The Egadi Islands are an archipelago located off the western shores of Sicily. These islands have a different slice of Italian life, where the locals live a relaxed, Bohemian type lifestyle. This archipelago has all the excitement and culture of the mainland. If you are looking for a new destination for your next Italian holiday, you are all set. Read on to learn about the Egadi Islands, Italy’s best kept secret.
All About the Egadi Islands
The Egadi Island archipelago is the largest protected marine area in Europe. The islands have an abundance of natural resources and wildlife. The large poseidon prairies are a wonderful habitat that promotes the reproduction of many species including shellfish, migratory birds, Caretta Caretta sea turtles, and even Monk Seals.
All three islands also still have the feel of the real Italy- where some people still live like they have for hundreds of years, seemingly untouched by modern life. Here you will see donkeys and dogs roaming free while the residents go about their daily routine in the village. Most likely than not, you may spot pleasant looking elderly women crocheting something for a loved one while they watch over the village. If you want to experience Italy the way the locals do, take a journey to these magnificent islands.
Explore Sea Caves in Favginana
Favginana is the archipelago’s largest island. It is just a half hour hydrofoil ride from Trapani in Sicily. Santa Caterina and San Giacomo are lovely towns with gothic churches and spectacular Norman castles. For recreation, the island has many options including awesome snorkeling spots such as the rocky coast of Scalo Cavallo and the stunning Cala Azzurra.
Tuna fishing is an institution here thanks to the Florio family. Be sure to visit Stabilimento Florio, where you can see artifacts like amphorae from various historical periods. The museum guides will educate you about the island’s fascinating fishing history.
Have A Spectacular Diving Experience at Levanzo
Levanzo is the smallest island of the group. A restaurant named Arcobaleno is the main gathering place for the 200 locals that call the island home. For a special experience, visit Grotta del Genovese and see the work of the Neolithic people sketched on the walls dating back 12,000 years.
This peaceful, exquisite little island has much to offer diving enthusiasts. Levanzo has a fascinating underwater archaeological route between Cala Minnola and Punta Altarella where the remains of a Roman shipwreck are located. Some other noteworthy spots on the island include the smooth pebbled beach of Cala Fredda, and the prehistoric caves of Grotta del Genovese.
Visit Mystical Marettimo
Marettimo is the rockiest and island in the archipelago. The lovely Caffe Tramontana welcomes harbor visitors with a lobster pot hanging from the ceiling. The 300 residents on the island are divided between the sea and mountains. The unique fishing village here is a highlight of the island, with its cluster of small homes. The daily life here revolves around the catch of the day.
Adventure travelers will have a blast on Marettimo. The island has numerous scenic hiking trails that twist and turn into and out of the village and the hills. Novelist Samuel Butler claimed Marettimo island was what inspired Ithaca in Homer’s Odyssey. When you see this island’s stunning rugged landscape with hundreds of sea caves surrounded by beautiful clear sea, you will be inclined to agree with him.
How to Get to the Egadi Islands
You can get to the Egadi Islands via ferry or hydroplane from various points in Sicily. Visitors depart on a hydrofoil from Trapani to reach the shores of Favignana. The other minor islands are accessible by ferries with the option of transporting your vehicle on board. Guests can also rent a boat from locals and sail between islands.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com