3 Islands Bike Tour Overview

Ride with us across 3 sun kissed islands at the crossroads of the Mediterranean – Corsica, Sardinia and Sicily.

Split into 3 stages, each a week long, the 3 Islands Tour is a journey through the history, food, architecture and traditions of these Mediterranean jewels. The exceptional diversity of the islands is represented through the numerous civilizations and cultures that have left their mark, the amazing gastronomic variations, the strikingly rugged interior landscapes paired with stunning coastlines of white beaches and emerald waters, and locals with an incredibly strong sense of place. The Mediterranean charm is truly at the heart of this tour.

We ride from North to South beginning with Corsica, home of Napoleon. It’s mountainous North contrasts beautifully with idyllic beaches and fishing villages. From here we head to Sardinia – land of towering cliffs, beach coves and unique history. Then finally to Sicily where rolling farmland, volcanoes and stunning coastline is littered by classical sites in exceptional settings.

This tour is in the process of being scouted but the general route is already set. We will ride down the west coast of Corsica which is the more picturesque and less busy side. We will end the first week in the stunning village of Bonifacio. From here we will sail across to Italy and Sardinia. Our ride down Sardinia will take us along the west coast which holds more Phoenician significance and is our preferred cycling route too. Our destination is Cagliari from where we will catch the overnight ferry to Sicily and its atmospheric capital Palermo. The ride through Sicily will focus on the southern part of the island as we head towards Catania which marks the end of our ride.

Conceptually our Phoenician (3 Island) tour will sit at the less extreme end of the Ride and Seek Epic spectrum. The average daily riding distance will be around 80km and whilst all the islands are ‘hilly’ daily elevation profiles will be less dramatic than some of our other offerings. That said we will also offer daily ‘extra loop’ rides that head inland for those wanting more hills and ride time. This tour is graded as 3 espresso cups so we feel it has a broadest reach of our Epic tours.

3 Islands Bike Tour Dates 2018

Spring Tour

Stage Start Date End Date Days Distance Cost (Euros)
Stage 1 – Corsica 28 April 5 May 8 Days / 7 Nights 550 km / 344 miles €3220
Stage 2 – Sardinia 5 May 12 May 8 Days / 7 Nights 450 km / 281 miles €3220
Stage 3 – Sicily 12 May 19 May 8 Days / 7 Nights) 550 km / 344 miles €3220
Island Hopper – Corsica, Sardinia and Sicily 28 April 19 May 22 Days /21 Nights 1550 km / 969 miles €8800

Fall Tour

Stage Start Date End Date Days Distance Cost (Euros)
Stage 1 – Corsica 6 Oct 13 Oct 8 Days / 7 Nights 550 km / 344 miles €3220
Stage 2 – Sardinia 13 Oct 20 Oct 8 Days / 7 Nights 450 km / 281 miles €3220
Stage 3 – Sicily 20 Oct 27 Oct 8 Days / 7 Nights) 550 km / 344 miles €3220
Island Hopper – Corsica, Sardinia and Sicily 6 Oct 27 Oct 22 Days /21 Nights 1550 km / 969 miles €8800

For anyone wishing to do two out of the 3 Islands the cost is €6050

Supplements

> Single supplement – Our prices are based on twin/double occupancy. If you wish to have your own room a supplement is applicable. For a single stage the single supplement is €500 per stage.
> Bike hire – If you don’t bring your own bike we have a fleet of bikes that we are able to rent out. Please click here to visit Our Bikes page which shows the options we have available, including the pricing which varies according to the length of the hire.
> Wine kitty – On all of your tours we run a wine kitty system. This is very much an optional arrangement that ensures non-drinkers can be accommodated. The wine kitty is owned by the group and anything left over is divided up although this rarely happens!
> Deposits – To reserve a place on a stage of this tour you need to pay a deposit of €1000 (or your local currency equivalent). We also accept payment in GB£ and AU$.  The final invoice will include any applicable single supplements or bike hire costs.

