If you have decided to go on vacation in Favignana, after reading this guide you won’t need anything else for a fun and relaxing experience on the island.
Vacation in Favignana, represented by an overview of the Cala Rossa cliff Favignana is the most famous and popular island in the Egadi archipelago, located about 8 km from the westernmost part of Sicily (between Trapani and Marsala) and is almost completely flat.
The old name of the island was “Egusa,” meaning “which has goats” or “island of goats” due to the abundance of the species on the island. The current name, instead, is related to “Favonius,” the word used by the Romans to indicate the warm wind blowing from west to east.
The painter Salvatore Fiume in the 1970s defined Favignana as “The great butterfly on the sea” because of its particular butterfly-shaped form lying on the blue sea.
Today, Favignana is part of the Marine Protected Area “Isole Egadi” and is a destination for many tourists who come here every year to get a close look at its famous beaches and dive into the typical turquoise waters that characterize the island.
Let’s now delve deeper into all the aspects related to what Favignana offers to tourists, along with interesting practical and logistical information.
How to get around in Favignana?
First of all, it’s important to note that Favignana is a relatively small island, measuring 8 km in length. Furthermore, the historic center of Favignana, where all the accommodation facilities are located, is quite compact, and you can easily get around on foot.
Therefore, the advice is to rent a car or scooter to move around during the day, starting from the historic center to reach the various beaches scattered throughout the island. In the afternoon or evening, you can comfortably move around on foot or by bicycle in the town center.
It’s worth mentioning that during summer, the historic center of Favignana is closed to traffic to promote the restaurant activities and tourist agencies in the area, making it even more enjoyable to stroll through the narrow streets and picturesque alleys that characterize the island.
What to do on vacation in Favignana?
There are plenty of things to do in Favignana, and everyone can find activities to suit their preferences and expectations, ranging from sports to pleasant and relaxing experiences.
Here are the main activities to do in Favignana.
Take a dive at Cala Rossa
Cala Rossa cliff in Favignana Cala Rossa cliff in Favignana (photo by Simona D’Alessandro) Cala Rossa is the most famous cliff in Favignana, characterized by the tuff quarries that surround it. The sea here is beautiful, and you will find many boats and rubber dinghies moored offshore.
Although it is possible to reach the water on foot by walking along some not-so-easy paths, it is advisable not to venture on foot if you have children or people with mobility difficulties.
It is better to reach Cala Rossa by renting a boat or rubber dinghy or by directly participating in a boat tour or island tour organized by local fishermen, as follows.
Boat tour of Favignana
Fishermen on the island welcome tourists on board and take them on a beautiful boat tour of Favignana that lasts about 3 hours (the price is around €30 per person and often includes lunch/refreshments on board).
Among the unmissable stops on these boat tours are certainly Cala Rossa, Cala di San Nicola, Spiaggia del Bue Marino, and Cala Azzurra.
It is possible, of course, to take advantage of these tours to make some stops and dive into the crystal-clear sea that characterizes the Egadi Islands, and more.
Generally, these tours also include visits to the most interesting sea caves of Favignana (the most famous ones being Grotta del Bue Marino and Grotta dei Sospiri).
Go on a fishing charter
If you love boating and fishing, why not combine the two and take advantage of a wonderful fishing tour in Favignana? There are several agencies on the island that can offer you this type of activity.
The area is abundant in prized fish, and the catch is cooked directly on board for an experience that will also involve your taste buds.
Go scuba diving
Favignana is perfect for safe scuba diving with the opportunity to admire the underwater flora and fauna, as well as various interesting things on the seabed, including the famous “black coral.”
As for the usual diving spots in Favignana, there are certainly:
- La Secca del Toro
- La Secca del Fondale
- Il Relitto della Elpis
- Cala Galera
- Cala Rotonda
Watch the sunset from Punta Sottile
Punta Sottile is the westernmost area of Favignana, where you can better admire the sunset.
It is truly a unique spectacle, both because of the presence of the charming Punta Sottile Lighthouse and the sight of the sun descending and “hiding” behind the nearby island of Marettimo.
The sunset seen from Punta Sottile is the most romantic in Favignana, thanks to the presence of the lighthouse with the same name. It is a certainly romantic and picturesque spot, suitable for those who wish to take beautiful photographs enhanced by the warm colors of the sunset.
