Are you wondering what to see in Western Sicily? I know, it is always quite a dilemma to choose. When visiting Sicily on a road trip tour one often wonders which part is best to see first: the whole island or just a part of it?
As I suggested in the15-day Sicily itinerary, it always depends on how much time you have. If you can carve out at least two weeks, then I recommend following the itinerary I linked. Alternatively, you must necessarily choose one between Western or Eastern Sicily.
Western Sicily: what to see in an itinerary?
Just as with the eastern part of the island, it is truly amazing how in a small space of Sicilian territory there is so much natural and cultural beauty. I assure you that you will be spoiled for choice, especially if your stay is only a few days.
In this article I will give you an overview of the points of interest in Western Sicily from North to South, just to give you a geographical location as well. In fact, when you do not know an area, the main issue is always to understand where the various places to visit are located. Here are 15 places of interest along an itinerary in Western Sicily.
1 – Palermo
A tour of Western Sicily can only start with the Baroque gem that is Palermo, as well as the capital of Sicily. It is very easy for Palermo to be your very first stop because it is where you will arrive by ferry or plane, should you wish to see only the western part of Sicily.
Palermo amazed me and frankly I think it amazes anyone who visits it. It is a very interesting city culturally, both for its monuments and for the very imprint of the people of Palermo.
Palermo deserves a full day, preferably two if you want to see the city very slowly, especially if your Sicilian itinerary will take hold during the summer months and the heat may limit “optimizing the time of day.”
I recommend that you wear comfortable shoes and visit Palermo completely on foot, you will be impressed by every alley and will be able to better perceive the soul of the city. Among the must-see points of interest in Palermo you must mark:
- Norman Palace: houses the political offices of the Sicilian region and, in addition to being very beautiful, inside is the splendid Palatine Chapel.
- Cathedral of Palermo: an interesting mix of Norman, Byzantine, Islamic and Baroque art.
- Quattro Canti: beautiful square/junction between two important streets in Palermo, namely Via Vittorio Emanuele and Via Maqueda. Look up and you will understand its essence and beauty.
- Teatro Massimo: imposing and fascinating even from the outside .
- Catacombs of the Capuchins (Catacombe dei Cappuccini).
- Pretoria Fountain
- The other many incredible churches such as the Church of San Giuseppe, Martorana, the Church of Santa Caterina, the Church of San Cataldo , and many others.
- The markets of Palermo: don’t miss the famous Ballarò market.
Visit Western Sicily -> CLICK and DISCOVER Palermo Hotels
2 – Monreale
The Cathedral of Monreale will blow you away. During my first trip to Sicily, I made a detour along the route from the Palermo airport to Cefalù with the knowledge that I was visiting something incredible.
And it was indeed a perfect choice. The cathedral of Monreale is a short excursion that you can also make from Palermo. It is a world-famous architectural wonder where Baroque is mixed with Arab art and creating something magnificent.
As I mentioned, you can include it as a stop on an itinerary in Western Sicily, or as a day trip from Palermo. In this regard, I recommend THIS TOUR with Guided Visit to Monreale(in English and with Free Cancellation). Or, CLICK HERE to view a tour which also includes the beautiful Cefalù.
3 – Segesta
In Sicily there are numerous archaeological areas. One among them is Segesta. A short distance from Palermo, Segesta has uncertain origins. There are two theses regarding its founding, the most credited ones claims that it was founded by Trojan refugees who took the name of Elymians (Elimi).
The city was always in dispute and opposition with Selinunte, located in southern Sicily. Destroyed by the Carthaginians around the fifth century BC, it was never rebuilt in its original appearance. Worth visiting is the Archaeological Park in which there is also a Doric Temple.
4 – Zingaro Reserve
Another must-see stop in Western Sicily. This time we are not talking about archaeological areas, but a natural area that became Sicily’s first protected area in the 1980s.
There is a fee to enter and it gives you access to a 7-kilometer path that connects the two entrances to the reserve: the north entrance and the south entrance near Scopello.
The attraction of these places is precisely the relationship with nature: sea and fairy-tale landscapes. Every glimpse will make you want to take pictures. Also, why not go down to the sea to cool off in one of the 7 coves along the way? Be careful to use suitable shoes because when doing these excursions I always advise against using flip-flops.
