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Erice as a base

Chicago, Illinois
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Erice as a base

I know that sounds funny, and obviously, it's an inconvenient base, but my husband will be there for five nights for work, and so that's my base. I will have some time for exploring on my own. We will have come from 3 nights in Siracuse, 1 night in Piazza Armerina, and then 3 nights in Scopello (base for Zingaro, Palermo and Segesta). Vagabonda kindly helped us figure out the best way to arrange that part of our trip, and we're very excited. But now I am wondering what I can do on my own from Erice, without a car. Is mid-May an ok time to visit the Egadi islands as a day trip? Is it possible to see the Grotta del Genovese? In different places I have read that it is now closed to visitors. I think I can spend one day exploring Trapani and another on the islands, but I am not sure what else might work. Thanks!

1. Re: Erice as a base

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Removed on: 5:39 am, February 27, 2013
Here & There
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for Sicily, Taormina
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2. Re: Erice as a base

Erice hosts scientific conferences at the Ettore Majorana Foundation and Centre for Scientific Culture, so surely if your husband is working in Erice, you would want to base in Erice.

Erice isn’t as convenient a base (especially via public transport) as Trapani, but Erice is still a viable base for exploring Western Sicily.

Just a consideration, but with Erice’s proximity to Scopello, perhaps you would reconsider Scopello as a base, and opt for a location east of Palermo like Cefalù for taking day trips to Palermo. You could then see Segesta and Lo Zingaro from Erice.

All public transport from Erice connects via Trapani, so you would take the AST bus service from Erice to Trapani, or you would take the funivia from Erice to Trapani.

You would enjoy many day trip options by bus, train, or ferry, including the Egadi and Levanzo’s Grotta del Genovese. La grotta del Genovese is only closed to tours in February, but you are the second person to indicate that you have read that it is closed – Where did you read this?

Depending on your interests, you might visit Trapani, Marsala, Mazara del Vallo, Selinunte, San Vito Lo Capo (on a gloriously beautiful day only)....

Vagabonda

Chicago, Illinois
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3. Re: Erice as a base

Thanks yet again, Vagabonda!

You are right that we will be in Erice for the scientific portion of our trip, and once we get to Erice, my husband won't have any more travel time. We had first planned out an itinerary with Cefalu instead of Scopello, but he was drawn by Lo Zingaro and Segesta (and we could do Palermo/Monreale from either base). So, the free days in Erice are bonus for me, and I will have the opportunity to see more on my own. But I will be limited by needing to use public transportation starting in Erice, and traveling on my own, so I don't think I want to venture too far on any day.

As for reading about the grotto being closed, I think it's the Frommer's Sicily book that says that. I am happy to hear that I might be able to go. Do you know how difficult the walking trail is, if the boat doesn't go? I am reasonably fit but don't love steep slippery trails..

Here & There
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4. Re: Erice as a base

Prego Bozotraveller,

Scopello is then understandable as a base if your husband won’t have any more time to travel once arriving in Erice, especially if your husband was drawn to Scopello.

Scopello would work nicely for visiting Segesta and trekking Lo Zingaro, and you could also visit Palermo.

Would you have a car during your time in Scopello?

Thank you for responding about Levanzo’s Grotta del Genovese.

Guidebooks can’t stay as current as information online - Frommer’s (5th Edition) has a 2011 publication date.

I contacted the Grotta del Genovese today on your behalf, and I can assure you that the Grotta del Genovese is only closed in February.

http://www.grottadelgenovese.it/

You could arrive by boat or jeep – It’s important to prearrange your tour in advance of your arrival, and wear shoes that grip.

http://www.grottadelgenovese.it/ENG/tour.htm

www.grottadelgenovese.it/ENG/contact_us.htm

Also wear shoes that Erice in Erice - Those lovely cobblestones are slippery and uneven.

trekearth.com/gallery/…photo616043.htm

trekearth.com/gallery/…photo1193589.htm

Trapani offers the most convenient public transport connections in Western Sicily, so once you arrive in Trapani from Erice, you would have many day trip options by any combination of train or bus.

