Visit the Zingaro Nature Reserve: All my best tips
You’re planning to visit the Zingaro Nature Reserve during your next trip to Sicily?
Established as a nature reserve in 1981, the Zingaro is Sicily‘s first protected area. In the past, it was home to small farming villages as well as smugglers and traffickers who used its many caves to store their goods.
Today, the reserve is one of the most popular places in Sicily to admire superb panoramic views over the sea and to alternate hiking and swimming breaks in beautiful coves.
In order to help you plan your day at the reserve, i have prepared this guide, with all the info you will need to organize your visit.
And as usual, I will also give you my list of the best places to stay around the Zingaro depending on your budget.
So, How to visit the Zingaro nature reserve? Where to stay?
Let’s plan your visit!
- Visit the Zingaro Nature Reserve: All my best tips
- Hiking in the Zingaro Nature Reserve
- Visit the Zingaro reserve by boat
- The 3 Best places to visit around Zingaro Reserve
- How to get to the Zingaro Nature Reserve?
- Where to stay to visit the Zingaro reserve?
- Map of the Zingaro Nature Reserve
- You’re traveling in Sicily? These articles will help you!
Hiking in the Zingaro Nature Reserve
The Zingaro Nature Reserve is located between Scopello and San Vito Lo Capo.
You can access it by 2 entrances:
- The North entrance, 12 km from San Vito Lo Capo
- The South entrance, 1 km away from Scopello.
As I have chosen to stay in Scopello during my trip, I arrived in the Zingaro Nature Reserve by the South entrance. You should do the same, as it’s clearly the most practical!
You will find a large parking lot where you can park your car (come early if possible, in high season, it tends to be full really quickly) and a small snack bar where you can buy food and drinks.
This snack bar is the only place where you can buy food and water. Once inside, there is no drinking water, so make sure you carry enough water with you for the whole day! Be cautious with this, especially if you visit the Zingaro with your family.
There is a 5€ per person entrance fee to the nature reserve.
In addition to your entrance ticket, they will also give you a map showing the different trails and points of interest of the Zingaro, such as the coves and small museums located along the way.
Now that you have your ticket, you can start your hike!
You should follow the 7km long path that connects the South entrance to the North entrance. It goes along the seaside, it’s very beautiful!
Even if this hike doesn’t present any particular difficulties, you should wear hiking boots or sneakers, as the path is quite rocky. You really shouldn’t go there in flip-flops or sandals, you would regret it.
This trail in the Zingaro nature reserve is renowned for offering beautiful views and indeed, it is simply magnificent!
As you are very often a few dozen meters above sea level, you will enjoy a spectacular view of the coast and the sea below.
If you love photography, you will for sure spend a good time of the day taking beautiful pictures!
The Zingaro is a great place to combine a bit of hiking with a few beach breaks during the day.
Throughout your hike, you will be able to take smaller trails leading to magnificent coves with turquoise and translucent water. No doubt you will take a dip a few times during the day.
In total, there are 7 coves in the reserve. The hardest part will probably be to go back up the steep path to continue the trail after swimming!
If you wish to get some peace and quiet, you shouldn’t go to the beaches that are the closest to the entrances.
La Punta della Capreria for example, is the most popular beach because you don’t have to walk much to get there. You should avoid it (especially in summer), and choose a quieter one such as Cala Berretta, Cala Marinella or Cala dell’Uzzo
During your hike in the Zingaro reserve, you can also visit several small museums set up in shepherd’s huts.
You will learn more about the history of the reserve as well as about the local flora and fauna.
For example, there are about 650 species of plants and trees in the nature reserve, including the sea lavender, endemic to the region. Bird lovers will also be delighted with the presence of peregrine falcons, eagles and owls.
To do the round-trip hike, from one end of the reserve to the other, it took us about 4 hours, with of course several photo stops!
If you also want to swim, you can even spend the day in Zingaro reserve. Don’t forget to bring your picnic!
Visit the Zingaro reserve by boat
if you don’t want to hike, you can also choose to visit the Zingaro nature reserve by boat. It’s for sure less tiring than hiking in the summer heat, and it will allow you to admire the splendid landscapes without effort.
The boat trip will also allow you to reach beaches and coves only accessible by sea.
During the swimming breaks of the boat trip, you will be able to do snorkeling and discover the many colorful fish and abundant vegetation on the seabed. The Pools of Venus, in the Zingaro reserve, are the ideal place to enjoy crystal clear water.
Several companies offer this type of boat trip to the reserve. Departures are in the morning, from the city of Castellammare del Golfo.
During this day, you will follow the coast from Castellammare to San Vito Lo Capo. Swimming and snorkeling stops are planned in Zingaro nature reserve and at Scopello Faraglioni in the morning.
You will then have a simple lunch on the boat (included in the price).
In the afternoon, you will have about 3 hours of free time in San Vito Lo Capo to enjoy its very large sandy beach or visit the city.
At the end of the afternoon, you will return to Castellammare del Golfo.
This kind of day trip to the Zingaro costs between 40 and 65€ depending on the company.
The 3 Best places to visit around Zingaro Reserve
If you have a bit of time after your hike in the reserve or if you plan to spend a few days in the area, you should visit the surroundings of the Zingaro.
Here are the best places to visit:
After visiting the Zingaro, on the way back (if you entered the reserve by the southern entrance), you will pass through Scopello. Take the opportunity to visit the village, it’s very small but very cute!
If you want to have a drink or eat something after a long day of hiking, there are plenty of cafés and restaurants.
Sweet food lovers should really try Scopello pasticeria, located on the main square. The homemade pastries and Lemon granita are a pure delight!
