Itinerary: Egadi Islands, Favignana, Levanzo, Marettimo, Formica, Maraone
The beautiful Egadi Islands are the ideal destination for sea life and nature lovers but also for those of archeology
The archipelago Egadi Islands (Isole Egadi) (pic n°1) is located on the western side of Sicily, one of the most beautiful regions in Italy. The archipelago is a peaceful and pristine gem of the world. It consists of three main islands, Favignana, Levanzo and Marettimo, two small islets Formica and Maraone, and several rocks and cliffs. The name of Egadi Islands (Isole Egadi) comes from Greek and means "islands of goats".
They are surrounded by crystal clear waters rich in sea plants and marine life so that they are a perfect destination for those who love sea life, snorkeling and scuba diving. This unique sea life is part of the biggest marine reserve in Europe called "Area Marina Protetta of the Egadi Islands" (AMP).
As the first Punic War took place here in 241 B.C. between the Romans and Carthaginians, many finds were found in the area. Also, the Archaeological Museum in Marsala (Sicily) displays the remains of a Punic ship.
The islands feature beautiful sandy beaches nestled in a rocky coastline, lots of native birds and plants, many grottoes and caves. So you can have fun also walking, hiking and trekking here.
It is the main island of the archipelago and the most easily reachable from Sicily. The coast is scattered with beautiful marine caves such as the amazing Grotta dei Sospiri or Grotta degli Innamorati (pic n°6) and many wonderful sandy beaches such as Lido Burrone, Cala Azzurra, and Calamoni. Cala Rossa (pic n°3) is a perfect combination of rocks and sand, so it is the place-to-go for snorkeling lovers. Also, there are many other places along the coast where to dive in the transparent water, sunbathe, or enjoy breathtaking landscapes and sunsets.
This island is a cultural destination as well, you can visit:
- lots of archeological caves such as Grotta del Pozzo and Grotta della Stele, just to name a few;
- the archeological area called San Nicola;
- Fortress Santa Caterina, located on Mount Santa Caterina 314 meters a.s.l. and Castle San Giacomo;
- the Neogothic Palazzo Florio, inside with elegant Art Nouveau-style furnishings.
You can also visit "Giardini Ipogei", originally a tuff cave that has become a garden. There are thousands of caves like that in Favignana, once they were a source of employment extracting stones and after the quarries were abandoned, they were turned into gardens.
We suggest you should visit the island by bike or scooter in order to reach all its hidden caves and beaches. Also, spend some time in the picturesque port while tasting the excellent local seafood in one of the restaurants nearby.
The island of Levanzo is smaller than Favignana, only 5 kilometers long and 2 kilometers wide, and it can be visited only on foot or by bike. You will enjoy breathtaking pebbly or sandy beaches such as Cala Minnola (pic n°3), Cala Fredda and Cala Tramontana, beautiful caves and stunning coves along the coast, amazing views, and special itineraries for snorkeling and /or archeology lovers.
When here, we suggest you should take a walk in the beautiful and shady pine woods where you can enjoy some peaceful moments in this quiet island. If you visit Levanzo by boat, you will have the chance to explore even the less accessible coves. A must-see is Grotta del Genovese, whose walls featuring paintings and graffiti by the primitive people who once used to live here.
If you are looking for a wilder landscape, then head to Marettimo, the farthest island from Sicily. It is mainly covered by hills and mountains so that it is a good place for trekking, walking, and hiking.
Marettimo is also home to a unique flora and fauna. Apart from trekking, you can also visit the beautiful Norman castle on Punta Troia (pic n°4), the Byzantine church, and "Case Romane", a Roman military building.
The main attractions of Marettimo island are the many marine grottos, (around 400 !), especially we suggest visiting Grotta del Tuono, Grotta del Cammello (pic n°5), or Grotta del Presepe with beautiful stalactites and stalagmites. Also, do not miss Cala Bianca.
This small islet is mainly famous for the millions of ants on its cliffs ("formica" is the Italian name for ant). On the island, there are an ancient "tonnara" (a tuna-fishing group of nets), a church and a museum.
Maraone is nothing more that a big inhabited rock in the sea.
When you get to this archipelago you will be enchanted by its colors: an awe-inspiring contrast of the blue, crystal-clear waters and a bright-green thriving vegetation. The Egadi Islands welcome you!
Some pics of the Egadi Islands :
View (pic n°1); Cala Rossa, Favognana (pic n°2); Cala Minnola, Levanzo (pic n°3); Norman castle on Punta Troia, Marettimo (pic n°4); Grotta del Cammello, Marettimo (pic n°5); Grotta degli Innamorati, (Lovers' Cave) (pic n°6);