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Help in routing Western Sicily

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Help in routing Western Sicily

I need some advice regarding the Western leg of our Sicily trip. We'll have a car for roughly 5 days and are having a hard time planning the itinerary while out that way.

We're looking for a good base or two to settle in that would allow for day trips to the following:

Erice

Segesta

Alcamo Wine Trail vineyards and/or other wineries

Mozia

Selinunte

Agrigento

Still in the process of grasping distances. Thinking about two nights each in a province North and South.

Scopello and Sciacca are two towns I'd like to visit, (Sciacca more so) and they sound like fantastic bases but from experience, I understand maps can be deceiving and I do not want to make the mistake of trying to over achieve. Been trying to get a better idea of what is doable in a day. For example:

1 day: Enrice & Segesta

1 day: Alcamo (or similar) Wine Trail & Selinunte

1 day: Wine Region & Mozia

1 day: Agrigento & someplace else

Is it possible to do more in a day or is this already pushing it? Also, routes are not set. This is all tentative.

Our flight arrives in Catania on the afternoon of Nov. 29th and the plan is to drive Westward. We are not looking to visit the Palermo area for this trip. I've read here that Trapani is the convenient hub but would prefer a scenic town like Scopello or Sciacca if possible. So we are also trying to sort out if it makes more sense to drive South West or North West upon our arrival. As of now, we're returning the car at Catania Airport on Dec. 4th but may keep it an extra day. Remainder of the journey will be spent in Siracusa with an excursion or two via bus routes to nearby places like PALAZZOLO ACREIDE.

I feel like we've been planning a trip to a Continent rather than an island. Could really use some expert advice!!!!!

Thanks in advance

St Paul, MN
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1. Re: Help in routing Western Sicily

I would suggest Castellammare del Golfo as a base for western Sicily if you rent a car. It is only 30 min west from the Palermo airport. We stayed there for 14 days in Feb. 2010 for touring western Sicily. Castellammare has great access to A29 Autostrada. Our Hotel Al Madrig had free parking. I have read that Hotel Cala Marina in the Harbor also has free parking.

maps.google.com/maps/ms…

Zoom in or out to see better. We visited Segesta, Erice, Trapani, Selinunte, Agrigento, and Mozia from there using A29. Castellammare is close to the Zingaro Preserve and you can easily visit it from there.

Castellammare doesn't have a lot of sights of its own, but the scenery is lovely and there are hotels, apartments (in-season), restaurants, cafes there. The people were friendly and helpful.

Map of Castella

maps.google.com/maps/ms…

View out to sea

www.slowphotos.com/photo/showphoto.php…

Harbor

www.slowphotos.com/photo/showphoto.php…

Local Street

www.slowphotos.com/photo/showphoto.php…

Our hotel Al Madarig

www.slowphotos.com/photo/showphoto.php…

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2. Re: Help in routing Western Sicily

Hello Lupaling,

Thank you for your response and for providing the links. I will definitely look into Castellammare del Golfo as a base. Thinking we are going to shoot for two bases though. One North and one South. I'm still trying to get my bearings on distances and available roadways/connections. Sciacca seems like it would be a nice place to spend a couple nights. Maybe stop by the Castello Bentivegna while there.

Any idea how long it would take to get to Castellammare del Golfo from Catania?

Other than wineries/wine trails which we're still researching, I think we've narrowed down the places we would like to take day trips to. Now we just have to figure the routing out to and from Catania. This seems to be the tricky part.

Hoping some others will also weigh in. Could really use the advice!

Thank you.

Here & There
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for Sicily, Taormina
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3. Re: Help in routing Western Sicily

Ciao Natalia122,

Consider Trapani and Selinunte/Sciacca – Scopello is very quiet during the low season and not recommended as a base at this time of year.

Castellammare del Golfo is low on attractions, and if you'd like two bases, really consider Trapani and Sciacca.

Where to go in Sicily?:

tripadvisor.com/…13523165

You can easily see Erice and Segesta in one day.

Combine Mozia with the saltpans and Marsala.

You might combine Selinunte with Cave di Cusa.

Set appointments at wineries or cantine prior to visiting.

The SS115 along Sicily’s southern coast offers many opportunities – Selinunte, Sciacca, the Planeta winery, Eraclea Minoa, the Scala dei Turchi, Agrigento’s Valley of the Temples....

Vagabonda

Edited: 6:29 pm, November 06, 2012
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4. Re: Help in routing Western Sicily

Hello Vagabonda,

Thank you for chiming in! Okay, we'll leave Scopello for another time, good to know. Also, thank you for the other suggestions. The link you provided above is extremely helpful.

Happy to hear our places of interest are easily reached via day trips and that we can combine itinerary's. Ideally, we would like to conjoin a couple vineyard visits into our excursions if on or near the same routes. Very excited about being smack in the middle of one of the greatest wine regions in the world. We will be sure to contact Planeta for starters. Any recommendations for vintners who offer food and wine pairings? We have always wanted to experience this in Sicily.

Do you think our time would be better spent choosing one base to make day trips from as opposed to two? Based off the "Where to Go" thread, it sounds like Sciacca conveniently connects to everything. As a base, we're basically looking for a scenic little town with great food.

I'm curious about the drive from Catania. Do you have a roundabout idea of how long it would take to get to Sciacca? If driving to Trapani, would we hit any of the notorious Palermo traffic en-route or do we bypass that area altogether?

Also, if coming from Agrigento, do you think it would be possible to see Selinunte the same day with a brief luggage drop off on the way in Sciacca?

Can't thank you enough for your insight!!