Take the train or AST from Trapani to Marsala or Mazara del Vallo; AST from Trapani to San Vito Lo Capo; AST or the funivia to Erice; Tarantola to Segesta; Interbus to Palermo; the train to Castelvetrano and Salemi to Selinunte; Lumia to Agrigento; Ustica Lines or Siremar to the Egadi....

http://www.fsitaliane.it/homepage_en.html

http://www.aziendasicilianatrasporti.it/

http://www.funiviaerice.it/

http://www.tarantolabus.it/

http://www.interbus.it/Home.aspx

http://www.autoservizisalemi.it/

http://www.autolineelumia.it/

www.usticalines.it/eng/paginaegadi.php?idg=1

http://www.siremar.it/

Best regards,

Vagabonda

Pittsburgh, PA
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5. Re: Erice as a base

Vagabonda --

Thank you for directing me to these posts. I think I also read that the Grotto was closed in Frommer's Sicily, but Lonely Planet Sicily does confirm that you can see it with a tour. I appreciate all the info about connections from Erice. Although Trapani might be a more convenient location when it's time to go to Levanto and Segesta, I just can't bear to miss a chance to stay in Erice. I'm hoping the travel between Trapani and Erice will be scenic enough make it time and money well spent.

Thanks again.

Chicago, Illinois
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77 posts
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6. Re: Erice as a base

Vagabonda,

You are a wonderful source of information! Thank you so much for contacting the Grotto! I think that will be a great trip to do on my own.

And all this other information will allow me to think about other trips I can do.

Regarding Scopello, another draw was the the appeal of Pension Tranchina!

I wonder how people planned trips before there was TripAdvisor?

Thanks again!

Here & There
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for Sicily, Taormina
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7. Re: Erice as a base

Prego Maidahat – It was my pleasure and thank you for directing me to the Lonely Planet entry about Levanzo’s Grotta del Genovese which is accurate.

Erice is a charming mediaeval hill town with stunning views of the Egadi, the sea, and Trapani, so the draw is understandable here as well.

Certainly the views from the funivia are impressive, but when taking day trips, take the AST bus service for convenience with connections in Trapani. Just calculate the extra transport time from Erice to Trapani in your daily plans, and then begin your day trips as if you had stayed in Trapani!

Follow your heart!

Vagabonda

Chicago, Illinois
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8. Re: Erice as a base

Oops, forgot to answer your question about the car; yes we will have a car for the first part of our trip, but we will return it in Trapani, before heading up to Erice.

Here & There
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for Sicily, Taormina
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9. Re: Erice as a base

Grazie mille Bozotraveller – My pleasure as well!!

That’s perfect that you’ll have the car during your time in Scopello Bozotraveller – You could then easily visit Segesta, and even Selinunte.

Park at Palermo’s airport when visiting Palermo.

www.gesap.it/index.php…

Take the frequent and reliable Prestia e Comandè bus service from the airport to Palermo.

http://www.prestiaecomande.it/

Click on “Aereoporto Falcone Borsellino – Palermo”:

www.prestiaecomande.it/…

The Prestia e Comandè service from the airport to Palermo runs later than other public transport from Palermo to any surrounding town. You could then enjoy a very long day in Palermo (and perhaps Monreale as well), including dinner, which is generally considered late for tourists (at 20.00). Then take the bus back to the airport, collect your car, and drive onward to Scopello.

Pensione Tranchina is an absolute gem, warm and inviting, family owned and delightful - Marisin and Salvatore are charming hosts. Salvatore's family has been in Scopello forever.

This sweet pensione has a perfect location in the centre of Scopello, very near Lo Zingaro and convenient to the A29 for exploring Western Sicily.

Pensione Tranchina makes its own jams and grows its own oranges served at breakfast and Pensione Tranchina also produces its own olive oil.

Pensione Tranchina serves freshly prepared home-cooked authentic multi-course dinners. Dinner is fixed menu. Guests anticipate dinner long before dinner is ready with such delicious aromas coming from Pensione Tranchina’s kitchen!

Enjoy!

Vagabonda

St Paul, MN
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21,097 posts
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10. Re: Erice as a base

You could easily spend 3 days in Erice. We spent 2 days there ourselves.

There is great ceramic sho[pping

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

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

Therer are a lot of beautiful churches. There are 2 "church walks". The red and blue lines on the map

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

You can tour the Venus castel. We only got to see the outside

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

And eat lotsof pastries

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

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

Edited: 4:39 pm, February 26, 2013
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