Imagine a small Italian island where you can easily cycle from beach to beach and the beaches have the most incredible water you’ve ever seen, with different hues of blue sparkling in the sunshine…. That’s Favignana!
Favignana is the largest of the three Egadi islands, off the west coast of Sicily, and is the most popular – and for good reason!
We visited Favignana for four nights in July, however this was our second visit to the island. We first visited back in 2013. Although not that much has changed, what has definitely changed are the number of more upscale restaurants and bars. Favignana is becoming a holiday hot spot!
How to get to Favignana
If you live in Italy then the closest airport is Trapani, which is handy as that’s where you get the ferry to Favignana. As we travelled from London, we had to fly in to Palermo Falcone Borsellino airport. Our flight arrived at night and was too late to get a ferry so we spent a night in Palermo. The next day we got the bus from the train station to Trapani. It was less than €10 each and took around 2 hours. The bus also drops you right off at the ferry terminal, which is handy. Of course you can also get a taxi if you’d prefer but expect to pay around €70 to €100.
The ferry takes only 30 minutes and cost less than €30 one way for the both of us, including our luggage (you need to pay extra for a suitcase. Small hand luggage is free).
Arriving in Favignana
The harbour is less than a 5 minute walk to the town centre so if you’re just doing a day trip, there’s no need for a taxi. Depending on where you’re staying, your hotel will most likely pick you up. If not, there are taxis waiting for when the ferry arrives. Again, depending on where you’re staying you could possibly even walk.
Where to stay
The first time we visited Favignana back in 2013, we stayed at Hotel Tempo di Mare, which is less than a 5 minute walk to the city centre and overlooks the sea. I remember the room being fairly spacious with a sea-facing balcony.
This time we stayed at Camaro, which is a residence. Essentially it’s apartments but there is also a communal pool, bar and reception. There’s no breakfast though – or restaurant.
It’s very well located as it’s about a 10 minute walk to the town. We really loved it as it was huge – with an open plan lounge and kitchen, large terrace, bedroom and separate bathroom.
What to do
Head to the beach
Favignana is a small island and most people go for the beaches because they, quite frankly, have some of the most stunning and best Italian beaches I’ve ever seen. Although, ‘beach’ doesn’t necessarily mean sand…
Cala Rossa is probably Favignana’s most famous beach but be warned, there’s no sand! Also, it’s not accessible if you have mobility issues. We went one day and sat on the rocks and the next time we went by boat (much more comfortable!). The water is just incredible…
Oddly we didn’t really remember Bue Marino from our last trip which is strange as we actually preferred it to Cala Rossa! It’s slightly more accessible but again… no sand.
There are 14 beaches in Favignana so plenty to see and discover which is your favourite. And yes, some have sand!
Visit another island
Favignana is really close to Levanzo, which is the smallest of the three Egadi islands. We didn’t visit this time but back in 2013 we did a day trip to Levanzo, had lunch (in the only restaurant on the island. Perhaps there are more now?) and hired a boat and explored the island.
Marettimo is the third island and is quite remote. Apparently it’s great for walkers and divers.
Visit the Tonnara plant
Favignana is famous for the Florio delle Tonnara plant where they canned tuna, caught via the tonnara (an ancient system to catch tuna). You can go on tours to learn all about the history of tonnara and the plant, which was built in the late 1800s. It’s very interesting! The tour lasts between 45 mins and an hour and costs €6 per person.
Visit Palazzo Florio
The Florio family is very important to Favignana’s history as it was Ignazio Florio who bought the Tonnara plant in 1878 and restored the buildings. For many years it was one of the main economic sources of the island. The family is so well regarded that a street is named after them, which is where their palazzo stands. Now it’s a museum, which you can visit.
Visit Il Castello di Santa Caterina
Favignana also has a castle! In fact it had two but only one now still exists – Castello di Santa Caterina. It sits on top of a big hill, which takes about 50 minutes to climb (as you can park about a third of the way up). The castle dates back to Norman times and is completely free to visit. It’s not a museum as such, but rather just an abandoned castle.
We didn’t got this time but we walked up on our first visit to Favignana. Top tip – go early in the morning or early evening when it’s not so hot!
Where to eat and drink
Probably one of the most important questions on any trip to Italy! As I mentioned, when we first visited Favignana in 2013 there was only one restaurant that was quite modern. Now there are lots! As well as some new, lovely drinking spots we discovered on this trip.
Here are my recommendations
For the BEST aperitivo and the best spot to watch the sun go down, head to Cibo Chiacchiere e Vino. You can also eat dinner there but we preferred to just have a couple of drinks and order the panelle and arancini. I highly recommend you book – even just for drinks – as it’s very popular. Note that it’s not near the town centre. It’s about a 15 minute drive away.
Owned by the same people as Cibo Chiacchiere e Vino, Camparia Bottega is a new chic shop and bar with plans to expand. It’s got a very different vibe from Cibo and you won’t see the sun go down (for now. You will when they expand it) but it’s right by the town centre, on the way to the Tonnara.
The food wasn’t as good as Cibo and it was more expensive but it’s got a very trendy, cool vibe and is a lovely spot to relax and enjoy a drink.
Remember I said when we visited in 2013 there was only one modern restaurant? Well that was Sotto Sale and it’s still going strong! We love the setting and also the food is great. They’ve also opened an Osteria around the corner (which we didn’t visit).
The only dish we didn’t enjoy was the fish course, however we mistakenly chose a fish we don’t like – red snapper! My favourite dish was the tuna starter which had a Japanese influence. My risotto was also delicious.
A new find for us this year was Formica. The food was great! Their fish course was my favourite. The setting was quite dark so unfortunately my photos are not great. The service here was really good too.
On our last night we went to Matri Mia, which was more low key than the others. We really liked the tables on the pavement. The food wasn’t anything amazing but it was decent enough and really good value. Plus we had great service.
Most days we just had freshly made panini for lunch but one day we went to an old favourite from the last visit – Trattoria 2 Colonne. It’s quite old school and we only ever go for lunch. The food is good and the portions are generous!
So that’s Favignana! I really hope I’ve inspired you to put it on your travel list. It’s a beautiful island with great food and amazing beaches. Let me know if you visit!