Western Sicily: what to see in the summer

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Lluis Enric Mayans

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

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Western Sicily is that part of the island that faces the northwest coast, and is made up of the provinces of Palermo, Trapani and Agrigento. The reason for the subdivision has roots in ancient history, which divided the territory into three valleys: Val di Mazara, Val Demone and Val di Noto. Western Sicily was mainly under Greek influence, and for this reason, staying in its territories literally means walking among myths and legends.


  1. Tips for a holiday in Western Sicily
  2. What to see absolutely: beaches, cities and places of interest
  3. Recommended itineraries
  4. User questions and comments

Post COVID19 travel advice
If you are planning a trip, make sure you are in line with safety measures. Follow government guidelines and only return to travel when the green light is given. Prefer natural and perhaps non-mass destinations, and in general promote local tourism: discover the wonders of your city, your region and your state. Try to avoid long-haul travel and at most choose destinations reachable with a few hours of flight.

Tips for a holiday in Western Sicily

  • there are two airports, that of Palermo and that of Trapani. The major tourist ports are also located in Palermo and Trapani, and can be reached from Naples in 6-8 hours. From Palermo airport to get to the city you can take taxis (about € 40,00), the Trinacria Express train (one way € 5,80 departures every 30 minutes from 5:00 to 22:00 approximately, duration about 45 minutes). A valid alternative is the Prestia e Comandè bus. The rides run from 4am to midnight and last approximately 00 minutes. Ticket costs around € 50 - Compare flights to Trapani or Palermo - from € 6,30
  • When to go: for climate and prices better June, July and September. For events and festivals, in September there is the Cous Cous Fest, an international gastronomic event that lasts ten days, in July the party of Santa Rosalia in Palermo, the most awaited party of the year. On Sunday 23 June the feast of Corpus Domini falls, and the Sicilian villages are colored with flowers on which the procession then passes. In August, however, there are festivals dedicated to agricultural products and patronal feasts, but in this month the prices rise significantly.
  • Getting around: public transport in Sicily is few and poorly organized, so it is recommended to rent a car. It is possible to take advantage of the extra-urban buses, which connect the different cities and towns of Sicily, by paying a ticket ranging from € 7,00 to € 9,00 depending on the company.
  • What to bring: the climate is Mediterranean so in summer arm yourself with light clothing and everything you need to spend a day at the beach. Camera and / or video camera are must, as well as snorkeling equipment, trekking shoes for excursions.

Where stay

  1. Palermo: it is an excellent accommodation solution, both for the possibility of moving easily towards the purely summer nearby areas such as Mondello, Isola delle Feminine, Bagheria, and for the historical and cultural attractions in the city - Hotels and b & b starting from € 55,00, per room -
  2. Trapani: it is the right solution when you think of a "traveling" holiday. From here it is very easy to reach San Vito lo Capo, the Zingaro Reserve, Erice and it is convenient for boarding towards Favignana. Moreover, in the evening, the city is very lively and there is no lack of entertainment - Hotels and b & b from € 55,00 per room -
  3. Agrigento: unmissable destination to visit the Valley of the Temples and the Cathedral, staying here can be a good starting point to move to other nearby destinations - Hotels and b & b from € 60,00 per room -
  4. San Vito lo Capo: it is the ideal place to stay if you are traveling with children, or you intend to live on the beach - Hotels and b & b from € 70,00 per room -
  5. Cefalù: staying in the city, especially if we talk about the summer period, is almost a must. The town is very beautiful, the medieval village can be easily explored on foot, the town is full of bars, restaurants and clubs, and the sandy coast is one of the most famous on the island - Hotels and b & b from € 65,00 per room -

What to see absolutely: beaches, cities and places of interest

Although the sea and the beaches may be the island's greatest attraction, Sicily is not only this. In fact, its western part holds a series of natural beauties, picturesque villages, historical and architectural riches, which are absolutely worth seeing. Here is a small list of the attractions to see absolutely

1 - Palermo

Palermo is a must for anyone who goes to visit Sicily. A city with an Arabian style, the regional capital is the seat of markets, of culinary and Street Food traditions, but also of the thousand domes, of the churches, of the extraordinary mosaics of the Palatine Chapel and of the Catterdrale town, which houses the tombs of the royals who have succeeded each other over time. Palermo is a city of a thousand faces, the cradle of a centuries-old history, and there is no other place that better represents Sicily

