Favignana: a guide to the best kept secret in Sicily
If you’re looking for a stunning Sicilian getaway, look no further than Favignana. This little-known gem is one of the best places to visit in Sicily, where it is definitely worth spending a few days, or at least visiting for a day trip exploring all it has to offer.
From pristine beaches to charming villages, Favignana has something for everyone. Plus, it’s not as touristic as some of the other Sicilian destinations, so you can really soak up the local culture and relax without hordes of people around you.
In this blog post, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about visiting Favignana. We’ll give you tips on how to get there, where to stay, and what type of beaches to expect. Plus, we’ll discuss the differences between Favignana, Marettimo, and Levanzo, the three islands making up the Egadi archipelago.
So whether you’re planning a trip to Sicily or just considering it, be sure to read on for all the details about this amazing destination!
This post may contain affiliate links. I may receive a commission for purchases made through the links on this page, at no cost to you.
SHOULD YOU VISIT FAVIGNANA WITH KIDS
As you know we always travel with our twins (now 6) so I feel I need to address this topic first as it generates contradictory opinions.
My answer is an absolute yes! It isn’t what many parents would advise, but it all depends on what you want. Favignana is a hidden treasure that must be explored, and beach life is without doubt one of the main attractions, but in a different way than you might expect.
There are few easily accessible sandy beaches on the island organized with umbrellas and sunbeds (although definitely more than you will find in Marettimo!), but the real goal here is to explore all of the spectacular beaches the island has to offer, even if they are a little more tricky to reach.
I’ll go into more detail about it later on, but you’ll discover that in many circumstances having and preserving stunning natural beauty leads to compromise in comfort and flexibility.
HOW TO GET TO FAVIGNANA
Getting to Favignana is easy peasy! The island is just a short ferry ride away from Trapani or Marsala. Unless you are on a sailing trip, the only way to get to Favignana is to reach Trapani or Marsala first. Trapani has great, and often super cheap, connections with many European cities through Ryanair.
Trapani-Favignana: ferry or hydrofoil
You have two options to go from Trapani to Favignana:
- Take the ferry: this is a good option if you want to bring your car with you, but the ferry is slower than the hydrofoil and the cost is really similar so not the best if you are on foot. In high season it is also good to be aware that the council can put limitations on who can bring cars to the island.
For example, you could be asked to show that you will stay on the island for at least 6 days, or foreign people could be asked to show their rental contract. The ferry takes roughly 1h 20 minutes.
- Take the hydrofoil: this is the easiest and most convenient option. There are several hydrofoils a day, in high season almost every hour from 7am to 8pm.
A return ticket usually starts around £25, check direct ferries for the most updated schedule and costs.
CHECK HYDROFOIL TIMING AND PRICE
Marsala-Favignana by hydrofoil
From Marsala, you also have the option of the Hydrofoil. It takes roughly the same time as from Trapani. In high season there are several boats a day and a return ticket starts around £21.
MOVING AROUND FAVIGNANA
Once you’re on the island, there are a few different ways to get around. You can either walk, use taxis, or rent a car/scooter/bike. Let’s consider the different options.
There are a few taxis on the island, they mostly use a minivan, they are really practical if you are a big group and for moving between the main attractions.
This is a great option if you are here out of season when the weather is cooler, otherwise, it could be too tricky as most roads/paths are not shaded at all.
Favignana is quite a small island, a car is not really needed and it could be quite expensive to rent one. If this is your choice, even in early June I would recommend booking quite in advance as the price skyrockets and availability decreases a lot. Many international car rentals are not available on the island. Even Carrentalnet.com, the one we usually use didn’t have any option for Favignana. One of the best options is to ask your hotel / b&b for some contacts.
Little tourist train
There is a little tourist train that does two different tours of the island. A shorter one of roughly 30 minutes and a longer one (only in high season) in about 1 hour. It’s definitely not the most efficient way to move around, but it’s a great option if you prefer to base yourself in one place and then one day go to see the island and don’t feel like walking or cycling.
This is a great option if you want to move around easily and quickly, especially to reach the more remote beaches.
This is our personal favorite option, you have the choice between normal bikes or electric bikes. With the potential exception of walking, this is also the most affordable. The cost usually ranges from 5 to 20 euros a day (depending on the season and if you pick normal or electric) . There are many providers just in front of the port and around the island. You can also find some providers online.
We stayed 3 days on the island and decided to rent electric bikes. Initially, I had some doubts, as we were traveling with our 6 year old twins (around 24kg each), but it was perfect. We rented the bikes as soon as we arrived at the port from Brezza Marina. I normally ride an electric bike in London and find it tricky to carry one of the kids, but in Favignana it was a breeze.