5 – Isola delle Femmine
If you love crystal clear sea, Isola delle Femmine is for you as its beach is certainly one of the most beautiful along an itinerary in Western Sicily.
Do you practice diving, scuba diving or the simplest snorkeling? Here you can be fascinated by the amount of fish and the beauty of the red corals.
The island is currently an Oriented Nature Reserve, in fact, Riserva Naturale Orientata Isola delle Femmine.
6 – San Vito lo Capo
A Western Sicily itinerary that does not “touch” San Vito lo Capo is not a self-respecting Western Sicily itinerary. The resort is widely famous for its fantastic sea.
During the tourist season it perhaps loses some of its appeal because of the large crowds, but it is still a place to visit and in which to potentially base yourself to visit nearby places of interest.
In this regard -> CLICK and CHOOSE among the HOTELS in San Vito Lo Capo.
In addition to the already praised Zingaro Nature Reserve, you can discover the Belvedere of Macari, the Chapel of Santa Crescienzia, the Tonnara of San Vito lo Capo, the Coves of Bue Marino and Isulidda, and finally the Sanctuary of San Vito martire.
7 – The village of Erice
Among the places to see in Western Sicily, you must necessarily include Erice as it is extraordinary, especially at sunset.
Erice is a village located on the eponymous Mount Erice 2 steps from Trapani, or rather, it would be better to say “a cable railway” from Trapani.
In fact you can access the town of Erice thanks to a convenient cable car that leaves from Via Capua in Trapani. This intriguing hamlet composed of alleys and stone houses gives way to phenomenal views of the city of Trapani and the sea. Impossible not to stop and watch the sunset from its walls.
8 – Trapani and the Salt Pans of Trapani
You should dedicate at least one day of your tour of Western Sicily to Trapani, a day in which you will also include the Trapani Salt Pans.
Be warned: the city is also very pretty in the evening and, “enogastronomically” speaking, the offer is very good both in quality and prices. By the way, don’t forget to eat Trapani-style cous cous!
The salt pans of Trapani will be the next stop; they too become phenomenal at sunset. They are located within the Trapani Oriented Nature Reserve. In past times they were the largest salt production site as far as Europe was concerned. Currently the salt pans are protected and managed by the WWF, but they continue to produce Trapani Salt.
When history, architecture and nature meet, magical places like the Trapani Salt Pans are created. If you want to visit them, I recommend this TOUR with GUIDED TOUR including transportation (English and free cancellation).
Sleep and base in Trapani
Regarding Trapani, assume that you will be based right in the city. I stayed at the Bite – Bite and Kite Accomodation, a perfect facility with modern and independent apartments. I had a really good time there. Alternatively -> DISCOVER HERE all the HOTELS in TRAPANI.
9 – Favignana, Marettimo and Levanzo
The Egadi Islands are a few dozen minutes by boat from the coast. The most distant is Marettimo, while Favignana and Levanzo are the closest to Trapani.
Reaching them is super easy: from the port of Trapani you’ll be spoiled for choice (and prices, too). Fast boats, catamarans, smaller boats…different prices, different crossing times. If you want my advice, opt for the fast catamaran or the this EXCELLENT full-day excursion which touches Favignana and Levanzo (again, there is free cancellation).
If your itinerary in Western Sicily will have very paced times, Favignana, as in my case, can be only one stop. Even a single day on this beautiful island is fine because by renting a bicycle you can “taste” (yes, only taste because to experience it at its best you would have to sleep on Favignana) the most beautiful beaches moving from one to the other on the various dirt roads.
If, on the other hand, you are visiting Western Sicily very very quietly, then consider spending a few days on the island itself whose town center is really nice.
In this regard -> CLICK and DISCOVER the HOTELS in FAVIGNANA.
10 – Marsala and the Marsala Salt Pans
Who doesn’t know Marsala because of its namesake (and very good ed.) wine? It must be said that Sicily itself is well known for all its regional delicacies. In terms of excellent products there is very little to say. Any place you visit in Sicily, you will always find some extraordinary product.
Tip: Taste Marsala wine at a historic winery BUY THIS TOUR with free cancellation.
Aside from this food and wine digression, Marsala is another must-see in Western Sicily. Characterized by Baroque art, elegant streets paved with marble, it is a fascinating town to discover and visit in association with the Marsala Salt Pans.
They are located within the Isole dello Stagnone Nature Reserve, a protected area north of Marsala and reached coming from Trapani.