What to see in Favignana?
Although the image we all have of Favignana is that of a splendid island with dreamy beaches, there are also many other things to see here.
Below, we have listed some historical sites and tourist attractions that will enrich your vacation in Favignana, allowing you to make pleasant cultural and architectural discoveries while having fun.
Vincenzo Florio had Villa Florio built in Favignana in 1876, immediately after purchasing the island itself.
Located in a strategic position right in front of the port, and a very short distance from the Florio Factory, Villa Florio soon became the summer residence of the entire family and their illustrious guests.
The architect in charge of its construction was one of the most distinguished of the time, Damiani Almeyda (who also designed numerous iconic roads and places in Palermo, including the Politeama Theatre), who drew inspiration from a neo-Gothic style on the exterior and an Art Nouveau style on the interior.
Today, Villa Florio houses the municipal council of Favignana and can be visited every day during the summer season.
Visiting the Ex Stabilimento Florio delle Tonnare di Favignana Museum
Visiting the former Florio Tuna Factory in Favignana is essential for those who wish to immerse themselves in the glorious past of the tuna industry and its influence on the island’s growth.
This place was not only where the equipment used for the tuna slaughter was housed but also represents the history of the Florio family and its interaction with the life of the island community, which found in this activity an escape from poverty and a source of economic sustenance.
The Castle of Santa Caterina to admire the panorama of the Egadi Islands
The Castle of Santa Caterina is located on the mountain of the same name and is the highest point in Favignana, reaching a height of 310 meters. Originally, it was a watchtower built by the Saracens around the early 19th century and later transformed into a fort by the Normans.
The path to reach the top is actually a long staircase, so it must be traversed entirely on foot, and it takes about 20 to 30 minutes to reach the summit.
It is definitely worth it because from up there, you can admire Levanzo and Marettimo, as well as the endless sea that surrounds the Egadi Islands.
The Tuff Quarries and the Hypogeal Gardens
For decades, people extracted limestone from the depths of Favignana.
Thus, over time, the stonecutters changed the morphology of the land, creating enormous squared and symmetrical hollows, real tunnels where workers labored almost without light, as they were deep and intricate.
With the passing years, however, the mining activity became less and less profitable for the islanders until the extraction operations ceased, and the quarries were closed.
Nevertheless, the people of Favignana did not miss the opportunity to exploit those unique terrains with their particular geometries and transformed them into vegetable gardens and parks.
In just a few years, the lush nature, favored by the climatic and moisture conditions unique to the quarries, reclaimed this space, creating a unique vegetative habitat known today as the “Hypogeal Gardens,” true natural greenhouses that certainly deserve a visit.
Go on an excursion to Levanzo
Levanzo is just a short boat ride away from Favignana. If you’re staying for a few more days, you could dedicate one of them to a day trip to Levanzo.
You will certainly not regret it and will be amazed by the slowness and tranquility with which time passes on this small island where donkeys are still a valid means of transportation.
You can find our guide to visiting Levanzo here.
Taking a trip to Marettimo
Marettimo vacation Detail of the harbor of Marettimo. You can notice the fishermen’s boats and the typical white houses. Marettimo is the westernmost island of the Aegadian archipelago, but in this case, a day trip from Favignana is highly recommended if you have time.
In Marettimo, it is delightful to stroll surrounded by the white houses of the fishermen and its silent alleys, as well as to have a delicious aperitif accompanied by tonnare products.
If you’re considering it, read our guide to visiting Marettimo.
Visiting the Archaeological Area of San Nicola
The top of the vast eastern plain of the island is occupied by the locality of S. Nicola, located in the eastern part of the island and a 5-minute drive from the center of Favignana.
The coast and the surrounding countryside are composed of easily excavatable limestone, which has led to the presence of numerous underground cavities in the area. It is believed that these areas were frequented from prehistoric times to the early Christian period.
In particular, the sites not to be missed here are:
- Grotta del Pozzo, which preserves several inscriptions and probably served as a burial place.
- Grotta di San Nicola, inside which you can see engraved quadrupeds on the walls.
- Necropolis, which features tombs obtained by digging into the limestone (3rd century BC) and later converted into prisons.
- Cetariae (or fish tanks), which are rock-cut basins probably used to preserve fish in salt or to make garum, a liquid obtained from fish innards.
