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Traveling Italian

Posted On May 31, 2023 By Louis

The Trapani Travel Guide

On the west coast of Sicily and with a population of 67,000 is the fishing city of Trapani. The city was first founded by the Elmians, the ancient tribal people that were around in the bronze age. Carthage took over and then came the Romans in 241BC. It then went through Byzantine control followed by Arabs and then the Normans so has a deep history that can be seen in the architecture.

Trapani is a popular place to go as is very close to the Egadi Islands, Segesti, and the historic town of Erice. They have their international airport the Trapani-Birgi Vincenzo Florio Airport with European flight routes or take the ferry to the Aegadian Islands.

The Top things Trapani is known for are:

Historic Attractions and Sites. There is a lot of Baroque architecture, such as the 14th century Cattedrale di San Lorenzo, Palazzo della Giudecca which is in the Jewish part of town, Chiesa delle Anime Sante del Purgatorio that was built in 1688 and many other sites.

Salt Production: Trapani has a long-standing tradition of salt production. The region's salt pans, known as "saline," have been in operation for centuries and produce high-quality sea salt. It also means it attracts many bird life such as the pink flamingo and is great to see.

Fishing and Seafood: Trapani has a strong connection to the sea and a thriving fishing industry. The city is renowned for its fresh seafood, and you can savour delicious dishes made from locally caught fish and shellfish. From traditional seafood pasta to grilled fish, Trapani's culinary scene is celebrated for its seafood delicacies and there are many top restaurants to visit.

The Egadi Islands: You're just a short ferry away from the stunning Egadi Islands—Favignana, Levanzo, and Marettimo. These islands are known for their crystal-clear waters, pristine beaches, and enchanting landscapes. With this, you can go swimming, snorkelling, diving, and also able to explore caves.

Languages spoken in Trapani

Trapani, has Italian as its official language, with the local dialect being Trapanese. Learning a few Italian words and phrases is highly recommended to interact with the residents. It presents a wonderful opportunity to immerse oneself in the culture and establish connections with the locals. While English is more commonly spoken in central areas, it becomes less prevalent in remote towns and villages.

Best time to Visit Trapani

Trapani boasts warm and humid summers accompanied by dry conditions and clear skies, while its winters are characterized by cold temperatures, wet weather, and cloudy skies. Throughout the year, the temperature typically varies between 8°C and 30°C, making it hotter than its neighbouring town, San Vito Lo Capo, and also receiving less rainfall on average.

Based on the charts, the optimal period to plan a summer vacation in Trapani is from mid-June to late August. It's worth noting that some restaurants in Trapani may operate seasonally, so it is advisable to check their availability if you visit during the off-peak season.

Temperature in Trapani per month graph
Average Rainfall per month in Trapani Graph

How to get around Trapani

Getting to Trapani is pretty easy, thanks to its small size and convenient access to major airports. Here are some helpful tips for getting around:

Aeroplane - When traveling to Trapani from abroad, the most convenient way to reach the city is by air. The closest airport to Trapani is Trapani-Birgi Vincenzo Florio Airport. It is worth mentioning that this airport primarily serves European travelers and offers limited international flight routes. If you are flying from New York, the estimated flight duration is approximately 10.5 hours with a typical layover in Rome. If you are carrying more than hand luggage I would advise taking a longer layover so you don't miss the connecting flight.

Bus - Buses in Sicily provide a convenient means of transportation, although it's crucial to acknowledge the possibility of delays or cancellations. The primary bus service within the town is the ATM Line, ensuring you reach your desired destinations. To travel from Trapani Airport to the town, the AST bus line is available. Please note that tickets for the AST bus can only be obtained on board.

Car - I would say the car is the best option to travel around Trapani. If you're arriving at Trapani Airport, it typically takes approximately 22 minutes to reach the city centre. If you're driving from mainland Italy, there are other steps to keep in mind. Initially, you'll need to board a 20-minute ferry from Villa San Giovanni Port to Messina. From there, it's a drive of slightly less than 3.6 hours to reach Trapani. It's important to note that in Italy, driving is conducted on the right-hand side of the road, with the driver positioned on the left-hand side of the vehicle. Manual cars are more prevalent than automatic ones, leading to higher rental prices. It is recommended to select a reputable car rental agency to avoid falling victim to scams or excessive charges that often target tourists. Begin saving now and secure your reservation for a rental car.

