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  • elaineitaly

North-West Sicily & Islands trip

Updated: May 27, 2023

Sicily is so beautiful with its white-washed houses covered in pink bouganville, terracotta landscape and enormous prickly cacti, all set against the backdrop of the sparkling Mediterranean Sea!

The first time I went there as a backpacker I was fined 10.000 lire (€5) for crossing the train tracks where I shouldn't have, Carabinieri put the fear of God in me and flashbacks from the good, bad and the ugly plagued me thereafter. Fast forward 20 years and an acquired knowledge of Italian culture, I have a new fondness for the place altogether!

I suggest heading to the less touristy North West and begin with the island of Favignana; a beautiful island off the ancient fishing port town of Trapani-once notoriously famed as a Mafia stronghold, but sure it's all grand now! Favignana is a balmy ferry ride away and is full of beautiful beaches and calas (coves). It brings to mind the Aran islands with its random small walls built everywhere and it's equally great for cycling from cove to spectacular cove, rich with white sand and transparent blue water. After basking all day -head back to the port for a Sicilian speciality dinner-Tuna with a pistachio crust and finish with an almond milk sorbet !! Ummmm.... the local red Nero d'Avola goes down a treat too.

Back on the main land, Trapani is over looked by Mount Erice, a historical Norman town, 700 meters above sea level - the views are breath-taking and you can even ride up there in a cable car. Lose yourself in the labyrinth of ancient medieval streets or like me hunt through the little back alley boutiques for artisan workshops, stylish accessories and jewellery - gotta look the part for my night's parading!

Further north you just can't miss the 'Gypsy Reserve' (la reserva naturale dello Zingaro ) it offers amazing hikes in pristine nature, broken up by glorious sea swims as you hike from bay to unspoilt bay. Beginning with the little gem of a town Scopello, where you can sunbathe decadently while gazing on the ruin of the old Tonnara ( tuna factory ) this btw, is the epitome of luxury for Italians -swimming next to an ancient ruin, all they need to top that off, is someone hand feeding them juicy red grapes.

Finish up that stretch on the amazing San Vito lo Capo, a cute Italian town with a towering mountain which shadows the most most glorious turquoise bay and if you are there in September you will be lucky enough to partake in the cous-cous fest.

For more Moorish influences, rich history; capellas and catacombs and a lively breath of everyday life, take in the chaotic Palermo just before you fly out !!

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