Reaching the Punta Sottile Lighthouse
The Punta Sottile Lighthouse, one of the main attractions of the island of Favignana The Punta Sottile Lighthouse is one of the main attractions of the island of Favignana, located on the westernmost point. Built in 1860, the lighthouse is about 40 meters high and dominates the entire eastern coast of the island.
The lighthouse was built following a series of maritime accidents that had occurred in the area due to the lack of an adequate signaling system.
Thanks to its strategic position, the Punta Sottile Lighthouse is now able to illuminate and signal danger to sailors navigating at night.
Today, the lighthouse is still in operation and is managed by the Italian Navy.
It is not open to the public, but its charm and imposing structure make it a very popular tourist destination.
Visiting the Castle of San Giacomo
The Castle of San Giacomo is one of the most picturesque places on the island of Favignana and represents a very interesting tourist destination for history and culture enthusiasts.
Built in the 10th century, the Castle of San Giacomo is located not far from the port and overlooks the entire settlement of Favignana.
In the past, the castle was used as a defense tower against pirates infesting the Mediterranean, but today it is incorporated into a prison structure and is not open to visitors.
What to eat in Favignana?
The typical lobster pasta that you can taste in the restaurants of Favignana As you can easily imagine, fresh fish is abundant in Favignana (especially the tonnare products), so the island’s restaurants mainly offer first and second courses based on fish.
- Octopus meatballs
- Bottarga spaghetti
- Tuna parmigiana
- Sweet and sour tuna
- Linguine or pappardelle with lobster
- Spaghetti with sea urchins
- Couscous Frascatole (a variation of couscous)
- Stuffed sardines Sardine
- Pane cunzato
The historic center of Favignana
The historic center of Favignana is developed around 3 main squares, situated a few steps away from each other, and you can easily move around on foot or by bicycle.
The town offers tourists a certainly peaceful and relaxing environment, and everything is available to ensure pleasant and rejuvenating holidays in Favignana.
Between a stroll and a granita, between a dip and a seafood dish, your holidays in Favignana will pass pleasantly slow and serene.
Now let’s see in detail what the 3 main squares of Favignana are and what you can do in each of them.
Piazza Madrice is the main square of Favignana. Coming from Via Nicotera, the view of the square is enchanting.
At the end of the square, you can admire the Mother Church of Maria SS. Immacolata (or Chiesa Madrice dell’Immacolata Concezione), characterized by a wooden door and a stained glass window depicting the image of the Immaculate Conception. The bell tower with three bells stands out.
Here you will find several ice cream shops, restaurants, and small shops, as well as an ATM and local businesses.
Most likely, this is where you will sit in the evening while enjoying a Sicilian granita, the ideal way to end a pleasant evening in Favignana.
Walking along Via Vittorio Emanuele (which is full of bars and pubs), it only takes a few steps from Piazza Madrice to reach Piazza Europa. This square is dominated by the Town Hall of Favignana, in front of which the statue of Ignazio Florio has been erected.
This square also has several bars and ice cream shops, small souvenir shops, and an ATM.
Piazza Marina Piazza
Marina in Favignana (also known as “Largo Marina” in terms of toponymy) is adjacent to Piazza Europa and has recently undergone significant redevelopment works.
The renovation of the pavement and the installation of benches have made the square much more enjoyable to experience, as well as a romantic place to admire the sunset and the sea.
You can take a walk along the pier of the marina to get a closer look at the fishermen’s boats and moored sailboats.
The harbour of Favignana
The tourist harbour of Favignana, the only one on the island, is located on its north coast.
It is a medium-sized port and has a main dock where ferries and hydrofoils connect the island to Trapani and other locations in Sicily, as well as smaller piers for fishermen’s boats and pleasure craft.
Here is some tourist information about the Port of Favignana:
- Services: There are numerous services available, including bars, restaurants, small shops, rental agencies, excursions, and public toilets.
- Accessibility: The port of Favignana is easily accessible on foot from the center of the island. If you prefer, you can rent bicycles, scooters, or even a car here to explore the island.
- Parking: There are several parking lots near the port, some of which are free, where you can leave your car. However, during high season, parking availability may be limited.
