Magna Via FrancigenaFrom 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 bicycle 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. You can also cycle the Magna Via Francigena by gravel bike or trekking bike. Why not try our bike hire in Sicily with high-end Specialized and Trek gravel bikes and mountain bikes with bikepacking or touring gear including waterproof saddlebags or racks and panniers? We mapped out the route and we can give you the best tips to fully enjoy this tour!
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!
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. 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 (look out for the bike symbol on the train timetable; as of January 2020 bicycles are free on regional trains in Sicily). 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. We include a bike shuttle service from Agrigento to Palermo for groups of riders who book our Bike Adventure Pack. Click here to find out more about our biking tour packages in Sicily and Bike Adventure Packs.
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: given the elevation profile, this tour is best for mountain bikes (hardtail), even if you choose the version for trekking bikes. More experienced cyclists can choose a gravel bike or a trekking/hybrid bike with disc brakes. E-mountain bikes are okay if you use the lowest or intermediate power mode. Rent a bike for your tour on the Magna Via Francigena.
Mar-Jun / Sep-Nov
3 to 6 days
- Asphalt 47% 47%
- Paved 22% 22%
- Gravel 9% 9%
- Natural 22% 22%
- Road 70% 70%
- Urban Road 6% 6%
- Path 12% 12%
- Track 12% 12%
Book a Tour or Rent a Bike
Become a Bike Pilgrim without the hassle of planning. We offer Bike Adventure Packs which offer all the necessary info and GPS navigation on top of the bike rental and self-guided tours for couples and small groups. We can tailor the tour to your individual fitness level, get in touch for more information.
Map & 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.