Ferry - The ferry will allow you to visit the beautiful Islands close to Trapani such as the Egadi Islands (Favignana, Levanzo and Marettimo), and Pantelleria in as little as 25 minutes.

Train - The train station in the city is Trapani Station, which is operated by TRENITALIA. Note there is no train station from the Airport so it's more for travelling from other towns in Sicily or trains from mainland Italy, such as Rome to Trapani.

Taxi - To conveniently reach and explore Trapani, a taxi provides a reliable transportation option. Especially if you've had a long journey from overseas, it's worth considering a taxi ride to avoid waiting for buses or dealing with rental cars. When traveling from Trapani Airport to the city centre, I suggest using the local taxi service located just outside the main entrance. The fare is a fixed rate of €30 for individuals so make sure not to pay more, and the journey typically takes about 20 minutes. For a dependable taxi service in Trapani Centre, Taxi Trapani is my go-to.

Parking in Trapani

Parking can be daunting for tourists in foreign countries, requiring careful location selection to avoid fines. In Trapani, it's advisable to carry cash as not all places except cards.

Parking in Trapani can be challenging, especially in crowded summer months. Limited street parking is available, with resident-designated spots to be avoided. White lines indicate free parking, unless a blue sign with a white "P" states otherwise. Use parking meters or purchase tickets from tobacconists, displaying them visibly on the dashboard. Be punctual, as parking wardens are active.

EasyPark is the easiest way to pay for parking in Italy. It works nationwide and lets you pay from your phone, so you don't need to find a ticket machine or newsagent. You can pay for a few hours or stop the timer early to save money. They charge a fee, but it's worth the convenience. Tip: Use a random Italian phone number when you sign up for the app, as your local number may not register.

Awareness of Zona Traffico Limitato (ZTL) areas in Trapani is crucial. Access is restricted to residents and authorized vehicles during specific times. Avoid entering ZTL areas with your own or rental car to avoid hefty fines especially when going to your Trapani Accommodation. Check the ZTL website for updates.

Parking garages are often the easiest option, searchable as "Parcheggio" on Google Maps. For security, I try and find a hotel with parking included or for a small fee.

Sunset in Trapani Travel guide with ocean view

Top 5 Hotels in Trapani

  • The Room of Andrea Hotel is a 4-star palace built in the twentieth century and renovated into a luxury hotel in 2017. The hotel has its own rooftop swimming pool, bar and restaurant. It is conveniently located to many historical sites such as Triton's Fountain and Villa Regina Margherita, and other restaurants and a few minutes walk to the train stations.
Room of Andrea Hotel Suite Trapani
  • The 4* Hotel Vittoria is situated right next to the beach and the old town centre. The hotel is owned by the Moncada family for the last 5 generations and aim to make their guests feel at home. Hotel Vittoria also has an agreement with a private beach nearby that you relax at. Nearby is the 17th century Palazzo Riccio di Morana & other local historical buildings to visit.
Hotel Vittoria Trapani Suite
  • Palazzo Gatto Art Hotel is a modern property in the historical centre of Trapani. It was recovered from an 18th-century building and now is one of the finest 4 *hotels in the area. They have a rooftop that has views of the city that also included a jacuzzi & solarium or you can relax in their spa. At the Palazzo Gatto Art Hotel, you can also book the roof lounge for special events plus you can book a tasting in their cellar with their expert sommelier.
Palazzo Gatto Art Hotel & Spa Trapani
  • Hotel Tiziano is a traditional Silician 4* hotel in the centre of town. It is a small property with just 32 rooms so is very quiet, and includes free parking for your car and free breakfast. You walk to the port in just a few minutes and visit the Egodi Islands for the day. It is close to all the popular restaurants and right outside is an Olympic-sized swimming pool.
Hotel Tiziano Suite Trapani
  • Just outside of the city, 10 minutes from the centre is the 4-star Relais Antiche Saline hotel. The story of this property started in the 16th century when men used to collect salt from the salt pans in Trapani. In the 1900's the Culcasi family also worked in the industry and this carried on throughout the family when eventually in 2013 they created the Relais Antiche Saline Hotel and also the Museum to the Trattoria del Sale. The property has just 18 furnished rooms and includes a pool, free parking, spa services a garden area to relax in and also bicycles to explore the area.
Relais Antiche Saline Trapani on a blue sky day

