Located on the west coast of Sicily at the confluence of the Tyrrhenian and Mediterranean seas, there are countless things to do in Trapani that make this small city a perfect base for a few days. The city itself boasts a charming old town and its proximity to some of the best beaches on the island, incredible historic sites and quaint small towns make planning a short Trapani itinerary ideal when spending some time exploring Sicily.
Though the city of Trapani itself is quite small and compact, there is quite a lot in and around it that it makes for the perfect base if you’re interested in exploring the highlights of western Sicily. So if you’re thinking of adding this lovely little city onto your Sicily itinerary and are wondering what to do in Trapani, you’ve come to the right place.
From the highlights of the city centre to the lovely places to visit nearby (and, of course, delicious regional cuisine!), Trapani is truly a delight to visit.
How Many Days in Trapani?
Before getting into all of the things to do in and around this Sicilian city, it’s likely that you’re wondering how many days to spend in Trapani. As I’ve mentioned already, Trapani is quite a compact city and there isn’t a whole lot in the town itself, therefore, you don’t really need a lot of time to do it justice.
That being said, Trapani makes for a very good base if you’re interested in exploring the surrounding area. There are lots of places to see and, even if you’re not all that interested in sightseeing, there are countless lovely beaches to enjoy, as well.
All in all, you will need about a day to see the historic centre of Trapani along with exploring nearby Erice. If you want to go on a day trip to somewhere close by – say to the island of Favignana or to the ancient Greek archaeological site of Segesta – then plan to spend 2 days in Trapani.
In general, whether you have 1 day in Trapani or 2 (or more), you’re sure to love this little corner of Sicily.
Getting To & Around Trapani
Now that you’ve determined how long you’d like to spend in Trapani, it’s also important to figure out how you plan to get to and around the city.
As a major metropolitan area in Sicily, Trapani is quite well-connected to other nearby cities and is also home to its own (small) international airport. You can book transfers from the airport here. However, unless you’re flying from elsewhere in Italy or from a small list of other European destinations, it’s likely you’ll be arriving in Trapani overland.
Trapani has connections with major cities like Catania or Palermo via both bus and train, so it is easy to get to the city via public transport. There is also a ferry terminal connecting Trapani to a handful of international destinations (along with nearby islands) – you can check ferry schedules here.
Once in Trapani itself, you can easily get around the city centre on foot. The town is compact and easy to move around. And if you want to visit the nearby hill town of Erice, there is actually a panoramic cable car that you can reach the town by.
However, if you want to explore outside of the centre of Trapani and Erice and really do this Trapani itinerary justice, you’re likely going to find it much easier to have your own car. It gives you a lot more freedom and flexibility to get around and you will also find that there is ample public parking in Trapani itself.
If you decide to hire a car for your trip, we suggest browsing Rentalcars.com in order to find great deals across a number of different car hire companies.
Things To Do In Trapani: A 1 to 2 Day Itinerary
Without further ado, these are some of the best things to do in Trapani over 1 or 2 days. The first day of this Trapani itinerary covers the highlights within the city itself and the second day outlines a number of different day trip options to choose from.
Day 1 – City Centre & Erice
Coffee & Cornetto
Begin your first day in Trapani like the locals do – with a coffee and a pastry at a local cafe! There are lots of lovely cafes where you can get your caffeine fix and a delicious pastry to start your day out right.
One place that we recommend is Bar Sciuscia, which is located very close to the beginning of Trapani’s historic centre. They have a range of delicious cornetti (Italian-style croissants filled with chocolate, pistachio cream, custard and more) and great coffee with a nice outdoor seating area.
After a leisurely breakfast, take the time to stroll along the seaside promenade while on your way into the historical centre. Trapani sits on a peninsula so it is surrounded on three sides by water and there is a nice, wide pathway in order to enjoy this beautiful coastal setting.
It’s absolutely lovely to walk along the promenade in the morning before the harsh, hot sun is at its peak. There are also some peaceful areas to stop off and enjoy some views before you make your way properly into the historic centre.
Explore the Centro Storico
Now it’s time to head into the historical centre (centro storico) of Trapani and enjoy the sites and vibes that lie within here. The historical centre is very small, but getting lost here is certainly one of the best things to do in Trapani.
There aren’t a huge amount of sites to take in, but the city streets and winding alleyways are well worth spending a couple of hours exploring.
Some of the top sites to see in Trapani’s Centro Storico include the Cattedrale di San Lorenzo – a beautiful Baroque cathedral -, the Piazza Senatorio – Trapani’s main square – and plenty of other beautiful churches and buildings, as well.
Trapani Fish Market
Mosy your way out of the centre of the city and make your way back to the coast in order to visit the Trapani Fish Market. This market is a little bit different from the famous fish market in Catania – what makes the Trapani Fish Market unique is that fish is predominately sold from the fisherman’s boats rather than from stalls!
Though this market isn’t huge and bustling compared to other major markets you’ll find in Sicilian cities, you can still experience some of the freshest seafood available sold directly by the fisherman! This is also a great place to visit if you want to see what kind of seafood is fresh and in season so you know what to order come lunchtime!
If you’re interested in local produce, then this fish market is definitely one of the best things to see in Trapani.
Torre di Ligny
From the fish market, it’s not a far walk to the lovely Torre di Ligny. This little lighthouse sits out on a small peninsula along Trapani harbour and provides excellent views of the sea and of the nearby islands of Favignana and Levanzo.
