Our summer holiday this year combined two places in Sicily (well three as we stayed a night in Palermo) – Cefalù and San Vito Lo Capo. As well as being on opposite sides of Palermo, they are very different to each other, which made it a great holiday!
Cefalù is definitely very Italian, with a stunning centuries old cathedral and lots of history, whereas San Vito Lo Capo is more resort-like and feels more modern (although it has history too).
As a town, I preferred Cefalù but San Vito Lo Capo definitely wins in the beach stakes! They have some of the best beaches I’ve ever been to.
How to get there
We were staying in Cefalù prior to San Vito Lo Capo and we could have hired a car but we chose to get the train to Palermo (which took around 45 minutes) and then get a bus from the train station to San Vito Lo Capo, which took over 2 hours.
The nearest airport is actually Trapani, however it only has five airlines serving it and no direct flights to London. If you’re landing in Palermo, either hire a car, get the bus or hire a taxi to get to San Vito Lo Capo (we had a taxi on the way back).
Where to stay
As San Vito Lo Capo is a seaside resort, there are plenty of hotels, B&Bs, hostels and AirBnBs to choose from. When we were researching where to stay, the hotels were quite basic and pretty old fashioned so we chose to stay in a modern AirBnB instead.
What to do
As San Vito Lo Capo is a seaside town, you go there for the beaches! The main beach, San Vito Lo Capo, which sits at the foot of Monte Monaco, stretches for 3km.
Culturally, there’s not loads to do. When we visited in July, there was a film festival on as well as some cultural events, such as Q&As. The Sanctuary, which is the symbol of San Vito Lo Capo has a small museum and you can visit a Tonnara and learn about how tuna used to be caught using a complex tunnels of nets. The closest one to San Vito Lo Capo is Tonnara del Secco, which we didn’t visit as we visited one when we spent the day in Scopello. It was really fascinating. But that’s about it, culture-wise.
The highlight of our stay was visiting the Riserva naturale dello Zingaro . It’s a stunning natural reserve which is seven kilometres long and combines nature and the sea. You can enter at either the San Vito Lo Capo side or the Scopello side and spend your day visiting one of the seven beaches. Be warned though that you need decent shoes as it’s a bit of a walk, even to the first beach. Also, there is only one van selling food and drink at the entrance and nowhere to purchase anything inside so come prepared if you’re staying for the day. There was a tap to fill up water bottles but the water was so hot, we couldn’t even drink it!
The beaches in the reserve are some of the most beautiful I’ve seen! The first beach that you get to also has an exhibition of the Tonnara in the building they once occupied.
There’s also more than just beaches – the reserve has numerous caves and coves as well as lots of flora and fauna. There are over 600 different species of plants, if you’re into that sort of thing.
We only got as far as the third beach and that was almost an hour from the entrance. Actually, the third beach is not a beach but rather a place to swim. It was my husband’s favourite spot but definitely not mine. I prefer swimming somewhere where it doesn’t take a lot of effort to get out!
We loved visiting the Riserva but the best way to see all the beaches is by boat! So one afternoon, we hired a boat and went exploring. In my opinion, the first two beaches from the San Vito Lo Capo entrance are the best – good news if you don’t want to walk too much.
On another day we drove to Scopello, which took around 30 to 40 minutes. Instead of going to the Riserva Lo Zingaro again we went to the Tonnara di Scopello instead. It was €7 each and every hour they do a tour of the Tonnara – it was really interesting.
It was a fabulous place to swim! They also had a very cute but basic restaurant where you could have lunch. And although it was basic, they even served Prosecco!
Where to eat
San Vito Lo Capo has loads of restaurants to choose from – you’ll be spoilt for choice. Sicily is famous for it’s couscous and one the best places to try it is Ristorante Profumi di Cous Cous. I was glad I ordered it but probably wouldn’t order it again the next time we’re there.
We really enjoyed this restaurant and actually ate here twice. Another we loved was Ristorante Rais. We got chatting to the owner and she had actually lived in London for about 10 years before moving back home and opening the restaurant. This polpo (octopus) starter was amazing.
Something you must try when in San Vito Lo Capo is the panelle, which is made from chickpea flour and then fried. It is more of a snack but you can also find it in restaurants – Ristorante Profumi di Cous Cous had it on the menu, for example. It’s delicious!
We loved our stay in San Vito Lo Capo and combining it with Cefalù made it one of our best Summer holidays.
One thing I didn’t expect: to see so many cats! The locals have even put out little cat houses for them in green spaces.