If there's anywhere on the stunning island of Sicily you can sense just how close Africa is, it's the western coast. Since the Middle Ages the Moorish influences have continued to exist, and whether you’re devouring a delicious bowl of cous cous (a speciality on the western coast), a traditional Sicilian dessert: cassata, or appreciating the elegant spices in the local arancini, you will certainly get a flavour of Africa through its food.
Off the beaten track
Slightly more off-the-beaten-track than many of the other resorts in Sicily, this is the place to go to avoid the crowded hotspots. And luckily for us, it’s just as beautiful. White sandy beaches, turquoise sea, verdant green mountains, ancient temples and crumbling churches – this feels like the real Sicily - rugged beauty and all.
Take the mesmerising San Vito Lo Capo – an awe-inspiring beach overlooked by the majestic Mount Monaco. This rocky outcrop jutting into the sea presides over pristine white sands and aquamarine waters that feel Caribbean-esque, and believe us when we say, this is a beach the whole family will love. Want more photogenic beaches to enjoy? There’s plenty. Try picturesque Scopello, sandy Marinella di Selinunte and the breathtaking crystal-clear waters of Carla Rossa, amongst many more.
For standout villages, Western Sicily also delivers. Spectacular vistas await you in Erice. Located on top of the legendary mountain of Eryx, the views over this incredible stretch of coast and out to the port of Trapani are worth the hike. There’s the pretty town of Scopello with its quiet sandy beach, Sferracavallo – famous for its seafood restaurants, the port town of Trapani complete with a wonderful historic centre to stroll around, and then Marsala. Sicily’s most westerly city, this is, of course, the place to taste the world-renowned dessert wine before an evening stroll (passeggiata) around the ancient seaside town.
Close to Sferracavallo, you’ll also come across some ancient caves boasting impressive prehistoric findings, and the Arab town of Alcamo is perfecto for strolling along the sandy beach, taking in its marina and seafront castle.
After all that sightseeing, there’s only one thing for it: visit one of the must-eat-at restaurants. They’re everywhere in Sicily. If you’re not dining at one of Sferracavallo’s many seafood eateries or at the Ristorante del Golfo in Castellammare - famous for its prawns marinated in orange juice - you might want to try the spaghetti alla bottarga – salt-cured tuna fish roe grated on steaming pasta, at any one of the trattorias or osterias dotted around. It’s not all seafood (though there’s a lot of it), there are Tunisian restaurants serving up kebabs, slow-food cafes and enticing pastry shops to visit. And be sure to visit San Vito’s cous cous festival in September – it’s a knockout.
There’s something for everyone on the west coast of Sicily, be it the Instagram-worthy beaches, water sports, ancient ruins, pretty villages or the eclectic Sicilian and African-inspired food that's sure to leave you speechless. However you choose to spend your time on this enchanting island it will be memorable, that we can promise you!