Whether you’re planning a full-on Sicily road trip or a relaxing vacation, I 100% recommend putting Trapani on your radar.
Located in the northwest of Sicily, you’ll find this fabulous little city. It’s less visited than the hubs of Catania and Palmero, however, there are so many things to do in Trapani making it a great getaway for whatever you’re into.
In this guide to Trapani, I go into some of the best things to visit in and around the city and then break these into ideas for a 1, 2 3 or 4-day Trapani itinerary,
Best Things to Do in Trapani – At a Glance
Just want the lowdown of what’s included in this article, then this top section is for you. Below is a list of all the places I’ve included in this article to help you plan your trip to the city of Trapani in Sicily northwest.
The region here is one of the most beautiful parts of the country, and I guarantee you’ll be captivated by the crystal clear seas, white sandy beaches and historical towns. If you’re intending to explore more of the island then why not download this Sicily travel guide straight to your inbox?
Best Things to See in Trapani
- Explore Trapani Old Town
- Go Up to Erice Medieval Town
- Visit the Salt Pans
- Relax on Trapani’s Beaches
- Island Hop To Favignana
- Explore Zingaro Nature Reserve
I’ve partnered with West of Sicily Tourism to bring you this travel guide. This article is based on the destinations and experiences I took part in. All views and opinions are my own.
What to See in Trapani
The first part of this Trapani guide is about the best things to see in and around the city. Depending on how long you have here, the section after that gives suggestions from a one day through to four day itinerary.
At the end of the article are my top suggestions on the best accommodations and where to eat.
So, what is there to do in Trapani, Sicily? Read on, and I’ll tell you.
Explore Trapani Old Town
Although the town is a reasonable size, the historical centre of Trapani old town is compact and can easily be explored on foot, and if you only had one day in Trapani, I would spend at least a morning there.
The most interesting streets are Via Garibaldi, Corso Italia and Corso Vittorio Emanuele. Here you’ll find photogenic Baroque to Art Nouveau-style buildings, with pedestrian-friendly streets. It’s easy to spend an hour or so wandering about here stopping off at one of the many cafes.
Trapani has a sea wall running along the north edge of the city. These are called Mura di Tramontana. Start at Piazza Mercato del Pesce, the old fish market square, and along to the old Bastion, Bastione Conca.
After you’ve walked the wall, retrace your steps, and take the steps down to see the Porta delle Botteghelle, the old gateway that leads out to the beach.
If you’re interested in shopping for designer and high-street brands, then make your way to the tree-lined Via Giovanni Battista Fardella.
For locally made souvenirs, hand-crafted red coral jewellery (you can even see them making the jewellery in the workshop at the back of the store).
For green spaces, the best park in the city is Villa Margherita Park.
If you’re content exploring the old town and admiring the buildings, then make sure these landmarks to your Trapani itinerary.
- Ligny Watch Tower, (Torre di Ligny)
- The Twin Clock Tower, (Palazzo Senatorio)
- The Gateway of the Clock Tower, (Porta Oscura, Torre dell’Orologio)
- Church of the Jesuit College, (Chiesa del Collegio dei Gesuiti)
- Church of the Souls in Purgatory, (Chiesa delle Anime Sante del Purgatorio)
Read Next: 13 Fabulous Things to Do in Western Sicily
Go Up to Erice Medieval Town
If you’re looking for a full or half-day trip, Erice 100% needs to appear somewhere on your itinerary. The hilltop Medieval town is located about 750 metres (2,460 ft) above sea level.
From the top, you’ll be able to look down on Trapani and see the nearby coastal areas of Punta del Saraceno and Capo San Vito. On a clear day, you can also see as far as the Aegadian Islands which are just off Sicily’s north-western coast.
You might be wondering how to get to Erice from Trapani, well, you have a few options. You can of course walk or cycle up (although allow enough time if you plan to do this). Alternatively, you can drive or, in a more interesting way, go by cable car!
If you opt to go from Trapani to Erice by cable car, one thing you’ll notice is the layer of thin cloud that envelops the town. Locally, these wisps of clouds are known as the kisses of Venus.
It’s easy to lose track of time here as you wander about the quaint, picturesque cobbled alleys that simply ooze with history. There are so many interesting little details to look for, from intricate doorways, stone archways and carvings on walls.
Erice is also a great spot to head to later in the day where you can enjoy the sunset from one of the numerous vantage points with nothing obscuring the view. One of the most popular spots is the Garden of Balio.
