Magna Via Francigena

From the bustling city of Palermo in the north across the wild Sicani mountains to Agrigento on Sicily's south coast
 

Pilgrim Route in sicily

A challenging and incredibly intense bike adventure across Sicily’s less known Sicani mountains.

Stone villages, ancient sites, unexpected landscapes and unforgettable encounters with the local communities are just a few of the amazing aspects of this journey across the island’s very heart.

Depending on the daily distance this route is also feasible if you aren’t an avid cyclist. Suitable for mountain bikes and e-mountain bikes. A version for trekking bikes is available, too.

Background info:

The Magna Via Francigena is more than just a pilgrim route. It is a young generations’ declaration of love towards their homeland. This route was used by the Romans, by the Frankish knights from Normandy, the Normans, during the Middle Ages and by the Bourbon Kings that had reigned over Sicily before it became part of the Italian Monarchy. But as time went by, the route lost its importance and it was only thanks to the research and the field work of young researchers, teachers and hikers with a passion for their island that the route came to a new life and was co-funded by the government to become a real “camino”. Not quite a self-evident thing in Sicily where bottom-up initiatives are not so easy to realise. However, the people from the nonprofit organisation Amici dei Cammini Francigeni di Sicilia succeeded in keeping all involved municipalities united and engaged to promote their new old pilgrim route even once the funding period was over. Thanks to their work and the contribution of the volunteers from our nonprofit organisation Ciclabili Siciliane we can now walk and cycle Sicily’s first camino!

Route description:

The route is available for mountain bikes and for trekking bikes. We recommend to split the journey in 3 to 6 stages, depending on your level of fitness. The terrain is hilly and especially the mountain bike route is challenging in certain sections. The GPS track that you can download here refers to the entire mountain bike route from Palermo to Agrigento. For more info and to download GPS tracks of the 9 stages either for MTB or trekking bikes visit the official website www.magnaviafrancigena.it

Public transport: Railway station at Palermo Centrale and Agrigento Centrale. There are several trains during the day and in the evening and bicycles are allowed on all regional trains at an extra cost (currently 3,50 euro for the whole day). Check the train timetable on www.trenitalia.com

Please note: if you travel solo or as a couple, you will hardly ever have problems in finding a place for your bikes on the train, but if you are a group of cyclists please bear in mind that most trains only carry two bikes and book a private bike shuttle instead. Get in touch if you wish to book a bike shuttle.

Terrain: This route offers both on and off-road cycling. The first and last section is on quite busy urban roads, but most of the route is on secondary roads or trails. The area between Palermo and Agrigento is mostly hilly with several steep climbs, especially close to the hilltop towns and villages. The roads are sometimes bumpy and potholed. Expect some mud during the winter months or after rainfall. It may be a good idea to always have the trekking bike tracks with you even if you choose to ride a mountain bike and make a detour on asphalt roads in case of bad weather.

Difficulty level: advanced (many climbs, a few steep descents

Bike: best for e-mountain bikes, mountain bikes (hardtail). More experienced cyclists can use a mountain bike hybrid or gravel bike. Rent a bike for your tour on the Magna Via Francigena.

Map

 
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Route Info

Bike
MTB, E-MTB
Attractiveness

Best Period

Mar-Jun / Sep-Nov

Distance

200 km

Duration

3 to 6 days

Departure Point
Palermo, Cathedral
Arrival Point
Agrigento, Cathedral
Elevation Gain

6,465 m

Highest Point
924 m
Intermodal Transport
Train, Private Shuttle
Skill Level
Fitness Level

Riding Surface

  • Asphalt 47% 47%
  • Paved 22% 22%
  • Gravel 9% 9%
  • Natural 22% 22%

Way Type

  • Road 70% 70%
  • Urban Road 6% 6%
  • Path 12% 12%
  • Track 12% 12%

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A bike-friendly camping site with direct access to the beach and lovely bungalows in Torrenova near Capo d'Orlando on Sicily's bea…

Location: Capo d'Orlando | Rooms from € 30.00
Bike Services:

A bike-friendly camping site within easy reach by bike from Palermo Airport. Enjoy days on the beach of Isola delle Femmine and ex…

Location: Isola delle Femmine | Rooms from € 55.00
Bike Services:  

A camping site with direct access to the deep blue sea near Acireale on Sicily's east coast. Tour around Sicily by bike and enjoy …

Location: Acireale | Rooms from € 37.00
Bike Services:

A bike-friendly camping site with swimming pool and lovely bungalows near Marsala on Sicily's beautiful and flat west coast.…

Location: Marsala | Rooms from € 40.00
Bike Services:  

Book a Tour

A unique experience for all those adventure seekers who want more than just a cycling holiday. Sicily’s first camino gets you to the very heart of this island and its authentic people. Stone villages, rugged hills, friendly locals and genuine food await you on this ancient route that has been rediscovered recently.

Difficulty: moderate-advanced

Duration: 7 days

Average riding distance per day: 35 km

Way type: Asphalt roads (mainly secondary roads), dirt tracks, paths

Tour type: Guided or self-guided tour

Day 1 PALERMO

Arrival to Palermo; welcome aperitif with briefing and bike fit. Travel pack delivery (if you have requested your credential* you will receive it by post or during the briefing).

