For those wondering how to take advantage of Western Sicily during a short timespan, here is my 5-day travel itinerary.
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I, like every one else, have a limited amount of vacation days during the year due to my full-time job. So when it comes to travel, I try and take advantage of my days as much as I can. It involves a lot of moving around and I don’t get to see every single aspect of a city, but I think I do a pretty good job at planning a cool vacation. My ultimate and all-encompassing Western Sicily itinerary involves renting a car. Unfortunately, if you wish to see the best, most iconic, and genuine spots in Italy, a car is mandatory. Getting around can otherwise be very limiting. If any of you are afraid of driving in Italy, please do not be scared. There is plenty of space on the roads and driving an automatic car is just as easy as driving anywhere else in the US. The only difficulty driving comes when you near a big city like Palermo, so we recommend parking on the outskirts of big historic cities. Without further ado, I present to you my 5-day Western Sicily travel itinerary:
Day 1: Arrive in Sicily
Where to stay: Spend 1 night in Hotel Baglio La Porta
You land in Palermo the night before and find a place to stay near la Riserva Naturale Dello Zingaro. You can choose to stay near Scopello or Castellammare del Golfo. We stayed at Hotel Baglio la Porta for a striking vista of the Sicilian gulf and luxury amenities to unwind upon arrival. For more on Hotel Baglio la Porta, read my article Where To Stay Near San Vito Lo Capo, Sicily: Hotel Baglio La Porta.
Day 2: Riserva Naturale Dello Zingaro (San Vito Lo Capo Area) & Erice
Where to stay: Spend 1 night in Erice Pietre Antiche
The next morning (or on your first day), you will visit the infamous Riserva Naturale Dello Zingaro, which is preserved by the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF). Get your hiking shoes on and come equipped with bottles of water, sunscreen, a hat and a bathing suit. As you peruse the various grottos and Calas, or coves, aligning the Mediterranean Sea. It is a gorgeous sight, but can get very crowded in the summer, so I recommend you visit it early in the morning or late in the afternoon also to avoid the Sicilian heat (shade is hard to come by in the park). For more on la Riserva Naturale Dello Zingaro, read my article Sicily’s Crown Jewel: Riserva Naturale Dello Zingaro.
After a hot day out exploring the coves of the jaw-dropping Sicilian coast, escape the Sicilian heat and head up Mount San Giuliano for a night in the medieval town of Erice. Some people would urge you to stop by San Vito Lo Capo on your way there, but my mother and I gave the beach town a go…and don’t recommend you put it on your travel itinerary when there are places like Scopello and Castellammare you can see instead! Spend the evening on this cool mountaintop exploring the narrow cobblestone streets, medieval Castle of Venus, the towns 100 churches, and the old yet highly acclaimed Italian pastry shop Maria Grammatico. With so much to do, you won’t regret sleeping in a charming stone historic inn to really take in this small Italian cities charm. For more on Erice, read my article Rediscovering Sweet Traditions In Medieval Erice and Where To Stay In Erice, Sicily: Erice Pietre Antiche.
Day 3: Saline & Valley Of The Temples
Where to stay: Spend 2 nights in Fontes Episcopi Bioresort
After a quiet and restful night in the mountains, make your way down the opposite side of the mountain heading West towards Trapani. When you’re enjoying the beauty of Western Sicily, it is important to steep yourself not only in its history, but also in the economic history that allowed this Italian island to flourish. Salt has been an economic source of revenue for Sicily since the 14th century, so it is important to visit the gorgeous pyramids and mountains of salt in the iconic salt plans that line the Western coast. A stop at the most famous salt pan, Le Saline di Nubia, its museum and restaurant that offers you food cooked with their very own salt is a must. For more on Saline di Nubia, read my article A Visit To The Sicilian Salt Pans: Saline Di Nubia.
Spend the afternoon driving down the West coast down South to Agrigento. A lot of towns line the coast, so feel free to stop by and explore one or two on the way down including Marsala or Mazara del Vallo. If you want to go directly to Agrigento, cut through mid-Sicily and save yourself an hour. Once arrived, check-in to an agriturismo, an upscale Italian farm-stay, for a true taste of Western Sicily (literally and metaphorically!). We stayed at restored Bioresort named Fontes Episcopi just on the outskirts of Agrigento. Experience essential oil baths, homemade soap and shampoo, and food cooked directly with ingredients from the farm surrounding you, all in one place. For more on Fontes Episcopi, read my article Where To Stay Near Agrigento, Sicily: Fontes Episcopi Bio Resort I.
