Castellammare del Golfo is a small seaside town in the province of Trapani, which rises on the slopes of Monte Inici in a gulf bordered to the west by Capo San Vito and to the east by Capo Rama. Despite its small size (just 15.000 inhabitants!), The town is quite famous in the surroundings and not only because of a historical episode that is said to have occurred on 13 July of the 1718: according to legend, a Spanish vessel, in an attempt to escape some English ships, found refuge near the Gulf of Castellammare; the British, angered by the help that the inhabitants of the place were giving to the Spanish enemies, prepared to attack. At that precise moment, however, the Madonna del Soccorso, invoked by the inhabitants of Castellammare, who made the English run away. (On the occasion of this episode, its historical re-enactment is celebrated every two years with parades, fireworks and even the procession of the statue of the Madonna by sea!)
If we have a bit curious about you, in this article we tell you that what to see in Castellammare del Golfo in a weekend, including where to eat and where to spend your post dinner.
- 10 things to see in Castellammare del Golfo in a weekend
- What to see in Castellammare del Golfo in one day: recommended itinerary
- Where to eat in Castellammare del Golfo: the best restaurants
- What to do in the evening: the nightlife areas and the best clubs in Castellammare del Golfo
- Plan your stay in Castellammare del Golfo: info and useful tips
- User questions and comments
10 things to see in Castellammare del Golfo in a weekend
1 - Castle by the sea (Arab Norman Castle)
Let's start with the most famous attraction in the area, the one that gave nothing less than its name to the village itself: the Castello a Mare (or Arab-Norman Castle). Built by the Arabs in the th century, this fortress was subsequently enlarged and modernized by the Normans first, and then by the Swabians who endowed it with defensive walls and towers. In addition, the existing drawbridge was replaced with today's stone bridge. Today the Castle is publicly owned and inside its rooms there is an exhibition entitled "The memory of the Mediterranean", divided into four sections (one of which is dedicated to the maritime activities of the past).
Small curiosity: the Castello a mare was called in this way because until not many years ago it was lapped by the sea. In particular, it seems that between the castle and the open sea a sort of natural pool was created, bounded by the rocks and used by the queen.
- it is located in the area in front of the city port, just 8 minutes walk from the city council - Get directions
- Monday to Saturday from 9:00 to 13:00 and from 15:30 to 19:30
- Info and advice: the Polo Museale is divided into the Museum of water and mills, the Museum of productive activities, the Archaeological Museum and the Museum of Maritime Activities, so we advise you to dedicate at least a couple of hours to the entire structure
2 - Church of the Madonna della Scala
In addition to the legend of the Madonna del Soccorso, another very famous legend linked to the town of Castellammare del Golfo concerns the Madonna della Scala. In fact, it is said that, during a very violent storm, a local shepherdess managed to survive only by taking refuge inside a cave, created by lightning. Inside, a silver cross and a reliquary with the image of the Madonna and Child were found. The small church of the Madonna della Scala seems to have been built in the place where it once stood miraculous cave, in a rocky wall overlooking the city port.
- it is located near the port, just downstream from the Belvedere. On foot, however, it is a nice walk: from the Castle it will take about half an hour, from the Municipality instead just under 20 minutes - Get directions
- always accessible
3 - Mother Church (Sanctuary of Maria Santissima del Soccorso)
The main place of worship of Castellammare is the Sanctuary of Maria Santissima del Soccorso, dedicated to the Madonna who saved the city from the English attack in the summer of 1718. The church, built shortly after that episode (1726), is built in Baroque, clearly visible both from the outside and inside for the quantity of stuccoes, polychrome marbles and frescoes that characterize it. The structure consists of three naves: the two lateral ones are in turn made up of four chapels each, while at the end of the central nave is the high altar above which a very precious crucifix stands out.