  • Palermo airport is about 37 km from the center, about 40 minutes by car. It is possible to reach the center by public transport, bus or train, which stops at the "Palermo centrale" station. Once you arrive, it is recommended that you walk around the city only on foot or by bike - Get directions
  • Time to devote: at least 2-3 days
  • Info: The city public transport ticket costs € 1,40, and is valid for 90 minutes, or you can buy the day ticket at a price of € 3,50 or the Multiday ticket, which is valid from 2 to 7 days. The "free centro storico" shuttle allows tourists to go around the city center for free
  • Palermo by hop-on hop-off bus with 24-hour ticket Palermo: 3-hour street food and history walking tour Discovering Palermo: tour with a local guide

2 - Trapani and Erice

Trapani is called the "city between two seas" as it extends over a narrow strip of land surrounded by the sea, which tapers towards the extreme tip of Torre di Ligny. A city with a great historical past, which saw it as a place of passage for many populations, Trapani boasts an ancient center of great interest, characterized by the vast presence of religious buildings and palaces of great architectural value. Not to be missed is the Riserva delle saline, located between Trapani and Paceco, which covers an area of ​​1.000 hectares. Paradise for bird watchers, the reserve is home to the famous pink flamingos.

Erice is 7 km from Trapani, and is located on the peaks of the homonymous mountain. According to Tucidide, it was founded by the Trojan exiles, who fleeing into the Mediterranean Sea would have found the ideal place to settle there. The town is also mentioned by Virgilio dell'Eneide and, in ancient times, it seems to have been the center where religious rites were celebrated, together with Segesta. Recently, Erice has acquired new fame, in that film set of some scenes from the film Aquaman, which has highlighted the numerous historical and folkloristic beauties.

  • Trapani is about 15 km from the airport, accessible by car or by train, "Trapani" stop: the station is located in the city center. Get directions. Trapani is 7 km from the village of Erice, reachable in 24 minutes by car, or by cable car - Get directions. Once you arrive, it is recommended to walk
  • Time to devote: 1-2 days
  • Info: the ticket for the cable car to Erice summit costs € 4,00
  • Segesta, Erice and the salt flats: full day tour from Palermo Erice, Scopello and castellammare del golfo from Trapani Erice: private half day tour

3 - mazara del vallo - Province of Trapani

Mazara del Vallo overlooks the Mediterranean and is less than 200 km from the Tunisian coast, visible in good weather. The old historic center, which was once enclosed within Norman walls, includes a very high number of monumental churches, some dating back to the th century. In addition, the city shows the typical features of Islamic neighborhoods. Also not to be missed is the Roccazzo archaeological site, near the hamlet of Borgata Costiera, about 15 minutes by car from the city.

An unmissable destination for sea lovers is the Tonnarella coast, one of the seaside resorts of Mazara del Vallo, which during the summer is targeted by residents and tourists to spend a day dedicated to the sea and relaxation at one of the numerous beaches in the area.

  • it is 109 km from Palermo airport (about 1 hour and 10 min by car) and 41 km from Trapani airport (about 40 min by car). It is possible to visit the nearby Marsala which is 26 km away at about 40 minutes by car - Get directions
  • Time to devote: 2 days
  • Info: the archaeological site is located on the provincial road Salemi-Mazara del Vallo and is free of charge

4 - Scala dei Turchi - Province of Agrigento

La Scala dei Turchi is a rocky cliff located near Porto Empedocle, which has become a tourist attraction of great value both for its unquestionable beauty and for the citation in Andrea Camilleri's detective series about Inspector Montalbano.
La Scala is made up of sedimentary rocks with a characteristic white color, in the past used by the Turks to land on the territory. It is located between two sandy beaches and is part of the UNESCO heritage.

  • it is about 5 km from Realmonte (about 10 minutes by car). The latter is respectively 163 km from Palermo airport (about 1 hour and 50 minutes by car) and 164 km from Trapani airport (about 2 hours by car). There are no buses that connect the area with large cities, but several private individuals provide a shuttle service, departing from Piazzale Rosselli in Agrigento - Get directions
  • Time to devote: 1 day
  • Info: the area has no services, so it is advisable to have everything you need to face the sun and a packed lunch

5 - Marsala, Mothia and the islands of the Stagnone - Province of Trapani

Of Phoenician origins, but influenced by different civilizations including Greek and Roman, Marsala is rich in artistic beauties, which every year attract hundreds of tourists, as well as by wine lovers. Also not to be missed is the natural reserve "Isole dello Stagnone di Marsala", a protected area that extends along the stretch of sea between Capo San Teodoro and Capo Boeo, and which includes some islands including: San Pantaleo, Isola Grande, Schola and Santa Maria, and Mothia, the most important island.