Now that you are in Agrigento, immerse yourself in the heart and foundations of the city—Valley of the Temples. This UNESCO World Heritage Site offers the world’s best-preserved temples. Perched high up on a cliff, you have the opportunity to walk through all 7 temples till 11PM at night! So if walking for 2-3 hours in the hot Sicilian sun is not your thing and you’d rather be down by the beach, come after hours and enjoy the views of the gorgeously lit up temples and city of Agrigento. For more on the Valley of the Temples, read my article Exploring The Golden Beauty Of Agrigento: Valley Of The Temples.
Day 4: Scala Dei Turchi & Cattedrale Del Sale
Get ready for some Instagrammable sun and fun at Scala dei Turchi or Stairs of the Turks, another big attraction in Agrigento. The white rock formation in the shape of stairs forms a stark contrast against the turquoise and azure waters of the Mediterranean. Tip: This iconic white washed cliff can get crowded pretty quickly during the day so try and come during the earlier hours of the morning. For more on the Scala Dei Turchi, read my article The #1 Must-See Beach In Sicily: Scala Dei Turchi.
Steps away from Agrigento in Realmonte is la Cattedrale del Sale, or the Cathedral of Salt. Found 60 meters below sea level in this salt mine, lies a halite cathedral. Everything from the altar to the crucifix and statues of Santa Barbara, protector of all miners, is exclusively made in this salt. If you dare, I recommend you visit this unique cathedral!
Day 5: Relax In The Countryside at Masseria Susafa
Where to stay: Spend 1 night at Masseria Susafa
After all this moving around, it’s time to relax and unwind mid-trip and embrace the solitude of the Sicilian countryside. Make your way deep into the heart of the Sicilian countryside, where all you will see is small quaint villages, farms, hay balls, and rolling fields for miles. Finally you will reach Masseria Susafa, a countryside getaway with some of the best cuisine Western Sicily has to offer. For a true farm stay experience, unwind in this luxurious and historic stay for a full day. Read a book by the pool, take a walk through the fields, or taking a cooking class with the locals, no matter the experience you will not regret it. For more on Masseria Susafa, read my article Checking Into Masseria Susafa: A Heartwarming Stay In The Heart Of Sicily.
Day 6: Cefalù & Palermo
Where to stay: Spend 1 night near the Palermo airport
After a restorative stay at Masseria Susafa, it’s time to hit the road for one last time. On our way out of the countryside we stop by the postcard-perfect Arab fishing village of Cefalù for a walk of the village and a quick lunch. For more on what to do in Cefalù, read my article An Afternoon In Cefalù, Sicily: What To Do, See And Eat.
After a morning spent in the adorable village of Cefalù, you stop by the big city of Palermo on your way to the airport. Here you will only be hitting the historic sites and spending the night dining in one of the narrow cobblestone streets before returning your rental car and hitting the bed before your early flight. For more on what to do in Cefalù, read my article An Afternoon In Palermo, Sicily: What To Do, See And Eat.
There is so much more to see in Western Sicily, but I think that I have covered a lot of ground in little time from big cities, quaint fishing villages, medieval castles and cities on mountaintops, Bioresort and countryside farm stays, historic sites and Instagram-worthy beaches. Feel free to extend your stay and dive into each town even more, but do keep in mind that many of these villages are small and can be seen in full within a day. For a quick recap of my Western Sicily 5-day itinerary and to begin your own Western Sicilian journey please see below!
Day 1: Land in Palermo; Stay in San Vito Lo Capo Area at Hotel Baglio La Porta
Day 2: Riserva Naturale Dello Zingaro (San Vito Lo Capo Area) & Erice; Stay in Erice at Erice Pietre Antiche
Day 3: Saline & Valley Of The Temples; Stay in Agrigento at Fontes Episcopi Bioresort
Day 4: Scala Dei Turchi & Cattedrale Del Sale; Stay in Agrigento at Fontes Episcopi Bioresort
Day 5: Relax In The Countryside at Masseria Susafa
Day 6: Cefalù & Palermo; Stay in a hotel near Palermo Airport
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