Horseback riders on a trail ride to Mount Etna
Italy / Italy

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 to 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 £1,630
  • Riders on horseback in Sicily
    An exciting trail ride across Sicily with long hours in the saddle
  • Horseback riders climbing the foothills of Mt Etna
    This trail ride takes you all the way to Mt Etna
  • Horseback riders on a trail ride to Mount Etna
    An adventure trail ride from the Madonie to Mount Etna
  • Horseback riders giving their horses a drink in Italy
    Enjoy a variety of landscapes on this trail riding holiday in Italy
  • Horseback holidays in Sicily from the Madonie to the Etna
    Discover Sicily on horseback on this trail ride from the Madonie to Mt Etna
  • Horseback riders crossing a field in Sicily
    Sicily as seen from the back of a horse!
  • Sanfratellani horses, a breed native to Sicily
    Sanfratellani horses, a native breed, can be seen on this horseback holiday
  • A trail riding horse in Sicily
    A fabulous trail riding adventure in Sicily
  • Trail riding on Mt Etna with Equus Journeys and Ride Sicily
    This trail ride is for those with an adventurous spirit
  • Horses in a field in Sicily
    Reconnect with nature and enjoy a horseback holiday in Sicily

Itinerary

Highlights

- 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 - CATANIA

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

    Transfer to Casalvecchio Geraci, an old farmstead dating from the 1800s, which has been restored and transformed into an agriturismo. Located on the border between the Madonie Park and the island's agricultural hinterland, it is a lovely place to spend your first night ahead of your trail ride. You will enjoy a dinner prepared with local produce and spend the night there.
  • Day 2 2 : CASALVECCHIO - SAN MAURO CASTELVERDE - 7 hours riding

    After breakfast you will set off at around 8.30 in the morning and begin the trail by riding along the valley of the River Pollina, along ancient "trazzere" (paths used to transport livestock dating from the Bourbon era) surrounded by fields of grain and hay, before entering a very wild area, covered in Mediterranean vegetation. Enjoy a picnic lunch in a beautiful spot, before climbing towards the village of San Mauro Castelverde, a medieval town perched at the top of a mountain at about 1100 meters above sea level. You and your guides will have dinner and spend the night in an old Franciscan convent, which has been transformed into a hotel.
  • Day 3 3 : SAN MAURO CASTELVERDE - MONTE SOPRANO - 6 hours riding

    Agriturismo Monte Soprano
    From your convent hotel you will set off along an old "trazzera" with beautiful views of the surrounding countryside, which passes the border between the provinces of Palermo, Enna and Messina, reaching an altitude of approximately 1200 metres. You will then ride directly beneath the great windmills of a wind farm, before descending into the forests of the Sambughetti-Campanito reserve, where you will stop for a picnic lunch. In the afternoon, you will continue on to the territory of Nicosia, followed by Cerami, before arriving at a beautiful farmhouse with a swimming pool set on the slopes of the Nebrodi Mountains, where you and the group 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 - ETNA NORTH - 7 hours riding

    Chalet Clan Dei Ragazzi
    Set off in the direction of the source of the Alcantara River, and continue on towards Randazzo, a typical Sicilian village between the Nebrodi and Etna Parks, which you will pass through, before ascending Etna's northern slopes, until you reach Mount Spagnolo. Follow the Altomontana piste to your accommodation, immersed in an enchanting pine forest, where you will have dinner and spend the night.
  • Day 7 7 : ETNA NORTH - CASTIGLIONE DI SICILIA - 7 hours riding

    After breakfast you will set off at around 9.00 in the morning. Crossing lava flows from various older and more recent eruptions, you will climb up through forests of pine, oak and chestnut and past volcanic caves, enjoying breathtaking views of the mountains of Sicily and Calabria. Eventually, you will reach the Rifugio di Timpa Rossa at an altitude of 1844 metres. Here you stop for a picnic lunch. Depending on the season and the conditions, you may continue to climb up to the craters from the last major eruption of 2002. After a picnic lunch you will continue along small country lanes bordered by stone walls made from lava rock and paths crossing back and forth across the river before arriving at the Gorges of Castiglione and the Cuba Bizantina, a place of worship built in an unusual quadrangular shape and dating from around the seventh or eighth century AD. Finally, you will arrive at Castiglione di Sicilia, where you will have dinner and spend the night.
  • Day 8 8 : DEPARTURE

    Transfer to the 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.

- 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. €250/£225. 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 off locations can be arranged upon request - please contact us.

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

Logistics

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

Inland transport

Tansfers from Catania airport.

Accommodation

Double rooms agriturismi, B&Bs and small country hotels

Meals

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

Price doesn't include

Transport

International flights

Extras

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

Optional

Accomodation

Single room supplement
  • May - June 2020

    Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status
    27/06/2020 04/07/2020 £1,630 Open Book now
  • September - October 2020

    Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status
    19/09/2020 26/09/2020 £1,630 Guaranteed departure Book now
    10/10/2020 17/10/2020 £1,630 Guaranteed departure Book now
  • March - April 2021

    Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status
    17/04/2021 24/04/2021 £1,630 Open Book now
  • May - June 2021

    Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status
    08/05/2021 15/05/2021 £1,630 Open Book now
    12/06/2021 19/06/2021 £1,630 Open Book now
  • July - August 2021

    Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status
    10/07/2021 17/07/2021 £1,630 Open Book now
    28/08/2021 04/09/2021 £1,630 Open Book now
  • September - October 2021

    Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status
    25/09/2021 02/10/2021 £1,630 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 gallops along the way.

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

Pace

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.

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, 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, even though some are a little more basic than others, 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 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
- 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!

Visa & Health

Formalities

British citizens: other nationalities, please contact us.

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

The rules on travel will stay the same until 31 December 2020.
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