After we briefly visited Trapani, we drove to Erice. I have the feeling that Erice is an underappreciated gem which you really should visit! What a beautiful town. Erice is an unforgettable medieval hilltown. Driving up to Erice is already spectacular. The town has sweeping views of the sea and the valley below. The main town of Erice is located on top of Mount Erice, at around 750 meters (2,460 ft) above sea level. Erice is overlooking the city of Trapani, the low western coast towards Marsala, the dramatic Punta del Saraceno and Capo San Vito to the north-east, and the Aegadian Islands on Sicily’s north-western coast. Casa Santa forms part of Erice at the base of Mount Erice, immediately adjacent to Trapani. The sober historic town is surrounded by defensive town walls, crowned by a castle. Erice is pronounced with the stress on the first syllable: EH-richay.
In the northeastern portion of the city, there are the remains of ancient Elymian and Phoenician walls. There are two castles that remain in the city: Pepoli Castle, which dates from Saracen times, and the Venus Castle, dating from the Norman period, built on top of the ancient Temple of Venus, where Venus Ericina was worshipped. A cable car joins the upper and lower parts of Erice.
At the time we were up it was around 4 o’clock. Unfortunately, it was misty that day. And it was very cold! In this time of year, you really need to bring a jacket! Especially in the night! We went to check in our hotel first. We had booked Hotel Elimo. What a good choice! We drove up with the car but we could not find the free parking to park the car. So we called the hotel to ask what to do and within a few minutes, someone came to us and drove us to the hotel first and after that brought the car to the parking place! Valet parking service! In the meantime, we checked in. Charming hotel with stunning views in the direction of the salt pans. Amazing!! The hotel is in the middle of the town. The town itself is very small but hilly! And the streets are all small stones. So again: put ion the walking shoes! In Erice about only 150 people are living. I think that 90% of the houses are empty. Nobody is living there. In the summertime, it probably will be very busy but now (April) there was hardly anybody in town.
Erice is basically triangular in shape, with steep lanes leading up and around from the Porta Trapani gateway, where you’ll find the cable-car station (more below on transport). This is at one point of the triangle, with the main street, Vittorio Emanuele, leading straight uphill towards the town’s principal square, Piazza Umberto I. When you follow the town walls from Porta Trapani around to the right you reach the Castello di Venere (Castle of Venus), the furthest point of the triangle. There are good views from here, and a cafe with a nice panoramic terrace.
The twelfth-century Castello di Venere is on the site of Erice’s ancient temple. It’s open daily, with a small admission charge. Through a gateway and up to a flight of stairs, visitors emerge into an open-walled space built onto the bare rock. Most compelling sight is the spectacular view from the fortifications. You can see the sea, the coastline including the fairy-tale Toretta Pepoli, a small ‘castle’ built onto the rocks.
What a small outstanding gem. Not to miss!
After a nice breakfast en a perfect cappuccino it was time to move on. Erice to Palermo by car is about 100 km. and takes about 1.50 to drive …. We decided we did not want to wait for lunch in Palermo so we went into the town of Terrasini.
Terrasini is located 30 kilometers (19 mi) west of Palermo. Terrasini’s population works mainly in fishing and tourism. Like in Licata the population triples during the summer. The coasts and beaches of Terrasini are perfect for surfing and windsurfing, for sailing, kite surfing, diving, etc. It is also a natural reserve, Capo Rama and the surrounding hills are ideal for trekking and cycling. We did not go to visit the town but we wanted to have lunch before we came to Palermo and it would be late already. And boy, did we find a perfect place! A mother and son running an Italian seafood restaurant.
Mother cooking and the son running the restaurant. Good wines. Coral reef Pizzeria. I surely can recommend this place!
Palermo 2.0! The second time for us as we had been in Palermo before. But this time we did not do any cultural activities. Just there to feel and taste the atmosphere with Mark and Marijke. We had a beautiful B&B with the most stunning view in the best part of Palermo: view on the Opera house and in the old center of Palermo. Check the blog post of Palermo here: https://sy8.nl/?p=2566
Porta Maqueda B&B
The location and the hospitality at this hotel are superb! Right in the old center of Palermo with a magnificent view of the Opera house! The staff is super friendly and they even offered a lovely glass of white wine with some bites! You are right in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the center but in your room, you do not hear any noise. Breakfast offers a choice of typical Sicilian cookies, parmesan cheeses, bread, croissants and a lovely fresh cup of cappuccino. We had a perfect stay! Grazia!
We had a stroll in the old part of the town and went to see the Marina of Palermo. Really nice and full of boats. We strolled along and found a nice restaurant to have dinner. Next morning we went to see the fish market and then we drove back home!
We had an awesome trip with awesome people! Thank you, Mark and Marijke of Cat Great Circle for doing this together. And for the great movie you made Mark! Mark makes beautiful aerial videos of the places they sail to. You can follow their account on Youtube at Cat Great Circle.