Sicily! Ohhh Sicily! This was certainly one of our best trips. We stayed 6 days and we were a total of 6 friends looking forward to have lots of fun and explore as much as we could. Which we totally did!
Just to have a first impression, our tour included the following locations:
- Castellammare del Golfo
- San Vito lo Capo
Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea located in Europe. It is an autonomous Region of Italy, along with surrounding minor islands, officially referred to as Regione Siciliana. The total area of the island is 25,711 km2 while the Autonomous Region of Sicily (which includes smaller surrounding islands) has an area of 27,708 km2.
We bought our Ryanair flight tickets (120 Euros in total for husband and I) from Bucharest to Palermo + return flight. Three of us came from Bucharest and the other three friends of ours came later that day from London.
The not so great thing about Sicily is the public transportation. I recommend renting a car to get around Sicily, but if you don’t want to (which we also didn’t), don’t fret: getting around Sicily by public transport is possible. It’s just not as straightforward as in most of the rest of Italy.
No worries, because I had the entire itinerary already made up from home and knew from the beginning at what hour we have the buses and trains scheduled to move around the island and how much do they cost. However, it was really interesting to wake up 6 persons (including myself) every morning and hurry up every single day :))
We stayed in Castellammare del Golfo as a base, which was a super good idea, because this little town is absolutely wonderful.
Our accommodation was at the Blue Suite (rated as 9.5 Exceptional on Booking) – it was a 3 rooms apartment and we paid 480 Euros in total for 6 persons. This means a total of 80 Euros per person for 5 nights. Super cheap, right?
How to get from the airport to the accommodation was a little tricky, but it was ok in the end. Now let me explain you why…
The Palermo Airport Falcone Borcellino (Punta Raisi) is not exactly in Palermo, is at about 35 km from the city. But we were supposed to get to Castellammare del Golfo, remember? And guess what? Castellammare del Golfo is in the opposite direction from Palermo. So we thought it wasn’t even necessary to reach Palermo, because, logically, it wasn’t. Bad thinking :))
The only available option was to take a bus from Punta Raisi to Palermo and then from Palermo another bus back to Castellammare del Golfo. This takes around 2.5 hours… YAY! It is not impossible, but it’s not that great either…
- Punta Raisi -> Palermo
The company Prestia and Comandè has a bus line that connects the airport with the city of Palermo and has a duration of about 50 minutes. The simple ticket costs € 6.30. You can buy tickets on the bus, at the ticket Office and online.
- Palermo -> Castellammare del Golfo
Then from Palermo you can take the direct bus to Castellammare. Russo Autoservices offer daily connections during the summer. The average travel time is one hour and a half. The cost for a one-way ticket – € 6.40.
However, between the airport and Castellammare del Golfo directly, there are only 45 km. So we took option 2: a taxi. We paid 20 Euros each, meaning a total of 60 Euros for 3 persons and in 30 minutes maximum we were at the accommodation. We preferred paying a little more and getting to the accommodation in half an hour, than paying less and be there in 2.5 hours. Good choice, right?
So basically and finally, here starts our DAY 1. After we left our baggage at the apartment, we went directly TO THE BEAAAACH! Yuhuuu
In the meantime, another friend of ours arrived from London, so there were only 2 left to come later that evening.
It was a little late though so we didn’t spend much time to the beach. Being also hungry we bought something from the store and cooked inside the apartment. What did we eat? PASTAAAA. Like every single day from that day on… Pasta, pasta and again pasta :)) living the Italian life. Sorry, the Sicilian life.
About this fact, I know Sicilians probably have the strongest provincial identity of all Italians, many consider themselves Sicilians first, Italians second or don’t even like being called Italian. This really happened to us at the store, when a friend of mine said he likes being “here in Italy” and the woman there immediately corrected him saying this is Sicily, NOT ITALY!
Later that evening, our last but not least 2 remaining friends arrived from London so our team was complete. We went outside for a stroll in the old town of Castellammare del Golfo. Castellammare is a town and comune in the Trapani Province of Sicily. The name can be translated as “Sea Fortress on the Gulf”, stemming from the medieval fortress in the harbor. The urban plan is made of steps and winding streets that lead to Piazza Petrolo or towards the main central gardens, where the town center lies with many shops, cafes and restaurants.
On DAY 2, our plan was to visit Palermo + Mondello and also spend the night there. Our Russo bus from Castellammare to Palermo was at 7.30 in the morning -> one-way ticket costs € 6.40. You can imagine we didn’t sleep much the previous night because we drank some wine, listened to the music and were a little chatty. I guess we slept only for 3-4 hours so it was really hard to wake up at 6.30 AM. But when we finally did it HURRAAAY… we noticed one friend of ours was not “home”. And we were locked inside. AWESOME
Tried calling him, his phone was dead. Looked on Facebook, he was last active 40 minutes ago. So our fear was that he was sleeping on the beach, after seeing the sunrise. However, after a few minutes of panic, we were looking outside the balcony… and guess what? We saw him in the street, searching the apartment haha. He didn’t remember where it was and he couldn’t even call us. So we yelled at him, he came upstairs, changed his clothes and start running for the Russo bus. We really thought we weren’t going to make it. But we did it. This time. PHEW!
