West Coast of Sicily – Trapani, Italy
After our amazing trip to Sardinia last year, we were hooked on Eurosummer. We had wanted to visit Sicily for a while and this solidified it for this year. We had a week for this vacation so with eight days, we did not have time to do a romantic road trip around the island so we had to make giant cuts from typical Sicily itineraries – including the major cities of Palermo and Catania. I considered planning the entire trip in one area and seeing as much as possible but I was ultimately swayed by the beaches in the west and the beauty in the east to spend four days in each area – 4 days in Trapani and 4 days in Taormina.
We connected through Rome to get to Sicily. When we landed in Trapani, we missed the hourly bus that goes to town so we headed to the taxi line and paid the flat 30 euro rate for the journey. On our way there, we could see the hilltop town of Erice, the Mediterranean Sea, and the salt pans that are in this area.
Our Airbnb was perfectly located at the entrance of the town center of Trapani so it was easy to walk into the town but also easy to get out for our day trips. This Airbnb was a great value and was very comfortable so we were happy with this find. It even had a washer which I was not expecting – or at least forgot about – which helped our minimal packing strategy.
Excited to explore, we settled into the Airbnb and set out to walk around Trapani. Known as the City of Salt and Sail, the salt pans and wind are a staple of the long and narrow city of Trapani. Located in the northwest section of Sicily, watch towers and fortresses can be found along the city’s perimeter as it faces the Egadi Isles. Food and culture here has both African and Arab influences that make Trapani unique in Sicily. Trapani is centrally located to explore many nearby activities and destinations which is why we selected it as our base for the western portion of our Sicily trip.
We wandered through the alleys and streets until we found the main area of Corso Vittorio Emanuele and it was already bustling with activity of the shops and restaurants. Balconies were ornate and featured lush plants to draw attention and create volume above the streets.
I read the Trapani sunsets are beautiful so before dinner, we headed to the northern wall towards the shore line along Via Libertà and it did not disappoint. The view of the beach and the edge of the town were straight out of a postcard. We walked along the wall continuing to soak in this view before heading to the beach itself for more sunset views.
We were so excited to dive into our first meal. Nearby, a seafood place awaited us and the photos looked fabulous. It was already very crowded at ‘A NASSA and the people in front of us without a reservation were turned away – definitely make sure you have reservations every night when you are visiting Europe in the summer.
After dinner, we still had quite a bit of energy left – perhaps it was the amazing food or the trip excitement. We took a stroll to the harbor as the sun left the sky. The boats were a mix of private boats and fishing boats which was no surprise given all the seafood Trapani serves.
We walked back along Corso Vittorio Emanuele and the streets transformed into a vibrant night – this is Friday night in Eurosummer. There was so much activity and we enjoyed taking it all in.
We stopped in for a final drink of the evening at Enoteca Versi a Rossa where Kevin ordered a Negroni and I got a glass of white wine. The wine game here was spot on and it was easy to order Sicilian wine that was different and unique. Speaking of wine games, there was a wine card game at our table that we decided to play through. Even though it was in Italian, it gave us an opportunity to learn new vocabulary and pick out things we knew. It was quite fun and I am sure people were wondering why we were enjoying ourselves so much.
On our way back to the Airbnb, we found Gelateria Meno Tredici which was around the corner from the Airbnb. There was quite a line and we noted the use of a deli counter ticket system to organize the people. We grabbed our ticket number and waited about ten minutes for our number to be called. And wow, it was clear why this spot is so popular and well rated – this gelato was absolutely wonderful in both the consistency and intensity of the flavors. It was dangerous because it was so close to the Airbnb as we would certainly be here every day of this trip.
After a long travel day and a surprisingly long evening, we were so happy with Trapani and could not wait to see what else there was to offer.
Our first full day in Sicily! We started the morning in typical Italian fashion with a pastry and cappuccino for Kevin before making our way to pick up our Vespa scooter from Trapani Vespa Tour for the next two days. Our pick up time was set for the shop opening at 9AM but we forgot this was Italy and we were running on Italian time. For the first time in all of our rentals, we were asked for our international drivers license. Of course I did not pack them and to my surprise, I did not have a photo of them (something I took pictures of immediately when we get home) but we were able to work with the shop to still get the rental – at least we had photos of us driving the Vespa at home to prove it! With Vespa in hand, we set for a 50 minute scenic drive north along the coast to San Vito Lo Capo.
Read about our day trip exploring the beaches of San Vito Lo Capo here!
Upon our return to Trapani, we showered and got ready for our evening in town. With some time before our dinner reservation, we decided to walk around some of the unexplored streets. I was in the mood for a sweet snack and one of our must try list was a true Sicilian cannolo. Cannoli are not a foreign concept to us – as Italian Americans, we had cannoli all the time but Kevin and I both knew their potential was much greater than the representation we get at home. And infact, we found the best cannolo of our lives.
Read where to find the best cannolo we had on the entire trip – could certainly be the best in Sicily and certainly the best in our life here!
