Arrive at Catania airport and transfer to our riding centre and your first nights accommodation in Le Terre di Castel Leone. Where we host a traditonal four course sicilian dinner with drinks.
At the riding centre we have well trained horses that you can enjoy your journey to the beach, splashing in and out of the waters of the river and sea. We begin by riding to the Alcantara River, which we cross at various points, immersed in the wildest and most unspoilt parts of the river valley. We ride on through the Alcantara River Park to reach the village of Gravà, where we can stop for a snack, before reaching the famous Alcantara Gorges, where we will stop to visit this beautiful natural site.
Once we have passed the Gorges, we will ride through citrus and olive groves, fields and woods to reach the byzantine fortress of Calatabiano, which dominates the Alcantara Valley and the Ionian Coast from its hilltop position. We will arrive at the mouth of the Alcantara River at Giardini Naxos, where the first Greek colony in Sicily was established, and from where, on a clear day, it is possible to take in an unforgettable view, stretching as far as the Calabrian coast. You will be able to enjoy sunset on the beach and swim in the sea with the horses. We will then arrive at Villa Laura, a typical residence immersed in citrus groves, nestled in a peaceful location between Etna and Taormina. The residence is an old farmstead which has been renovated into small apartments, equipped with everything you need and tastefully decorated to ensure guests feel at home. We will enjoy dinner at Villa Laura, where you can sample local homemade specialities.
The following morning, after breakfast, we will set off along the beach, before following the route of the Alcantara River back in the opposite direction. We will stop off along the way at the Gurne di Francavilla, a series of small lakes carved out of the volcanic rock by the course of the river. Late in the afternoon we will arrive back at our starting point. Dinner and overnight accommodation.
Breakfast followed by return transfer to Catania Airport.
2 full days riding, 3 nights accommodation and all meals £630 per rider
For one rider only: £725
This trail is available at any time on request from April to December, but the dates need to avoid our week long tour dates.
Level: Comfortable at all three paces (walk, trot and canter), with experience of hacking out in the open.
Age requirements: 16 years old and above.
Group size: Nine people maximum.
Key information / requirements: Between six and eight hours in the saddle per day. You must be comfortable at all three paces (walk, trot and canter). You must be physically fit. This programme is aimed at intermediate and advanced riders and it is not suitable for beginners or riders with only limited experience. The terrain is varied and there may be long trots and gallops along the way.
Equipment: It is possible to hire riding hats and chaps on site. The following items are essential: waterproofs, layers (it can be cold at altitude), boots and chaps, and sun cream.
Weight: Max 90 kg.
Accommodation: Comfortable mountain chalet.
Themes: Mountains, forests, flora, fauna, lava flows, craters, history, mythology, agriculture, views.
Meals: Picnic lunches, typical Sicilian dinner in the evening (minimum four courses). Refined Sicilian cuisine prepared with local produce. Evening meals include: starter, pasta course, meat / main course, dessert, wine, water and digestif (liqueur, grappa, limoncello or other available options), coffee or tea. Continental or American-style breakfasts on request. For groups of four or more riders, picnic lunches are provided by support vehicle (together with tables, chairs and cutlery) and include: fresh bread, salad, cheeses, olives, charcuterie, Sicilian specialities, wine or other drinks on request, coffee or tea. For groups of less than four riders, picnic lunches consist of sandwiches and fruit (carried in saddlebags).
Languages spoken: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Sicilian.
Horses: 14 horses of Sicilian breeding, all well trained and accustomed to the terrain. The horses live out at pasture. The guide cleans, grooms and tacks up the horses.
Tack: Comfortable English saddles, with a sheepskin cover, or Western saddles on request. All horses are ridden with a martingale and a crupper.
Luggage transport: By support vehicle.
Optional additional activities: Swimming pool, walks, guided tours of towns and historical sites with a local guide.
Nearby towns and places of interest: Etna Natural Park, Alcantara Natural Park, Nebrodi Natural Park, Castiglione di Sicilia, Zafferana Etnea, Randazzo, Bronte, Catania, Taormina.
Closest airport: Catania.
Transfers (optional): From Catania airport, (journey time of 1h30). Free transfers are available from Castiglione di Sicilia or Solicchiata (easily accessible by train or bus from Catania).
Logistical base: Le Terre di Castel Leone.