Favignana: a paradise island in Sicily
Without wanting to sound like a tourist brochure, there really is no other way to describe the stunningly beautiful sight that will greet you as you near Favignana, other than paradise. This is a word that is bandied around far too easily when we’re talking about travel destinations, but for the ones that truly deserve it, the picture is clear, and a true treat for the eyes and senses.
Favignana is really easy to get to, which is always a bonus when you’re desperate to escape humdrum and arrive on your island as quickly as possible. Your first glimpse of the island of Favignana will be by Hydrofoil or ferry from Trapani in western Sicily, and as the water becomes even clearer (if that’s at all possible), the sun beats down harder, and the shore comes into sight, a feeling of relaxation and serenity seems to evoke your senses.
Favignana is not a Club 18-30s kind of island, that’s for sure, and you won’t find neon-lit nightclubs and booming basslines, but what you will find is peace, and a true chilled out vibe. Put simply, Favignana is one of those destinations that allows you to breathe in a lungful of fresh Mediterranean air, and breathe out all your worries.
On the flip side, is it boring? Not at all!
Easy to get away from it all
Favignana is one of the Egadi Islands, just off the coast of western Sicily, which is obviously just off the coast of mainland Italy. Because of this, you get a sense of being cast away from everything, which makes it easier to forget all your cares and worries for the duration of your visit, whilst not being that far away geographically.
Low key is probably the best way to describe Favignana, but you will easily find a sense of the authentic way of life on the island, with a leisurely pace to everything. Island life will soon seep into your subconscious!
Favignana used to be referred to as “the big butterfly on the sea” and that is simply because of its shape, with two flat sides, the butterfly’s wings, and a bump in the middle, basically a big hill called Santa Caterina. Alongside Marettimo and Levanzo, Favignana is the largest of the islands in the group, and because of that it is the most visited. Don’t let this put you off, because even in peak summer season of July and August, the island is never packed, so really you could call it a hidden secret that is begging to be discovered! The other two islands in the chain should certainly be visited too, and it’s easy to do that in one day by boat, giving you a true overview of the archipelago.
Small but hard hitting on the memory bank
Only 4300 people call Favignana their home, and that’s probably something to do with its size, standing at only 19.38 square miles. Don’t let its small size fool you however, as there is history and culture in abundance, not to mention the many beautiful Favignana beaches with amazing diving opportunities. There might only be a few thousand inhabitants on land in the island, but there are many more underneaththe sea in the shape of unusual and colourful marine life. If you have any diving experience then this should definitely be on your to do list.
Speaking of under the sea, one of the main industries that Favignana has become famous for is tuna fishing, and whilst this isn’t as predominant as it once used to be, the traditions that are entwined with it still run very strong indeed on the island. You’ll see nods all around the island, but more so towards the harbour in Favignana Town, where fresh catch are transported to nearby restaurants and markets. If you love fresh seafood of many different varieties, then this is the island for you!
Old fishermen will pass the time of day with you, in a true leisurely fashion, and their stories will give you even more of a sense of Favignana back in the day.
Authentic, quiet, and laid-back
Fitting in to everyday life in Favignana is not a difficult task, and the friendly locals are all too happy to help tourists visiting the island learn more about its history and traditions. If you can learn a few words of Italian before you go, this will help you even more, and you’ll get a smile every time you try.
Favignana Town is where you will find the main restaurants, bars, and shops, with Piazza Madrice and Piazza Europa your main destinations. Even though this part of the island is a little more modern, with a pedestrianised centre, you’ll still see old men sat outside cafes chatting, and families going about their daily business. Favignana has managed to keep moving with the times in some ways, but retain its charm completely, which is always a tricky line to hold.
Complete your to-do list
There are certain things that you must do during your visit to Favignana, otherwise your journey will not have been completed! Obviously, everyone’s tastes are different, but as with any new destination, everyone needs a little guidance.
Here’s a few must do activities for your visit to Favignana.
– Visit the Tuff Caves and explore the handiwork of old quarrymen
– Swim in the crystal clear waters and let the sun dry you off
– Sample freshly caught tuna, cooked by those in the know
– Visit the fish market and pick your favourite for your evening meal
– Hire a bicycle and head off around the island
– Visit Santa Caterina castle and take photos of the amazing views on top of the hill
– Pass the time chatting to an old fishermen, enjoying tales of the Matanza
– Say ‘ciao’ to the plentiful marine life around the area, with a spot of scuba diving
– Get down with some history in the archaeological region of San Nicola
– Let the sun wash away your cares with a day on the beach
The list goes on …
An island for peace and relaxation
Families will find the pace of life on Favignana perfect for touching base, as will couples and small groups looking for peace and quiet. The plentiful outdoor activities will give you a great opportunity to be at one with nature, overlooked by the sparkling ocean and the glittering sun – a perfect excuse to catch a golden tan!
Put simply, Favignana is an unspoilt oasis which begs to be explored.