Out on the western coast of Sicily lie two particularly picturesque and popular destinations that entice countless visitor every year with their charms. Trapani and Erice, a pair of holiday hotspots that go hand-in-hand due to their close proximity to one another, offer some of the choicest attractions in Sicily in one small area.
First up we have Trapani, a half-moon sweep of town boasting a long history as one of the most important trading locations on the island, thanks to the bustling harbour used since ancient times. Beach lovers will be in seventh heaven on Trapani’s golden sands whilst the town additionally serves as a gateway to the rustic Egadian Islands standing sentinel out in the glittering blue sea.
A bustling tourist destination, there are plenty of authentic places to eat where you can dine on traditional Sicilian cuisine and fresh-off-the-boat seafood as well as beautiful architecture with a distinct nod to Trapani’s Saracen heritage. In fact, the North African influence can be felt in the speciality dishes of the region as well as in the labyrinthine streets of Trapani’s Old Town, a district steeped in romance and mystique.
Secondly, small yet perfectly formed Erice offers a very different experience to the typical sun, sea and sand vacation. Hop in the cable car at Trapani and fly high through the air, up to this captivating mountain town where cobbled streets and story-book castles create a fairytale world you’ll not soon want to leave. The cloud-streaked views offer breath-taking scenes that stretch all the way to Africa on a good day whilst the whole of Trapani unfurls at your feet.
Trapani and Erice are considered two of the finest jewels on Sicily’s western coast, and basing your Sicilian adventure in this wonderful part of the island offers excellent access to the wild wine country of the region, acres of rolling countryside and ancient archaeological sites that play a key role in Sicilian history, such as Agrigento, situated a short drive to the south.
As well as lounging on the sandy beach, sipping wine and enjoying the vibrant atmosphere of Trapani’s bustling streets, there are a few things to do in Trapani and Erice that are particularly unique to the region. Both destinations are gifted with atmospheric, medieval streets, ideal for wandering and discovering tasty trattorias, pastry shops and shady piazzas to relax in with a drink.
Additionally, the beautiful Egadian Islands tempt travellers for a day trip or a short break from the island – here the crystalline waters and rugged natural beauty provide a much-needed breath of fresh air and the chance to unwind into a more traditional way of life. However, if you prefer to stay on the mainland, you will find that the western regions of Sicily offer outstanding countryside, complete with postcard-worthy salt marshes and acres of vineyards.
The trip up to Erice in the cable car makes for a spell-binding journey through swirling mist and cloud – here you will find two stunning castles perched on the rocks. Both are popular tourist attractions, offering mesmerising views of the surrounding land and sea.
Our range of self-catered villas and apartments include a collection of quality accommodation in both Trapani and Erice as well as in the areas nearby. The luxurious Villa Gattopardo in Trapani makes an ideal choice for larger families or groups, offering comfortable accommodation for up to 16 people in its eight, beautifully furnished bedrooms. With all the mod-cons you could dream of, this property also offers the chance to add guided tours, beauty treatments, boat rental and breakfast service to your package – all extra services are available on request.
Groups and families of up to six might prefer Trapani’s Villa Cofano, a brightly-coloured, modern property with its own private pool and terrace that offers breath-taking views stretching from the Gulf of Bonagia to Monte Cofano.
Alternatively, if it’s the crisp, fresh mountain air that appeals, consider a stay in the country house splendour of Casa Maya, a property tucked away in the district of Erice. This recently restored old building has been decorated with elegant opulence in mind, mimicking the style of the old Sicilian aristocracy. A private pool and spacious terrace for sunbathing means you won’t even miss the beach.
Erice also offers excellent options for those on a budget, such as the charming Baglio Cantaro Titi, a quaint and traditional Sicilan home, built around an internal courtyard. This property has been decorated with careful attention to detail – expect colourful tiles in the kitchen and richly embroidered bed linen. The terrace offers a secluded haven right in the midst of the Sicilian countryside whilst the shared pool means you can take a refreshing dip whenever you fancy.
The cuisine of Trapani is notorious amongst the foodies of Sicily due to its distinctly North African heritage that blends beautifully with the typical Sicilian cuisine we know and love. Specialities include fish couscous served in a flavoursome broth as well as almond-based recipes, fresh pastas and deliciously sweet marsala wine.
For fresh seafood and traditional Sicilian cooking, pay a visit to Osteria la Bettolaccia, the number one rated restaurant in Trapani on Tripadvisor. With its authentic atmosphere, attentive service and exquisite examples of quality Sicilian cooking, you won’t be disappointed.
In comparison, Erice is particularly well known for its selection of mouth-watering pastry shops. Establishments like the Pasticceria San Carlo and Pasticceria Grammatico are hidden away in the winding streets of Erice, concealing a treasure trove of handmade sweets, biscuits and other tempting desserts, all freshly baked on site.
Trapani is an easily accessible destination, thanks to its well-connected airport, which runs budget flights to and from a selection of European destinations, as well as Palermo in the north. Additionally, you can catch a train from Palermo or take one of the regular buses that link the capital with Trapani as well as with other towns in the western regions. The Egadian Islands are just a half hour boat ride from the harbour. For additional information, visit Trapani’s tourist information office, located in Piazetta Saturno.
To reach the lofty heights of Erice, we recommend the 10-minute cable car journey up from Trapani. Regular buses connect Trapani’s town centre with the cable car station a few miles out of town and AST run a bus service, which connects Trapani’s airport with the town and the cable car station. Alternatively, catch the bus from Trapani up to Erice – the service is also run by AST and takes around 45 minutes.