to the Madonie Park will take around 2.5 to 3 hours.
There are two available transfers on the last day of the ride. Please ensure your return flight is scheduled in the morning after 11:00am and before 16:00. The transfer on the last day back to the airport will take around 1.5 hours. Other pick up and drop off locations can be arranged upon request - please contact us.

- Rider weight limit: 85kg / 13st 4lbs / 188lbs.
Please Note
The itinerary may be modified at anytime for security reasons, meteorological or events beyond our control such as blocked roads, rivers in flood, drought, strikes and local holidays. Equus Journeys, our local partners and their local guides will always strive to find the best solution and will alter the itinerary as needed.
The names of the hotels and accommodation are given for information only and depending on availability, they may be modified without notice and replaced by another of a similar standard.

Price includes

Support team

1 English speaking guide - 2 guides for groups of 6 riders and over.


1 vehicle and driver
1 support vehicle
1 horse equipped with saddle and bridle per rider

Inland transport

Tansfers from Palermo on arrival and to Catania on departure.


Double rooms agriturismi, B&Bs and small country hotels


Full board from dinner on day 1 to breakfast on the final day (day 8)

Price doesn't include


International flights


Tips to the local team

Additional items

Visas and personal purchase
Cancellation and travel insurance are not included in the above listed price. Please note that insurance is mandatory. We recommend taking out an insurance policy as soon as your trip is booked to cover you in case of cancellation



Single room supplement
  • Departure Return Price without flights Status
    15/06/2024 22/06/2024 £1,652 €1,900 $2,048
  • Departure Return Price without flights Status
    24/08/2024 31/08/2024 £1,652 €1,900 $2,048
  • Departure Return Price without flights Status
    12/10/2024 19/10/2024 £1,652 €1,900 $2,048

Equestrian info


The horses are Sicilian bred and are mostly Sicilian indigenous breeds crossed with Arabs. They live out all year round and are hardy and sure-footed. They are trained to be forward-going and energetic, but still respectful of their riders.

Guide & local team

Alex is your guide and a true expert when it comes to Sicily's natural wonders, biodiversity, history and culture. Alex was a pioneer of equestrian tourism in Sicily and over the years he has explored and organised countless horse riding excursions and trails across the island. He guides the majority of our trails rides in Sicily and is an insatiable explorer who loves discovering new paths through his beloved Sicily, and sharing them with his guests. Alex is half French and half Sicilian and is fluent in French and English (as well as Italian and Sicilian). He was born in France and grew up in the territory of Madonie in Sicily. He studied Cultural Tourism Sciences at Palermo University and worked in cultural tourism for around ten years before specialising in equestrian tourism over ten years ago

Lizzie is another one of the guides. She has ridden trails around the world, but fell in love with the truly unique experience of trail riding in Sicily. Lizzie's mission is to share Sicily's wild beauty, enchanting culture and delicious food and wine with like-minded horse riding enthusiasts from around the world. She guides some of our trails and also provides logistical support along the way. Born and raised in London, Lizzie is English and is fluent in French and Italian.

Minimum riding ability

Minimum riding ability

This riding holiday is aimed at intermediate and advanced riders with previous experience of riding out in the open. The terrain is varied and there may be long trots and gallops along the way.

Rider weight limit: 85kg / 13st 4lbs / 188lbs.


You will ride at all three paces. Long trots and canters when the terrain allows, but please keep in mind the terrain is varied and you may stay at a walk for extended periods of time.

Riding is always in single files.

Tacking ability and participation

The team will look after the horses - guests are not required to groom and tack. You can help groom and feed the horses if you want to.

Trip conditions and Requested experience

This is a semi-adventurous trail with long hours (between six and eight hours) in the saddle per day. You must be physically fit and ready to dismount and lead your horse on foot over rocky paths frequently. There are two particularly long stretches (2.5 km) where you'll need to walk downhill.

A previous experience of multi-day trail riding holidays is necessary to join this trail.

Equestrian equipment

English tack - the team will also supply seat savers. Western saddles can be arranged on request.
Saddlebags are provided.
We recommend you bring your own helmet.

Travel info


You will stay in Agriturismi, B&Bs and small country hotels. All have been selected with care, even though some are a little more basic than others, and bring this riding holiday a touch of authenticity.


Breakfasts will be had at your local agriturismo or guest house.
Picnic lunches are provided by support vehicle (together with tables, chairs and cutlery) and include: fresh bread, salads, cheeses, olives, charcuterie, Sicilian specialities, wine or other drinks on request, coffee or tea.
Evening meals consist of authentic Sicilian cuisine prepared with local produce. A typical evening meal will include: a variety of starters, a pasta course, a meat/main course, dessert, wine, water and a digestif.

Special diets can be accommodated with advance notice.


Sicily has a mostly Mediterranean climate along the coastline, with mild, moderately rainy winters and hot, sunny summers. In inland areas, winters can be moderately cold and summers are still hot to very hot. Some areas of Sicily are quite high and it will get colder at higher altitudes. The best time to enjoy this trail ride in the spring time and early summer as temperatures tend to be pleasant (low twenties), although the likelihood of rain is higher. Autumn is a lovely time of the year to go, with very comfortable temperatures and beautiful autumn colours in the mountains.


Tipping is not obligatory, however one can be made to the local team at your discretion.

Please note you may not have access to an ATM during the ride, as you stay in remote areas.

