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 civilisations 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. Its mountainous North contrasts beautifully with idyllic beaches and fishing villages. From here we head to Sardinia a land of towering cliffs, beach coves and unique history. Then finally to Sicily where rolling farmland, volcanoes and stunning coastline is littered with classical sites in exceptional settings.
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 Islands Tour will sit at the less extreme end of the Ride and Seek Epic spectrum. The average daily riding distance will be around 90km 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 the broadest reach of our Epic tours.
Team Members on this Tour
3 Islands Bike Tour Highlights
> Some of the best cycling Europe has to offer with day after day of stunning coastlines
> Sample some of Italy’s rarest wines in Sardinia, an island with a winemaking history to rival the Greeks
> Visit ancient historic sites going back 6000 years, that give us more questions than answers
> Listen to the traditional Sardinian throat singing that needs to be seen to be believed
> Learn about cultures and histories that overlap each other over these three very unique islands
> The food! Sicily has given a lot to the world, but it’s the best at its origin
3 Islands Bike Tour Dates 2020
|Stage||Start Date||End Date||Days||Distance||Cost (Euros)|
|Stage 1 – Corsica||2 May||9 May||8 Days / 7 Nights||577 km / 358 miles||€3280|
|Stage 2 – Sardinia||9 May||16 May||8 Days / 7 Nights||507 km / 315 miles||€3280|
|Stage 3 – Sicily||16 May||24 May||9 Days / 8 Nights)||636 km / 395 miles||€3680|
|Island Hopper – Corsica, Sardinia and Sicily||2 May||23 May||23 Days /22 Nights||1720 km / 1068 miles||€9150|
The Food & Wine on the 3 Islands Bike Tour
Stage 1 – Corsica
Stage 2 – Sardinia
Stage 3 – Sicily
3 Islands Accommodation – a selection
We have carefully selected the places where we stay based on their ‘personality’ and the hospitality of our hosts. Each island is very diverse and this is reflected in the range of accommodations we have selected. What is certain, given the nature of the tour, is many have sea views and over the years the hoteliers have become personal friends. From 5* luxury to a family run agriturismo in the Sicilian countryside we believe our choice of accommodation is always synonymous with Mediterranean hospitality.
Hotel Ortigia (Sicily) – A spectacular 5* hotel in the heart of the historic centre of Siracusa – Ortigia – that overlooks the harbour and serves as a fitting end to our Island odyssey
Hotel Calabona (Sardinia) – Overlooking the Coral Riviera and with spectacular views of the heads this 4* hotel provides a great base for exploring the enchanting town of Alghero.
Hostellerie De L’Abbaye (Corsica) – Back in the 14th century this charming 4* hotel was a monastery. Situated within easy walking distance of the historic centre of Calvi it has views of both the sea and the mountains.
Antico Convento Dei Cappuccini (Sicily) – As the name suggests this is a converted monastery in Ragusa that has been tastefully renovated into a lovely 4* hotel. Right in the centre of the old part of the city it could not have a better position.
Hotel Genovese (Corsica) – This refined 4* hotel in the romantic town of Bonifacio provides a lovely finish to our ride in Corsica. With sweeping views and a perfect position to explore the town it is another great final hotel.
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 recommendations 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 into 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 foolhardy! On tour, we will experience this diversity in culture and history which ranges from Phoenician, Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Arabic, Norman, Renaissance, Baroque and a complex modern relationship with their ‘bigger brothers’ France and Italy. So for this historic peek 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 but Paoli, the Corsica folk hero from the 18th century, wanted the bandana moved 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 them to settle their debts. 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 in which Napoleon grew up 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, which are Peloro (Messina: North-East), Passero (Syracuse: South), and Lilibeo (Marsala: West). Supposedly Sicilians 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. The central Medusa head in the middle of the Trinacria implies the protection of the island by the goddess Athena, the patron goddess of Sicily! A decidedly complex 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 deities of the Phoenician people of Western Europe and worshipped in Sicily, Sardinia and Corsica from around the 5th century BC 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.
