London lifestyle & travels with kids and babies
3 days on island of Favignana have been probably the most relaxing part of our Sicily with kids adventures. Low key charm, unique geography, stunning waters and tones of history made us fell in love instantly. We hopped on the ferry Trapani to Favignana early afternoon and felt for it as soon as the entered Favignana’s port – electric blue crystal waters, North African architectured houses and one distinctive former factory tuna, now a museum.
It’s been also quite a relief arriving in Favignana. In theory, island hopping in Italy should be relatively simple (as we tested last year Naples – Procida – Ischia) but then little we found available online for transfer to Egadi islands. Trapani to Favignana ferry car included seemed to be the most elusive of all. Siremar opening hours in Trapani must be a dream come true for staff with 11:30 -3pm off. I speculate but I instantly pictured them having a scenic lunch, sunbathing and swimming?
Irony aside, we arrived late morning in Trapani from Palermo just to find Siremar closed already at 11:50 and opening the ticket office 3pm for a ferry at 3:50pm. We got back 3pm dot and found quite few people already; Trapani to Favignana ferry queue only got bigger – as one could not book online and even if booked, check in was still required! Siremar ticket office coped badly with the interest and people queuing, quite an adventure and some adrenaline getting the tickets and then finding our way with the car to the ferry (no directions but left to you to figure out of a big harbour where to head for Favignana departures and Siremar).
But by the time we entered Favignana’s port, all overwhelming positive impressions balanced out the ferry adventures and any stress. Should you be without small kids, the passenger only is the way to come here and there are lots of Aliscafos (fast boats) throughout the day.
Best way to explore this gorgeous intriguing island is by bike, scooter or boat. One can rent a bike or scooter as soon as you arrive and for a modic amount – it’s quintessential part of island of Favignana’s charm.
We picked a boutique cave hotel and to all parties excitement has been one memorable stay. Cave Bianche Favignana has a beautiful simplicity and peacefulness – the rooms are bare and contemporary, the place is stripped of non essential and so peaceful in its gorgeous tufa quarry setting: stone, flowers, green and water. A gentle stay for the budget as well, with rooms kids and breakfast including at Euro130 per night given the begining of the summer season.
3 of best beaches in Favignana are within 10 minutes of Cave Bianche hotel. Calla Rossa has a distinctive shore geography, with stunning tufa stones in various majestic shapes in the crystal blue waters.
People sunbathed installed comfortably in stones of funny sizes and shapes soaking in the blues and dipping in the sea.
Cala Azzurra was covered in algae when we explored (beginning of the summer season), which made it pretty in a very special fluffy way – the kids decided. Both Cala Rossa and Azzurra are best to be explored by boat for families with small kids like ours – views aside, it’s easier to jump and dip in the sea from the boat rather than hike and go down so many stairs, rocks or simply algae.
Cala Burrone proved to be the best beach for families and young explorers – few sunchairs options or simply spots on the beach (rocks or sand, more private or busier); restaurants with gellatos, aperols and of course lunch. It’s also got a pretty view of Favignana’s top hill fortress, shallow waters plus stones and rocks exciting to explore with kids. The boys played in the fresh waves, ventured and ran around – mischief, moaning and fun – we had it all. So yes, Favignana with kids is not only feasible, but truly enjoyable.
We found the cave hotel (aka Cave Bianche Favignana) perfect to relax late afternoons after a day of exploring: by the jacuzzi with an aperol or simply by the pool – aperitivo does not get better than this: gorgeous peaceful cave setting, blue skies and relaxing in the jacuzzi or by the pool.
Dinners were beautiful at Cave Bianche and we tested extensively the menu: fresh raw seafood, pasta alle Trapanese, fish freshly caught, more pasta with Bottarga (tuna roe dried), tuna and prawns. We opted of course for local wines – crisp, dry and mineral. Cave Bianche’s restaurant is perfectly cosy and zen at this time of the year and the personnel made the meals delightful. Thanks a million to Salim – have never seen my boys so excited and fond of restaurant personnel. Games, playfulness and warmness, Salim made us feel like we were visiting family in a gorgeous setting.
The breakfasts at Cave Bianche were also filled with local fresh goodies and peace: canolli with pistacchios, croissants with cream, Sicilian cakes, ricotta, oil, tomatoes and meats – to mention just a few.
