A Guide to Favignana

A Guide to Favignana by Lois Avery
A Guide to Favignana by Lois Avery

This week, I continue to share my love for Favignana, the beautiful and wild butterfly-shaped island off the west coast of Sicily, near Trapani. I shared the story of our accommodation in my last journal entry and promised a full guide, so here it is.

Favignana is one of the blissfully under-the-radar Egadi islands, along with Levanzo and Marettimo. It’s the perfect place to recharge a tired soul with sun, exercise, island air, fresh fish and friendly faces. Unlike glamorous Capri, this tiny, sleepy island is somewhere to hide rather than be seen. The days are slow and involve beach-hopping and a desire to stop time and watch the horizon.

So when you finally drag yourself away from that horizon, what should you do?


For an aperitivo

A Guide to Favignana by Lois Avery
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A Guide to Favignana by Lois Avery
A Guide to Favignana by Lois Avery

Head straight from the beach (if you wear shoes you’re probably overdressed) into the main town, confusingly also called Favignana, for an Aperol Spritz on the beach at Magneva Favignana. Here you will enjoy views across the harbour to the old tuna factory (La Tonnara della famiglia Florio) and the rugged hills beyond.

Alternatively, try rustic chic Cibo Chiacchiere Vino Ristorantino Sul Mare, Cala del Pozzo, 91023, for a glass of prosecco and a plate of panelle at sunset. We were very lucky to stay at Dimora Cala Del Pozzo, which meant the boardwalk at the end of the garden led us straight to this bar in around two minutes – the path is helpfully lit by tea lights in the evening so you can easily find your way home!

The bar is set back from the beach within a stone-walled garden. During our first visit, we watched a local shepherd herd his cattle along the coastal path, whilst unphased cyclists weaved between cows! For a different view, stay on until after dark and enjoy the wonderful constellation of stars above.


Dinner with the locals

A Guide to Favignana by Lois Avery
A Guide to Favignana by Lois Avery

On our final evening on Favignana, we were tempted to just eat nibbles at Cibo for dinner, but we decided we should make an effort and head into town, and boy I’m glad we did.

We stumbled upon the wonderful Osteria Del Sotto Sale. There was only one table left in the whole restaurant (this was easily the busiest restaurant in town), which was outside beneath the working postbox. Yep, my husband had postcards posted above his head between courses, which seemed appropriate given we were the only tourists in the whole restaurant!

I loved the style of this restaurant — retro blackboard, red checkered napkins and stylish menus. The highlights of our meal were my clam and pistachio linguine, my husband’s red prawn and roasted almond pasta, and a shared pistachio creme brulee. Just wow.

The service was wonderful and kind. We were told we would have to wait for service when we were shown to our table as they were so busy, but honestly, I didn’t feel that anything was delayed. We wanted to linger over our meal, and the essentials were delivered in very good time… a bottle of water and one of Nero D’Avola from Castellammare del Golfo!


The best fish for lunch

A Guide to Favignana by Lois Avery

Have I mentioned I love fried seafood? Seriously, finding the word “fritto” on a menu brings me so much joy! So when our hotel told us that a “cup of fried fish” at Pescheria Florio, Piazza Europa, was unmissable, I was in heaven and made it my mission to find this little gem! It turned out to be the perfect spot to enjoy a fun and casual anniversary lunch.

This place is basically a fishmonger, and the menu is limited to the 7 or 10 euro cup of fritto mixte! White wine is served in reusable plastic cups, and you sit outside with the sleepy cats to eat your fish! Bliss! The batter was so light and crisp, and the quality of the fish incredible! Do not miss this experience! I may have fed the sweetest little 3-legged cat all of my fish scraps.


A scoop of creamy gelato

Gelateria Roma 16, via Roma 16, Favignana quickly became our gelato bar of choice and we returned several times. My favourite flavour was the fig and walnut, but a shout out to the Zuppa Inglese too, which was a close second! They also do a lovely lemon granita, which is a perfect mid-afternoon pick-me-up.


What to do in Favignana

A Guide to Favignana by Lois Avery
A Guide to Favignana by Lois Avery

Favignana has a number of well-known beaches: Cala Rossa, Bue Marino and Cala Azzurro. They are mostly rocky, so those shoes that look like wetsuits for feet are a must! The island is windy, and this will influence the decision of which beach, as you will want to seek out the more protected options on windy days.

Cala Rossa is the most famous beach, but, in my opinion, Bue Marino is far more spectacular and memorable. There is no ‘beach’ to speak of, but there are rocks you can lie on like a very chic Italian lizard, and the caves are spectacular.

For your next adventure, there’s a huge hill in the middle of the island. You can climb it if you are looking for a challenge. We spent one day walking around the island and two days cycling. Whilst there aren’t really dedicated cycle paths, other than a few gravelly narrow tracks along the coast, the roads are quiet and the island is only 19km long so it’s perfect for navigating on a bike.

The most popular mode of transport is the electric bike, although we opted for regular bikes. But I will admit, we found ourselves feeling very envious when, during the uphill ride home, rather elegant pensioners zipped past us without breaking a sweat! I’m not going to lie, by day two, my cycling muscles were burning!  


The best tuna sandwich

A Guide to Favignana by Lois Avery
A Guide to Favignana by Lois Avery
 
A Guide to Favignana by Lois Avery
 

Sicily is famous for its street food, and there was no way I was going to leave Favignana without enjoying some of it. If you believe Tripadvisor, then the number one place to dine on Favignana is Tuna Fish. It’s a bright yellow food truck and it can be found every day at Bue Marino. To describe it as the best dining on Favignana is probably a bit of a stretch, but they do make a fabulous tuna sandwich and their lemon granita rocks as well!

There are definitely worse things than sitting on a rock and eating lunch with this view. Be warned there are a few enormous seagulls that hang around, but luckily they didn’t bother us.


Lunch on the beach

A Guide to Favignana by Lois Avery
A Guide to Favignana by Lois Avery
A Guide to Favignana by Lois Avery

Our final lunch was enjoyed on the beach at La Costa Sunset Bar & Bistrot, Str. Costeria di Mezzogiorno 9, Cala Trono. 

We sipped on chilled Sicilian white wine and enjoyed fried octopus and fava bean mash. This stretch of rocky coast is so wild. You could lose hours here enjoying the view. There is a rustic beach club set up on the rocks and plenty of quiet spots to enjoy a post-lunch snooze.


Where to stay in Favignana

A Guide to Favignana by Lois Avery
A Guide to Favignana by Lois Avery
 
A Guide to Favignana by Lois Avery
 

We stayed at the beautiful and remote Dimora Cala del Pozzo, which I highly recommend. I loved it so much, I wrote an entire post about it here.

Other options that came across my radar whilst planning this trip were Nido Del Pellegrino (a very chic Danish/Italian couple we kept running into around the island stayed here and said they really enjoyed it) and Cas’almare, which I wrote about here.


How to get to Favignana

Regular ferries operate from the port of Trapani to Favignana. This port is easily accessible from Trapani or Palermo airports. Once on the island, hire a bike to get you around.


Ideas for my next trip

For my next visit to Favignana, I would definitely make time for a day trip to the magical island of Marettimo. So many people have recommended this island to me, and it’s the kind of place people coo about when you mention it!

Also, you know I like wine, well, they make some lovely wine on Favignana, and I’d love to visit one of the Cantinas next time too.


Favignana is a wild and rugged island made from a palette of terracotta. I could create an entire collection of cashmere scarves based on this island. The colours would be called terracotta, taupe, cream, rock, earth, sandstone... you get the picture!

Thank you, Favignana for the memories and inspiration!