Madonie short break

Join this spectacular short trail ride in the heart of wild Sicily. A wonderful four-day adventure where you will discover the wildest and most unspoilt areas of the island. Ride through the breathtakingly beautiful scenery in the Madonie Park and end your day with mouth-watering Sicilian delicacies. A short equestrian break, perfect for those seeking comfort and adventure!
Book now Print the details for this ride
Trail Riding
6 days/ 4 days riding
From £1,100

Itinerary

Highlights

- Enjoy a short break in the heart of wild Sicily, perfect for those of you who are looking for a quick getaway.
- Discover the hidden beauty of the spectacular Madonie Park.
- Experience an adventurous trail ride without sacrificing levels of comfort.
- Stay in lovely guest houses, B&Bs as well as traditional agriturismi.
- Enjoy the fantastic Sicilian cuisine, using fresh and local produce.
  • Day 1 1 : EUROPE - CATANIA

    Flight to Catania in Sicily. Flights are not included but can be booked upon request.

    Transfer to Casalvecchio Geraci, an old farmstead dating from the 1800s, which has been restored and transformed into a beautiful agriturismo. Located on the border between the Madonie Park and the islands agricultural hinterland, you will spend your first night in the heart of wild Sicily enjoying a delicious dinner prepared with fresh local produce.

  • Day 2 2 : AGRITURISMO CASALVECCHIO - CASTELBUONO - 7 hours riding

    After breakfast you will set off from Agriturismo Casalvecchio at around 9.00 in the morning, where you will ride along an ancient “trazzera” which follows the valley of the rivers Rainò and Calabrò, tributaries of the River Pollina, on the eastern boundary of the Madonie Park. You will discover the paths that take you through a wild and unspoilt area to reach the territory of Castelbuono, a town of medieval origin which was once the seat of the Ventimiglia Barons, one of the island's most important aristocratic families. A picnic lunch set in the most idyllic setting, before continuing the ride to arrive in the town in the afternoon. Here, you will have free time to visit the historic centre and castle before spending the night at the hotel Paradiso delle Madonie.
  • Day 3 3 : CASTLEBUONO- RIFUGIO MARINI - 6 hours riding

    Today, you will begin the climb towards Piano Pomo, famous for its giant holly trees, before continuing to the massif of Carbonara, Sicily’s second highest peak after Mount Etna (at 1979 metres). Here, you may be lucky enough to spot wild deer grazing, and if the weather is clear, admire the breath-taking views of the northern side of the Madonie Park and the Tyrrhenian Coast. Enjoy a picnic lunch in the most beautiful spot, right in the heart of the Madonie Park. In the late afternoon you will arrive at Piano Battaglia (a ski station during the winter months), where you will find your accommodation for the night.
  • Day 4 4 : RIFUGIO MARINI - TERRAVECCHIA - 6 hours riding

    A hearty-breakfast to prepare you for a long day in the saddle! Today you will set off from Rifugio Marini around 8.30am to begin your ride towards the valley of Battaglietta. You will see a depression in the landscape where all of the meltwater gathers and then travels along underground tunnels to Cefalù. Continue your ride through the Vallone Madonna degli Angeli to admire the last remaining examples of the Nebrodi fir (abies nebrodensis), an iconic symbol of the park. Ride towards the sanctuary of Madonna dell'Alto (at 1819 metres) – when visibility is good, you can enjoy the most spectacular views of the island. Descend towards the agriturismo, Terravecchia, in the territory of Castellana Sicula, where you can enjoy a swim in the pool with wonderful views towards Sicily's enchanting hinterland. Here you will have dinner prepared with local produce and spend the night.
  • Day 5 5 : TERRAVECCHIA – CASALVECCHIO - 6 hours riding

    Today is your last day in the saddle. After breakfast, you will leave Terravecchia around 9.00am. Spend the morning riding along the southern slopes of Madonie Mountains, once known as “Rome’s granary”, a landscape famous since time for being the island’s primary agricultural resource and nourishment. Pass through the Petralia Soprana, nominated in 2018 as the most beautiful village in Italy. Ride along the magnificent paths of trazzere, and be in awe of the beauty surrounding you. End your last day back at the agriturismo Casalvecchio Geraci, where you will enjoy a delicious dinner prepared with local produce and spend the night.
  • Day 6 6 : DEPARTURE

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

Dates & prices

Price details

- Flights to your destination are not included, but can be booked on request - please contact us for rates.

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

- Dates are flexible and are available upon request. The departures are guaranteed with a minimum of two 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. €200/£170. 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 to and from Catania airport . Your arrival flight should land in the morning. The journey from the airport to Casalvecchio Geraci 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 offs locations can be arranged upon request - please contact us.

- Rider weight limit: 90kg / 14st 2lbs / 198lbs.

- Shorter or longer versions of this Madonie trail ride are available. Please contact us for details!
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

Logistics

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

Inland transport

Transfers from and to Catania airport

Accommodation

Double rooms in Agriturismi, B&Bs and small country hotels.