And for a good diner, you can go eat at Nettuno restaurant. The terrace is really nice, and I really enjoyed their “pasta alla Norma”!
Scopello is also famous for “La Tonnara beach”, located just below the village. The ancient tonnara buildings, the big rocks (called faraglioni in Italian) and the crystal clear waters make this place stunning!
La Tonnara being a private beach, you will have to pay a small entrance fee to enjoy the beach.
If you are looking for a free beach, you can go to Guidaloca beach, located close to Scopello.
2. San Vito Lo Capo
San Vito Lo Capo is the closest city to the northern entrance of the Zingaro.
It’s a very touristic seaside resort in Sicily, Italian tourists love to go there. The town is especially famous for its very large sand beach with shallow water.
As it’s a touristic place, you can rent sunbeds on the beach as well as do nautical activities. There are also many restaurants around.
If you visit Sicily with your family and children, it’s really a great beach: you can park your car right it front of it and swimming is supervised.
However, it’s obviously a bit crowded, especially during high season. So if you want to enjoy a quieter place, you should move away from the city centre and head to the rocky coast by the seaside road.
The landscape is beautiful and you can stop for a swim at smaller beaches or on the edge of the rocks.
3. Monte Cofano Nature Reserve
Monte Cofano nature reserve is located 30 minutes by car from San Vito Lo Capo.
If you enjoyed your hike in the Zingaro nature reserve, you will for sure like this one too!
In the reserve, you can choose between 2 paths:
- The seaside trail: The landscape is very different than what you saw in the Zingaro but just as beautiful. The walk is easy and takes about 3 hours round trip
- The path leading to the summit of Mount Cofano: There are a few difficult passages, were you will need to do a bit of rock climbing. You will need good shoes as well as being at least moderately athletic.
How to get to the Zingaro Nature Reserve?
Trapani – Zingaro
From Trapani, it takes about 55 minutes by car to reach the southern entrance of the Zingaro reserve, via Scopello.
Palermo – Zingaro
From Palermo, it will take you 1h30 to reach the southern entrance of the nature reserve.
Where to stay to visit the Zingaro reserve?
Accommodation in Scopello (10 minutes by car from the South entrance)
- Villa Anna: Located 5 minutes from Guidaloca beach and 10 minutes’ drive from Scopello. Modern and bright double room from 60€ per night, breakfast included. What we liked: the geographical location close to Scopello and the Zingaro nature reserve, the calm of the place, the reception of the host, the rooms with private terrace, the private free parking and above all the excellent and copious breakfast with home-made cakes. We highly recommend it. It’s my favorite choice in Scopello for it’s great value!
- Tenute Plaia Agroturismo: Located 500 meters from Scopello. Double room with classic decoration from 79 €, breakfast included. Strong points: the setting in the countryside, the view, the breakfast and the restaurant of the hotel, the swimming pool, the private and free parking.
- B & B Talia: Located in Scopello itself. Comfortable and colorful double room from 124 € per night, breakfast included. Strong points: the location and the view on the Tonnara, the kindness of the hosts, the home made breakfast.
Accommodation in Castellammare del Golfo (25 minutes by car from the South entrance – Starting point for boat trips in the reserve)
- Hotel Punta Nord Est: Hotel located just in front of the beach, you go out and you are standing with your feet in the water. Large and bright double room from 60€ per night, breakfast included. Strong points: the swimming pool, access to a private beach, the magnificent view from the rooms. It’s my favorite for its excellent value for money!
- Santina: B & B located 200 meters from the sea. Comfortable and nicely decorated double room with a superb sea view from 75€ per night, breakfast included. Strong points: the view from the rooms, the delicious breakfast, the amazing staff
- Atrium: B&B located in the Castellammare del Golfo old town. Double room with refined decoration from 100€ per night, breakfast included. Strong points: the design of the rooms and bathrooms, the comfort, the location, the homemade pancakes for breakfast, the kindness of the hosts.
Accommodation in San Vito Lo Capo (20 minutes by car from the northern entrance of the reserve)
- Sikania Hotel: Located in San Vito Lo Capo, 10 minutes walk from the beach. Modern and bright double room from 60€ per night, breakfast included. Strong points: the geographical location, the cleanliness, the kindness of the staff.
- Room and Breakfast Aloe: Located in San Vito, 5 minutes walk from the beach. Colourful and spacious double room from 90€ per night, breakfast included. Strong points: the location close to the beach, the warm welcome and many advice, the good breakfast.
- B&B Selene: Located in San Vito, 100 meters from the beach. Spacious and bright double room from 120€ per night, breakfast included. Strong points: the calm, the terrace to have breakfast, the jacuzzi, the comfort of the rooms, the view. It is my favorite for in San Vito Lo Capo for it’s great value for money!
Map of the Zingaro Nature Reserve
And you, do you plan to visit the Zingaro nature reserve during your trip to Sicily?
Sicily travel Guides
- Buy the Lonely Planet Sicily guide on Amazon.com or on Amazon.co.uk
- Buy the DK Eyewitness Sicily guide on Amazon.com or on Amazon.co.uk
You’re traveling in Sicily? These articles will help you!
Discover all my articles about Sicily: All my articles to help you plan your trip to Sicily are listed there.
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- Itinerary: 1 week in Sicily – with all my best tips + accommodation suggestions! (East coast)
- Itinerary: 10 days in Sicily – with all my best tips + accommodation suggestions! (West coast)
- Itinerary: 2 weeks in Sicily – with all my best tips + accommodation suggestions! (Full Sicily tour)
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