Given its strategic position in the Mediterranean, the Carthaginians wanted to make it their own commercial port, leading it to suffer the consequences of the struggle with the Greeks for domination over Sicily. When it was attacked and destroyed by Dionysius of Syracuse, its inhabitants moved to the promontory in front, giving life to what is now Marsala. The remains of its civilization and its flourishing economic activity have been brought to light by a long series of archaeological excavations.

  • it is 15 km from Trapani airport (about 20 minutes by car), and is connected by the extra-urban bus line that reaches the city center. It is possible to visit the nearby Mazara del Vallo which is 26 km away (about 40 minutes by car) and the beautiful Trapani almost the same distance in the opposite direction, 30 km (about 40 minutes by car) - Get directions
  • Time to devote: 2-3 days
  • Info: the cost of the ferry ticket to reach the islands is € 3,00

6 - The Zingaro Reserve - Province of Trapani

The riserva dello zingaro was established in 1981, and nothing is known of its particular name: in fact, there is no news of nomads who lived in this area while the presence of a colony of Lombards in the thirteenth century is known. Located about 20 minutes away from San Vito lo Capo, the Reserve has two entrances, which through paths, rocky coves and desert stretches, lead to the 7 famous coves, with a wild and uncontaminated appearance. Also noteworthy are the depths of the blue sea that caresses it, home to numerous varieties of fish.

  • the entrances to the Reserve are located one to the north, from the town of San Vito Lo Capo (about 12 km) and one to the south, about 1 km from the village of Scopello. From Trapani, to access from the SOUTH, take the SS 187 and follow the signs for Scopello. Also from Trapani, to access the north, take the SS 187 to the junction for San Vito Lo Capo, located twenty minutes away, equal to 12km - Get directions. It is possible to park at the north entrance (Get directions) and the south entrance (Get directions). To get from San Vito lo Capo by bus to the Reserve you will not find public transport, which instead depart from Castellammare del Golfo (Russo company)
  • Time to devote: 1 day
  • Info: to access the Reserve you must pay a ticket of € 5,00. Pets are not allowed and, given the difficult journey to get to the coves, it is good to have water with you, and everything you need to face the sun. The area has no services
  • From Palermo: sea and nature to the Zingaro Reserve

7 - Selinunte and Valle del Belice - Province of Trapani

The Belice Valley is made up of the area within which the course of the Belice River extends. It is a very large and heterogeneous area, sadly known for the earthquake that devastated it in 1968. Here stands the famous cretto di Burri or Grande Cretto, that is the land art work created by Alberto Burri between 1984 and 1989, where the old town of Gibellina, destroyed by the earthquake, stood. Burri took part in the initiative to relaunch the area, designing a gigantic monument that retraces the streets and alleys of the old city: it stands in the same place where once there was the rubble, now cemented by the work. From above, what is the largest contemporary work of art in the world, looks like a series of concrete fractures on the ground: each crack is two to three meters wide, while the blocks are about one meter high. sixty. Near the work it is also possible to visit the ruins of Gibellina.

About 25 minutes away it is located Selinunte, the ancient Greek city today Largest archaeological park in Europe. Here it is possible to admire some Greek temples together with other secondary constructions: the settlement then continues on several hills not far away.

  • by car, along the state road 119 or the A29 motorway. 15 km away is the Bosco delle Finestrelle Nature Reserve, reachable in 26 minutes - Get directions
  • Time to devote: at least 1 day
  • Info: it is recommended to visit the Cretto by car
  • Segesta and Selinunte: tour from Trapani

8 - San Vito lo Capo - Province of Trapani

San Vito is closed between the plain of the Egitarso and the Promontory of Monte Monaco, and is famous all over the world for its Caribbean beaches and for the Cous Cous Fest, the festival that every year celebrates cous cous as a symbol of peace and integration. Beautiful village characterized by typical white fishermen's houses and narrow streets, surrounded by incredible natural landscapes. A short distance from the sea it is in fact possible to admire olive groves, vineyards and almond trees, and two natural paradises: the Riserva dello Zingaro and the Monte Monaco Reserve.