- it is located not far from the sea: from the Municipality, in just over 6 minutes you will arrive at your destination, first along via Costamante and then Corso Giuseppe Garibaldi. From the Castle it will take you only 3 minutes to walk - Get directions
- always accessible
4 - Palazzo Crociferi
Founded in 1659, at the behest of Princess Francesca Balsamo di Roccafiorita, as a convent of the Crociferi Fathers, Palazzo Crociferi is probably one of the most important civil buildings in Castellammare del Golfo, as well as one of the best preserved. The former convent was located not far from the church of Maria SS. degli Agonizzanti and to the Church of Purgatory, to which it was connected through a secret tunnel.
Today the Palace is used as the Town Hall, while the church of the Agonizzanti has become an auditorium; in summer, the old cloister is used as an open-air theater or cinema under the stars.
- it is the seat of the city municipality. Starting from the Arab-Norman Castle, in less than ten minutes you will be at your destination via Corso Giuseppe Garibaldi - Get directions
- always accessible
5 - La Plaja and Guidaloca beaches
On beautiful sunny days, many decide to spend a few hours on the largest and closest beach of Castellammare del Golfo: La Plaja. It is a beach of fine sand, with a clean sea full of shades, frequented by both families and young children.
Another fantastic alternative is the beach of Guidaloca, perfect for those who want to take a break and enjoy a bit of the sea for a few hours, wide and characterized by smooth pebbles, with a bottom that slopes very gently.
- La Plaja is located at the entrance of the town, 2 km from the center of Castellammare del Golfo (Get directions). Guidaloca is 6,8 km from the center (Get directions). We advise you to travel by car
- always accessible
6 - Torre Bennistra and the other Saracen towers
The area around Castellammare del Golfo is dotted with remains and testimonies of the past, starting with the numerous ones Saracen watchtowers. Used in the past to control the possible arrival of enemy peoples by sea, today these towers offer privileged vantage points from which to enjoy a spectacular view of the gulf and the hinterland behind it. The most famous and spectacular are the Torre di Scopello, the Torre della Tonnara di Scopello and the Torre Bennistra near the Zingaro Nature Reserve.
- the Saracen towers are scattered all over the coast around Castellammare del Golfo. We point out among others the Torre Bennistra: to get there you need to move by car to the nearby town of Scopello, then follow the signs to the Tower that start from the seafront - Get directions
- some towers, not restored, cannot be visited for safety reasons. The Bennistra Tower can always be visited
7 - Small Museum of the Sea
Among the most interesting and characteristic museums of Castellammare del Golfo, the Small Museum of the Sea it is certainly the most particular one that we recommend you visit at all costs. Specifically, it is a museum that collects images, but also tools and tools used by local fishermen, both from past times and more recent years. The museum is therefore a center of fundamental importance for the collection of evidence of one of the oldest livelihood activities of the village, the fishery; moreover, the museum is housed inside what must have been the home of a humble fisherman, to show the living conditions of the average population.
- on foot very easily: from the city hall just go through via Don Luigi Sturzo to arrive at your destination in less than 4 minutes. From the Castle instead just take via Leonardo Zangara to get there in less than 7 minutes - Get directions
- by 9: 00 19 to: 00
8 - Abyss of the Cocci
In the vicinity of Castellammare del Golfo there are many natural wonders to discover, including numerous natural caves, hidden among the rocky walls of Monte Inici but also among the cliffs overlooking the sea. What we suggest you to visit is the cave Abyss of the Cocci, almost 2km long and approximately 420 meters deep: it is a very suggestive place, which however we do not recommend for those suffering from claustrophobia as some passages can be quite inaccessible. However, visiting this cave is an experience that is really worth it: the sulphurous waters and vapors have created rock formations with the most bizarre shapes over the years, as well as lounges, lakes and crazy natural pools.
- the cave is located on Monte Inici and to reach it you will need to use the car: near C. da Gagliardella you will turn towards a suitably indicated mountain path; arrived at a lay-by, you will have to park your car and continue on foot (following the signs) for about 1km. So don't forget your hiking shoes, the route has some slightly steep sections!
- always accessible (we advise you to ask the tourist offices of the village for information, which will provide you with more information about the possibility of making visits independently, under the current conditions of the cave, etc.)