Hotel/B&B overnight (dinner excluded).

Optional: Palermo walking tour or bike tour to get used to the bike and equipment.

Day 2 PALERMO – SANTA CRISTINA GELA (27 KM)

Breakfast at the hotel/B&B. Departure from Palermo Cathedral. First section to Monreale on busy roads. Stop at Monreale Cathedral for a stamp and a quick tour of the Unesco Site (lock up bicycle or leave it at the garage). Descent to valley and then climb to Santa Cristina Gela, one of Sicily’s Albanian Communities, mainly on low traffic roads. Check-in at the B&B. Dinner in town or in the nearby Piana degli Albanesi (optional). Don’t miss the ricotta-filled cannolo!

Day 3 SANTA CRISTINA GELA – CORLEONE (30 KM)

Breakfast at the B&B. Departure from Santa Cristina Gela. Ride past vineyards and the beautiful Piana Lake on quiet secondary roads, climb & descent at Sant’Agata, stop for a stamp at the Tagliavia Sanctuary. Arrive to Corleone. Check-in at hotel. Recommended visit to the Archeological Museum and the CIDMA (No Mafia) Museum. Dinner at the hotel (optional).

Day 4 CORLEONE – PRIZZI (23 KM)

Breakfast at the hotel. Departure from Corleone. A short but tough climb awaits you just outside Corleone but the views on the the beautiful canyon are your reward! Continue on secondary roads towards the artificial lake of Prizzi. The climb to Prizzi, a beautiful stone village, is quite steep. Check-in at B&B. Pilgrims can enjoy a pilgrim’s menu at the town’s restaurant.

Day 5 PRIZZI – SAN GIOVANNI GEMINI (35 KM)

Breakfast at the B&B. Start downhill and ride towards the beautiful Nature Reserve of Monte Carcaci where a constant climb amidst beautiful nature awaits you. Stop for lunch in Castronovo, the very heart of this Cammino and make sure you try a piece of the pilgrim’s cake at the local pasticceria. Gentle ride down towards the Platani River. Highlights: the Necropolis of Capelvenere with tombs carved out from a big rock (detour). Stop at the Casale San Pietro (detour). After the climb to Cammarata you’ve reached your destination in the neighbouring town of San Giovanni Gemini. Check-in at B&B/hotel. 

Day 6 SAN GIOVANNI GEMINI  – RACALMUTO (50 KM)

Breakfast at the B&B/hotel. This is the toughest stage of the camino and it starts with a descent towards the valley, but there are three climbs left, one to reach the small village of Acquaviva, the second one to reach the stone village of Sutera, overlooked by the impressive Monte San Paolino, then after a fun ride down to Campofranco you face the last climb to reach the lovely town of Racalmuto. Check-in at B&B/hotel.

DAY 7 RACALMUTO – AGRIGENTO (36 KM)

Departure after breakfast. Ride towards Joppolo Giancaxio. Last climb to Agrigento, the last section is on a busy road. Arrive to the cathedral in Agrigento. Transfer to Palermo city/airport. End of our services.

Optional: extra night in Agrigento with visit to the Valley of the Temples.

Please note:

This tour is subject to minor changes at any time depending on room availability in the smaller towns and possible changes to the itinerary.

* The pilgrim’s credential is issued by the nonprofit organisation “Amici dei Cammini Francigeni di Sicilia” who have researched and mapped out the walking itinerary. If you wish to cycle the Magna Via Francigena and enjoy pilgrim status (benefits include access to the pilgrim’s menus at select restaurants and the possibility of requesting a final completion certificate, the “Testimonium”) please request your credential online at www.magnaviafrancigena.it. With our nonprofit bicycle touring club “Ciclabili Siciliane” we have volunteered in mapping out the route for bicycles and we are entitled to deliver credentials to bike pilgrims upon request.

  • 7 nights in a B&B, farm house or 3* hotel (breakfasts included)
  • Specialized Rockhopper mountain bike with GPS device and pre-loaded tracks (helmet and individual pedals on request)
  • Bag transfer for each stage from Palermo to Agrigento
  • Transfer from Agrigento to Palermo city or airport
  • Helpline 24/7
  • Technical assistance during the day (we provide resistant tires but customers should be able to repair a flat tire)
  • Detailed customer documentation including route description and GPS tracks, accommodation vouchers
  • Briefing & bike fit with aperitif on the day of arrival
  • Insurance

Not included:

  • All meals except for breakfasts 
  • Transfer from Airport of arrival to Palermo
  • E-Bike supplement €150 per person; single supplement €180
  • Optional tours in Palermo and Agrigento
  • Travel & cancellation insurance
  • Whatever is not listed as “included”

Get in Touch

Become a Bike Pilgrim without the hassle of planning. We offer guided and self-guided tours for individuals and small groups. Get as much support as you need with our tailored tour proposals.

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Elevation Profile

Use the dynamic altitude chart to see all climbs along the route. Select your preferred map type from the available options on the top right position of the map. If you have activated the relevant function in your browser you will see a marker pointing to your current position.

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Search and book a hotel near Palermo or Agrigento to explore the Magna Via Francigena.