This past October, I flew to Sicily on a long weekend trip and did a short hike in the gorgeous Zingaro natural reserve located on the north western corner of Sicily. It had always been on my bucket-list to hike on the coastal path of Italy, although Amalfi Coast was more on my mind. I couldn’t be happier about the warm weather that was perfect for hiking in Sicily that day.
Zingaro Nature Reserve, the first natural reserve in Sicily, has two main entrances, one in Scopello and the other in San Vito Lo Capo. The hike path between the two points of entrance covers 8 km, but since we used a rental car to get to the entrance, we’d have to hike 16 km to get back to the car. None of us are serious hikers, so we decided to just cover a part of the trail and return back to our car.
As soon as we entered the reserve, we were greeted with majestic views of the blue Tyrrhenian sea. The nature reserve boasts over 650 species of flora and also a rich diversity of fauna. Spring is the best time to witness the life that thrives in the reserve. I particularly liked the chunky dwarf palms.
When it comes to breath-taking natural views, it is easily one of the best places I’ve been to in Europe. Rugged cliffs meeting the stunning coastline of the glimmering sea, spectacular sea views, coves and beaches, rich flora and fauna – Zingaro nature reserve is really a nature-lover’s paradise as you can see from the next photo.
The reserve is undeveloped and doesn’t have any kind of shops or developed beaches. So it’s a good idea to carry enough food and water. The route also doesn’t have any shade so I assume hiking during summer months would be very difficult. There are small museums about the park’s history and wildlife along the route and occasional toilets for visitors.
One of the main reasons why we went to the reserve was for its coves and beaches, but unfortunately the tides were too high on the sea that day and there was no one on the water. Despite the huge unexpected disappointment, the views and sunbathing on the beaches made up for it. The beaches that we went to were all pristine and stunning. They were all rocky beaches and the water was turquoise – it was such a shame that we couldn’t get in the water, especially since the sea had been calm and normal just the day before. We did catch bad luck on that aspect.
We managed to visit first three beaches from the Scopello entrance and returned back to our car, hiking a total of about 8 km. It took us almost whole day, with the stops at the beaches. Hiking in Zingaro was a fantastic way to spend a day in Trapani and we returned in awe of the jaw-dropping natural beauty the reserve has to offer.
Some practical tips:
Getting there: Well connected by road with Trapani, 40 kms away. Indirect public bus connection to Scopello, but none to San Vito Lo Capo. Car rental is therefore the best option.
Remember: Plenty of sunscreen, food, water, swimsuits and a camera! Flipflops aren’t the best option as the trail is unpaved, narrow and steep at times.