At 9 AM we were already in Palermo. We were staying there for the night and asked the owner of the apartment if we could let our baggage there before the check-in. He agreed YAY. We stayed at the Titano Apartments (rated as 8.9 Fabulous on Booking) and I can tell you this: the place is absolutely A M A Z I N G. The location is perfect, meaning 5 minutes away from Teatro Massimo and the apartment is one of the best apartments I’ve stayed in since traveling. Totally recommend it! Oh and we paid only 75 Euros for the entire apartment, meaning 12.5 Euros per person!
So we went directly to Mondello Beach, Mondello being part of Palermo… but not quite. It is a small seaside resort with a wonderful beach just a short bus ride from the centre of the Sicilian capital Palermo. It is more or less a suburb of the city, and excursions to the sea at Mondello are a ritual for Palermitani. The beach is generally crowded, but there’s a sunny holiday atmosphere and tourists may relax with a few hedonistic hours by the turquoise sea.
This beach is also quite expensive. We paid 11 Euros each for a sun-lounger, nothing else included. We bought our beers separately from the bar… Ceres beers of course! I bet you all remember that we discovered this beer in our recent Italy trips (Rome and Milan) and that we totally loved it! Our friends loved it too. We literally do not know how many Ceres beers we drank this trip haha… and we don’t want to know either.
After being all day to the beach, we went back to the apartment and… ate some pasta :)) as I mentioned before, it wasn’t a joke that we ate pasta daily in this trip.
Having our stomachs full, we went outside for a stroll. And oh my God… Palermo’s streets were absolutely crowded with lots of people. Loved that feeling, loved the vibe of this city and I may say I really really loved Palermo! Cross my heart.
On our DAY 3 we went to… Cefalù and we liked it a lot! Cefalù is notable for beautiful sunsets, unpretentious charm, and a very appealing blend of ingredients for an Italian seaside holiday. Sandy beaches, a picturesque historic town on a rocky headland, some high culture in the shape of a fine Norman cathedral, decent transport links, Sicilian food and sunshine all add up to make the town one of Italy’s most attractive seaside destinations.
We took a train from Palermo Centrale at 8.30 AM meaning that we woke up early in the morning… AGAIN! One-way ticket: € 5.60 per person. By 9.15 AM we were already in Cefalù. YAYYY.
We decided to skip going to the beach that day because we were all sun-burned and our skin was all red so NO NO NO… no beach for that particular day.
Therefore, we just wandered through this wonderful town and took lots of pictures, we bought a lot of magnets and souvenirs… it was all so pretty.
After all this walking, we stopped at a cute restaurant and ate some PAS… haha NO, we ate some PIZZA this time :))
At 3 PM we were already on our train to Palermo because from there we were supposed to take another bus to get back in Castellammare del Golfo. After arriving in Palermo, we had 1 hour and a half before taking the bus so it was more than ok, we thought…
Husband and I really wanted to visit the Palermo Cathedral because of the amazing views over the city from its dome. We saw a big church on our way to the train station that morning and we were 100% positive that THE church was THE Cathedral of Palermo. But it wasn’t, of course :)) maybe next time.
So we just wandered a bit more through Palermo before taking the bus. The girls had their baggage at the accommodation so they had to go back and take it… while the boys stopped at a bar where we previously drank our coffee/beer that morning before leaving to Cefalù.
Most of the people would say that Palermo is not a very nice city to visit but I totally disagree. I believe these rusty facades are part of Palermo’s “character” and I really admire all these imperfections. Also, I know Palermo has lots more to offer and will definitely come back for a city break dedicated entirely for it!
Ok, so we were heading to our Russo bus to go back in Castellammare. It was the last bus on that route so it was reaaaaally important to catch it. We soon started realizing that we should hurry up because we were running out of time. But 2 of our friends, the guys who drank too many beers that day, were having a good time and laughing at every corner, walking too slow and didn’t listen to us. We kind of left them behind us while we were walking super fast trying to reach the bus.
And I suppose you were all expecting this… we missed the bus. We literally saw it leaving in front of our eyes. It was… very frustrating and we started arguing and yelling at each other. Mostly at the guys :)) poor them. I know Italians are usually very loud but don’t forget we are Romanians and we have Latin blood in our veins too… People were starring at us but we were all super angry.
So we took again option 2: a taxi. This time we paid 90 Euros but it was our last chance to get back to our accommodation so we had to do it. However, by the time we were back in Castellammare we forgot about the argue and we were all friends again.