The main differences were that the bikes were really good quality, the island is almost all flat, and you almost never need to stop while moving from one point to another. The combination of these three things made the ride easy as with heavy kids on the back the most difficult part is usually starting the ride and feeling unbalanced when going too slow in the middle of traffic. Favignana was the smoothest ride ever.
WHAT TO DO IN FAVIGNANA
As I mentioned before, one of the main reasons to come to Favignana is for the beaches. The island has some stunning beaches, both sandy and rocky ones. In 3 days we have visited almost all and even if some of them have breathtaking views, all of them offer crystal clear water and stunning settings.
The two biggest and most popular are Cala Azzurra and Cala Rossa, but you can check them all out in this article about all the beaches in Favignana.
Cala Azzurra is really easy to reach, as you can just park your bike and go down a few steps to be in the sea, however access to the water is not easy as there are many rocks to overcome and there isn’t a beach. You can walk over the rocks and sit/lay down on the rocks covered by dry seaweed.
Cala Rossa is a bit more difficult to reach but the beach is definitely worth it as it has fine sand and crystal clear water.
To get to Cala Rossa you follow the road up to the higher part, then you will need to leave your bike and continue walking. It will take 10-15 minutes and make sure you wear rocks shoes or something with straps so you don’t slide on the sharp rocks.
A less famous beach, just as beautiful as Cala Azzurra but less crowded, is Preveto beach. Nestled below the residence Nido del Pellegrino, the beach has bigger white pebbles that make the water even more clear if possible.
The only two I’ve seen organised with sunbeds and umbrellas are Lido Burrone and Spiaggia Praia.
Lido Burrone is quite large and sandy, so perfect for kids that love to make sand castles, but it could be extremely crowded. Spiaggia Praia is also sandy but, probably because it is just beside the harbour, seems to be disregarded by many. It is a perfect stop after a visit to the old tuna factory, especially if you are with kids.
Visit the Ex-Stabilimento Florio
If you are interested in the history of tuna fishing, you should definitely visit the ex-Stabilimento Florio. This was once the biggest tuna factory in the Mediterranean and is now a museum. The people who work there are very passionate about the Favignana tradition of fishing tuna, you can often find them at the entrance and they can teach you a lot about it. The old industrial architecture of the factory is also fascinating and great for photography.
The museum is very interesting and gives you a good understanding of the tuna fishing industry in Favignana. It’s definitely worth a visit even if you are not interested in fishing. They have some interactive exhibits that allow you to learn more about how the factory worked. Plus, it’s free to enter so you can’t go wrong!
Visit the Sea Turtle Recovery center
If you are interested in the wildlife that Favignana has to offer, you should definitely visit the Sea Turtle Recovery center. Here you can see turtles that have been injured and are being rehabilitated. The staff are very friendly and they will give you a lot of information about the turtles.
They organise a 30 minute guided tour that is free but you need to book in advance. The place is located at the entrance of the Ex- Stabilimento Florio (looking at the facade you enter from the door on the right hand side), and volunteers will explain to you the threat sea turtles face in the sea and how we can help them. Then in small groups, they will bring you inside the small recovery center to meet the turtles that recovering from different types of injuries, most of them caused by plastic pollution.
We went there because I thought the kids would love it, but I also found it excellent and really recommend you visit.
Check the most updated opening times on their Facebook page.
Day trip to Marettimo
While I would recommend you spend at least a couple of days in Marettimo, you can definitely also just visit the island on a day trip. Marettimo is one of the three islands that make up the archipelago of the Egadi. It’s much smaller than Favignana and quite different too. There are no cars allowed on the island so it’s very quiet and relaxing. The only way to get around is by foot or bicycle.
The beaches on Marettimo are also very different to the ones on Favignana. They are much wilder and more natural. If you’re looking for a place to relax and escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life, then Marettimo is definitely the place for you.
There are a few hydrofoils each day to reach Marettimo and they only take 30 to 40 minutes. In summer there are several boats a day, while in winter the service is much reduced.
Check on Direct ferries for all the options available and prices.
We spend 3 days in Marettimo, you can check the guide to this unspoiled island!
Day trip to Levanzo
Levanzo is the smallest of the three islands and also the quietest and most secluded. There are only a few hotels on the island and not many tourists visit.
The beaches here are even wilder and more natural than on Marettimo. If you’re looking for a place to really get away from it all, then Levanzo is a perfect choice.
