Just off the coast of western Sicily sit the enchanting Aegadian Islands (also known as the Egadis), a serene trio filled with rustic charm, surrounded by the crystalline waters of the Tyrrhenian sea. Though perhaps not as immediately arresting as the dramatic Aeolians with their smouldering volcanoes and popular tourist sites, the Egadians are nonetheless captivating, providing visitors with a tranquil experience, far from the hustle of everyday life. Whether you choose one island as a base or hop on a boat to visit all three, the peaceful Egadis offer a low-key holiday where travellers can relax and immerse themselves in local life and outstanding natural beauty.
Favignana is the largest of the Egadis and boasts a distinctive silhouette that has earned it the affectionate nickname of ‘La Farfalla’ or ‘the butterfly’ amongst the local people. It is the best known and most popular of the Egadis, enticing holiday-makers to its shores during the warm summer months with its rustic scenery and laid-back ambience.
On Favignana the most popular past-time for visitors is to cool off in the clear sea, coloured blue, green and everything in between. The numerous rocky bays and coves offer excellent conditions for sheltered swimming, snorkelling and diving. Discover the vivid waters of Cala Rossa, one of the most picturesque coves in Sicily, as well as the Fort of Santa Caterina and the disused Florio tuna fishery.
Additionally, the island is renowned for its spell-binding sea caves – a highlight of the coastline – dubbed with romantic monikers such as Grotta dei Sospiri (Cave of Sighs) and Grotta degli Innamorati (The Lovers’ Cave).
Next in line is tiny Levanso, the smallest of the Egadis. This island is characterised by towering cliffs and rolling hills, making it an ideal destination for those that enjoy rambling or hiking. The tallest peak is Pizzo dei Monaco – though it only reaches 278 metres above sea level, it still offers spectacular views out across the sea and to Sicily beyond.
Levanzo makes for a photogenic holiday destination, surrounded by the jewel-like tones of the Tyrrhenian Sea – many visitors simply relax and enjoy the coastline during their trip. However, there is also a fascinating tourist sight known as the Grotta dei Genovese, a cave distinguished by the pre-historic art on the walls – an ancient souvenir to the earliest people that called the island home. Here you can see primitive depictions of animals such as tuna fish and bison as well as fertility symbols and a lone female image thought to be a goddess.
There is one small village on Levanzo, situated by the main port, and just a handful of conveniences in the way of restaurants and shops. Levanzo is the Egadi of choice to get away from it all and relax into the simple charms of traditional Sicilian life.
Last but not least comes wild Marettimo, lying furthest from Sicily, 15 miles out to sea. With a collection of haphazard, flat-roofed houses lining the shore, and the winding yet picturesque alleys and streets beyond, Marettimo was made for leisurely wandering as you soak up the sights, sounds and ambience of a community that seems as if it has remained unchanged for many years.
Marettimo is characterised by windswept limestone cliffs plunging into shimmering waters that teem with marine life. The island offers an unspoilt natural kingdom that will appeal to ramblers keen to navigate the numerous mountain paths as well as to those that want to relax by the sea or dip below the surface. Pine groves dotted with wildflowers lead you uphill to the ruins of an ancient Roman settlement whilst the dominating peak of Monte Falcone at 686 metres above sea level provides plenty of fun for hikers.
Aside from walking and activities based in or around the water, you can expect to sample delicious Sicilian seafood served at the smattering of local restaurants and experience a culture very much centred around the port and fishing industry.
The best way to reach the Egadian Islands is from Trapani where an airport serves international visitors. Regular bus services also run between Palermo and Trapani should you fly into the capital city.
There are frequent passenger ferries from Trapani to all three of the islands as well as car ferries which take longer to reach the islands but offer cheaper tickets. Tickets and timetables can be purchased from the kiosks at the jetty.
In terms of getting around, Favignana is the only island of the three that actually has roads - it is unlikely you will need your car in the Egadis, plus there are vehicle restrictions in operation.
Our self-catered villas have been hand-picked for their unique features and offer all that you might need for a comfortable stay on your holiday in Sicily. Visitors to Favignana might enjoy a stay in the luxury Suite Aegusana, a villa situated just a few minutes away from Cala Azzurra and Cala Rossa, two of the most beautiful bays in Sicily. Boasting a private pool, vibrant Mediterranean garden and sunny terraces, this villa is suitable for families and groups looking for an elegant Egadian Island stay.
Alternatively, couples might prefer the intimacy of a traditional fisherman’s house on Marettimo’s shores. At Casa Marettimo you can take your pick of two terraces to relax on – one with stunning sea views and the other providing a peep into traditional village life. A peaceful retreat in a simple abode, boat rental, shopping and maid services are available on request.