If you’re limited by time and have to cram everything into a 1 day Trapani itinerary, you’d be absolutely gutted if you missed out on Erice. It’s stunning, not only a must-see in Sicily but also one of the top things to see in Italy.
Related Article: 40+ Things For Your Italy Bucket List
Visit the Salt Pans
Three words that summarise Trapani…sun, sea and….salt! The wealth of northwest Sicily came from its salt production. At the peak of this industry in the 1860s, there were over 31 salt pans in the region producing over 100,000 tonnes per year.
Although this isn’t the main industry now, there are still a few of these salt pans that still remain, and one of them is just outside of Trapani. Located in a 17th-century mill you’ll find the salt museum that still features a giant windmill on top, surrounded by salt pans, that are still used.
You can visit at any time of the day, however, I recommend waiting until the golden hour (the hour before sunset). As the sun starts to go down and casts its golden rays, it makes the white salt glows in a bright yellowy-orange colour. It’s incredibly photogenic.
Relax on Trapani’s Beaches
The closest beach to Trapani’s old town is the one next to Porta delle Botteghelle, the sea wall. This isn’t the prettiest beach by a long shot, but it is a space to sunbathe as well as take a dip in the sea.
If you venture a little further north the first notable one you’ll come across is Lido Paradiso, which is small, but does have some sandy areas. Carry on a little further and you’ll reach Spiaggia di San Giuliano which is a sandy beach with clear and shallow waters.
If you’re not able to get across to Favignana to experience the beaches there, Spiaggia di San Giuliano isn’t a bad alternative.
Island Hop To Favignana
Just off the coast of Sicily north west, and an easy day trip from Trapani is the simply stunning Egadi Islands, also known as Aegadian Islands (depending on the language). Several crossings by hydrofoil run every day. This quick transfer service is run by Liberty Lines, check their website for the full timetable and tickets.
The three main ones are Favignana, Levanzo and Marettimo. Favignana is the largest (and closest) with a population of around 3000 inhabitants.
On the island, you’ll find some of the most beautiful beaches in the region, with pinky-white sandy beaches surrounded by crystal-clear waters. They are enough to rival any tropical island!
When you arrive in Favignana, you’ll be in the main town on the island. Next to the marina is a large pinkish-coloured mansion that was one of the residences of the wealthy Florio family. The family were important to the wealth of the island, and opposite the marina, you’ll see the remains of the old tuna factory.
This building dates back to 1859 and was owned by the Florio family. Tuna production continued until 1977 and today houses a museum that’s worthwhile visiting. As a vegetarian, I wasn’t so interested in the history of fish production. However, the building was redeemed by the interesting architecture and exhibitions containing historical artefacts dating back to when the Romans and the Arabs lived here.
The best way of getting around the island is by eBike. If you’ve never ridden one, I 100% recommend you try it here. I was hooked after my first experience around Mount Etna.
With the bike, you’ll be able to get to the Cala Azzurra, a beautiful shallow bay with a pink-white sandy beach. If you’re feeling energetic, then cycle up to the Castle of Santa Catarina, which is the highest point on the island (you can see the castle from the marina).
Read Also: eBiking and Hiking around Mt Etna, Sicily
Explore Zingaro Nature Reserve
If you’re interested in escaping civilization for a day, then you’ll love Riserva dello Zingaro. Cars, motorbikes and even cycles aren’t allowed to access the park, so it’s foot traffic only. Which means pure tranquil bliss.
An undulating 7km coastal path connects Scopello to San Vito Lo Capo. With numerous trails heading up from the cliff sides and, some paths leading down to secluded sandy bays, you could spend a full day in the nature park.
If you’re not interested in hiking, then another great way to enjoy this beautiful area is by boat. Join a small group cruise that takes you past the shoreline stopping off at various coves to swim in the clear, warm waters.
Boats depart from San Vito Marina. One of the best companies that run these day cruises is Hyppocampus. They limit their group size to 12 passengers only so the beaches you visit have more exclusivity. They offer morning departures several times a week, although book well in advance as they frequently sell out.
How Many Days in Trapani?
Ideally, you’ll want to spend a minimum of two days in Trapani, if you’re able to spend three days in Trapani you will be able to enjoy more of the islands and the natural areas, if you have longer, then even better!.