- Tourist information: In Piazza Europa, not far from the port, there is a tourist office where you can obtain information about what to do and see in Favignana, book excursions, rent vehicles, and more.
Public transportation: The island of Favignana has an urban bus service that connects the port with other locations on the island from May to October. Alternatively, you can always rent a bicycle, scooter, or car to explore Favignana extensively.
Flora and fauna in Favignana
Favignana cow in front of an old dry stone wall. In the background, there are some wild olive trees. Naturally, in Favignana, the predominant vegetation is Mediterranean maquis: on the island, particularly in the more “barren” areas, species such as carob, capers, prickly pears, mastic trees, wild olive trees, and sumac are abundant.
The gardens that have emerged within the former Favignana tuff quarries, known as hypogea, which we mentioned earlier, are also very interesting.
Some free donkeys walking in the hinterland of the island of Favignana. As for the fauna of Favignana, it is worth mentioning woodcocks, turtle doves, and wood pigeons that dwell here.
Hares and wild boars abound, as well as a thriving colony of cows and donkeys. In the past, some specimens of the Mediterranean monk seal have also been spotted near the island.
Vacation in Favignana with children: activities suitable for them
Favignana is certainly an island suitable for families with children, for more than one reason. First of all, let’s say that the island has several sandy beaches suitable for children, and among these, we highlight:
- Lido Burrone (sometimes seaweed called Posidonia is deposited on this coastline)
- Calamoni Beach (the sand tongue here is long and narrow)
- Praia Beach (central and well-serviced)
There are also many bike rental activities on the island: you could take bikes for the whole family and have fun riding around the historic center, with a nice ice cream break every now and then.
Another wonderful idea is to take the children to the Marine Turtle Recovery Center in Favignana (located near Praia Beach).
Here, volunteers will show the children some of the turtle specimens currently hosted at the Recovery Center, telling them many interesting things about these beautiful animals.
How to get to Favignana?
To get to Favignana, you can choose whether to take a ferry or a hydrofoil unless you have decided to sail the Egadi Islands by sailboat and make a stop in Favignana.
Ferries and hydrofoils to Favignana
As for ferries, departures take place from the Port of Trapani.
If you prefer the hydrofoil, which is much faster but more expensive, departures also take place from the Ports of Palermo and Marsala.
Here are the travel times based on the type of vessel and departure port:
- Ferry from Trapani to Favignana, travel time: 1 hour and 10 minutes
- Hydrofoil from Trapani to Favignana, travel time: 30 minutes
- Hydrofoil from Marsala to Favignana, travel time: 30 minutes
- Hydrofoil from Palermo to Favignana, travel time: 75 minutes
There are several companies that offer maritime transport services to Favignana, and it is possible to reach Favignana by hydrofoil from Levanzo and Marettimo as well.
To book a ticket, you can do so directly at the offices of the shipping companies or online through their websites. Keep in mind that the price is not influenced by the season, but it is advisable to book well in advance because otherwise you risk not finding a seat.
Therefore, try to plan your vacation in Favignana in advance so that you can prepare everything in time, possibly saving money on services, and check the ferry schedules and any changes due to weather conditions or technical problems.
As an alternative to public transportation, you could also choose to sail the Egadi Islands by sailboat, renting one for a few days and taking the opportunity to make a stop in Levanzo and Marettimo as well.
In this regard, you may find our 7-day itinerary for sailing the Egadi Islands of interest.
The beaches of Favignana
Below you can find a list of the most beautiful beaches in Favignana and the information that can help you choose which ones to visit during your stay on the island.
The cliffs of Cala Rossa in Favignana (photo by Simona D’Alessandro) The cliffs of Cala Rossa in Favignana (photo by Simona D’Alessandro) Cala Rossa is one of the most famous beaches in Favignana, characterized by turquoise waters, facilitated by the sandy bottom that breaks on the rocks.
Located in the western area, this natural inlet is surrounded by an impressive rocky ridge, making it even more picturesque.
Although the path to reach the sea is not particularly easy, it is possible to reach it on foot, considering that you have to navigate among the rocks.
For this reason, those who want to explore Cala Rossa usually do so on a sailboat (you will see many moored there) or directly on one of the small boats that tour the island.
