Trip to Levanzo Island, Sicily: all you need to know before the departure
Levanzo is the smallest of the islands that form the Egadi archipelago in Sicily.
It is located just 6.5 nautical miles from the coast and is one of those places where you leave your heart thanks to its haunting beauty.
The village is the beating heart of the island, with some commercial activities, the post office and the small church dedicated to Maria Santissima of Trapani.
It is a handful of white houses with terrace roofs and blue wooden shutters, arranged in a semicircle in front of the marina.
To the opposite you can admire the silhouette of the Favignana island, which is just about ten minutes away by boat.
If the village is the heart, the hinterland, thanks to its breathtaking landscapes, beaches and sea represent the treasure of Levanzo.
The subsoil is formed by limestone rocks and is rich in caves and ravines.
The highest point is represented by Pizzo Monaco, located at an altitude of about 270 meters above the sea level.
As for the sea, instead, words are certainly not enough to describe its crystal clear waters and different shades, ranging from turquoise to teal.
To preserve the posidonia marine forest, in recent years the Marine Protected Area of the Egadi Islands has been established, one of the largest in the Mediterranean.
If you get into the order of ideas to plan a visit and you are wondering what to see in your trip to Levanzo, we can actually assure you that you will be spoiled for choice between activities to do and places to visit.
Let’s discover them together in this article based on our experience.
Table of Contents
- Trip to Levanzo, how to get there
- What to see in Levanzo
- Grotta del Genovese
- The best Beaches of Levanzo
- Cala Faraglione beach
- Cala Fredda beach
- Minnola Cove
Trip to Levanzo, how to get there
The easiest way to reach the island from Trapani is by hydrofoil. Navigation lasts about 50 minutes, with an intermediate stop in Favignana.
The building that houses the terminal, with the ticket offices, the waiting room, the services and the bar is located almost in front of the Palazzo della Dogana in Trapani, Ammiraglio Staiti street.
During the high season we advise you to buy your ticket in advance on the website of the Company Liberty Lines, to avoid long queues at the ticket offices with the risk of not finding a place on the desired day or time.
What to see in Levanzo
During our unforgettable 7-day road trip in Western Sicily, we set aside one day to explore the breathtaking Levanzo Island, which left us awestruck with its stunning natural beauty and rich cultural heritage.
As we said, the island lends itself particularly to those who love the sea, diving and walking.
Many tourists, however, stop in Levanzo only for a short time and in our opinion it is a real pity.
In fact, some of them moor inflatable boats and yachts in front of the coves to dive into the sea.
Others, on the other hand, stop in the village for about an hour during one of the many mini cruises packaged by tour operators and private companies, which also include the visit of Favignana.
Unless you want to spend your holidays on the island, we advise you to dedicate at least a whole day to your trip to Levanzo, as we did.
You will not regret it.
Grotta del Genovese
From an historical and scientific point of view, the Grotta del Genovese is certainly the most interesting thing to see in Levanzo.
A real gem that you absolutely must include in the program.
It is four kilometers far from the town and the guided excursion lasts about two hours.
It is organized by sea or by land depending on the weather and sea conditions.
Is the staff of the cave who decide the means of transport: we went there by the off-road.
You can also reach the site on foot from the village, through a walk of about an hour.
The road you follow practically dissects the island in two. In some sections its surface is in asphalt, in others it is in dirt, in both cases, however, we proceed with extreme caution as it is bumpy.
Along the way you pass a wide valley on which stands Villa Florio, an old farmhouse now abandoned.
In the past it was surrounded by lush vineyards, from whose grapes Marsala wine was produced. Subsequently, the land was used as pasture for flocks of sheep.
Nowadays, however, even the practice of pastoralism has come to an end and the island’s community economically survives thanks to tourism and fishing.
The landscape of the hinterland is typical of the Mediterranean scrub, formed by a mix of mastic shrubs, euphorbia plants with burgundy red flowers, agave plants and some Aleppo pine.
Dry stone walls delimit both the road and the land properties.
The clear profiles of Monte Erice and Monte Cofano stand out in the distance. They are located in the surroundings of the city of Trapani.
After a few tens of minutes, you reach a clearing on which both the road and the trail that starts from the village converge.
After left the vehicle there, you begin the descent to the sea thanks to a hike 730 meters long, with about 120 meters in altitude.
Take this into account, because on the way back the track is uphill and requires a bit of effort.