9 - Scopello (Baglio, Tonnara and Faraglioni beach)
Another location near Castellammare del Golfo is perfect for enjoying the sea and absolute tranquility Scopello. Imagine a natural location to take your breath away with clear water, stacks from which you can dive (obviously from the lower ones, don't be too bold!), And, on the horizon, the profile of the old trap of Scopello, once in operation .
Scopello offers a charming baglio that can be visited, the tonnara and the beach of the Faraglioni (cost of € 5,00 per day).
- in just 15 minutes by car, along the seafront and following the road signs - Get directions
- tonnara and stacks beach 9: 00-19: 00, baglio always accessible
- tonnara and stacks beach € 4,00, free baglio
10 - Zingaro Nature Reserve
Not only caves, but also parks and nature reserves are one of the main attractions in the surroundings of Castellammare del Golfo. The most famous reserve in the area is undoubtedly the Zingaro Nature Reserve, a real seaside paradise, managed by the State Forestry Company of the Sicily Region. In addition to the beauty of the sea in this stretch of coast, the reserve is known for hosting a huge variety of local flora and fauna, including peregrine falcons, buzzards and many other water birds. If you are in these parts, a stop is a must: we are sure that you will not be disappointed at all!
- reachable in just 20 minutes by car. It is necessary to go to Scopello and then follow the signs for the riserva dello zingaro and then for the South Entrance - Get directions
- always accessible
- Full € 5,00, reduced € 3,00 (children up to 14 years and conscripts). Free for over 65, under 10s and law enforcement officers on duty.
- From Palermo: Nature and Sea to the Zingaro Reserve
What to see in Castellammare del Golfo in one day: recommended itinerary
Castellammare del Golfo is a village of great beauty and its small size makes it perfectly suitable to be visited in a single day, perhaps while passing by to take a nice tour around the island.
Morning: The itinerary that we recommend starts from the historic center, in particular from the Bar del Centro, a small bar that has become a meeting point for the locals, but also for tourists who want to visit the center of the town (as well as for the breakfasts quite abundant, this place is also highly recommended for the arancine, which can be consumed with the take-away formula: if we were you, we would refuel for the morning walk!). After filling your stomach, it's time to start discovering the historic center: just one street away from the bar, you will find the Town Hall or Crociferi Palace, today the seat of the city municipality. From here, continuing towards the sea, you will first come across the Sanctuary of Maria Santissima del Soccorso, and then in Small Museum of the Sea, near Piazza Madice. A little further on, close to the city port, stands the Castle Arab-Norman, the symbolic building of Castellammare del Golfo.
Afternoon: As it is now lunchtime, we advise you to stop at the La Tonnara restaurant, which also overlooks the harbor area. Here, you will taste the freshest fish dishes with a superb view. After lunch, you can opt for a visit Scopello; if the weather permits, you can relax on the beach and swim, alternatively you can still admire the fantastic view of the stacks and the trap, finally take a walk to the Baglio and maybe an ice cream in the small bar inside.
Sera: for dinner, stop to eat in Scopello, precisely at the Tavernetta, a restaurant serving local dishes, with a wide choice of fish dishes and vegetarian options. After dinner, if you still have some time, go back to town for one stroll in the harbor area, characterized by a fervent nightlife.
One day itinerary at a glance
- Breakfast at Bar del Centro (Get directions)
- Crociferi Palace - opening hours: always accessible - ticket price: free
- Sanctuary of Maria Santissima del Soccorso - opening hours: always accessible - ticket price: free
- Piccolo Museo del Mare - opening hours: from 9:00 to 19:00 - ticket price: free
- Castello a mare - opening hours: from Monday to Saturday from 9.00 to 13.00 and from 15.30 to 19.30 - ticket price: free
- Lunch at La Tonnara restaurant (Get directions)
- Scopello - opening hours: always accessible - ticket price: free
- Dinner at the pizzeria La Tavernetta (Get directions)
- Walk in the Port area.
