View of the fort Coast to Coast in Italy
Coast to Coast in Sicily
Riding through endless hills
Riding through the valleys in Sicily
Sunset over a hilltop village
Arriving at the coast in Sicily
Lunch stop on our Coast to Coast trail in Italy
Riding through poppy fields in Sicily
Horseback riding tour in Sicily
Riding along in Sicily
Preparing lunch on the trail in Sicily
Coast to Coast in Sicily, caves
Coast to Coast

The coast-to-coast horseback riding trail is an exciting expedition which allows you to travel all the way from the north of Sicily to Agrigento on the south coast. During the ride you are immersed in the real Sicily; an island with a rich history based first and foremost on an agricultural heritage and surrounded by legend. The landscapes offer rolling hills and endless fields of wheat and flourishing crops in addition to wild trails, interesting historical villages and ancient farms. The farms bear witness to Sicily's distant past when the island drew its wealth from its natural resources; the earth, rivers, streams, olive and almond groves and other Mediterranean riches.

This is fascinating equestrian adventure is for experienced riders who wish to learn more about this stunning island from knowledgeable guides. You can expect comfortable accommodation, delicious Sicilian food and, of course, the company of a trustworthy horse who will be your partner all the way from one coast to the next!

Read about Shawn Hamilton's adventure on this coast-to-coast trail

Please Note: The opinions expressed in these reviews are the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Unicorn Trails Ltd. These reviews are "directly from the horses mouth" and unedited. Unicorn Trails may make additional comments for clarification clearly identified in red.

Review received from DW of Doncaster on 23/10/2023

Ride Summary
This was a lovely, relaxing holiday. The riding was slow paced but that allowed plenty of time to admire the amazing scenery, at times the surrounding countryside was so peaceful you could totally switch off from the outside world. The riding days are long, but this makes the lunch stops and the accommodation at the end of each day all the more special and welcome.
What was your overall impression of the holiday
Overall impression
Unicorn Trails sales staff

Riding tour leader

Additional Comments
Even though Luciano's English was limited (although still far better than my Italian) communication was still good for key points and he made an effort to explain points of interest along the journey. Paola's English was perfect and she was able to translate easily any of the more complicated aspects.
Horses and Tack

Additional Comments
The horses were all well cared for and the tack was a good condition. The horses knew their job and made for safe and easy mounts. This added to the easy, relaxing nature of the ride.
Meals

Accommodation

Miscellaneous

Was this trip accurately described to you beforehand?
YES
Please give more details to explain your response:
Prior to the trip we had been in contact with Sarah who had explained the nature of the trip. The information on the website is accurate and reflects the ride well.
I would say the pictures don't do justice to the amazing and varied scenery.
What you cant put into words is the truly amazing food! We have never eaten so well on any holiday (riding or otherwise) every meal from Breakfast to Evening Dinner is a four course feast!
Was there anything you should have known and were not told? NO
Please give more details to explain your response:
What could we do to improve this ride?
The ride doesn't need any improvement, it is a nice relaxing ride that gives you the opportunity to see areas of the country that you would never know existed.
How would you rate the difficulty of this ride out of 10 where 1 is very easy and 10 is very advanced?
4
Please explain why you scored it as you did:
The ride is technically simple. The majority of the time is spent in walk due to the nature of the terrain and the distance to be covered. There was always some opportunities to trot and canter on each day where the ground permitted. Some days are very long, up to 8-9hrs of saddle time so you have to be comfortable on a horse for long periods.
Would you recommend Unicorn Trails to your friends?
YES
Please give more details to explain your response:
This was our fifth holiday with Unicorn Trails. Each one has been amazing and it certainly wont be our last!
May we use you as a reference for other people wishing to go on this ride?
YES
Any other comments:
Unicorn comments: Thank you for your feedback. Glad you had a great time! :)

Day 1
Riders are met on arrival and transferred to 'Luogo Marchese' (or similar), the accommodation for the evening where the group will enjoy a delicious Sicilian dinner. Early arrivals can explore the town of Cefalu on a guided tour.

