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.