You may be interested in this article -> How to visit the Salt Pans of Marsala? Among windmills, sand dunes, ponds and sunsets, you will surely be fascinated.
Visit Western Sicily -> CLICK and DISCOVER the hotels in Marsala
11 – Mazara del Vallo
Another Sicilian town of enormous charm. We are defining the Western Sicily itinerary in sequence, moving further and further east, the last stop of which will be the beautiful Valley of the Temples.
Mazara is only about 23 kilometers and 30 minutes from Marsala, a short distance that will allow you to leave early in the morning and visit Mazara associating it perhaps with Sciacca, which I will tell you about in a moment.
Mazara del Vallo has numerous Baroque buildings and is all to be discovered (the church of San Francesco is described as the most Baroque church in Sicily). If you will be in “sea mode,” on the other hand, you can amuse yourself along the Tonnarella coastline.
Visit Western Sicily -> CLICK and DISCOVER the Hotels of Mazara del Vallo
12 – Selinunte
Let’s proceed eastward, leaving the Western part of Sicily a bit, going into the south-central part of the Sicilian coast. Then again, we cannot fail to include Agrigento and the Valley of the Temples in at least one of the Western Sicily itinerary (much more suitable) or the Eastern Sicily.
After visiting first Marsala, then Mazara, we encounter one of the most important archaeological areas in Sicily: the Selinunte Archaeological Park, the largest archaeological park in Europe. It is a unique place with more than 2,700 years of history.
13 – Sciacca
Sciacca is one of the most beautiful villages in Sicily overlooking the sea, along with other pearls such as Cefalù, Marzamemi, Brolo and Castellamare (also in Western Sicily and which you could visit before reaching San Vito lo Capo).
It is located in the province of Agrigento and has a distinctive amphitheater shape. This seaside village features pastel-colored buildings and was also famous as a spa. Even today there are the Antiche and Nuove Terme, the Molinelli pools, the Sciaccamare complex and the Stufe di San Calogero.
14 – Scala dei Turchi
A white marl cliff that blinds everyone by its beauty. The Scala dei Turchi is an unmissable stop to include among the things to see in Western Sicily.
This cliff located in Realmonte, a few kilometers from the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento, was forged by the waves and wind that gave it that characteristic wavy shape. Hence the name“Staircase (Scala).” The appellation“Turks (Turchi),” on the other hand, takes its name from the Saracen pirates who were called, precisely, Turks by the local people.
The charm of this natural beauty is timeless. In addition to the two small beaches in the vicinity, a good idea would be to see the Scala dei Turchi directly from the sea and thus enjoy it very quietly.
15 – Valley of the Temples (Valle dei Templi)
You know when you find yourself in a timeless magical place? Well, at the Valley of the Temples you will have just that feeling. A place that is not only magical but also mystical, rich in history both for those who are passionate about the subject and for those who, like me, have not delved into these subjects in their studies.
The Valley of the Temples is just minutes from Agrigento and the beautiful Scala dei Turchi. It is the last stop on this itinerary in Western Sicily, but because of its beauty it should be the first. A UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for its Doric temples, including the Temple of Concordia-something unique.
Want to take a guided tour of the Scala dei Turchi? Then BUY the Guided Tour in English HERE.
Map of the Itinerary in Western Sicily
The map below, gives you a better understanding of the various trips and where each place of interest is located.
Palermo to Trapani (with a stop at Cefalù)
I suggest you enlarge the map, on the right you will find the displacement to Cefalù. This is the only displacement that takes you a few kilometers away from the other stops. From my point of view Cefalù is absolutely to be included in the Western Sicily itinerary.
Finally on the left side of the map, going toward Trapani you will have the first two stops: Monreale and Segesta to then visit the Zingaro Nature Reserve and make sea in San Vito lo Capo. In the Trapani area, toward the end of this first part of the itinerary, you will visit Erice, Trapani, the Salt Pans and beautiful Favignana.
From Trapani to the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento
Again, better to enlarge the map. In this second part of the itinerary, you will first touch on the Marsala Salt Pans, Marsala itself. Then Mazara del Vallo, the archaeological park of Selinunte and, in a very small portion of the territory you will have the beauty of 3 incredible stops: Sciacca, the Scala dei Turchi and the Valley of the Temples. I assure you that this trip to Western Sicily will leave you stunned by such beauty.