To reach Levanzo you only need 10 minutes on the hydrofoil
Visit the: Giardino dell’Impossibile
The Giardino dell’Impossibile is a botanical garden located on the east side of Favignana. A delightful find – with an interesting backstory. The owner of the garden, Mrs. Campo has worked over a period of 30 years to turn abandoned quarries into a unique and enchanting botanical garden. What makes this garden so special is the way that the vegetation has taken root in the deep, dark spaces of the quarries. The garden is scenically enchanting and unique, with a collection of 500 different plant species. Highlights include the cacti, agaves, and succulents that have made this garden their home.
Impossibile (impossible in Italian) is what everybody told Mrs. Campo for many years at the beginning of her journey, as no-one believed that anything could live in such a hostile space. Thankfully Mrs. Campo didn’t agree!
The garden is open every day, and there are morning and afternoon guided tours that last minimum 1 hour and a half (this may seem long, but it is super interesting and the time will fly). They also organise English guided tours, but you need to call to book. The ticket costs €15 to enter.
This is a place to visit not only if you’re interested in plants or gardening, but if you want to know the history of Favignana.
WHERE TO STAY IN FAVIGNANA
There are several options when it comes to choosing where to stay on the island, from staying in the village of Favignana to staying near one of the beaches or opting for a more isolated location.
Each option has its own advantages, so it really depends on personal preferences.
If you’re staying in the village of Favignana you will be close to the main shops, restaurants, and bars, then you can use a taxi or bike to explore the island. For an evening stroll, a stop for drinks or ice cream after dinner every night this is probably the best option for you.
Looking for a more quiet and relaxing stay? Then choosing a location near one of the beaches may be a better option for you. Yes, of course, while in Favignana, you should see all of the other beaches, but there may be some convenience in having the option to simply stroll down to a nearby one.
If you want to get away from it all, there are a few lovely alternatives where you will be secluded and free to engage with the outside world. However, how you choose to interact with it is entirely up to you.
Best accommodation in Favignana village
I Pretti Resort is one of the luxury options you will find in Favignana. It is located in a great spot just beside the port inside Favignana village.
The rooms are sober, but the setting is beautiful. They also offer rooms for a family of 4.
Ajamola offers simple rooms but in an amazing position on the seafront and just a few steps away from the historical center.
Some rooms have an incredible sea view
Best accomodation around the island
The Dimora dell’Olivastro is a place where you come to unwind and slow down the pace. They have 6 beautifully decorated rooms, all really secluded and some with a plunge pool.
Some rooms also have an incredible sea view.
The Nido del Pellegrino is the place where we decided to stay for 3 nights. It was absolutely amazing! This hotel offers rooms and apartments that have been completely refurbished in a space that was once a military barracks.
The military barracks was located in one of the most panoramic spots on the island, it is also where Seagulls and Peregrine hawks nest.
They have a private organised access to the sea, but there is no beach. However, just outside the gate there is a path that in 5-8 minutes leads you to one of the less busy beaches on the island, Preveto beach.
Some rooms have an incredible sea view. I would definitely go back next time we visit Favignana.
WHERE TO EAT IN FAVIGNANA
Favignana has some great restaurants, both by the port and around the island.
If you’re looking for a quick and easy meal, there are plenty of pizzerias and street food restaurants by the port and in the historic center. For something a little more formal, there are several restaurants that serve traditional Sicilian cuisine. One of the most famous is Sotto Sale, easy to spot while walking in the historical town, but book in advance because ii is always full.
There are also a few beachside restaurants, which are perfect for grabbing a bite to eat after a day spent lounging on the beach.
Finally, if you’re looking for a romantic dinner for two, there are several restaurants with stunning views of the sea. Whether you want to watch the sun go down or simply have a meal with a view, these places will delight you. Cibo chiacchiere e vino is an excellent spot on the north east side of the island.
DO YOU ONLY HAVE A DAY AVAILABLE? CHECK THIS TOUR
If you are really short on time I would recommend that you at least visit Favignana for a day. If you don’t want to bother with hydrofoils and bikes and prefer a more relaxing option, then join this boat tour that departs from Trapani and lets you spend the day between the best spots of Levanzo and Favignana.
With this tour, you will stop at some of the best and more difficult-to-reach beaches of Favignana, like Cala Rossa and Bue Marino.
If your plans change, you can cancel up to 24 hours before the tour starts!
If you’re looking for an off-the-beaten-path Sicilian island to explore, Favignana should be high on your list. Explore and enjoy every corner and let us know in the comments what you liked most
NO TIME NOW? PIN IT FOR LATER