To the west of Sicily lies a collection of land masses known as the Egadi Islands. Although they’re nowhere near as big as Sicily itself, they still have a lot to offer tourists. That’s why they’re quickly becoming known as the region’s best-kept secret.
Full of history
At 19.4 square kilometers, the biggest of the Egadi Islands is easily Favignana. This land mass has a lot going for it, although it’s the Norman fort atop Monte Santa Caterina that really attracts interest. While the building might not look as glorious as it used to, the ruins are still worth a visit. After all, this place is steeped in history, with the fort once used as a military observation station during the Second World War. Although it takes about an hour to climb the mountain, the effort is absolutely worth it.
The port and its past
If you prefer your history to be a little more informative than just some ruins, there’s always Favignana’s 19th-century tuna cannery instead. The building served an essential purpose in the 1800s, collecting the tuna which were found off the coast of the island. Operations eventually ceased in the 1970s, following which it was turned into a museum for interested tourists. Various films and contemporary art can be found here as you wander from the assembly hall to the boat sheds. It’s a museum like no other.
Veritable gardens of Eden
Favignana might be surrounded on all sides by water, but it’s the inland where things really get interesting. This is where you’ll find Giardino dell’ Impossibile, a selection of botanical gardens curated by Maria Gabriella Campo. Several hundred species of plants live and thrive here, sprouting in some of the most unexpected places. Those with green thumbs will surely be in heaven. The 2 ½ hour tour probably won’t feel like long enough to take everything in.
Eat like a king
Other islands to visit in this archipelago include Marettimo, where you can find some of the finest Sicilian food around. A gourmet deli named La Cambusa specializes in local cheeses, meats, and sauces, all of which are served to perfection. If you have the time, you can sit down for a 12-course feast here that will take your taste buds on an unexpected journey. This is an absolute must on the island that’s furthest from Sicily’s shores.
The cave of wonders
Levanzo is only a tiny land mass in the Egadi Islands, but a trip here is still worth it for the Grotta del Genovese. Home to paintings and drawings that date as far back as 10,000 years, this cave is like nothing you’ve ever seen before. People have only known about it since the ’40s, and in that time, it’s become a massive tourist spot. Don’t think you can just turn up here whenever you want, though – it’s guided tour only.
Alone, these islands might not offer a vacation’s worth of stuff to do. However, as a collection, they give you everything you need to enjoy Sicily in a new light.