Day 2
After breakfast the group will be assigned horses before departing at around 08:30am. This mornings ride heads toward the historical town of Castelbuono, which has been the administrative headquarters of Ventimiglia for several centuries. These barons were feudal aristocrats among the most powerful of the island. The route travels through cultivated fields with olive groves and follows the river Pollina and its tributary Raino in the territories of San Mauro Castelverde and Geraci Sicul; an area covered with bush and scrub.This region was notorious between the late 800s and early 900s for the legendary exploits of bandits and outlaws who resided the area. Enjoy a picnic lunch of local produce en route before arriving at  'Casalvecchio Geracithe' (or similar)  a restored farmhouse dating back to the IXX century. Dinner and overnight stay. 

Day 3
After breakfast the ride heads through an old 'trazzera' to reach the medieval village of Gangi, approximately 1000m above sea level. and considered among the most beautiful in Italy (awarded in 2014). The ride then heads to the territory of Blufi, where there is an oil well that, for centuries was considered miraculous. Thiis is the site for a picnic lunch before continuing toward Resuttano, crossing the river Imera and passing through ancient semi-abandoned farms, fields and pastures. Late afternoon brings the trail to 'Feudo Tudia' (or similar), a restored farmhouse located in a sparsly populated agricultural village, and the accommodation for the night. 


Day 4
Riders depart at around 08:30am and travel through the farm's organic vineyards and ancient Sicilian crops. The trail follows the 'Royal Trazzere' route which was established by the Bourbon government of the island during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries to allow free movement of herds and people across the island. Stop for a picnic lunch en route before continuing to the sanctuary of 'Our Lady of Bilici', the train station of Marianopoli, and on through a eucalyptus forest which today makes up part of a private nature reserve. Overnight and dinner at 'Mappa' (or similar), the ancient residence of Prince Spadafora. 

Day 5
After breakfast, riders cross fields to the charming old town of Sutera with its fascinating prehistoric rock formations and remains. After a short break, continue to the valley of the river Plantani (one of the major rivers of western Sicily) after passing through the picturesque nature reserve of Monte Conca. After a picnic lunch the ride continues through the valley to the next overnight stop at 'Duca di Pietra Tagliata' (or similar), another restored farmhouse. 

Day 6 
Riders depart around 08:30am and head toward  Sant'Angelo Muxaro, the small historic town that was the seat of Kokalos, King of Sicans, a mysterious indigenous people that inhabited the island before the Greeks and Sicules. The trail takes one past the prehistoric tombs carved into the rock at the base of the town, some of which have been turned into stables over the years. A tour of the town is available before enjoting a picnic lunch in a eucalyptus grove. The afternoon route takes riders to the Tower of Anjou, an ancient aristocratic mansion from the thirteenth century.  The afternoon gives riiders a chance to vist an abandoned sulphur mine before arriving at Principe di Aragona (or similar), the accommodation for the night.

Day 7
The ride continues after breakfast and travels though an agricultural area near to the town of Aragona before reaching 'Macalube' where methane gas seepage has caused small, cold craters. Continue in the direction of Agrigento, the ancient Agrakas, which was founded by people originating from Crete and Rhodes around 580BC. Today's picnic lunch is in the village of Monte Aperto where the group can rest before riding in the direction of the temples in the afternoon. A  guided tour of the  monuments is available. This area is considered one of great importance by UNESCO and includes the temples of Hera, Concordia, Hercules, Zeus and Castor. The trail continues towards the seaside village of SanLeone for the final night of the trip. Overnight at the B&B Villa Maiolica (or similar). A delicious seafood farewell dinner will be enjoyed in a prestigious local restaurant.

Day 8
After breakfast and depending on flight times, there may be an opportunity to arrange a guided visit to the archaeological museum and some free time for shopping in the city's medieval centre.


NB - Please note that the itinerary is subject to change due to unforeseen circumstances such as weather or volcanic conditions.

Read about Shawn Hamilton's adventure on this coast-to-coast trail

2024: Included from Cefalu train or bus station.
Transfers from Catania or Palermo €250 per car (Max 3 pax) / €280 per car (Max 6 pax)
Transfers from end point to Catania or Palermo €180 per car (Max 3 pax) / €220 (Max 6 pax)

Please note: All itineraries are given for your guidance only and it may be altered on the ground and in accordance with the prevailing conditions by the organising team.

Horses & Riding

There are 12 horses available for guests ranging in height from 15hh to 16hh. They are local Sicilian breeds or Sicilian/Arab and very surefooted, forward going and responsive. Riders have the choice of English or Western saddles. The riding is of a varied pace due to the terrain but there will be opportunities for some faster canters.