We were so tempted to get another one but with dinner around the corner, we continued on our walk. As we wandered through the allies, it was hard not to just take everything in – it was so peaceful as the sun setting turned the colors to a soft orange hue. Dinner tonight was at Ristorante Al Vicoletto and as we turned the corner to reach it, the restaurant was romantically tucked away down an alley. We had a good feeling about this dinner.
Read the full dining review for Ristorante Al Vicoletto here!
Even though we were full and had dessert at the restaurant, it was impossible to walk past our new favorite gelato spot and not get gelato. We joined the queue for Gelateria Meno Tredici after getting our deli number and enjoyed our gelato among the Italians before returning to the Airbnb for the night.
We had another big day of exploring ahead as we hopped onto our Vespa heading east to Scopello and Zingaro Nature Reserve. After the beautiful coastal scenery from yesterday’s drive, I was a bit concerned that driving along country roads may be a bit boring for us. It was another 50 minute journey to our first stop in Scopello but we left early to beat the heat, crowds, and other drivers. After we got out of Trapani, we began to climb and the views were incredible – we could see for miles.
The rest of the drive was equally awesome. We passed through farms and vineyards, and large sweeping mountains and even a rock quarry. As we weaved up and down the hills the views continued to wow us. And it wow’ed me so much that I forgot our rule when we do not have a visor on our helmet – keep your mouth shut. I heard and felt a smack on my tooth which thankfully directed the bug away from my mouth but left bug guts on my teeth. Not all Vespa moments are grand!
After another set of hills, we climbed and began seeing the ocean once again which meant we were close to our destination. The drive along the coast was much more rocky and high above the sea.
Our first stop was for coffee and breakfast at Bar Le Tentazioni. This is a great spot not just for breakfast but for all meals and snacks for the day as well. I was told about a farmstand nearby but I think we arrived too early to see this in action but if you are in the area, definitely look out for that as well.
Read about our walk through Zingaro Nature Reserve and Scopello here!
The drive back to Trapani was equally beautiful as the morning. I was so happy that the drive out this direction added to the entire riding experience.
We returned our scooter and spent the next few hours exploring Trapani. Our first stop was Antica Pasticceria Tavola Calda Michele Bellezza to obtain that life changing cannolo and I am happy to report it was equally wonderful. The next stop was Sapurito Street Food where we ordered drinks and an arancini.
Feeling refueled, we headed towards the city walls at the ocean to walk the perimeter. The beach area is nice here as it is all public – just bring yourself and you are good to go. There are many rock formations that people take advantage of as well. This walkway is a great way to get views of Trapani and the nearby towns but also a reminder of the strategic position Trapani is in to see anything incoming from the ocean. Given Sicily’s extensive history being overtaken by many different groups, I have to assume these walls and posts saw a lot of action – if walls could talk.
To complete our walking tour of the perimeter of Trapani, we stopped once more for Gelateria Meno Trecidic which had no wait. Kevin tried granita for the first time which is a Sicilan frozen dessert resembling water ice or sorbet. It is made for sugar, water, and whatever flavor is being made. And I have to say, I was a little jealous as it was really tasty – he ordered mango and it tasted just like biting into it. Of note, all three of the granitas we tried on this trip were completely different. This one was smooth consistency with an intense mango flavor. I ordered gelato and less than half way into consuming this cone, the cone broke in half sending the ice cream down to the street. My reflexes grabbed the ball of ice cream in the air with my left hand in a heretic and successful effort to save the ice cream. With a ball of ice cream in my hand, I walked back into the shop for a cup and they looked at me so strangely but it was an epic recovery.
For the evening, our plan was to travel to the historic hill town of Erice. Connected by cable car, a trip to Erice is a very popular activity from Trapani. Now we just had to figure out a way to get there as it was not a straightforward as I was led to believe and there i very little info on the internet on how to accomplish this..
With no buses and no taxis, we walked back to downtown Trapani extremely happy with the visit to Erice – worth the walk over and over again.
Our last full day in Trapani and we were spending it on and in the water. After having such an amazing boat experience in Sardinia, we were definitely looking forward to a day exploring the most beautiful swimming areas in Sicily.
Read about our boat tour of Egadi Islands, including Favignana and Levanzo , with Mare and More here!
After our return to shore, we made our way back to the Airbnb to wash away the salty sea before heading out for our final evening in Trapani. Dinner was at La Pepita Ristorante. We were still a bit wobbly from being on the boat all day so our meal here was on the lighter side. Kevin ordered the Paccheri con pesto di pastacchi e tartare di gamero which was pasta with pistachios and raw shrimp and I ordered the Busiate alla Norma – melanzane, salsa di pomodoro fresco, basilico, ricotta salata which was pasta with eggplant, fresh tomatoes and salty ricotta. We really enjoyed these dishes, something so wonderful about a bowl of delicious pasta. Out meal here was much quicker than normal as we were so beat from being on the water all day!
We had an early morning so we did one final lap before heading back to pack up and get ready for our travel day to the second half of our Sicily trip to the east coast.
And with that, our time in Trapani and the west coast of Sicily came to an end. We were so impressed and I know we only scratched the surface of what the west coast of Sicily has to offer. Trapani was a wonderful base for exploring this area and would definitely recommend it if you are creating your Sicily itinerary.