 

Stage 1 –  Corsica

Corsicans are very serious about their food and wine! The simple style of cooking is inspired by the exceptional fruits and vegetables, cured meats and cheeses. Sanglier or wild boar is the island’s most famous dish – it will be served with pasta or polenta (we recommend polenta with brocciu which is made with chestnut flour and fresh Corsican ricotta). The moddizzosu (sourdough bread) is also great and the wonderful wines are a real credit to their French heritage.

Stage 2 – Sardinia

The simple shepherd’s diet is often associated with Sardinia – tomato sauces and carta di musica (flat bread), goat and sheep milk, fava beans and chickpeas,  some of the foods most associated with reaching 100 years of age! However Sardinia’s cuisine is much more complex than this. The maialetto or roasted piglet is a Sardinian classic and dishes vary greatly from area to area. The zuppa gallurese, a soup only in name is a hearty bread and cheese peasant dish. Fregola – small balls of handmade pasta are dressed with seafood in the Campidano. Lorighitta pasta from Oristano is made out of two thin pasta wires wound together and served with sausage and tomato sauce and Panadas. Oven baked pies of meat, fish or vegetables, can be found all over Sardinia with different fillings – the list goes on!

Stage 3 – Sicily

Food and wine are certainly some of Sicily’s main attractions. Try Caponata,  a salad made from eggplant (or sometimes artichoke), olives, capers and celery or Sfincione, a local form of pizza made with tomatoes, onions and anchovies. Prepared on a thick bread and more likely found in a bakery than in a pizzeria, Sfincione is good as a snack or appetizer. Another favourite is panella which is a thin paste made of crushed ceci (garbanzo) beans and served fried. Sicily is also renowned for its seafood – grilled swordfish, snapper prepared in a vinegar and sugar sauce or seppia (cuttlefish) served in its own black sauce with pasta, all fantastic flavours to finish the tour with!

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3 Islands Reading

Our Expedition Tour reading lists are aimed at being accessible to everyone – all the books are historical but there is fiction, primary authors and serious historians so take your pick! As always if you want any more information or more recomendations please contact us

An account of Boswell’s travels in Corsica during a period of military and social upheaval  (mid 19th Century) and his subsequent befriending of the Corsican independence movement leader, General Pasquale Paoli. A bit solid but an excellent look intro the history of Corsica

James Boswell An Account of Corsica

A truly great novel, set in the 1860’s as Sicily’s decadent aristocracy collapses. A classic novel and an excellent read.

Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa The Leopard

What list would be complete without an entry on the Mafia? Felt by some to be the best book on the subject this relatively recent history reads very well and will certainly add to the atmosphere when riding through Sicilian countryside!

John Dickie Cosa Nostra: A History of the Sicilian Mafia

A great introduction to Phoenician history. Reasonably short and accessible.

Mark Wolmer Ancient Phoencia

A vibrant narrative bringing this period of history to life. More in depth and lively than Ancient Phoenica.

Sanford Holst Phoenician Secrets : Exploring the Ancient Mediterranean

3 Islands Bike Tour History

The 3 islands of Corsica, Sardinia and Sicily are so varied and rich in their history that taking a page to surmise their historic existence would be somewhat foollhardy! On tour we will experience this diversity in culture and history which ranges from Phoenician, Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Arabic, Norman, Renaissance, Baroque to world wars and a complex modern relationship with their ‘bigger brothers’ France and Italy. So for this historic peak at the 3 islands we will solely examine how these islands symbolise their own existence.

It is little wonder with this vast array of influences that both Corsica and Sardinia choose a symbol called ‘La Testa di Moru’ – the Moor’s head which originates in the Kingdom of Aragon and was used in Sardinia after the Aragonese conquest in 1297. Four Moorish heads are separated by a cross of St George – it is called the ‘Is Cuatru Morus’ – the Four Moors. The Corsican version portrays a Moor’s Head in black wearing a white bandana above his eyes on a white background. Previously, the bandana covered his eyes; Paoli, the hero of Corsica in the 18th century who fought for liberation of the island nation, wanted the bandana moved to above the eyes to symbolise the liberation of the Corsican people. The symbol was practically banned after 1769, when France forced the Genovesi to sell the island to settle the debts contracted by Genoa with France in it’s attempts to secure the island which ended with French troops put down the endemic rebellion. During this period under French rule, 1769–1789, Corsican patriots again used the version of the flag with blindfolded eyes, as a mark of protest. This was the era which Napoleon grew up in on his native Corsica…

