Passengers boarding on a ferry to Marettimo will arrive at one of the Aegadian islands, after enjoying a wonderful sea route, under the hot Mediterranean sun!
Being a part of the municipality of Favignana in Trapani province, Marettimo, once called the Holy island, is located west of Siily and is the second in size of the Egadi islands. With a population of 700 inhabitants during summer and half of them in winter, it covers an area of about 12 square kilometers. Although the history of the island dates back to 5.000 BC, testified from the findings kept in the Museum of the Sea, the official version is that the island was used firstly by the Romans after 241ΒC as a checkpoint on the route between Tunis and Rome. In the following years Marettimo suffered from various invasions and was dominated by the Byzantines, the Saracens and the Arabs who stayed there for more than a century until 1078 when the Normans expelled them. Later on, the Swabians and the Spaniards came, but due to the continuous pirate threats, the island remained isolated till the end of 18th century when the dynasty of Bourbons tried to give life to Marettimo.
Visitors who arrive in Marettimo with the use of ferries are debarking on the least developed of the main three Aegadian Islands (Favignana, Levanzo and Marettimo). This means that there are not many options of accommodation or restaurants and also that there are almost no roads crossing it so cars are few to none too. This makes it the perfect place to go hiking or walking and explore its qualifications. Going through the unspoiled nature and amazing scenery you can reach the crystal clear waters and enjoy a swim and sunbathing. Forget about sandy beaches though and imagine rocky caves in combination with blue waters and colorful flora.
If you love this kind of vacation and if you are interested in culture and history of the island, it is highly recommended that you book your ferry tickets to Marettimo in advance so as to secure them!
Ferry routes to Marettimo
The most popular ferry routes to Marettimo are described below:
- Trapani to Marettimo with a stopover to Favignana and a ferry journey of 1h5m
- Favignana to Marettimo with a ferry time of 50min with an intermediate stop to Levanzo
- Levanzo to Marettimo with half an hour ferry voyage
- Marsala to Marettimo with a ferry change in Favignana, stopover to Levanzo and a total duration of 1h40m
Marettimo port is on the eastern coast of the island and is facing Levanzo and Favignana. The little harbor is part of the one and only settlement called Marettimo as well and is composed of the fishing boat pier and the pier for hydrofoils. Around the port, you can find all the necessities such as groceries and fruit, shops, snack bars, restaurants and Airbnb apartments or hotels.
Transportation options in Marettimo
There are no public transportation services or taxis in Marettimo but you can ask the locals for available boat tours. During the summer period the use of bicycles is very popular.
Places to visit and things to do in Marettimo
In the following lines there is a brief description of the places to visit in Marettimo:
- An interesting site worth visiting is the Castle of Punta Troia, built back in the time by the Saracens, located in the northernmost point on the island and almost an hour’s walk from the port. From there you can take photos and enjoy the natural colors along with the sunset. It is worth noting that during the French revolution the castle became a prison for political prisoners until 1844 when King Ferdinand II closed the castle. Today there is a prison Museum and an observatory of the Monk Seal.
- In order to explore the island to its full potential, it is highly advisable to take a tour by boat with the companies that arrange them on the island. There is only one little town with a graphical port and a colorful scenery of houses and boats and is inhabited by few people during the whole season and it is the heart of the island
- Chiesetta Bizantina is the Byzantine Church of Marettimo built during the 12th century in Case Romane with many archaeological sites nearby. The Roman Houses and the excavations in the whole area have given a lot of knowledge and experience to the archaeologists about the history of Marettimo. The access is a little difficult on foot but it is understood, since this place was a strategic point in the past for the Romans as from there, Favignana and Levanzo could be seen
- Trekking in one of the hiking trails of Marettimo is a lovely experience. Be ready to admire the view of the lighthouse and the castle or Punta Basano
- Museum of the Sea or in italian “Museo del Mare '' where visitors can see the tools of fishing of the locals as well as photos and documentaries that testify the history of the fishermen
Marettimo beaches and caves
It is really a good experience to swim in the crystal waters of Marettimo, but if you are not used to trekking it is better to rent a boat as the paths reaching most of the beaches are difficult and tiring.
- Scalo Vecchio Beach is located close to the old port and it is preferred by the locals due to its easy access from the city center. Τhe waters are clear and the sand is dark
- Rotolo Beach is pebbly and you can go on foot from the city center within 15 minutes. The beach is ideal for families as the coastline is straight and the waters are calm. Sea shoes are recommended
- Cala Bianca is easily accessible by boat as the hike is really difficult. Snorkeling is a good idea as the bottom of the sea is really rich and you can meet different kinds of fish. It is located on the north-west side of the island and the water is ideal for swimming
- Cala Nera, located under the lighthouse of Punta Libeccio is preferably reached by boat, as the walking distance is long and difficult
- Cala Manione on the northside is a small cove with amazing waters close to Punta Troia. The best way to approach is by boat
- Camel Cave, named after its shape in the entrance, is one of the many caves in the island. Boat tours are arranged departing from Scalo Nuovo and with different stops offer the opportunity to explore the hidden places of the whole island
- Perciata Cave with stalactites and stalagmites is one of the most beautiful caves of Marettimo. It is possible to cross it by boat, the seabed is crystal clear and if you happen to visit it in the afternoon you will see the sun reflecting on the water
- Ficaredda Cave which means “Fig Tree Cave” took its name from a fig tree which grew above the entrance. A protective kind of seabird which is called “storm birds” live in the cave which extracts an unpleasant smell from the excrements and remains of birds
Marettimo hotels, guest houses, apartments and holiday houses can be found very close to the center and the port or near the beach.
The more visited are the following:
- Marettimo Residence Hotel
- Il Gabbiano Blu Vista Mare
Useful tips for your trip
- Do not forget your trekking shoes as they are absolutely necessary for visiting most of the places on the island
- The castle is not open during winter months and sometimes the entrance is available during weekends. Ask your landlord for more information
- Island hopping is a possibility while in Marettimo. Check at the port for boat tours