Rider requirements

Riders must have a secure seat at all paces and must be able to walk beside their horse at times due to steep terrain.

There is a minimum age limit of 16 years old and riders must be physically fit as some days may involve 8 hours+ in the saddle.

Your horses will be prepared for you each morning but you must be willing to assist with untacking, feeding and watering your horse along the trail.

Weight Limit

The weight limit for this ride is 209 lb/95 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.

Accommodation is in good quality 3 star hotels or agriturismos with excellent Sicilian cuisine. One of the pleasures of Sicily is the wonderful food. Hearty meat stews, fresh fish, chocolate and marzipan are some of the highlights.



With a history of plagues and power struggles, bread has always been a staple of the Sicilian peasant and is coarse and golden, fashioned into a myriad of shapes. Baked bread is treated with the greatest respect and in the past only the head of the family had the privilege of slicing the loaf.



Simple pasta dishes are available on every menu along with delicious fresh sauces and local cheese. You will get the opportunity to taste some wonderful regional dishes on this trail. Sicilian wine and beer will be welcome at the end of a day's riding and it is said that you will never get a dud coffee in Sicily.



When in Palermo the local street food is worth trying such as 'sfinciuni', a Sicilian pizza with anchovies, fresh tomatoes, onion, primo sale cheese, Parmesan and oregano.


Vegetarian or other dietary requirements within reason can be accommodated with advance notice. Please contact Unicorn Trails with requests before booking.

Documents - Visa and Consulate Info

Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct documentation in place for your trip.

NB: Be sure to check the COVID status of the country you plan to visit including entry procedures and requirements while travelling.

Passport and Visa requirements can change from year to year depending on diplomatic relations. Please request information from the appropriate Consulate in your home country.

Unicorn Trails will assist with any questions you have or supply any necessary supporting documents as required by the consulate should you need a visa.

In the UK the British Foreign Office gives advice: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/italy

In the US: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/Italy.html

In Canada: https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/italy

Climate Summary

Sicily enjoys a relatively mild climate; high temperatures begin in May, often lasting until sometime in October. While the summers can be very hot and dry, the spring and winter months often bring on torrential rains. Surprisingly, even Sicily has its cold waves in winter, with temperatures falling below zero, especially inland. As of late, it's not been uncommon to see minimal snowfall in Palermo.

Health

COVID: Be sure to check the latest COVID regulations for travelling in any country you visit.

Please refer to your country’s latest health guideline for travel in Italy and contact your own GP for up to date advice on vaccinations and prophylaxis prior to travel.

Please take along sun cream and anti-allergy medicine for possible insect bites

Health (ride specific)

None specific

Electricity

In Italy the supply voltage is 230V. If the appliance is a single voltage rated appliance, it will need to operate at the same voltage as the supply voltage of the country i.e. 230V. If this is not the case it should be used alongside a voltage transformer or converter to allow the appliance to work safely and properly.

Mobile, WiFi and charging

You will be able to charge electrical items each evening in your accommodation. Remember an adapter! If using a GoPro, you need to ask permission from the group too be filmed.

Packing List

We have put together a suggested packing list for your trip. This should be used as a guideline as requirements may very according to your programme and preferences.

• Riding Helmet - we strongly recommend that you wear a properly fitted riding helmet of the current standard which is PAS015 or BSEN1384. Helmets are available at the stables if you do not have your own
• Jodhpurs - jodhpurs, breeches or other comfortable trousers (jeans may rub and can also be quite hot)
• Riding Boots - it is important to have correct shoes or boots for horse riding. Jodhpur or ankle boots with a rubber sole are recommended but sturdy shoes with a definite heel are acceptable (such as walking boots)
• Half Chaps - these are great when worn with ankle boots and help prevent the stirrup leathers rubbing against your legs
• T-shirts and long-sleeved shirts
• Sunhat
• Sunglasses
• Fleece - Although the weather is generally very warm, the evenings can be a bit cooler
• Warm layers - At times the evening temperature drops significantly
• Casual Clothes - for when out of the saddle
• Water Bottle - it's very important to drink a lot of water when it's hot, especially when doing physical activities
• Raincoat - it is always a wise idea to pack a waterproof/ windproof jacket!
• Personal Items - toiletries, any medicines you require and please be sure to take inset repellent and plenty of sun cream
• Camera and Spare Batteries/Charger - an absolute must! It is also a good idea to take a camera case you can strap around your waist or onto a belt for whilst you are riding
• A copy of your passport

Programmes

This is an 8 day/7 night programme on set dates for a minimum of 2 riders. Other dates are possible on request, please enquire.

