The Madonie Mountains Trek, Sicily

The Madonie Mountains Trek, Sicily

Italy » Self-guided (independent) hiking tours

  • Scenic open landscapes dotted with medieval villages
  • Authentic accommodations in traditional farms
  • Cefalù, vibrant fishing town with a fabulous beach
  • jan
  • feb
  • mar
  • apr
  • may
  • jun
  • jul
  • aug
  • sep
  • oct
  • nov
  • dec

From 695 €

Duration (days): 8

Difficulty grade:  

  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Print version



In the shadow of Sicily’s world-famous volcano, Mt. Etna, emerge the incredibly beautiful mountains of the Parco delle Madonie, with peaks reaching 2000 meters. During your hiking trip you will climb up rugged cliffs for breathtaking views of small villages perched like eagle’s nests amongst the steep slopes. Walk this timeless landscape at ease, as daily life passes slowly here, following the endearing rhythm of the seasons. You shall enjoy delicious Sicilian fresh food, prepared by locals who still live off the land, tending their vegetable, olive groves and vineyards and harvesting figs, almonds and hazelnuts. Walking from the highest mountains to the emerald sea at Cefalu you will have a first rate hiking experience.

Day 1: Arrive in Petralia Sottana
Arrive in Sicily and breathe in the warm island breeze and aroma of the outstanding local flora. If pre-arranged wit us, a private transfer takes you from airport to your accommodation in Petralia Sottana, in the south of the Monti Madonie. Enjoy your first dinner in a local restaurant of your choice trying the many flavors of the tasty regional cuisine.
Day 2: Transfer to Portella Ferrone and walk to Pomieri
A short transfer in the morning will lead you to Portella Ferrone, where today’s walk starts, taking you into the heart of the Madonie Mountains. A sturdy climb through wooded hills leads you up a 1.500 metres high pass to your rustic accommodation at Pomieri. Immersed in the woods, this isolated mountain hotel offers outstanding high elevation panoramas. During springtime walks, look down at the limestone rocks and marvel at the gorgeous assortment of wild orchids.
(10 km; 4,30 hrs; uphill walking: 650m; downhill walking: 450m)
or (13 km; 6 hrs; uphill walking: 880m; downhill walking: 520m)
Day 3: Pomieri loop via Vallone Madonna degli Angeli or Monte San Salvatore walk
Today’s walk starts off on a fairly steep and rough surface but it eases out as you reach the higher lands where views begin to unfold and you follow panoramic dirt roads and well-marked trails, making a loop around the fascinating Vallone degli Angeli. From Vallone you can take a detour to Scalone from which you have a good view of Polizzi Generosa and valleys located tot he North of the Madonie Mountains. Monte Salvatore is one of the highest peaks of the Madonie Mountains, from the top there is a spectacular 360° view of the central part of Sicily. You can also admire the Sanctuary of Madonna dell’Alto, a regular destination for religious pilgrimages. Part of the route follows the long distance ‘Sentiero Italia’ where you can still find a few examples of the Nebrodi Fir tree, that once covered a vast section of the uplands.
(11 km; 4 hrs; uphill walking: 880m; downhill walking: 880m)
or (14 km; 4,30 hrs; uphill walking: 880m; downhill walking: 880m)
Day 4: Pomieri to Rocca di Gonato
Climb from Pomieri to the “Piano Battaglia” plateau (1.700 metres), a well-known area which name derives from a battle which took place here in the 11th century between the Arabs and Normans. Take a large circular tour around the picturesque Monte Ferro (1.900 metres) before walking down to a one-of-a-kind agriturismo (farm) where you will spend the night.
(6 km; 2,30 hrs; uphill walking: 130m; downhill walking: 600m)
Day 5: Gonato to Castelbuono
Bid adieu to the lovely Madonie Mountains an descend tot he hills around Castelbuono. A short and easy descent brings you to Agriturismo Bergi. Here you can spend the afternoon relaxing into the village of Castelbuono. Do not miss a visit tot he nearby medieval village of Castebuono. Stroll along ancient narrow streets and squares for a true taste of small-town Sicily.
(7 km; 3 hrs; uphill walking: 120m; downhill walking: 650m)
Day 6: Rest day in Castelbuono
After 4 days of walking, today you will have the chance of taking your own time, surronded by the wonderful countryside of Castelbuono. Bask in the sun at poolside or enojy one of the many activities offered by the organic farm where you are staying. You might take a cooking class, learning how to prepare delicious Sicilian food, as well as visit the agriturismo’s laboratories for the production of jams and honey, or just taste home-made wines and oils. If you feel like you still want to be more active, then you can be driven to Castelbuono, starting point for a guided tour of the town or for walks and bike rides.
Day 7: Cefalù loop walk
After breakfast, a short transfer takes you to the bus stop in Castelbuono where you board the bus with your luggage to Cefalù. Check in at your hotel and explore the town’s breath-taking Norman Cathedral and awe-inspiring Byzantine mosaics. Climb the ancient fortifications of the Rocca or go for a refreshing swim on the long sandy beach in front of the hotel. To end this fabulous walking trip celebrate with a delicious dinner in one of Cefalù’s many fine fish restaurants.
(3 km; 1 hrs; uphill walking: 350m; downhill walking: 350m)
Day 8: Arrivederci Cefalù!
Public transport to the airport for departure (ordering private transfer is also possible)

