Sicily is the largest Italian island separated from the mainland by the Strait of Messina. The stunning island is completely surrounded by the Ionian, Tyrrhenian, and the Mediterranean Seas.
The South Italian Island is a lively intersection of nature’s bounty, rich culture and traditions, and an interesting past. A trip that contains a lavish stay in the villas in Sicily is nothing less than a dream!
West Sicily is dotted with an assortment of towns and beaches, which will leave you fascinated by the sheer beauty. If you are planning a trip in and around West Sicily, make sure to include the following places on your itinerary.
Places to See in West Sicily
Trapani is a small and pleasant town intersected with narrow streets and bears a long list of monuments and churches that are fine examples of architecture and design.
While the Basilica of St. Lawrence reflects the design evolution over the years, the Contemporary Art Museum stands to be the epicenter of modern art.
Stroll around Trapani along some well-known streets such as Via Garibaldi, Corso Vittorio Emanuele, and Corso Italia and become a part of the local humdrum with a visit to the fish market.
If you wish to buy souvenirs and small mementos of your travels, pay a visit to the main shopping center of the city, Via Giovanni Battista Fardella.
Photo credit: Tommie Hansen (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr
Erice is a beautiful medieval village where you can experience the beauty and charm of Italy with a dash of Spanish influence. Such rich and diverse is the history of this place that the famous poet Virgil mentioned Erice in his popular artwork – The Aeneid.
Even while staying in touch with its rich history, the town also has a splash of modernity to it. Apart from the gorgeous castles and churches, the local cuisine is yet another crowd pleaser.
Sweets like Marzipan, Genovesi Ericine, and Mustaccioli have been prepared from recipes passed down through generations. Another specialty lies in the green colored Marsala, the local liquor.
If you wish to take a few souvenirs home, consider the famous Erician carpets or ceramic items, all made and decorated by hand.
Photo credit: Tommie Hansen (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr
The Ancient Greek temples of Segesta will take you back in the past. The amphitheater located on Mount Barbaro is one of the best preserved historical sites in Sicily.
History buffs will enjoy gazing upon the incomplete yet stunning Doric temple set amidst the large archeological park. Those hoping for a taste of a classical Greek drama productions must visit the amphitheater in the Summer.
Trek around Segesta to gain a deeper insight into the majestic Greek history and architecture. Segesta is a paradise particularly in the Spring.
Photo credit: Tiberio Frascari via Flickr
Also known as Mozia, the island of Mothia (or Motya) was once a powerful city in ancient Italy.
The island was bought by the Englishman Joseph Whitaker, well-known for the Marsala wines; and is currently maintained by the Whitaker Foundation.
As an archeological site, Mothia has responded well to excavations carried out by the enthusiastic wine exporter. In fact, Whitaker’s role is pivotal in the discovery of Mothia’s thriving past.
The Motya Charioteer sculpture, discovered in 1979, is the highlight of the Giuseppe Whitaker museum.
Museo delle Saline (Salt Museum)
Salt is the white gold of Sicily. Hence, it would only be fair to erect a museum dedicated to salt!
About 300 years ago, the Salt Museum was an active site for salt works with salt pans that are functional even to this day. Tours are run in both English and Italian, and you can take a self guided tour of the outside, or a guide tour of the interior.
The salt pans offer a gorgeous backdrop for the pier. A pleasant trip through these salt pans will leave you mesmerized. Once inside, you can witness the comprehensive and detailed reenactment of the various stages of salt production from ancient times.
Image credit: Yellow.Cat (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr
Isole dello Stagnone
Washed off-shore by the Mediterranean Sea, the Stagnone Island derives its name from Stagnone, which is Sicily’s largest lagoon.
Accentuated by scenic views and pleasant winds, it is one of the most sought-after places due to the air of romance that it exudes.
The island is also home to the Regional Natural Reserve of Marsala, a natural reserve at Stagnone. It forms a microcosm of a delicate ecosystem wherein rare and exotic species have found refuge.
The Egadi Islands are just a couple of miles off the coast of Trapani and are no less than a piece of heaven.
The three islands that constitute Egadi Islands offer a perfect tourist destination all year round. In addition to a long historical background, the beautiful views that these islands offer have been drawing tourists from all over the world.
