Cefalu Sicily

3 Days Itinerary in Western Sicily

The West of Sicily offers some of the best sites to visit.

Starting from Palermo you can then head over to Segesta, Sicily’s finest classical site of all and then head North to Castellammare del golfo and San Vito Lo Capo and then Heading upward to the Hilltop mediaeval town of Erice. From here then you will have the choice of visiting either the Town of Marsala famous for its fortified wine and maybe visit the wineries, head over to the historic fishing town of Mazara del Vallo or the vast archaeological site of Selinunte.

Day One 

Starting point will be Palermo which is one of the most beautiful settings of the Mediterranean. Rich in history, it is a city that has seen waves of different civilizations living their mark in the stunning monuments and architecture.

Definitely visit the Arab and Norman cathedral, Palazzo dei Normanni, home to the Cappella Palatina. The Quattro Canti which is the heart of the city, also the nearby Piazza della vergogna and the La Martorana and San Cataldo churches. You can read my more in depth article on Palermo.

Day two

Head over to Segesta where high on a hill immersed in the countryside you will find a magnificent Doric temple and a beautifully located theatre with views across the valley and the sea. Just to let you know that there is a 20 minute uphill walk from the ticket office but if you don’t fancy doing that you can always catch the shuttle minibus. After Segesta you could head North to the lovely Castellammare del golfo to spend the night and if you have time visit the Zingaro Nature Reserve only a short drive away. I have written an in-depth article with images about the Zingaro. Another possible overnight stay would be at one of my favourite beaches of Sicily, the stunning San Vito lo capo.

Day three

Drive over to the lovely hilltop town of Erice and enjoy the lovely views of the north and south coasts. You could spend the morning in Erice and perhaps after lunch you could head down to Trapani where you can either explore the town or take a ferry to the island of Favignana. Another option would be to visit Marsala for some wine tasting or travel south to visit the archeological site of Selinunte. 

Now let’s see some of the places mentioned above in more detail!

Palermo 

palermo

Palermo in my opinion is one of the most beautiful settings of the Mediterranean, it lies at the foot of Mount Pellegrino is very rich in history where waves of rulers have left their mark in the great monuments that can be seen today.  Some of these consist of Norman buildings, baroque churches, most pristine mosaics and much more. At first sight this city may seem quite frenetic and cramped with noise and confusion but likely in recent years Palermo has become more user friendly and also much of the things you will want to see are in a small area.

Read this article for a more in depth guide on Palermo.

Segesta

Valle Dei Templi-Sicily

Out of all the classical sites in Sicily Segesta is definitely one of the top to explore.

High on a hill, in the middle of the countryside lies a magnificent Doric temple and a superb open theatre that once were part of the ancient cities.

The temple is the work of an Athenian architect and is dated 426-416 BC. The theatre instead was built around the 3rd century with a capacity of around 3200 spectators.

The site continued to be used up until mediaeval times, and excavations behind the theatre have revealed traces of a mosque and arab houses, a Norman castle and a mediaeval church which was used until the 19th century.

Erice

Erice

Situated high on a mountain above the sea lies Erice with its beautiful cobbled streets, a magnificent Cathedral , numerous churches, a historical castle, ancient city walls and wonderful views especially at sunset. In winter Erice can be hidden in clouds so you might want to check before you travel up as mist and clouds rarely lift until after dark. And in summer on the other hand temperatures can be up to 10 degrees cooler than Trapani. You can also take a cable car from Trapani if you don’t fancy driving. Read more about Erice in this guide.

Marsala

Situated in the most western side of Sicily, this town has seen many rulers in history such as Greeks, Romans, Carthaginians and Arabs which made Marsala an important trading centre with Africa. In 1773 the Englishman John Woodhouse started a wine trade with Marsala and in 1860 Garibaldi and the thousand expedition landed here, making this town the first city of united Italy.

Selinunte

Selinunte is a vast archeological site. Once was an ancient city that was part of the many Greek colonies, set on hills facing the sea. This was a splendid city with magnificent temples. Selinunte was attacked in 409 BC by the allied Carthaginians and Segestans sending 100000 men to capture it. Also an Earthquake in the middle ages completely destroyed it and it never was rebuilt again.

To the east you can also visit the lovely fishing village of Marinella with its beautiful beach and plenty of fish restaurants.

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