In this Sicilian travel blog, I will give you tips, information and inspirations on the Western part of Sicily. In this part of Sicily: you can do a Marsala wine tasting tour, visit the salt fields between Marsala and Trapani, go kite surfing and sail to the Egadi Islands (Favignana and Levanzo) from Trapani. See below my route and tips and information on my accommodations, restaurants and places to visit in beautiful West Sicily!
Wine Tasting in Marsala
After leaving my beloved glamping tent in the South of Sicily, I headed to Marsala. I wanted to taste the famous sweet dessert wine of this area; the Marsala wine. Driving through the wine fields for hours during my trip, a wine tasting is a must. I went unannounced to the family owned business Cantina Pellegrino founded in 1880.
I got a private English tour in the newly build area and older wine cellars (cantine in Italian) with the uncountable wine barrels with different types of wines. In this museum they explain the history and making process of the Marsala wines. The Phoenicians introduced vine cultivation in these territories between the 8 and 7 century BC.
Therefore, Pellegrino are at the basis of the Sicilian vines like; grillo, inzolia, catarratto, grecanico, zibibbo, malvasia, nero d’avola, nerello mascalese and frappato. These vines are used to produce great wines. Different Marsala wines are classified by their colour, sweetness and duration of the aging process. I loved the 18% alcohol content of the Uncle Joseph the best; deep, sweet and very tasteful! The Marsala dessert wine is also used in the original Italian Tiramisu recipe. Check my recipe here, including the original Sicilian Marsala wine, which I bought at Cantina Pellegrino!!
Visit the Salt Fields
After the wine tasting in morning (timing is everything…), I drove further up north along the coast on the Contrada Spagnola or you can take the SP21 as well. Along the coast from Masala to Trapani lies a landscape of saline (shallow salt pools) with windmills. The first close to Marsala, the Riserva Naturale Isole dello Stagnone di Marsala and the other closer to Trapani the Saline di Trapani e Paceco.
The salt from these marshes is the finest and best in Italy and therefor big business for centuries! The area looks stunning especially with the sun out, which makes the saltpans turning pink; you can even spot some flamingos! You can take a boat tour to the island Mozia and visit the salt museum. Along the route you can buy souvenirs made of salt and of course buy some salt for home cooking.
Go Kite Surfing
Knowing me, I was more interested in the kitesurfing that was going on, along the coast from Marsala to Trapani. The huge shallow lagoons with flat water are perfect to learn kite surfing; that is why you can find many kite schools in this area. Nice to see all the colours of kites in the air during my drive along this coast.
It was time for a break and lunch time and stopped at this kite spot near the town of Birgi Vecchi in Lo Stagnone, just follow the kites! I parked the car and walked to Beach Club Pe’ahi. Loved this trendy and chill place; the pasta vongole (16 EUR) was tasty too and during lunch was being entertained by the kiters which are crossing the lagoon to Isola Santa Maria. After this break I drove more north to Trapani, passing more salt production sites with flamingos and windmills.
Stoll the Streets of Trapani
The main reason to travel to Trapani for me was the sailing trip to the Egadi Islands, see below. But Trapani surprised me in a good way. It is one of the bigger cities, but still very charming with a lot of restaurants, nice historical buildings (Moorish and Spanish influences) and has a good vibe. It is located on a kind of peninsula, with water on both sides. The port was ones a powerful trading village for fishing (tuna and coral) and for salt and wine production. Now the harbour of Trapani is the main getaway to the islands.
In my two days I walked a lot around the historical centre, mostly in the evenings and late afternoon. Perfect to stroll along the water to see the sunset and watch the clocks at Porta Oscura and Torre dell’Orologio. Then walk straight on to the Corso Vittorio Emanuele, full of shops, bars and restaurants. I liked the Piazza Lucatelli, a square with some bars and live music was playing.
Where to Stay and Eat
When I arrived in Trapani, I got a welcome drink from my hotel Room Mate Andrea; which a drank on the roof-top bar including pool! I loved this hotel, it’s very stylish, beautiful decorated with a mix of older details in a modern way. The breakfast served in centre of the palace, was extended even during these Covid-19 period. The service, cleanness of the hotel is as good as the location; next to parking place and within walking distance from the historical centre with bars and restaurants. Big recommendation for this 4-star hotel for 105 EUR per night including breakfast; lucky me I booked two nights!
In Trapani you can find many restaurants, bars, ice cream shops and coffee bars. Next to my hotel the popular Fronte Villa – Caffè e Cucina was located where I had a granita and cannolo. This was almost a whole meal; the cannolo was so filling.
One evening I had an antipasti of fish at Le Vele Ristorante Pizzeria; when in a fisher town eat fish!! I broke that rule the next evening when having a meat and cheese antipasti at La Giuditta and Dorian Gray on the lovely Piazza Lucatelli. I love the antipasti here in Italy; not too much carbs and still very tasty with a lot of proteins!!
Tip: Most restaurants and bars offer an antipasti deal including an aperitive like Aperol Spritz (±12 EUR). For me that was enough for dinner most of the time; especially after having a pasta for lunch and a good reason to get one of the delicious ice creams for dessert!
Sailing the Egadi Islands
I love being in and on the water, that is why I try to incorporate sailing and surfing in my holidays. I was looking forward to go on this sailing trip, which I booked in advance at Egadi a Vela. I found some good reviews on the tour, so was convinced to book. The contact with the Captain Massimo is good and the service on board was even better!
Tip: I prefer to go on a smaller sailing boat (max 10 persons) instead of the bigger boats that operate around here. I travel by myself and I experienced that the smaller boats are easier to get in contact with other passengers.
The departure of the sailing trip is at Marina Arturo Stabile within walking distance from my hotel. I was the only foreigner on the boat the rest was Italian; luckily a couple of them spoke English, which made it more fun.
We passed the smaller islands Maraone and Formica (former prison island) to one of the three main islands Favignana. The wind was perfect and even strong at some points. Due to the winds and currents we could not go to the famous Cala Rossa but sailed along the East coast passing the Labirinto di Cave, which is a result of the mining industry on the island.
Then we pass the Bue Marino; a rough coastline with rock formations from quarrying and caves. The water is perfect blue in many shades and deep clear, which I love and want to jump right in, but not now. Sailed around the corner on the South of the island, to escape the winds. A picture-perfect bay appeared right in front of me, that is why I love sailing and the water! We arrived at Cala Azzurra! Time to swim, enjoy the sun and chill on the rocks (not a real stretched sandy beach). I walked to a higher point on the rocks to get a good overview of this great spot. Judge for yourself?!
When returning to the boat after a good swim and many dives from the boat, it was time for lunch; seafood pasta and wine. I love the Italian way of living; feeling very happy at this moment! We sailed back around the same corner and the wind really picked up. This was getting a real adventure now, hard core sailing instead of chilling.
We sailed to the southern part of the second island Levanzo. Here we passed the harbour of the island and continued to the small bay of Cala Fredda; cold beach. I wanted to check if it was true, but for me the water was still warm. Swam, snorkeled and took some pictures with my GoPro camera. Mermaid Mirja was feeling in her element in these turquoise Mediterranean waters!
Time to head back to Trapani, it was a rough sail, but I loved the adventure; feeling that you are alive! We arrived around 17:30 at the same port where we departed. A perfect day including lunch and drinks for 80 EUR. I really recommend you joining a sailing trip with the experienced Captain Massimo to the islands!