The Three Islands trip was a trip of a lifetime! I had an absolute blast. The trip was very well organised and I can’t really think of anything that would need improving. The guides were patient, encouraging, and made sure everyone had a good experience. The routes were great. Extra kudos to Richie for taking care of all the bike maintenance. Thanks again! Not sure I will ever have another vacation that could top that one, it was absolutely fantastic.
After my 12 years of riding bike tours and adventures, and my second tour with Ride & Seek, I believe Dylan and his professional guides have the magic formula.
Every detail is covered and no request is too large, so all I needed to do was turn the pedals and enjoy the ride. I can’t say enough about the route, food, wine, and accommodations, however, the icing on the cake is their knowledge of the local history and culture. Thank you, Dylan and team, and keep up the great work.
Ted V – Three Islands
The inaugural 3 islands Tour in 2017 was a fantastic experience, as is always the case with Ride and Seek.
The lunch-time stops high up in the remote hills were a special highlight, with all the food locally grown, raised – or hunted – before being prepared by the owners of the small properties we visited. This was a unique cycling experience.
Corsica is a hidden gem of world cycling and this was a great way to experience it. I look forward to going back, and on to the other islands, on the tour in 2018
Steve B – Three Islands
Rides such as Three Islands are not holidays – they are experiences and must be faced in that manner. And what an experience! The scenery, the food, the wine & the company are features of holidays but it is the riding that makes this so different and ultimately so appealing.
The guides and the manner in which they worked and interacted with the group was just fantastic. We’ve been on tours with 4 different companies and I can honestly say that the support was second to none. It was their willingness & capacity to “go the extra mile” was priceless. You have chosen a great team; they complement each other with their different strengths.
Wendy H – Three Islands
This trip is the full package. The most complete cycling trip I have ever experienced. As promised by Ride and Seek, every day contained challenging cycling, breathtaking scenery, and multiple opportunities to experience the history and culture of these three islands. Dylan Reynolds and his expert team of guides managed a set of formidable logistics flawlessly. Hats off to Ride and Seek for this new amazing journey!
Christine C – Three Islands
An exceptional experience in every way. Stunning scenery, wonderful roads, great food and wine, and a real chance to see these islands close-up. The guides were helpful and experienced. We really enjoyed the chance to learn more about the history and culture of both Corsica and Sardinia. I would highly recommend it.
Marilyn C – Three Islands
The ride offered stunning scenery day after day as we rode from Bay to Bay and occasionally an inland mountain pass on mostly good road surfaces. The inaugural tour was well planned and ran without a hitch thanks to the fantastic guides. As per all Ride and Seek rides, the cuisine and wine was exceptional and enjoyed with good company
Jo & Tony B – Three Islands
Overall this was more than just a ride-it was a carefully planned and professionally implemented event providing not only a bike riding experience through astounding scenery but a degree of exposure to the local culture, cuisine and the ancient and modern history which has uniquely shaped these beautiful places and their people. Ride and Seek are to be congratulated on providing such a virtuoso performance!
Chris C- Three Islands
I am still coming down off the Three Islands tour and, just like the Caesar tour, remembering how lovely life is on my bike staying exotic places with fine dining and being spoilt rotten by the R&S support staff.
Jeremy T- Three Islands
Tour at a Glance
Corsica Length: 8 Days / 7 Nights
Distance: 577 km I 358 miles
Elevation: 9329 m I 30607 ft
Dates: May 2-9 2020aa
Sardinia Length: 8 Days / 7 Nights
Distance: 507 km I 315 miles
Elevation: 7932 m I 26024 ft
Dates: May 9-16 2019aa
Sicily Length: 8 Days / 7 Nights
Distance: 636 km I 395 miles
Elevation: 7426 m I 24363 ft
Dates: May 16 -24 2019aa
Island Discovery – Corsica, Sardinia & Sicily Length: 23 Days / 22 Nights
Distance: 1720 km I 1068 miles
Elevation: 24687 m I 80994 ft
Dates: May 2-23 2019aa