An overview of Cala Azzurra, one of the most beautiful and famous beaches in Favignana Cala Azzurra is one of the most famous beaches in Favignana, located in the southwest area. It is characterized by crystal-clear waters of intense blue color, and you have probably seen it several times on TV or the web.
In reality, it is a large cliff, but there is also a small stretch of white sand accessible by a special staircase.
The many sailboats moored here provide a truly enchanting and iconic setting, and there is a free parking area for cars, scooters, and bicycles nearby.
Since it is essentially a cliff, there are no beach facilities or services in the area, except for a RistoBar a few hundred meters before reaching the sea.
Calamoni is a small beach with white sand mixed with rocks located in the southern part of Favignana, with a truly spectacular sea that makes it ideal for snorkeling and diving.
There are a couple of beach clubs here that offer beach umbrella and lounge chair services, dining options, showers, and restrooms. If you have children, you can come here without any worries.
Lido Burrone Beach is a 200-meter-long beach with white sand located on the eastern side of the island. The sea is crystal clear and shallow, making this stretch of coast ideal for families with children.
Moreover, you will find numerous facilities here, such as equipped beach clubs, restaurants, and beach bars. There are also many dining options within a short distance from the beach, as well as accommodation facilities and a free parking area where campers can park.
Spiaggia del Bue Marino
The Spiaggia del Bue Marino seen from above. It consists of small artificial terraces and steps that facilitate access to the sea. Spiaggia del Bue Marino is the easternmost beach of Favignana, a true paradise on earth. Going on vacation to Favignana and not visiting Spiaggia del Bue Marino would be a real shame.
To reach it, you need to follow the directions for Cala Rossa and then continue following the signs for Bue Marino.
You have to travel along a dirt road and face a slightly challenging stretch on the rocks before reaching a flat area created by humans that allows for easier access to the sea.
The seabed here quickly becomes deep, and the currents can be quite strong, so if you have children, Spiaggia del Bue Marino is not ideal. Additionally, the beach is named after the nearby Grotta del Bue Marino (Sea Ox Cave).
Grotta Perciata is located in the southeast of Favignana. It is a stretch of coastline where there used to be a cave, but its roof has collapsed, and it used to contain funerary urns.
Today, we can only admire what remains, surrounded by rocks and cliffs that contribute to creating an evocative atmosphere. Of course, the sea here is beautiful as well, and the area offers a unique experience of relaxation and tranquility.
La Spiaggia Praia
La Spiaggia Praia is the most “central” beach in Favignana, easily accessible on foot from the town center and located a short distance from the port and Palazzo Florio.
It is a sandy beach with clear and shallow waters, ideal for children or for swimming and sunbathing in total relaxation.
Cala Rotonda is a large inlet on the west coast of the island, surrounded by untouched nature and offering breathtaking panoramic views.
Although located at the western end of Favignana, Cala Rotonda is easy to reach by car, and you can park your car or scooter right in front of the access to the sea.
There is no sand here, except for a very small stretch, and the rest is rocks and cliffs.
To reach the sea, however, you don’t need to make a great effort since access is facilitated in some points, and you only need to walk a few meters downhill to reach the water.
The famous Arch of Ulysses, a suggestive rock arch, is also present here.
Cala Faraglioni is a truly picturesque coastal area located in the northwest part of Favignana.
It is a beach with a mixture of sand and pebbles surrounded by rocks and cliffs, very quiet and not crowded.
From here, you can see the nearby island of Levanzo so closely that it almost seems possible to reach it by swimming.
The sea here is crystal clear, and it is recommended to go snorkeling; it’s really worth it for a unique experience of tranquility and relaxation.
Cala del Pozzo
Cala del Pozzo is located on the west side of Favignana, a long stretch of coastline characterized by white rocks and the seagrass that the sea deposits here.
Located not far from Cala del Faraone, Cala del Pozzo is sheltered from winds, and that’s why the sea here is almost always calm.
There are no services in the area, except for a small bar that is open only during the summer months.
Scalo Cavallo is located in the northeast part of Favignana, on a terrace above a cliff.
Here, the rock is predominantly tuff, and there are several quarries and tunnels that can be visited.
However, since the stability of tuff is not guaranteed for obvious reasons, it is advisable to seek the assistance of an experienced guide if you decide to explore the cavities that characterize the Scalo Cavallo area.
