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Monday, 15 September 2008

Bike Riding in the Sicilian Aeolian Islands

This post is for those of you who are passionate about the joys and benefits of truly experiencing a new place by way of riding a bike. The Travel Mag, International Living, has a Special Report on their choice for "The World's 10 Best Travel Adventures", with an adventurous biking adventure in the two most remote islands of the volcanic Aeolian Islands making the list.

Sicily and the Aeolian Islands for Hike or Bike
The seven small islands sprinkling the waters just north of Sicily contain some of the most picturesque living you can imagine. The smallest and western-most of the islands, Alicudi, is covered by pink heather in the spring, and is mostly overlooked by tourists.
The western half of the island is completely uninhabited, and the steep cliffs drop straight into the blue waters beneath, while the eastern half is covered by steppes on which the village sprawls.
While Alicudi is covered in pink heather, the next island, Filicudi, is covered in green ferns. This rugged island has two small villages on a peninsula, and hardly any noise—the only usable road here is a path for mules. The largest island, Lipari, is an island ofbeautiful contrasts. White pumice-stones and pitch-black obsidian cover the coasts.
Volcanic peaks rise above long white beaches. And though there are 600 thermal springs, it only has four towns.
Four more islands, each a magnificent gem in the crown of the Mediterranean, covered in olive groves, fields of golden corn, and strawberry tree woods. The seven volcanic islands contain a spectrum of diverse landscapes from fields to beaches to mountains. And all of it free of smog, bright lights, and city noise.

And then there is Sicily itself. Olive groves, lava fields, and citrus orchards surround the great Mt Etna, while gorgeous beaches, stylish boutiques and chic cafes will leave you in want of nothing.
Walk and bike these fabulous islands for seven days for around $3,500. Bike Riders offers ready-to-go trips. You may want to throw in a few boat tours to see the beautiful island profiled against the aqua Mediterranean waters, which will be an additional (but worthy) cost. And, don’t forget to sample locally made marzipan and authentic cappuccinos along your adventure.

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