Departure Dates

2024: 18 May; 22 June; 21 Sept.

Pricing
No single supplement is charged if the rider is willing to share with someone of the same sex, and a sharer can be found.


No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description £
20248d/7n6double pp1,589
20248d/7n6single supplement185
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description
20248d/7n6double pp1,819
20248d/7n6single supplement209
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description US $
20248d/7n6double pp2,089
20248d/7n6single supplement239
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description SEK
20248d/7n6double pp20,785
20248d/7n6single supplement2,375
Other Activities

Other activities in the area include: cycling, diving, fishing, water sports, trekking, mountain biking, windsurfing, tennis, sailing, golf, and snorkelling.

Wildlife

There are populations of hedgehogs, rabbits, squirrels, beavers, foxes, wild cats and wild boar and birds like the falcon, pilgrim hawk, windhover, kite, eagle, rock partridge and imperial crow. Migratory birds that still use Sicily as a pit stop include the common wader, pink seagull, grater sea swallow and the spoonbill. You can also find insects and invertebrates here such as the spotted grass snake, a rather large toad and varieties of frog and gecko.

In terms of river life freshwater fish have all but disappeared but there are still eels. While in the seas there are large numbers of blue-fin tuna and swordfish.

In mountain areas there is broom, lavender, rosemary, thyme, oregano, wild olive, dwarf palm, lentisk, cork oaks, oleanders, carob trees and tamarisks. The largest tracts left are largely contained in the Nebrodi, Madonie, Peloritani and Etna slopes in oak trees, holm oaks, cork oaks, chestnut trees and beech trees. Other local fauna includes the agave, palm, plane trees, ficus, cedar, mulberry and eucalyptus.

Other Country Information

Italy forms a peninsula in Southern Europe extending into the central Mediterranean Sea, including the islands of Sicily and Sardinia, Elba and about 70 other smaller islands. It is mostly mountainous, though between the Apennines (which form the spine of Italy) and the eastern coastline there are the fertile plains of Emilia-Romagna in the north and of Puglia in the south. The Alps in the north divide Italy from France, Switzerland, Austria and Slovenia.

The Roman Empire was once the most powerful in the world, covering Europe and extending into modern day Asia. Their horsemanship skills second only to the Mongols further east. The incredible sophistication of Roman culture still leaves its mark across Europe and has been the foundation for countless artistic movements, including the Renaissance, through cities such as Florence and the medieval university city of Bologna.

Italians are understandably proud of their heritage and are renowned as people of great taste and as having an eye for the aesthetic. Their architecture and fashion leave most of the world in their shadow, appearance is very important to them and the majority of Italians will never leave the house without ensuring they are impeccably and elegantly attired.

Italian food, from pizza to pasta, has been adopted by the rest of the world but you will never taste a better pizza anywhere else. As with the rest of mainland Europe meals are eaten late with plenty of wine and preferably al fresco.

Italy is one hour ahead of GMT and they use the metric weights and measures system, so kilometres and kilograms instead of miles and pounds. (There is approximately 1.6 kilometres in a mile and 2.2 pounds in a kilogram).

The international dialling code is +39.

Important information regarding rail travel:
Visitors are often caught unawares by train and transport systems requiring validation. Tickets bought in Italy for Regionale and Regionale Veloce trains are not marked for any particular time or train and become valid only when time-stamped at a validation machine. Without this validation, train operators assume the rider is trying to fare dodge, since the ticket could be reused. So validation is absolutely essential before boarding, and there are small boxes in the station or near the platform. After being time-stamped, the ticket is valid for the amount of time shown on the ticket.

Travel Summary

Meeting-point (getting there):
Cefalu bus or train station
Transfer:
2024: Included from Celefu train or bus station.
Transfers from Catania or Palermo €250 per car (Max 3 pax) / €280 per car (Max 6 pax)
Transfers from end point to Catania or Palermo €180 per car (Max 3 pax) / €220 (Max 6 pax)
Flight Guide:
London to Palermo from £130pp return
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