Where to eat in Castellammare del Golfo: the best restaurants
- I Sapori Siciliani Grill Restaurant: excellent steakhouse for meat and barbecue lovers
Average price per person: € 20,00
Address and contacts: via G. Saragat, 25 (Get directions) / tel: +39 0924 31352
- The Tavernetta: restaurant with local dishes, with a wide choice of fish dishes and vegetarian options
Average price per person: € 25,00
Address and contacts: via Armando Diaz, 3 - Scopello (Get directions) / tel: +39 0924 541129
- Da Laborio Restaurant: Sicilian home cooking restaurant, ideal for an evening with friends
Average price per person: € 30,00
Address and contacts: via Rosario Livatino, corner (Get directions) / tel: +39 0924 040699
- The Tonnara: fish restaurant with a superb view of the sea and the castle
Average price per person: € 30,00
Address and contacts: via Don L. Zangara, 29 (Get directions) / tel: +39 0924 32443
- La Plaja Pizzeria: cult pizzeria of the place, near the beach of the same name
Average price per person: € 20,00
Address and contacts: Contrada Spiaggia Plaja, 14 (Get directions) / tel: +39 0924 30177
What to do in the evening: the nightlife areas and the best clubs in Castellammare del Golfo
The nightlife in Castellammare del Golfo is rich and varied: despite its modest size, the town offers entertainment suitable for all ages, from classic pubs and cocktail bars to discos where you can dance until late at night, to more peaceful clubs suitable also to families. The Movida areas there are two: the corso in the city center (mainly in the winter months) and the port area (especially in the summer and spring).
The best pubs, clubs and discos
- Hoppy - Birreria del Corso: cult local brewery offering a wide range of craft beers (and snacks) / Address: Corso Giuseppe Garibaldi, 17 (Get directions) / Facebook page
- Cantina Aurelia Osteria & Grill: classic tavern, offers burgers, cut of meat and rustic cuisine and organizes evenings of live music / Address: Corso Bernardo Mattarella (Get directions) / Facebook page
- Vogue Bar: a place specialized in aperitifs, but also after dinner, with a chic atmosphere / Address: via Don Leonardo Zangara, 61 (Get directions) / Facebook page
- Bora Bora Bay: must-have disco of the place, for those who love to dance on the beach until late at night / Address: Baia di Guidaloca (Get directions) / Facebook page
- Picolit: classic pub offering quality cocktails and a good selection of beers. Organize DJ sets and live music evenings. / Address: Via Discesa Marina (Get directions) / Facebook page
Plan your stay in Castellammare del Golfo: info and useful tips
- the nearest airports are those of Palermo (43km, 32 minutes by car) and Trapani (56km, 41 minutes by car). There are no public transport that connect them directly to the municipality. From Trapani Airport you must first reach Trapani city (with the AST buses) and then take a train to Castellammare (about € 5,00) or alternatively always an AST bus in the direction of Castellammare (single ride € 5,00).
From Palermo Airport you must first reach Palermo Central Station (with the Prestìa and Comandè buses) and then take the train (about € 7,00) or another bus on the Autoservizi Russo line (PA-Castellammare del Golfo-Scopello section ) - Compare flights to Trapani or Palermo - from € 40,00
- Getting around: it turns with pleasure on foot. To reach the beaches (Riserva dello Zingaro, Guidaloca, Scopello) and the other attractions in the surrounding area, you need your own vehicle
- Where to park: especially in summer it can be complicated: most of the parking lots are in fact paid and you will hardly find a free free parking space. We advise you to park in the port area or at the Cerri Caleca car park in via Peppino Impastato - Get directions
- Hotel and b & b starting from € 51,00 per room -
- What to see in the surroundings: Scopello (16 minutes by car from the center), Zingaro Nature Reserve (20 minutes by car from the center), Erice (55 minutes by car), Trapani (1 hour by car), San Vito Lo Capo (1 hour and 10 minutes by car ), Palermo (1 hour and 6 minutes by car), Selinunte (50 minutes by car), Cretto di Burri (53 minutes by car), Marsala (59 minutes by car).