Alternatively, if you had several days then you could spend a weekend in Trapani before dedicating a few days to hopping around the islands.
One Day Trapani Itinerary
If you only have 1 day in Trapani, then skip the islands and do things that are in the immediate vicinity. Your Trapani one day itinerary could look something like this;
- In the morning go to see the salt pans, which are just to the south of the city. This should take around an hour.
- Then explore Trapani’s old town on foot, admiring the old buildings and getting lost in the alleyways. Stop at one of the cute bistros for lunch.
- In the afternoon, take the cable car up to Erice, and discover the history of this stunning hilltop town.
- Your Trapani 1 day itinerary finishes by watching the sunset from on top of Erice before heading back to Trapani for dinner.
Two Day Trapani Itinerary
If you have 2 days in Trapani, complete the first day as I mentioned above. Then your 2 day Trapani itinerary could look something like this;
- Catch the early ferry over to Favignana.
- Explore the old town of Favignana and then hire an eBike to visit either the castle or some of the secluded bays. Return to Favignana for lunch
- In the afternoon, Island hop to either of the other Aegadian Islands
Three Day Trapani Itinerary
If you have 3 days in Trapani, follow days 1 and 2 and then add in a full day exploring the area of the Zingaro Nature Reserve. There are a couple of options here;
- Book a small-group day cruise that takes you along the coastline, stopping off at various bays
- Or follow the coastal path and hike the trails enjoying Zingaro Nature Reserve by foot.
Four Day Trapani Itinerary
If you are lucky enough to have 4 days in Trapani, then you’ll have time to discover some of Sicily’s culture in the nearby regions.
- Start the morning at the cave village of Grotta Mangiapane
- Go for a 4×4 ride in Cave di Santoro Marmi Quarry
- Head over to the town of Gibellina for the enormous art installations before visiting the hillside Grande Cretto Memorial.
- Spend the afternoon exploring the ancient city of Salem
Find out about these places in this article about the best things to see in the West of Sicily
Useful Information for Visiting Trapani
Where to Stay In Trapani
I stayed at the centrally located Five Place Trapani. These ultra-modern serviced apartments come complete with a kitchen hidden behind folding doors.
The rooms are spacious, and bright and with fresh coffee available 24/7 in the foyer. Rooms have large windows, some even have a small balcony.
Where to Eat In Trapani Town
For breakfast and brunch, head to Brigantes. It’s located next to the old fish market square and has seating inside and out. If you’re after a light breakfast, they serve fresh fruit with yoghurt. If you’re after something a little more stodgy, then they have a wide range of croissants, pastries and bread. They serve decent coffee and tangy fresh squeezed orange juice.
For dinner, you’ll be spoilt for choice of places to eat in the city. One suggestion is to the husband-and-wife-owned Trattoria Cantina Siciliana. The award-winning restaurant uses the finest locally milled flour and makes fresh cuscus on-site (none of this dried, boxed stuff that most of us are used to). The cuscus forms the basis of lots of their dishes.
Getting To Trapani
There are several ways to get to the west of Sicily, by boat, air or land.
If you’re flying directly here then the nearest airports are the ‘Vincenzo Florio’ in Trapani, or ‘Falcone e Borsellino’ in Palermo. You might be wondering how far is Trapani from Palmero, it’s around 110km. There is no train, but buses run frequently and take an average of 90 minutes.
If you’re coming by boat, then the port of Palmero is connected to the major Italian and international ports.
Getting Around Trapani
To get the most out of your trip to Trapani, ideally, you will need your own transportation whether that’s by car, motorbike or bicycle. If you want to drive, then check out car hire in Sicily here.
Although you can get to the major cities like Palmero and the Favignana without a car, other places are more challenging.
Should I visit Trapani or Palermo?
Both cities have their appeal, if you have the time, and are doing a road trip around Sicily, then certainly spend time in both. Palermo is much larger than Trapani, so naturally, it’s better connected to the rest of the island.
If you’re using public transport only, then there are naturally more options for connections from Palmero, in particular, day trips to places like Erice and Favignana. But if you have a car (or other transport), then base yourself in Trapani.
How’s Your Trapani Itinerary Shaping Up?
Hopefully, you’ve learned that there are loads of great things to do in Trapani to make it worth visiting. If you’re wanting to explore more of this region, then Trapani is the best base in Sicily to discover the west side of the island.
If you’re doing more travelling in Sicily, then take a look at these other inspirational articles.
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