Two days isn’t usually long enough to have a good feel for a place. I’d argue you’d need at least a week to wrap your head around a new destination and longer if you want to really get to know the history, culture, and flow.
I knew this trip to Sicily with one of my best friends would be amazing. I wasn’t prepared for just how hard I would fall for Sicily, especially Castellammare del Golfo. With each visit, Italy somehow finds a way to engrain itself a little deeper into my heart. This trip was no different.
After a whirlwind start, we ended our travels with two days in this quaint, coastal fishing village. A beautiful town in Trapani, Castellammare del Golfo is about an hour’s drive west of Palermo. Though if you opt for public transportation, the bus will drop you at Via Segesta after about two hours, pending there aren’t any unexpected detours.
Upon your arrival, might I recommend a short walk to the closest gelateria shortly after dropping your bags? Gelateria Vernaci, just behind Villa Comunale Regina Margherita, was my favorite. You can’t make a wrong choice when picking gelato flavors, but I’m also in full support of sticking with your favorites. Limone and fragola will always be my top choice, especially in the summer heat.
Cala Petròlo, with its bright yellow umbrellas and blue chairs mirroring summer lemons against clear blue skies, is a welcome site to anyone looking for a spot to soak up the sun.
The “Sea Fortress on the Gulf” of Sicily hit me straight in the heart. What I loved most about this charming town in shades of pastel colors favored by impressionist painters was how small it felt. It’s the kind of town where you’re likely to see the couple sitting across from you at lunch, enjoying an aperitif before dinner. Your server from dinner will throw you a nod and a smile as you make your way to your boat the following day.
But my favorite exchange was with a sweet nonna sitting out in her potted garden. She insisted she knew my mother – thank you, dark hair, for helping me blend in with the locals. Through broken Italian and hardly any English, I assured her that, sadly, I wasn’t from the area but hoped to return one day soon.
If you find yourself on the coast of Sicily in the heat of summer, here are my favorite ways to enjoy this charming coastal town.
1.) Aperitivo near the water – It won’t be hard to do, and the options are limitless!
2.) After dinner passeggiata – The breeze from the water is perfect, and the sunset is remarkable. One of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. The area near the water is small. You could do a few laps before ending your walk on one of the conveniently placed benches.
3.) Charter a boat or jump on with a group (like we did) – If you’re traveling on a budget, jumping on with a group tour is well worth it. The name is a bit much, but The Lionel Richie was honestly the best experience. Our guide was terrific, our group was small, and I will now forever be obsessed with Yellow Melon that I will never be able to find here at home. You’ll swim near Scopello and another fantastic beach and visit several caves (grotte).
We almost passed this up because it felt cheesy and touristy, but we were the only English speakers on the boat. I’m so glad we didn’t miss this; it was one of my favorite days of the trip. If swimming with fish in the Mediterranean while Louis Armstrong sings La vie en rose doesn’t sound like your idea of a good time, you’re probably not my people.
*A note on Logistics * be sure to plan your logistics well if you won’t have access to a car! Plan early mornings accordingly. Since there isn’t a train nearby, if you’re using public transportation, you’ll want to check the bus schedule ahead of time and show up at any bus stop earlier than the arrival time. Cabs are also easy to schedule (as long as there’s no strike) but pricey. The good news is they have fixed prices, so you’re not likely to be taken advantage of, and they’re perfectly safe! An easy google search is all you need to find the booking information! Also – download Whatsapp for easy communication if you don’t speak good Italian.