Accommodation and luggage transportation
Day 1-3: Petralia Sottana (+ area; two different hotels will be used); Days 4-6: Castelbuono (+ area; two different hotels will be used); Day 7: Cefalu; 7 nights accommodation on bed & breakfast, 5 dinners from day 2 till day 6 (excl. drinks), picnic lunches provided by the accommodations for days 2-4; luggage transfer (day 2, 4, 5 and 7).

Price: 695 Euro
Single room supplement: 125 Euro

Solo travellers (incl. sgl room supplement): 925 Euro

Private transfers (optional; price for a group of up to 3 pax; should be pre-booked in advance):
- Cefalù-Palermo airport: 150 Euro
- Palermo airport-Petralia Sottana: 220 Euro

The price includes: accommodation and meals as mentioned under Itinerary (incl. luggage transfers as mentioned in the itinerary); Transfer from the accommodation to the trailhead on Day 2 and to the bus stop on Day 7; 24 hour telephone assistance, detailed roadbook and maps in English.

The price does not include: flights and public transportation; travel insurance, transfers to the airport on day 8; tips, entrance fees, alcohol drinks and other personal expenses.
Possible CITY TAX to be paid in cash on the spot (it varies depending on the city and on the hotel’s category)

Tips: This trek is not available in August. The walks are moderate to demanding on mountain terrain. You will climb and descend between 400 and 1000m per day. Although the majority of the walks are not difficult and fairly well marked, you should however have experience in mountain walking and orientation. The walks are along footpaths, mule tracks and some strade bianche, (small gravel roads). You will cross a few small hamlets and some larger villages.
We recommend you fly into the Palermo’s Punta Raisi Airport or Catania. Palermo is connected to Petralia Sottana by public bus transport. From the airport to Palermo train station the service is run by Prestia & Comandè (that runs every 30 minutes until midnight towards Palermo train station and until 22:30 hrs. towards the airport). From Palermo train station (Via Paolo Balsamo) you will find the SAIS buses that bring you directly to Petralia Sottana in 1 hour and 40 minutes. For more information you can visit the websites www.prestiaecomande.it and www.saistrasporti.it/. We can offer a price for transfer from Palermo airport to Petralia Sottana as follows: 220 Euro for maximum 3 persons; and 295 Euro form 4 to 8 persons. From Cefalù, at departure, you can book a private transfer to the airport. As an alternative, take a train to Palermo (check the website www.trenitalia.it) and then another one to Punta Raisi airport.