You can walk all the way around the lighthouse free of charge and take the time to enjoy the views. Inside, there is a small museum that you can enter that will also gain you access to the watchtower and allow you to browse some archaeological and historical relics, should that interest you.
After a busy morning of sightseeing, it’s likely that you’ve worked up quite an appetite. Fortunately, Trapani is an excellent city to be hungry in as there are a number of great restaurants and local specialities to enjoy! Sampling the local cuisine is absolutely one of the best things to do in Trapani so make sure you’re hungry enough for a good lunch.
One thing that Trapani is famous for is pesto alla Trapanese – Trapani’s own version of Genovese pesto! Rather than the more well-known pesto made from basil and pine nuts, Trapanese pesto uses fresh tomatoes and almonds – and it is delicious!
The best way to sample this is with the dish busiate alla Trapanese (busiate being a local, curly pasta). It also happens to be a vegetarian dish!
Another common dish to try is seafood couscous – something that you can only really find in and around Trapani due to its proximity to North Africa. The heap of seasoned couscous is typically topped with fresh seafood and served alongside a flavourful fish broth – delicious!
If you’re looking for a great lunch option, consider heading to Osteria Vineria a Casa Mia for rustic, local far in the historic centre. Otherwise, a bit outside of the old town, head to Trattoria al Solito Posto for equally delicious food!
The second half of your day should be spent on top of the hill surrounding Trapani exploring the beautiful, charming and historic hill town of Erice. Located only a few kilometres north of Trapani, this hill town is situated 750 metres above sea level and it is significantly cooler in temperature than the city below.
You can reach Erice in two ways – the first is that you can drive yourself and the second is you can opt to take the panoramic cable car.
Should you go for the latter option, the cable car operates daily and takes off from Trapani, a bit outside of the historic centre. The journey will provide spectacular views of the surrounding area and can be a great option. Tickets cost €6 one-way and €9.50 return.
Driving up to Erice is another good option and the drive is just as spectacular as the cable car. The drive is about fifteen minutes from central Trapani up a windy but well-maintained road that has incredible views (and plenty of places to pull over and enjoy them!). There is also ample paid parking available in Erice itself.
The town of Erice is absolutely lovely and you can easily spend a couple of hours wandering around and exploring it. It can feel as if you’re in a different world compared to Trapani (and the fact that it is also a few degrees cooler here is definitely welcome in the Sicilian heat).
Day 2 – Segesta, Favignana, Salt Pans & More
If you’re looking for a great day trip option from Trapani, then you cannot go wrong with heading to the Segesta archaeological site. Located only about a 30-minute drive from Trapani, Segesta consists of an ancient Elymian Temple and a Greek theatre tucked into the beautiful hills of western Sicily. It’s truly a spectacular site to see.
Entry into Segesta is €8 per person, however, you can pay an extra €2 per person and get access to a shuttle bus from the temple to the theatre – which I highly recommend.
The theatre is only located a bit under 2km from the temple, however, it is up an extremely steep hill with no shade. If you want enjoy some great views of the temple from above, it is worth taking the bus up and walking down.
All in all, plan to spend a few hours exploring this incredible archaeological site.
Head to the Beach
After spending the morning at the Segesta archaeological site, then consider spending your afternoon lounging on one of the many beautiful beaches that surround the city. In fact, hitting the beach is absolutely one of the best things to do in Trapani.
There are lots of beaches to enjoy within each reach of the city centre, but we can personally recommend the Spiaggia di San Giuliano which is located only a few minutes’ drive from the centre of Trapani.
If you’re not interested in visiting Segesta, another popular day trip option is to the island of Favignana, just off the coast of Trapani. There are a number of ferries per day connecting the mainland with this beautiful island and it is an easy and unique place to reach from the centre of Trapani. It is also possible to organise a tour here.
Favignana is particularly well known for its incredible rock formations that make spectacular sea caves to explore. There are also a number of wonderful beaches and ample snorkelling and even SCUBA diving opportunities.
Trapani Salt Pans
Regardless of whether you begin your day on Favignana or at Segesta, plan to end your day by taking in the sunset at the beautiful Trapani Salt Pans. Located a bit south of the city centre, these are active sea salt pans where you can get great sunset views with the setting of piles of white sea salt.
Some times of the day, you may also even see some pink flamingoes in the water!
There is also a Museum of Salt at the salt pans if you’re interested in learning a bit more about this area – entry is €1 per person.
Where to Stay in Trapani
Hotel San Michele – Located in the centre of Trapani, this hotel is an excellent choice for mid-range travellers to this western Sicilian city. They have a number of clean, cool and comfortable rooms available and offer breakfast each morning. Click here to see their availability
Room Of Andrea Hotel – This 4-star hotel is the perfect choice for those looking for a luxe stay in Trapani. It has an excellent location for exploring the city and its surrounding area, a number of plush rooms available and plenty of other wonderful amenities to ensure your stay is a great one. Click here to see their availability
Residence La Gancia – If you’d like your own space in Trapani, then this aparthotel is an excellent choice. It is centrally located close to the highlights of the city and they also have a number of fully-furnished apartments available. There is also a bar and fitness centre on site. Click here to see their availability
Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Trapani hotels!
There are a lot of things to do in Trapani that can keep you occupied for a few days. Making for an excellent base in western Sicily, Trapani has a lot to offer visitors and it is a place that you’re sure to quickly fall in love with.
Are you wondering what to do in Trapani? Have any questions about this itinerary? Let us know in the comments!