The Islands
Egadi Islands

Crystalline seas and picture perfect bays

Aeolian Adventures

Welcome to the Egadi Islands

Less well-known and certainly less dramatic than the Aeolian Islands off Sicily’s northeast coast, the three Egadi Islands – Favignana, Levanzo and Marettimo – are nevertheless a wonderfully relaxing spot to escape from the hubbub of busy towns and hustle of everyday life. Known in Italian as the Isole Egadi (and also as the Aegadian Islands in English), this tranquil trio of islands is set within Europe’s biggest marine reserve, complete with hidden caves, shipwrecks and rich marine life.

Just 93 miles from Tunisia, these charming, low-key islands are popular with day trippers, but staying overnight does immerse you more deeply into the gentle lull of island life here. The bulk of visitors are ltalian, and largely Sicilian, but the feel of the islands is essentially local, leaving the islands particularly quiet outside of the peaks summer months of July and August. But despite the laidback atmosphere, there are places to stay, restaurants, cafes, shops, bike hire and boat trips.

Favignana

Just a half hour hydrofoil ride from Trapani, Favignana is the most convenient base of the three islands, with a range of accommodation options and ferry connections. You can take the car over on the ferry but bike rental is easy and it’s far more fun to explore the island on two wheels.

Sometimes referred to as ‘La Farfalla’, the butterfly shaped island is surrounded by inky blue seas, rocky bays and coves. It’s a paradise for water babies, with sheltered swimming, snorkelling and diving. Cala Rossa is amongst the most scenic bays and the sandy beach of Cala Azzurra is a favourite with families. Other popular swimming spots include Cala del Pozzo and Punta Sottile but find time for a peek at the romantically named sea caves – Grotta dei Sospiri and Grotta degli Innamorati – where the names alone conjure up an image of dreamy escapism. Other highlights on the island include the Fort of Santa Caterina and the disused Florio tuna fishery.

Levanzo

Just 6km separate Favignana from Levanzo, the smallest of the 3 islands. With around 200 residents and a couple of hotels, the island has just one small, pretty settlement with clusters of whitewashed buildings by the main port. Dirt tracks crisscross the island in place of roads, and towering cliffs overlook the azure seas below. Inland, the tallest peak is Pizzo dei Monaco, worth a climb for its spectacular views.

The only tourist site of note is the Grotta del Genovese, a cave featuring Paleolithic art. The cave is accessible on foot, by jeep or by boat but whichever way you choose, the visit needs to be pre-booked.

Pre-bookable organized dives take you down to a Roman ship wreck but other than that, activities on the island include gentle strolls along the dramatic coastline and more energetic efforts along footpaths that zigzag over the hilly, rural interior as far as the lighthouse on the northern tip. But many visitors simply come to soak up the island atmosphere or enjoy swimming and snorkelling around the captivating shoreline.

The island is around 20 minutes by hydrofoil from Trapani. Other options include slower ferry connections, either from Trapani or Favignana.

Marettimo

Diving is also popular on Marettimo, the most rugged and remote of the 3 islands, with several diving centres organizing courses and excursions thanks to the crystal clear water, many submerged caves and rich marine life.

Located around 15 miles from Sicily, the island offers a landscape of windswept cliffs and an unspoilt mountainous interior that is well signposted for walkers. The most popular hikes include one from the town to Roman ruins, the Case Romane, and a 12th century church. Choose from several coastal hikes, from the port to the fortress at Punta Troia or the island’s lighthouse at Punta Libeccio.

While there are several restaurants, cafes and shops, these are mainly only open during the summer season. Accommodation is also limited, with the preferred option being rented rooms and independent holiday rentals.

To get to the island, direct ferries leave from Trapani (1 hour) or hydrofoils from Favignana (40 minutes).

Hotels in Egadi Islands

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