Top Things to Do in Trapani

  • Visit the Egadi Islands. Trapani is the gateway to these amazing islands and you get to them in as little as 20 minutes, you can either book a private tour or explore by yourself by taking the ferry.
  • Immerse yourself in the rich historical heritage of the town by exploring its captivating landmarks. Discover a myriad of remarkable sites, including the awe-inspiring Cathedral of San Lorenzo, an exquisite example of baroque architecture dating back to 1421. Delve into the intriguing history of the old Jewish quarter as you visit Palazzo della Giudecca, a magnificent palace constructed in the 1300s. Marvel at the beauty of the Basilica Santuario di Maria Santissima Annunziata, a stunning basilica that also emerged during the 14th century. With a wealth of historical sites to explore, your journey through time in this town will be truly unforgettable.
  • Embark on a captivating journey to uncover the Salt Pans of Trapani (10 minutes away from the city centre). These salt pans have been operational since the 16th century, yielding exceptional sea salt of the highest quality. A visit to the Museo del Sale offers the opportunity for a guided tour, where you can delve deeper into the intriguing world of salt production. The salt pans also serve as a haven for numerous species of birds, including the majestic pink flamingo, providing a magnificent spectacle to behold.
  • Take a day trip to San Vito Lo Capo. The neighbouring town is home to one of the best beaches in the whole of Sicily. So if you are in the West for a while it's worth the trip if you have some time. During September they also host their famous Cous Cous Festival.
  • Try your hand at kitesurfing. Sicily, renowned for its strong westerly breezes, offers the perfect conditions for this thrilling water sport. With its popularity on the rise, kitesurfing has become a favourite pastime in the region. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced enthusiast, you can book personalized 1-on-1 sessions to learn or enhance your skills. Enjoy the luxury of a private beach where you can indulge in the excitement of kitesurfing to your heart's content. Get ready to feel the wind beneath your wings and experience the thrill of this action-packed activity. Located in Marsala just half an hour away from Trapani.

How much should you budget for a trip to Trapani?

I recommend a budget of around €230 per day in Trapani. If you see below I have broken it down by the most common activities that will cost money.

Breakfast (sometimes included in accommodation)€20
Tourist Activities€30
Going out€30
Total cost per day€230

Top Travel Card to use in Trapani Sicily

I highly recommend making use of the Wise card for effortless money transfers during your Italian vacation. It is undoubtedly one of the top-notch global cards available, eliminating the inconvenience of visiting the post office, enduring long queues, or converting money into physical cash. With Wise, you can even conveniently use Apple Pay or Google Pay before receiving the physical card.

Wise outshines traditional banks by offering significantly lower fees and avoiding any extra charges. They provide the most up-to-date exchange rates without any inflated prices, applying only a small fee. While it's advisable to carry some cash while traveling, the fees associated with Wise are reasonable and definitely worth comparing to the fees imposed by your local debit card.

From my personal experience of relying on Wise for more than five years, I have saved a substantial amount of money compared to using my local bank for international money transfers. I also utilize Wise to send money to hotels and other international establishments, benefiting from reduced exchange fees compared to my bank.

How long should you stay in Trapani

For those planning to explore Trapani, I suggest allocating at least 2-3 days for your stay in the area. However, if you wish to fully engage in various activities and visit all the noteworthy attractions, it would be wise to extend your visit for a longer period. Don't forget that nearby lies the charming beach town of San Vito Lo Capo, which can easily add a few extra days to your itinerary. The duration of your stay will also depend on your personal preferences and the nature of your trip, whether it's a family vacation, a solo adventure, or a romantic getaway.

During a 2-3 day stay, you'll have the opportunity to explore significant historical sites such as the Duomo di San Lorenzo and the Ligny Tower, a coastal watchtower dating back to the 17th century. Additionally, you can immerse yourself in the town's main attractions. Trapani boasts many excellent restaurants, some of which have even received positive reviews from Michelin.

It's important to keep in mind that Trapani is an immensely popular destination, especially during the summer season. Therefore, it is advisable to make advance bookings for your flights and accommodations, as availability tends to fill up quickly each year. Moreover, prices may escalate over time. As a helpful tip, I suggest considering booking your luxury Italian holiday before the year's end to secure the best options available.

Make sure to read our blog on Travel Essentials for Europe for more tips when planning a trip.

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