As for Sicily it represents itself with the Trinacria, a fantastic symbol, which is the head of Medusa (a gorgon with a head of snakes), surrounded by three bent running legs, and three stalks of wheat. A complex symbol but what are they getting at? Sicily was known by the Romans as Trinacrium, meaning “star with three points”. The three bent running legs represent the three capes of Sicily, Peloro (Punta del Faro, Tip of Faro, Messina: North-East), Passero (Syracuse: South), and Lilibeo(Cape Boeo, Marsala: West), which also creates the three points of the triangle. Supposedly, native Sicilians, left breathless by the beauty of Sicily’s shores, likened and compared them to a woman’s legs! The three ears of wheat, surrounding the head of Medusa, represent the fertility of the land of Sicily and the center Medusa head in the middle of the Trinacria implies the protection of the island by the goddess Athena, the patron goddess of Sicily! So, in the end a complicated an ancient symbol, perfect for us to find out more about on tour!

After this complexity we chose the simple Tanit symbol to represent our travels on the 3 Islands. Tanit is a Punic and Phoenician goddess, one of the chief deitys of the Phoenician people of Western Europe and was certainly worshiped in Sicily, Sardinia and Corsica from around the 5th century BCE onwards giving us a common theme! Her symbol is interpreted as a woman raising her hands and she is sometimes depicted with a lion’s head, showing her warrior quality, perfect for the front of a cycling jersey!

 

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Trip Box

The 3 Islands tour is divided into 3 stages it traverses Corsica, Sardinia and Sicily. Mediterranean charm lies at the heart of this tour.

Email me the Tour Catalogue Book Now Schedule a Call

The Stages at-a-glance

    Corsica
    Length: 8 Days / 7 Nights
    Distance: 577 km I 358 miles
    Elevation: 8341 m I 27365 ft
    Dates: April 28 - May 5 & October 6-13
    Price: €3220
    Grading: 

    Sardinia
    Length: 8 Days / 7 Nights
    Distance: 507 km I 315 miles
    Elevation: 8532 m I 27992 ft
    Dates: May 5 - 12 & October 13-20
    Price: €3220
    Grading: 

    Sicily
    Length: 8 Days / 7 Nights
    Distance: 636 km I 7739 ft
    Elevation: 7739 m I 25390 ft
    Dates: May 12-19 & October 20 -27
    Price: €3220
    Grading: 

    Island Discovery - Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily
    Length: 8 Days / 7 Nights
    Distance: 1720 km I 1068 miles
    Elevation: 24612 m I 80747 ft
    Dates: April 28 - May 19 & October 6 -27
    Price: €8880
    Grading: 

Trip Box

The 3 Islands tour is divided into 3 stages it traverses Corsica, Sardinia and Sicily. Mediterranean charm lies at the heart of this tour.

Email me the Tour Catalogue Book Now Schedule a Call

The Stages at-a-glance

    Corsica
    Length: 8 Days / 7 Nights
    Distance: 577 km I 358 miles
    Elevation: 8341 m I 27365 ft
    Dates: April 28 - May 5 & October 6-13
    Price: €3220
    Grading: 

    Sardinia
    Length: 8 Days / 7 Nights
    Distance: 507 km I 315 miles
    Elevation: 8532 m I 27992 ft
    Dates: May 5 - 12 & October 13-20
    Price: €3220
    Grading: 

    Sicily
    Length: 8 Days / 7 Nights
    Distance: 636 km I 7739 ft
    Elevation: 7739 m I 25390 ft
    Dates: May 12-19 & October 20 -27
    Price: €3220
    Grading: 

    Island Discovery - Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily
    Length: 8 Days / 7 Nights
    Distance: 1720 km I 1068 miles
    Elevation: 24612 m I 80747 ft
    Dates: April 28 - May 19 & October 6 -27
    Price: €8880
    Grading: 

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