We explored Favignana’s delightful cosy centre – white, pebbles, Mediteranean colours with some North African highlights. The island is nowadays a marine protected area, with conservation programs for turtles.
3 days in Favignana with kids or without are not enough in this gem of an island little known outside Italy – but then perhaps Italians are not that keen to share their last little crowded gems and be outpriced by the international tourist hordes?
PS: For further Sicillian adventures in Palermo and around, sailing in natural reserves included, check our post on Safe travels in Palermo with kids. And for proper volcanic adventures and a luxury retreat on Etna, head here – Monaci delle Terre Nere, a former monastery now a sensual boutique hotel, will charm your senses instantly.
I would love to visit the Egadi islands, your photos are gorgeous!
Thank you Annabel! Hope you get to see them soon, they are gorgeous indeed!
The caves sound like they would be nice and cool to stay in, bare minimum is all you need, some suites you get are overpriced for what they actually do – allow you to sleep and bathroom – what more do you really need?
I am glad you had some much fun.
I love the blueness of the water.
Thanks Elaine! This cave style certinly did it for us 😉
Wow, beautiful photos, sounds like a beautiful place to visit & the cave sounds just what you need in the heat #countrykids
Thank you, indeed a great retreat from heat!
That sea!!! What a wonderful three days, sounded perfect for adults and children alike. ImI intrigued as to what a cave hotel is? And your ferry delays remind me of the film Mama Mia! #CountryKids
Funny you mention Mamma Mia as it is in so many ways! Sweet Mediteranean pace of life! In here the cave hotel consisted of hotel in a tufa stone quarry – bare and charming!
Love the idea of a cave hotel for a naturally cool place to stay. The water colour is the most dramatic feature, that aqua colour is so inviting, I’m not sure I’d get on with the algae though. That said I saw the most enormous turtle sized jellyfish washed up at Polzeath this afternoon which wasn’t to my taste either! You do visit some lovely places, ferry aside it sounds wonderful.
Thank you for sharing with me on #CountryKids
Thank you! The algae get cleaned in the main season, aka 3 days after we left but we loved them so we featured them in! I also found jelly fisk in all my go pro shots – ha! that I didn’t really notice swimming, so probably the Italian ones ae civilised 😉
Never been to Sicily but it really does look beautiful. I can’t believe the colour of that water! I’d love some practical advice on island hopping (like where to buy tickets, where the ports are, that sort of thing). 🙂
Of course Esther! For Favignana and Egad islands Trapani is your main harbour and great for a couple of days – stunning baroque architecture! Will write about more soon, feel free to pm for any urgent questions:)
I’d love to visit those islands and this is helpful info about the ferries. Will definitely bookmark this post for reference!
Great to hear Nancy!
We travelled to Sicily a few years ago to the south-east of the island. Absolutely loved, be great to explore this side too #culturedkids
Absolutely, we are already planning to go back next summer!
I would love to visit Favignana – you can’t go wrong with croissants and cream and pistachio cannolis can you, now?
Precisely Scarlett 😉
I love Islands and ferries and a cave boutique hotel is something that I would love to experience #CulturedKids
Hoping you get to see it for yourself Catherine soon! x
I love Islands and ferries and really really want to stay into a boutique cave hotel #CulturedKids
Your photos are amazing! We didn’t get this far when we visited Sicily a few years ago but it’s such a beautiful island and perfect for children. I will definitely travel more in East Sicily next time- my children love clambering through caves/ over rocks!! #CulturedKids
Thank you Kirsty! Keep us posted!
My goodness! You discovered a real secret here! It looks stunning. The cave hotel would be so fun to stay in. #culturedkids
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beautiful place, love the color of the sea #fearlessfamtrav
I’d personally like to explore by bot! The sea is stunning #fesrlessfamtrav
This place looks divine. I’d never actually heard of it before, but you’ve inspired me to go. The blues in your photos are so striking.
Thanks for linking up to #fearlessfamtrav
My husband and I loved Sicily when we visited pre-kids. We stayed in Cefalu and explored the East of the Island, going as far as Agrigento, Mount Etna and back, all on a motorbike. I’m longing to revisit it with our son and explore more of this incredible island. #fearlessfamtrav
Oh wow on the motorbike is the way to go pre kids indeed, love the sound of it!
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