A Day in Western Sicily: Erice vs Castellammare del Golfo

There are places that try to sell you souvenirs. There others that are generous enough to share memories with you. Travelling in Western Sicily I have found both of these places in the same day: Erice vs Castellammare del Golfo […]

The thing I love most about travelling is feeling that I’m somehow sharing part of someone else’s life. My quench of discovery is satisfied even when I can simply witness the locals daily routine. That is why when I get to places that are highly touristy I feel more like a bored teenager on an uninteresting school trip rather than on a small adventure.

Erice has become one of these highly touristy places.

On paper this village reads wonderfully. It is a medieval village, perfectly conserved and which location perched on a rock offers an incredible view of the bay underneath it. 

In reality, all the charm of Erice seemed to have been traded for a bunch of tourists shops which are ready to replace memories with souvenirs. An exception should be made for a couple of elderly people who appeared to have survived the tourist invasion. As a consequence my husband had to drag me around like you do with a sulky teenager just to make the winding trip up this village worth his while.

CASTELLAMMARE DEL GOLFO where tourism did not conquer all

Luckily, Sicily is one of those places that can put back a smile on your face as quickly as it can steal it. For me it took about 30 km. Then we arrived in Castellammare del Golfo. That is where the most romantic sunset blew my mind and a perfectly grilled local fish restored my faith in humanity. For this reason I feel to say: do not leave Western Sicily until you have walked around this fisherman village. Maybe after 5 pm, to cool down after a day on the beach – and around here you have seriously beautiful ones – and just in time for an aperitivo.

Local people

Since the clear water looked so attractive from the main boulevard, we decided to go down the beach for our aperitivo. Here the people bathing near the shore – and Italians rarely go further than that – provided us with a relaxing and entertaining show.

The boulevard along the sea
People bathing near the shore

Only later we started wandering around the village. And that is when a system of stairs, bridges and narrow streets made our day more and more interesting. We ended up on a picturesque harbour, pretty squares, and inviting restaurants.

local food

Finally, our stomach begun to send us unmistakable signals. We asked some locals for recommendation although it was hard to figure out whether they were sending us to their relatives or to a place famous for its fresh fish. In truth, we could not really tell. So we applied our rule of thumb: ask the locals and than follow your guts. We ended up having a good dinner. And the merit was especially of one of these two fishes here below.

Our dinner

All in all, this day that had started off on the wrong foot became eventually a memorable one. To have partaken the afternoon of a Sicilian and to have looked together at the same marvellous colours that only a dusk on the sea can offer is the best souvenir that I can think of.


  • Villa Maria: panoramic villa for those who like a vintage twist as well as being within walking distance from the beach (Baia di Guidaloca);
  • Villa Perla di Guidaloca: bright villa at 100 meters from the beach of Guidaloca.
©photos Derrick de Ruiter & Giulia Lattanzio

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