Packing list

As you climb up, it will get cooler - please make sure to bring waterproofs and layer up!

- A riding helmet is required. Helmet makers (GPA, HKM, LAS Helmets, Lamicell, Troxel, Equithème) now offer horse-riding helmets that are ventilated, strong, light and comfortable.
- Sunhat: cap for when not riding
- Sunglasses - with a cord attached so they don't fly off when riding
- Buff or bandana for protecting your neck and face from the sun and dust

Upper Body
- Thermals in case of cold weather (long or short-sleeved T-shirts)
- Short or long-sleeved cotton shirts (to provide protection from the sun) or T-shirt in a quick-drying material
- Lightweight fleece or jumper
- Warm polar fleece or equivalent (plus a spare in case one gets wet)
- Warm Goretex-style jacket (water-proof and breathable)

- 2 pairs of jodhpurs or long leather trousers
- 1 change of trousers (riding trousers or jeans)
- 1 pair of waterproof over trousers)
- A swim suit may be useful
- Cotton or synthetic underwear (non-irritant)

Hands and feet
- 1 pair Comfortable riding boots. We recommend short boots with half chaps but you may wish to take long chaps or long boots.
- 1 pair of sandals
- Lightweight shoes or trainers for the evenings
- Several pairs of socks
- Gloves - your hands are particularly exposed to the sun, wind or rain whilst riding

Night gear
- Pyjamas

Other useful items
- Small bumbag to be worn whilst riding
- A soothing cream may be useful to treat areas irritated by long hours in the saddle
- Water bottle (1.5 litres or 2 equivalent)
- Headtorch or small torch for moving around at night - bring spare batteries and bulbs
- Toiletries
- Ear plugs (may be useful)
- Camera and high capacity memory card. Spare battery

Medical kit
- Sunscreen and lip balm - should be high factor
- Insect repellent
- Any medication you regularly take
- Vitamin C tablets
- Blister plasters in case of any rubs
- Antiseptic cream, plasters, aspirin, anti-histamine, insect-bite salve etc..
- 10cm wide bandage
- Painkillers
- Spare prescription glasses/contact lenses
- Eye drops
- Imodium or similar anti-diarrhoea medication
- Re-hydration sachets
- Antiseptic wipes
- Handwash gel

General information
- We recommend taking a copy of your passport and insurance documents with you in case you lose your originals
- In your hand luggage carry any valuables, such as your camera, ipod, ipad etc.
- Travelling in your riding boots and carrying your hat and some riding clothes is highly recommended - then if your luggage goes astray you are still able to ride!

Sustainable tourism

  1. Travel light. It's a little known fact, but the lighter you pack, the better for the environment as heavy bags will produce higher emissions (when flying a plane or driving a car!).
  2. Reduce plastic waste. Take your favorite reusable bottle with you. Avoid single-use bags, cups, or straws.
  3. Preserve nature. Always take your rubbish with you during the ride and recycle them. Leave all the flowers or plants as you found them, and never get too close when observing wildlife. Make sure to use eco-friendly products such as body wash or laundry detergent (if camping) to protect both your skin and the environment.
  4. Choose your experiences carefully. Respect animal life by not participating in any activities that abuse wild animals (shows, elephant rides, etc.).
  5. Support local populations. Buy local handicrafts, be respectful of customs, and learn about the culture of local communities.
  6. Share! Raise awareness among your family and friends about sustainable tourism.

For more information please see this page.

Did you know?

Did you know?

Sicily is the largest Mediterranean island, just off the “toe” of Italy’s boot. Its most prominent landmark is Mount Etna, famous for being the tallest active volcano in Europe. With a height of more than 3300 metres above sea level, it can sometimes still be seen casting black ash over the island when erupting. Sicily is not only renowned for its coastline of sandy beaches and crystal clear waters, but also for one of the best-preserved archaeological sites in the world “The Valley of Temples”. This ancient city was built around 580BC and was referred to by the Greek poet Pindar as “the most beautiful city of those inhabited by man”. A region offering beauty, heritage and traditions, Sicily shows all traces of culture in its refined cuisine. The food is somewhat different than the typical Italian cuisine, the most acclaimed dishes include; Arancini, Cannoli and Sfincione. Perhaps you will have a chance to taste these specialties during your trail riding holiday in Sicily?

Customer reviews

Customer reviews

All of our reviews are real, honest opinions from riders who have recently travelled with us. Upon their return, our riders will receive an email inviting them to share their experiences from their trip. Good or bad, each review will be published on our website, provided that they respect our editorial guidelines.
  • Imme Dorothea aged 44 EMTINGHAUSEN 2 trips
    July 2023
    First I rode Dedalo who was quite the opposite of what I described as preference. I prefer horses with a strong „Go“ whilst he is a very very relaxed and slow horse. Because of a light injury I was asked to change the horse and could ride Viola who was perfect, motivated to move and easy to handle. I was impressed by... Read all
    • Horses
    • Programme
    • Accommodation
    • Local guide
  • Charlotte aged 72 HAREN 2 trips
    June 2022
    The horses were all well-trained, well-behaved, and strong enough to breeze through a grueling week of up & down paths for 7-8 hrs and 6 days long. I was given Zeus, a tiny Arab who they were converting from guide horse to customer horse. They said he might be difficult (which I don’t mind), but he was also fine.... Read all
    • Horses
    • Programme
    • Accommodation
    • Local guide