The first part of the route descends gently, but the second has a more accentuated slope and is stepped.
The path is not particularly exposed, although in some places it is sheltered by a wooden fence.
From time to time there are pitches with rudimentary wooden benches on which to stop to contemplate the beautiful surrounding landscape.
At the end of the hike you reach Cala Genovese. You are accompanied by the incessant cry of the seagulls, probably annoyed by the presence of man because they have recently nested.
It is said that the area is called the “Genovese”, because in the eighteenth century the Genoese repaired their boats in this area during the sirocco storms and because they took advantage of the freshwater pools to refuel.
The interior of the cave was discovered around 1950 by the Florentine painter Francesca Minellono, during one of her holiday stays in Levanzo.
Before then the inhabitants of the island had never gone inside but always stopped at the entrance, which they used as a hunting post.
In fact, the cave was populated by numerous wild rabbits, who found here shelter from predators and could give birth in peace.
Once in the entrance chamber, while the guide illustrates the modalities of the visit, you are given an helmet to comply with safety regulations.
The cave of karst origin is accessed through a low and narrow tunnel. Once inside, however, the cavity is much higher and wider, and you can stay easiliy in an upright position.
In fact, there are only few limestone formations of stalactites and stalagmites inside, a sign that in these parts it has always rained little.
The rocky walls preserve the most important treasure of prehistoric figurative art in Italy.
The engravings made with flint date back to the Upper Paleolithic period, so about 11,000/12,000 years BC. They depict bovids, horses and there’s even some human representation.
The cave paintings instead date back to the Neolithic, that is, about 7,000/8,000 years BC. They were made using animal fat and charcoal.
They depict bovids, fish, a pig, ritual masks and human figures.
Males are painted with the genitals always in evidence and disproportionate to other parts of the body, while women have wide hips as a sign of fertility.
Since inside the cave no tools, nor utensils have been found as in other nearby cavities, it is assumed that the Grotta del Genovese was a sacred place.
The sharpness of the engravings and the attention to detail in the pictorial works leave visitors amazed, so accurate and rich in details.
At the end of the visit we advise you to return to the village, take a seat in a restaurant overlooking the sea and taste the delicious dishes based on the day’s catch.
The best Beaches of Levanzo
In addition to the visit of the Grotta del Genovese with its trekking, among the things to see in Levanzo cannot certainly miss the beaches.
Right next to the pier where ferries and hydrofoils dock there’s Cala Dogana, the small beach of the town of Levanzo.
In front of her a sea to envy those of the most advertised exotic destinations.
All the other beaches that we are going to illustrate in this article can be reached with pleasant walks that start from the center of the village.
A little more distant are instead the beaches of Cala Tramontana and Cala Calcara, but for a matter of time they are out of reach for those who stop in Levanzo only for a day or a few hours, unless you arrive here with your own or rental boats.
We have been in Levanzo in mid-May and despite it was a summer day at the beach there were only few people.
However, we think that in the summer the situation is completely different, definitely more crowded, take this into account.
Cala Faraglione beach
Left the last houses of the village, continue along a paved road on a slight slope heading to the west, among mastic shrubs and beautiful agave and aloe plants.
On clear days you can see in the distance the profile of the Favignana island.
After about a kilometer you reach the gravel path that descends towards the beach of Cala Faraglione, easily recognizable by the rock that emerges from the sea right in front of the cove.
Cala Fredda beach
You cannot finish a trip to Levanzo without a visit to Cala Fredda beach.
After passing the Arcobaleno bar restaurant with its inviting terrace overlooking the sea, continue on the main street of the town until you leave the village.
From this point on the road becomes a gravel road and is bordered on the sea side by a wooden fence.
After a few hundred meters you reach the small Cala Fredda, easily recognizable because it is located right in front of a wide turn.
It looks like a small natural amphitheater, with the soil of reddish color rich in minerals in the background.
Cala Minnola beach
The narrow path that leads to Cala Minnola beach forks from the main road shortly after Cala Fredda and is well marked by a road sign.
You reach the destination in about twenty minutes.
The route develops in a continuous up and down within a landscape of Mediterranean scrub.
After passing a little forest with Aleppo pines and medium-stemmed plants, the path follows the course of the coast.
The beach announces itself from afar thanks to the stone retaining wall that protects it from the falling rocks and its crystal clear waters.