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Pantelleria Island Travellers Guide

As if remote Pantelleria did not have an enchanting name already, it is additionally known by the mysterious moniker ‘the black pearl of the Mediterranean’. Situated off the western coast of Sicily, it is the largest of the minor Sicilian islands, lying closer to Africa than to Europe. This position, just 30 miles shy of Tunisia, lends Pantelleria an exotic air that comes from a rich blend of cultural influences with Arabic place names, wines and traditional houses evident throughout the island.

Shutterstock _Pantelleria _CastleThe volcanic origins of Pantelleria are plain to see, thanks to the dark rocks that make up the landscape of the island. Local homes are built with lava stone, neatly blending into the scenery of the island’s interior whilst rocky peaks and a craggy coastline, punctuated by plunging cliffs, encircles the glittering sea.

Roughly 7,000 people reside in the northwest of Pantelleria, in the main town dubbed with the same name. The formidable fortress, Castello Barbacane, is worth a visit, situated by the harbour. Other villages on the island include Gadir, Rekale and Scauri – it is possible to visit them all in a day.

Pantelleria holidays offer a variety of stunning landscapes to explore as well as a selection of towns that bustle with places to eat, drink and explore. Combine this with a lip-smacking cuisine and a culture encapsulating influences from all the cultures that have shaped Sicilian history, and you have the perfect recipe for an island destination that provides a little something for all manner of tastes.

Things to see and do

Swim in the crystalline sea

Despite the lack of sandy beaches, the sea is one of the chief attractions of the island. The waters surrounding Pantelleria are spectacularly clean, clear, and colourful, offering excellent opportunities for swimming, diving and snorkelling with plenty of fascinating marine life to keep you entertained beneath the waves.

Shutterstock _Pantelleria _LakeIf you're lucky, you might even spot a pod of dolphins or
a monk seal wending its way through the waters. The coastline itself is peppered with fascinating grottoes, caves and features a sea stack known as ‘the elephant’ due to its distinctive shape.

Explore La Montagna Grande

This national park offers a romantic landscape that nature lovers will treasure. From the towering 836 metre peak of Monte Grande, providing captivating vistas stretching all the way to Africa, to the stunning Lo Specchio di Venere or ‘Venus’s Looking Glass’, a shimmering volcanic lake located in the foothills of the mountain, visitors cannot
fail to be charmed by the natural beauty of the island.

The aquamarine lake is renowned for its thermal baths, water-sports and birdwatching opportunities whilst the surrounding verdant valleys are ideal for hiking and riding horses or mountain bikes.

Sample the sumptuous cuisine

Sicilian cuisine is filled with gastronomical delights, and on the island of Pantelleria, you can get the best of Sicilian cooking mixed with North African specialities. The island’s rich soil is resplendent with minerals and provides excellent conditions for a range of fresh produce – it is no wonder that for thousands of years, warring cultures have battled for control of this fertile isle.

Expect fresh-off-the-boat seafood, cous cous, spicy stews, ricotta-based dishes and plenty of capers which the island is famous for. Pantelleria is also the home to an exquisite dessert wines – just the treat to finish your meal with a flourish.

How to get to Pantelleria

Pantelleria is large enough to offer its own airfield. Visitors can fly from Trapani or Palermo with Meridiana airlines whilst those coming from Italy can fly from Milan and Rome at certain times of year with Aitalia and blu-express.

Alternatively, it is possible to take the ferry from Sicily. There are daily ferries (for both passengers and cars) running from Trapani as well as the passenger-only hydrofoil service. Contact Ustica or Siremar for further information and timetables and always double-check before you travel as last-minute changes have been known to occur. Boat services also run from Mazara del Vallo during the peak summer months.

Places to stay

Our self-catered villas and apartments are ideal for families, groups and couples looking to make the most of their Sicilian holiday. We offer a range of hand-picked properties, specially chosen for their unique features, available in a range of locations through Sicily and the minor islands. Self-catered accommodation is a popular option for holiday-makers as they offer the opportunity to set your own schedule, eating when you want and what you please.

Additionally, many of our properties offer additional amenities available on request, from tours to babysitting services. Explore our collections or contact us if you need more assistance in finding a holiday home to suit your requirements.