You can swim in the sea directly from the rocks; the water is beautiful here as well, but it is clearly not suitable for children.
Punta Lunga (also known as “Punta Longa”) is located in the southernmost part of the island, where the Favignana heliport is also located.
At the beginning of Punta Lunga, there is a picturesque harbor with moored boats and a real fishing village complete with a wooden bridge.
Along this stretch of land, there are various access points to the sea, mostly rocky.
Spiaggia di Cala San Nicola
The Beach of Cala San Nicola (also known as “Punta San Nicola”) is located in the northeast area of Favignana, right in front of the Municipal Cemetery.
It is a small cove with alternating sandy and rocky parts, in a truly pleasant setting just a few minutes’ drive from the center of the island.
The beached fishing boats add an even more picturesque touch to the landscape.
For those who wish, it is possible to rent sun loungers and umbrellas here, and purchase food from a kiosk adjacent to the beach.
Baia del Faro
Faro Bay in Favignana takes its name from the nearby Punta Sottile Lighthouse and is located on the western tip of the island.
It is a small bay with crystal-clear and shallow waters, ideal for swimming and enjoying the breathtaking panorama of the island’s coast.
A small part of the bay is characterized by sand, while the rest consists of rocks and cliffs.
There are several access points to the sea, and each person can choose according to their preferences, always with a beautiful atmosphere thanks to the stunning view of the lighthouse.
What to bring on vacation to Favignana?
There are certain things that will certainly be useful during your vacation in Favignana, whether you are traveling with children or not.
We have listed below the most important items to avoid forgetting them at home.
- Rubber shoes for rocks and cliffs
- Snorkel and mask
- Soothing stick with ammonia
- Thermal flasks
- Spacious backpacks with plenty of pockets
Favignana: Answers to frequently asked questions (FAQ) What is Favignana famous for? Favignana is famous for its beautiful coastline and crystal-clear waters that surround it, but not only that. The island is also known for tuna fishing, which has always been one of the main economic activities in Favignana, and the presence of the Florio Tuna Fishery.
Apart from this, Favignana is home to beaches famous worldwide for their beauty, including Cala Azzurra, Cala Rossa, Spiaggia Praia, and Lido Burrone.
What is the most beautiful part of Favignana? Probably the eastern part is the most beautiful area of Favignana: it is where numerous iconic beaches are located, such as Cala Rossa, Bue Marino, Cala Azzurra, and Lido Burrone. If you go on vacation to Favignana, you will most likely want to reach this area.
What is the best time to visit Favignana?
Certainly, the period between May and late September is the best time to visit Favignana, both in terms of climate and the calmer sea. Additionally, many activities on the island only open during the summer season.
How many days to stay in Favignana? Consider that there are at least 5/6 beaches to visit and several tourist attractions scattered around the island. For this reason, it is advisable to stay in Favignana for at least 4/5 days, if not a whole week.
A typical weekend might not be enough and leave you with a sense of regret for not being able to see everything you would have liked.
What is the best area to stay in Favignana? Probably the town area is the best place to stay in Favignana. Here, you’ll find all the commercial activities and services, including many accommodation options.
You can then move around by car, scooter, or bicycle to reach your desired beach. However, remember that Praia Beach is also within walking distance from the town center.
What is the sea like in Favignana? It’s marvelous. Crystal-clear water, blue seabeds, and beaches that are never too crowded. Whether you love sandy beaches, rocks, or cliffs, in Favignana, you can find what you need to enjoy your holidays in clean and inviting waters, few places in Italy can match.
Is there public transportation in Favignana? Yes, there is a bus service that operates only during the summer season. This service connects the town to various beaches located across the entire island.
Where are the ATMs in Favignana? Currently, there are 3 ATMs in Favignana, as follows:
- Banca Nuova at Piazza Europa 2.
- Banca di Credito Cooperativo G. Toniolo di San Cataldo at Piazza Castello 21.
- Banca Unicredit at Piazza Madrice.
Where to leave your car in Trapani to go to Favignana?
There are several car parking areas near the Port of Trapani, some of which have large trees that can provide shade to your car during the day.
Among the parking areas closest to the port (all about a 6/7-minute walk from the port), we remember Via Serraglio S. Pietro 18, Piazza Umberto parking, and Piazza Vittorio Emanuele parking (the largest one).