In Castellammare the sun was setting and the town was all surrounded by this natural pink light. It was all so serene…
That night, even though we were super tired, the boys and I decided to go out in the Old Town of Castellammare because it was Saturday. And I am glad we did it! The city center was absolutely full, people walking all over the places, music everywhere. We where quite impressed because I’ve read before that Castellammare is not such a touristic place. Bulls*it! It was as full as it was in Palermo the other night, really.
So we made a lot of friends that night. I still remember that we were talking a combination of italo-english haha and we couldn’t understand each other perfectly but we were all laughing and having fun!
On DAY 4 we were planning to rent a boat for a tour reaching its final destination in San Vito lo Capo. It was also June 11th and husband and I were celebrating 1 year since we got married AWWW so we thought renting a boat for all of us would have been pretty special.
However, we didn’t rent a boat, because the prices were a bit high and they asked for a total of approximately 200 Euros for the boat + gasoline + driver. Being 6 persons, some of us were short of money and didn’t want to spend that much that day, because we were still having 3 days more to stay. So we abandoned this plan, but I still regret it! ;(
Therefore, we went to Castellammare’s beach and agreed going in San Vito Lo Capo the next day with the Russo bus.
Now let’s go to the beach! From the town square you have access to the smallest of the two sandy beaches. The other, much larger beach is located just outside of Castellammare del Golfo. In the summer period there are several lidos, where you can rent sun-loungers and beach umbrellas, but the main part of Castellammare’s sandy beach is free of charge.
This beach is not expensive at all. We paid only 3.5 Euros each for a sun-lounger and they also have a cute restaurant on the beach having decent prices. That day we had for lunch… SEAFOOD. So yeah, we ate something different than pizza and pasta eventually haha.
After spending all day to the beach, we all went outside for a walk in the evening. Later that night, we had some wine, found a perfect spot by the sea and listened to some live music we could hear from a restaurant nearby. It was super nice and we had a lot of fun!
DAY 5. The day we finally visited San Vito Lo Capo!
Woke up early in the morning, as usual, after few hours of sleep, as usual :)) and took the Russo bus from Castellammare to San Vito at 9.30 AM – one way ticket costs € 6.40. The problem was that, being Monday, the last bus returning from San Vito to Castellammare was at noon so we had only few hours to visit San Vito. Meh…
The small town is located in a valley between spectacular mountains, and is home to a public beach popular with local vacationers. The town’s primary industries are tourism and agriculture, particularly olive groves owned by small farmers.
San Vito lo Capo is home to many small eateries targeting the beach-going market; of those the most well-known is the historical Cafe Europa, famous for its specialty, the Panini con Panelle.
This is one of their most famous beaches so it’s totally a must see if you’re visiting Sicily! However, prepare yourselves for a way much colder water. We couldn’t even go for a swim because our ankles would have literally been freezing immediately :))
After this short trip to San Vito lo Capo, we took the bus back to our accommodation in Castellammare del Golfo. Being most of the times sleepy and usually on the road, we always slept on the buses and trains. Oh well, c’est la vie!
From the beginning I’ve been trying to convince my friends to climb a mountain in Castellammare for the spectacular view over the town. In this last night, I finally did it. HURRRAY!!! But I know for sure they weren’t that enthusiastic as I was. However, the situation changed a bit when we finally got there and we were all “wow”-ing at the same time. After 30 minutes of walking, we were up there at the Belvedere point. There is also a restaurant named Quetzal, so if you want to have a fine dinner with a view, this is certainly the place! Now see for yourselves if it’s worth it or not:
Also, I am really impressed of how perfect turned out this photo… It was the first time using a tripod + manual settings. Shame on me, I know :)) But I will improve, I promise!
Being really tired, we all went to bed pretty early that night. ZZZzzZZzzzZZZzzzz…
On DAY 6 we had to leave Sicily and go back to our normal lives, sadly… We arranged with the owner of the Blue Suite, who was super super friendly and understanding by the way, to take us to the airport for 20 Euros each (3 persons). The other 3 of us had their London flight later that day, so they took the bus.
These being said, we had a little time left to spend it… at the beach! This time we went to the closer (10 minutes walking) and smaller beach in Castellammare. It is a very nice beach as well, a little more private but super cute.
So yeah, that’s all folks! After this we went back to the accommodation, took a shower, and off we went to the airport.
By noon we were already on the plane and I was so tired that I fell asleep even before taking off :)) This never happened to me before! But no worries, less sleep meant more fun this trip so I regret nothing!
Until next time,
- Our stay in Sicily: 08.06.2017 – 13.06.2017
- Bucharest – Palermo and return flight: Ryanair 120 Euros
- Accommodation in Castellammare del Golfo: Blue Suite 160 Euros
- Accommodation in Palermo: Titano Apartments 25 Euros
- Public transportation (buses, trains + shuttle from and to the airport): 170 Euros
- Total: 475 Euros as a couple