Meals

Full board from dinner on day 1 to breakfast on the final day (day 6)

Price doesn't include

Transport

International flights

Extras

Tips to the local team

Additional items

Double saddle bags
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

Optional

Accomodation

Single room supplement
  • March - April 2021

    Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status
    26/04/2021 01/05/2021 £1,100 Open Book now
  • May - June 2021

    Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status
    16/05/2021 21/05/2021 £1,100 Open Book now
    01/06/2021 06/06/2021 £1,100 Open Book now
  • July - August 2021

    Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status
    20/07/2021 25/07/2021 £1,100 Open Book now
  • September - October 2021

    Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status
    26/10/2021 31/10/2021 £1,100 Open Book now

Equestrian info

Horses

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.

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 canters along the way.

Rider weight limit: 90kg / 14st 2lbs / 198lbs

Pace

You will ride at all three paces. Please keep in mind the terrain is varied and you may stay at a walk for extended periods of time.

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

Although this is a short break, there are long hours in the saddle every day (between six and eight hours). You must be physically fit and ready to dismount and lead your horse on foot over rocky paths, if necessary.

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

Comfort

You will stay in Agriturismi, B&Bs and small country hotels. All have been selected with care and bring this riding holiday a touch of authenticity.

Meals

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.

Climate

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 time 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.

Guide and 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.

Tips

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

Head
- 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)

Legs
- 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
- Backpacks are not to be worn whilst riding. Everything should be kept either in saddlebags or in a bumbag : lip balm, sun screen, small camera, glasses, rope etc.
- Water bottle (1.5 litres or 2 equivalent)
- 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!

Visa & Health

Formalities

British citizens: other nationalities, please contact us.

The rules on travel will stay the same until 31 December 2020.
Passport validity: Your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay; you don’t need any additional period of validity on your passport beyond this.
Visas: If you hold a British Citizen passport, you don’t need a visa to enter Italy

Visas from 1 January 2021
The rules for travelling or working in Europe will change from 1 January 2021:
- you will be able to travel to countries in the Schengen area for up to 90 days in any 180-day period without a visa as a tourist, to visit family or friends, to attend business meetings, cultural or sports events, or for short-term studies or training
- if you are travelling to Schengen countries without a visa, make sure your whole visit is within the limit. Visits to Schengen countries within the previous 180 days before you travel would count towards the 90-day limit
- The 90-day limit for visa-free travel will begin on 1 January 2021. Any days you stay in Schengen countries before 1 January 2021 will not count towards the 90-day limit.

At border control you may need to:
- show a return or onward ticket
- show you have enough money for your stay, and
- use separate lanes from EU, EEA and Swiss citizens when queueing
- Your passport may be stamped on entry and exit.

Passport validity from 1 January 2021
From 1 January 2021, you must have at least 6 months left on an adult or child passport to travel to most countries in Europe (not including Ireland).
If you renewed your current passport before the previous one expired, extra months may have been added to its expiry date. Any extra months on your passport over 10 years may not count towards the 6 months needed.
Check your passport is valid for travel before you book your trip. You will need to renew your passport before travelling if you do not have enough time left on your passport.

Please visit for the FCO website for up-to-date information - https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/italy

Addresses of consulates

  • Ambassade à l'étranger :
    Piazza Farnese 67
    00186 Rome
    Tél. : +39 06 686 013 02
    Fax : +39 06 686 015 66
  • Ambassade en France
    51 rue de Varenne
    75007 Paris
    Tél. : 01 49 54 03 00
    Fax : 01 49 54 04 10
    ambasciata.parigi@esteri.it
  • Ambassade d'Italie
    ChancellerieElfenstrasse 14
    3006 Berne
    Tél. : 031/350 07 77
    Fax : 031/350 07 11
    ambasciata.berna@esteri.it
  • Ambassade d'Italie
    Rue de Livourne 38
    1000 Bruxelles
    Tél. : 0032/2/543.15.53
    Fax : 0032/2/537.57.56
    passaporti.bruxelles@esteri.itvisti.bruxelles@esteri.it

Health

Visit your health professional at least 4 to 6 weeks before your trip to check whether you need any vaccinations or other preventive measures.

Travellers should be up to date with routine vaccination courses and boosters as recommended in the UK.

For up to date information please visit: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/italy

Insurance

It is a condition of your booking with Equus Journeys that you have travel insurance which covers you for the riding activities to be undertaken. Your travel insurance should cover you for medical expenses and repatriation. Your guides will require your travel insurance details before they allow you to ride and may refuse to let you ride if you cannot provide them. You should take your insurance documents with you.

Voltage

The standard voltage is 230 V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz. UK citizens will require an adapter.

Budget and money

The main currency is the euro. You will find ATM ("Bancomat") in every city, town and most villages. Both credit and debit cards are used.

Telephone and jetlag

Phone code: +39