Two Irresistible New Destinations: Crete and Sicily
"So much more than average sightseeing holidays, these adventures take Backroads guests deeper into Southern Europe, immersing them in unforgettable landscapes and cultural treasures that few active travelers have had the chance to discover," says Italy Regional Manager Jeff Cantarutti. "These trips provide an up-close look at the remains of great civilizations of the ancient world, such as Minoan ruins in Crete and Roman theaters and villas in Sicily. And they give our guests a wonderful chance to bike on seemingly forgotten roads, sample outstanding wine and cuisine, and enjoy luxurious yet unpretentious accommodations."
Few Mediterranean destinations can match Crete for its ideal blend of untouched beauty, rich history, tranquil villages, sun-drenched beaches and warm, friendly people. One of Europe's lesser-known gems, it's a stunning island crisscrossed with quiet roads and steeped in ancient history. Best of all, this unique new trip brings this spectacular island within reach of all.
- This singular trip design utilizes world-class van support to bring guests to the best rides on the island—whisking them out of town and up the hills for some coasters back to the seacoast. Or they can choose the challenge of hearty climbs.
- Travelers will revel at the incredible concentration of history—Minoan walls dating back thousands of years, Greek amphitheaters, Venetian ports and Turkish mosques.
- Backroads' two inviting hotels are nestled in the historic seaside towns of Rethymno and Chaniá. Stroll out and explore the narrow streets, lively cafés and colorful harbor—there's plenty of time to experience it all.
- Pristine beaches, deep mountain gorges, abundant orchards of citrus, apricots, figs and pomegranate—and 300 days of sunfall per year.
- Guests will savor vibrant Mediterranean cuisine in the culinary cradle of Greece.
In all respects, Sicily surpasses expectations. From the volcanic slopes of Mount Etna to the Mediterranean shore, Backroads has created a one-of-a-kind trip connecting the dots that define this unique island (while avoiding the temptation to cover too much, preferring quality rides over guidebook-style sightseeing). Whether Backroads guests are rediscovering family roots or simply satisfying a lifelong curiosity, they'll find a rich cultural experience here that will leave them musing about their next visit.
- Shuttles are kept to a minimum—in fact, guests can ride the whole distance without ever hopping in the van. And while seasoned bikers may opt to tackle some challenging hilly terrain, there are also great rides for less experienced folks along winding valley roads and beside the azure sea.
- Discover architectural jewels of the Sicilian Baroque, exploring the World Heritage sites at Scicli, Módica, Donnalucata and Ragusa.
- Guests will visit artisan workshops—ceramics in Caltagirone, chocolate in Módica—and enjoy a private tasting of olive oil and cacciocavallo cheese at the renowned Zottopera farm estate.
- Backroads is the first active travel company to stay at Castello Camemi, an impeccably restored 15th-century castle with a pool and spa. Guests will also enjoy Eremo della Giubiliana in Ragusa, a 900-year-old fortified hermitage set among almond, fig and olive trees, offering incredible ocean views as well as a pool and spa. Situated in the old center of Siracusa, Hotel des Etrangers et Miramare is a Neoclassical-style inn with pool, spa and wonderful sea views from its guest rooms and rooftop terrace.
PRIVATE TRIPS Travelers can make one of Backroads' Crete or Sicily departures entirely their own, tailored to the unique tastes and priorities of their family or friends.
Check out www.backroads.com for more on Backroads family and private adventures.
For More Information on These and Other Backroads Itineraries
To request a catalog, please contact a Trip Consultant by calling 800-462-2848 or visit www.backroads.com/catalog. Backroads is open 7 days a week 7 am to 5 pm, Pacific time.