  • The best way is by plane with a stopover in Trapani, and from there reach San Vito by car, which is about 36 km away, equal to 50 minutes by car - Get directions
  • Time to devote: at least 3 days
  • Info: the cost of renting a car from the airport starts from € 20,00
  • Private transfer from San Vito Lo Capo to Palermo Airport Private transfers from San Vito Lo Capo to Trapani Airport

9 - Favignana - Province of Trapani

Favignana belongs to the archipelago of the Egadi islands, and is located about 7 km from the coast of Sicily. The island is quite wild and hosts a vast vegetation and gardens, cultivated in tuff quarries. Natural reserve with beautiful beaches and crystal clear water, excellent for snorkeling, Favignana hosts the Tonnara, a good 32 thousand square meters, which makes it the largest trap in the Mediterranean. The space inside houses a museum with multimedia rooms, video testimonies and historical films granted by the Istituto Luce and an "antiquarium", with archaeological finds found in the archipelago, including some of the battle of the Egadi.

  • by hydrofoil from the ports of Trapani or Palermo
  • Time to devote: 2-3 days for a complete tour
  • Info: the duration of the trip to Favignana ranges from 10 to 30 minutes, depending on the port of departure. The island has a hilly area, and it is possible to go around by bicycle, which can be rented on the spot. The opening hours of the Tonnara vary according to the months
  • Favignana and Levanzo: 1 day cruise from Trapani

10 - Cefalù - Province of Palermo

Cefalù is located about 70 km from Palermo, at the foot of a rocky promontory. It is one of the largest seaside resorts in the whole region: in summer the population triples, and it is almost impossible to walk the streets.
The town is part of the Madonie Park, and is included in the club de The most beautiful villages in Italy. Absolutely not to be missed is the Cathedral of the city which, according to legend, would have risen following the vow made by Roger II, who survived a storm, to the Santissimo Salvatore. From the particular "three roofs", of different eras and construction techniques, the Cathedral was declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco in 2015.

  • by car via the A20 Messina - Palermo motorway or the 113 Northern Sicula state road. It is possible to leave the car at the COOP NANDINO car park, near the sea, at the price of: € 2,00 for three hours, € 7,00 full day - Get directions
  • Time to devote1-2
  • Info: admission to the Duomo is free, but tourist visits are allowed only from 9:00 am. During the celebration of the mass it is forbidden to take photos
  • Monreale and Cefalù: half day tour from Palermo Palermo and Cefalù tour

11 - Mondello and Monreale - Province of Palermo

Mondello is the seaside resort located a few kilometers from Palermo. Summer destination for the Palermitans, the locality still retains traces of the ancient fishing village that was, visible in the remains of the tower of the trap and in the fishing boats. Here you can also see one of the greatest examples of the Liberty architecture of Palermo, namely the Charleston bathhouse, built on stilts over the sea.

At about 22 km, equal to 30 minutes by car, we find Monreale climbing on Mount Caputo. Archbishopric, its Cathedral was declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco in 2015. It is the most representative construction of the entire town, commissioned by William the second between 1172 and 1176, appreciated all over the world for its composite style: that is, it was born from a mix of European and Arab architectural styles. Very particular are the doors, in bronze and in Romanesque style where the main door is made up of 40 panels that reproduce as many scenes from the Bible.

  • or by car, via the state road 186, provincial roads 69 and 68 or by bus, line Amat 389, which leaves from Piazza Indipendenza in Palermo. 13km away, equivalent to about 30 minutes by road - Get directions
  • Time to devote: 1 day
  • Info: admission to the Duomo is free, and visiting hours vary according to the celebration of the mass. The cost of the bus ticket that connects Monreale to Palermo is € 1,40
  • Palermo and Monreale: Mondello Coast Half-Day Historical Tour: Exclusive Tour with Lunch from Palermo Palermo, Monreale and Mondello: Private Tour and Street Food

12 - Villages of the Madonie Park - Province of Palermo

The Madonie is a small mountain range that hosts the park of the same name, where you can visit a series of enchanting villages, ideal for relaxing away from the chaos of the city. There are 15 villages scattered throughout the territory of the plateau, among which are absolutely not lost: Castelbuono, founded in 1300 and home to numerous religious monuments except for the production of artisan panettone; Gangi, belonging to the club of the most beautiful villages in Italy, where you will have the opportunity to walk in an authentic medieval atmosphere e Petralia Soprana, elected most beautiful village in Italy in 2018, and rich in historical and natural attractions, such as the rock salt mines.