Cheers

Edited: 12:04 am, November 07, 2012
Here & There
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5. Re: Help in routing Western Sicily

Hello Natalia122,

Scopello is a seasonal destination, so November isn’t an optimal time to visit.

You would be able to enjoy the Alcamo wine reason, but also the cantine in Marsala, and if staying in the Selinunte or Sciacca area, you’ll find the Planeta estate in Sambuca di Sicilia a delightful experience.

Planeta Estate:

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g187886-i343-k4620…

Arrange your visits in advance to avoid disappointment.

Marsala Winery Recommendations:

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g187886-i343-k3748…

Wine tasting:

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g187886-i343-k3936…

Nice things to do in august around Scopello:

tripadvisor.com/…42612955

If you’d like to visit Erice and also Agrigento, two bases would better serve – Sciacca and Trapani are genuine towns that would offer real-life experiences.

Seeing Erice from Selinunte:

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g187886-i343-k5796…

Check driving routes and estimated driving times on ViaMichelin – The ViaMichelin site would indicate multiple suggested routes. Drive from Catania Fontanarossa to Sciacca via Agrigento and avoid the Palermo area entirely, 03h14.

http://www.viamichelin.co.uk/

Palermo’s ring road is best driven between 10.00 and noon, and 14.00-15.00.

From Sciacca, drive the SS115 to the A29 onward to Trapani.

There is no luggage storage at Selinunte, so yes, drop-off your luggage in Sciacca, and then continue onward to Selinunte – Sciacca is a good base for exploring the entire southern coast.

Kind regards,

Vagabonda

St Paul, MN
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6. Re: Help in routing Western Sicily

The area around Selinunte was very beauitful.

Feb 2010

www.slowphotos.com/photo/showphoto.php…

www.slowphotos.com/photo/showphoto.php…

Chester, United...
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7. Re: Help in routing Western Sicily

We were based in Menfi for our trip, landed at Catania and it took about three and a half hours to drive via Agrigento (we stopped there for lunch so added on an hour there), Sciacca is a bit nearer and I think would be a good base. There is a very good SuperStrada road along the coast, and the small roads (presumably the old roads) through the vineyards were charming to drive along. We loved the beach near Sciacca but I guess you are not going for those at that time! Planeta are nearby at Sambuca de Sicilia, and their La Foresteria hotel is close by Menfi. Selinunte and other sites of antiquities are easily reached. It would be a stretch to visit places further east than about Gela from there. Agrigento was just about exactly an hour from where we were, so slightly less from Sciacca.

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8. Re: Help in routing Western Sicily

Wow, all of this information is so helpful! Many thanks for all of the detailed feedback. I'm a bit overwhelmed by the diversity offered in the region and have been having a hard time deciding on particular destinations. Reading about everyone's experiences has been making this easier for us.

Vagabonda, thanks again for the many links and helping us decide on a base. It's starting to sound like Sciacca is a suitable location for our Westward part of the trip. The goal is to visit some obvious spots like Enrice, Segesta & Selinunte as well as Planeta and perhaps others on the Alcamo trail and try to hit Mozia and Marsala (time permitting). We'd like to relax and enjoy our stay, take it all in rather than make a point of checking sites off a list. So we'll take this day by day when we're out there. The biggest obstacle is making appointments with Wineries ahead of time and trying to coordinate that. For example, I'm guessing it's possible to see Enrice and Segesta in a day and stop at a vineyard along the way somewhere. Forgive me if I'm off the mark here.

Penny, Menfi and the surrounding area sounds really nice. I'm looking forward to seeing that part of the island. Definitely not going for the beach this time of year :) We'll be driving in from Catania so we would not plan on heading East until our return. If we have an extra day we are thinking about stopping by a place like Ragusa or Modica for the night before returning the car. We'll see how it goes. Then we're busing it back down to Siracusa for a few days.

Would it make sense to spend our first night in Agrigento? Our flight gets in at 2pm so thinking we could head down there and see the ruins in the morning before continuing on to Sciacca. Then once settled, maybe go to Planeta. Perhaps also check out the Castello Bentivegna on the way. Looks interesting. Has anyone been? Love the pics I've seen.

Also, does it sound feasible to see Selinunte and Mozia/Marsala in a day? Still getting a grasp on distances and scale :) Trying to pair up all the destinations I mentioned and see what makes sense for each day.

Getting very excited for this trip.

Btw, Lupaling, thanks for sharing the photo links. Going to have a look now.

You are all very kind to chime in.

Many, many thanks!

St Paul, MN
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9. Re: Help in routing Western Sicily

"Also, does it sound feasible to see Selinunte and Mozia/Marsala in a day?"

No. You will have to prioritze.

We spent a whole day at Selinunte (we brought snacks-no place to eat inside the park in the off-season). We spent another day at Mozia and ate a late lunch in Marsala whihc waas close by. It took us a while for driving arpufn top find the ferry to Mozia. We had already been to Marsala on a previous trip and wnet tot he musuem there.

Mozia from the ferry

www.slowphotos.com/photo/showphoto.php…

www.slowphotos.com/photo/showphoto.php…

boat

www.slowphotos.com/photo/showphoto.php…

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10. Re: Help in routing Western Sicily

Re: Lupaling

That's what I figured, thanks for confirming. We have also considered trying to do Selinunte and visiting a Vineyard as an alternative. We have yet to map out where the vineyards are other than Planeta. Vagabonda's links should shed some light on this.

I was looking at itinerary's on other sites and a couple of them have Agrigento & Selinunte in one day. Something tells me that's a bit of a stretch. So with this in mind, it has been a bit of a guessing game up till now regarding distances and travel times.

Lovely photos, thanks for sharing.