The smallest island, Levanzo, is composed of hills, cliffs, and a dramatic beach. The Marettimo is more rugged and isolated, thereby offering a large bounty of unadulterated beauty.
Favignana (aka La Farfalla) is characterized by its butterfly shape. Amongst all, this is the largest and most vital of the three islands, in terms of population and economy; it is known as the organ of the Egadi archipelago.
Scopello is a tiny fishing village of Castellammare del Golfo. The sleepy town has now gained prominence with A-listers from film and cinema purchasing property or shooting on location here.
The picturesque cove of Tonnara di Scopello is the major attraction as it forms a medley of natural and manmade features. You can admire the beauty from afar while sunbathing in the village or experience it first hand by swimming through the magical beauty of the rocky seashore.
The terrain forms the foundation for two grand defense towers with a third located inside the village.
Image credit: Norbert Reimer (CC BY-SA 2.0) via Flickr
Belice Natural Reserve
For those seeking the refuge of Mother Nature’s lap when in Selinunte, the Belice Natural Reserve is the right place for you.
Beach bums can soak up the sun along the Belice reserve during all seasons. The clean water beckons swimmers, and this is a great location for trekking as well.
The undulating dunes, which form the salt water pools; the vibrant flora such as sea daffodils, lentisk, and wild asparagus, which grow in the salty regions; and the thriving vegetation in the riverine delta – these are some common and invaluable sights offered by the Belice Natural Reserve in Selinunte.
Archeological Park of Selinunte
The ruins of the temples constructed in Selinunte are yet another rich archaeological site to rediscover the past.
The city once booming with trade and other economic activities turned into vast expanses of rubble due to the ruthless attack of Carthaginians. The remains are beautifully, yet tragically located on the high plain that offers a panoramic view of the sea.
The Cave di Cusa retells the history of how the famous temples of Selinunte came into being. Combine your trek to Selinunte with a trip to the Marinella beach for a wholesome experience.
Image credit: Franck Manogil (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr
Where to Stay in West Sicily
When visiting places like Scopello you can get a slice of the life of the rich and famous by bunking at the splendid Baia Blu villa that offers residence to 7 guests.
For a larger party of 8 or 9, you can also stay at the Villa Grotticelli and Villa del Sole respectively. And if you crave a relaxing view overlooking the sea, the Villa Cala dell’Ovo suited for 6 guests.
You may also check out the lavish Villa Perla for 8 people or the Villa Guidaloca for 8-10 guests.
Similarly, a dazzling view of the Mozia and surrounding islands can be enjoyed at the Seven Islands Villa, which can host 10 guests. Smaller groups of 5 and below may consider the Casa Mozia.
Selinunte is dotted with grand villas available on rent. This list includes the Casa Melograno, which can take 6-7 guests; Selinunte Retreat, with its capacity of 8 guests, to name a few.
There are multiple options for smaller groups such as The Casa Palmi that can cater to 5 guests. For a group of 4 guests, you can also stay at Casa Melograno II and Villa Magnolia.
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It all looks brilliant. I went in 2001 but mainly did south and east. Did manage to get to Erice which is wonderful as you say. I need to go back and also make sure to do Stromboli too this time.
So glad to hear you had a fabulous time Wilbur … it’s such an incredible island all round, there’s definitely nothing wrong with having a reason to plan another trip :D
Let us know what you think of the West when you have the chance to get back again :)
Amazing Meg. I love the fact that the place is so clean; look at those blue skies. I’ve a Sicilian-American buddy who went to his parents home island as a kid. Loved it.
So glad you enjoyed the post Ryan, I think you would really love Sicily! I hope you have the chance to visit at some stage too :)
Only been to Siracusa, but I loved it too. I had the Greek/Roman amphitheatre entirely to myself for a short while. It was magical.
Sounds like an incredible experience!
On my wishlist!
Hope you have the chance to visit soon :)
Sicily is definitly on my bucket list. @mappingmegan knows how to inspire.
So glad you enjoyed the post Daniel! I hope you have the chance to visit soon :)
Add that the north coast of Sicily and the magnificent Stromboli and it should be! (We now want to go to the west @mappingmegan!)
The whole island is just incredible isn’t it!
We actually chose our surname based on this trip – Stromfield comes from amglicising Stromboli!! ?