  • it is recommended to travel to and around the Madonie by car - Get directions
  • Time to devote: 4-5 days
  • Info: Petralia Soprana is connected to Palermo by SAIS bus, ticket cost € 10,00
  • Castelbuono: tour with wine tasting

13 - Agrigento and the Valley of the Temples

Agrigento was founded in 580 BC and, over the centuries, has been the subject of colonization by numerous peoples, including Romans, Arabs and Normans, to whom we owe the name Girgenti, which it kept until 1927. Agrigento, in addition to being was the city that gave birth to Luigi Pirandello, is known as the City of Temples, given the expanse of Doric temples of the ancient Greek city located in the Valley of the Temples, included in 1997 among the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

  • There are regular connections between the main Sicilian cities and Agrigento. The routes are managed by different companies so it is necessary to check the timetables with the carriers on a case by case basis. There is also a bus service that regularly connects Agrigento with Rome, Naples and Salerno. The center of Agrigento is about 5 km from the Valley - Get directions
  • Time to devote: 2 days
  • Info: the Valley of the Temples is open every day from 8:30 to 19:00. For information on the cost of tickets and reductions, visit the official website
  • Entrance ticket to the Valley of the Temples E-scooter tour in the Valley of the Temples Valley of the Temples and Garden of the Kolymbethra: private tour

14 - Menfi and Sciacca - Province of Trapani

Built in 1638, the rural village of Menfi has maintained its original setting as a feudal settlement over time. Characterized by the presence of numerous religious, military and civil architecture buildings of enormous historical value, Menfi earned the blue flag in 2017, and its beaches are under the protection of the WWF together with those of Sciacca, about 19 km away.

Seafaring, tourist and spa town, rich in monuments and churches, Sciacca is known among other things for its historic carnival, for its ceramics, for its promenade and for the hydrothermal station, which attracts many tourists from all over the world.

  • A29 motorway by car or by bus from: Agrigento, Trapani, Sciacca, Mazara, Castelvetrano Selinunte, Palermo and from the "Falcone Borsellino" airport of Punta Raisi: the average cost of the ticket is about € 10,00 but varies according to the chosen company. Menfi is 21 km from Selinunte, 25 minutes away - Get directions
  • Time to devote: 2-3 days
  • Info: to move from Menfi to Sciacca it is good to use the car

15 - Castellammare del Golfo and the Tonnara of Scopello (TP)

Castellammare del Golfo was born as a place used for the unloading, storage and sale of goods. Around 1521 the first fortifications and military structures were erected, which today constitute the main points of tourist interest, together with the enormous natural beauty.
Castellammare in fact boasts beautiful beaches bathed by a clear sea, and proximity to wonderful places such as Tonnara Scopello, one of the oldest in all of Sicily, today a favorite destination for snorkelers. The sea in the area is characterized by a particular green color, and by the presence of some stacks, similar to those of the island of Capri.

  • from Palermo, take the train to Trapani and get off at the Castellammare del Golfo railway station. Palermo-Mazara del Vallo motorway (A29), Castellammare del Golfo exit - Get directions Castellammare is 40 km from the Zingaro Reserve, which can be covered in 48 minutes
  • Time to devote: 1-2 days
  • Info: the Tonnara lacks services, it is therefore recommended to bring with you everything you need to cope with the heat, and wear shoes for the rocks
  • Erice, Scopello and Castellammare Del Golfo di Trapani

Recommended itineraries

  • 4-5 day itinerary: Agrigento / Valley of the Temples (2 days), Menfi and Sciacca (2 days)
  • 7 days itinerary: Trapani and Erice (2 days), Favignana (3 days), Marsala, Mothia and the Stagnone islands (2 days)
  • 10 days itinerary: San Vito lo Capo (1 day), Zingaro Reserve (1 day), Scopello (1 day) Castellammare del Golfo (1 day) Mondello (1 day), Monreale (1 day), Palermo (2 days), Cefalù ( 2 days)

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