A Day Trip To Segesta, Italy – Tips For Bus, Attractions and What To Pack april 27, 2022 – Posted in: Italy, Travel – Tags: Attractions, Holiday, Italy, Segesta, Sicily, Trapani, Travel, Weekend Breaks
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All about Parco Archeologico di Segesta
Segesta is located in western Sicily, between Trapani and Palermo. Segesta was one of the most important cities of the Elymians, a Hellenistic people believed to be descended from Troy in Greece. In Segesta, they built a community based on the Greek model, with agora, amphitheater and temple – and it’s all still there!
Here you can read about how to get to Segesta Park by public transport, what to see in the archeological park and how to get around Segesta.
What can you see in Segesta?
Segesta is mentioned in sources as early as 580 BC and is today one of the major historical sights of Western Sicily. In Segasta you can see a well-preserved Greek theater, a Doric temple and the ruins of the ancient city. Whether you are interested in history or just want to go on an exciting day trip from Trapani or Palermo, Segesta is worth a visit.
As Segesta lies on the mountaintop in the beautiful countryside, it is hard to imagine that the city was the center of a bitter conflict with Selinunte in the Valley of the Temples at the southern tip of Sicily. Today, Selinunte is Europe’s largest archeological park with impressive Greek temples and also worth a visit.
The Great Temple of Segesta was built in 430-420 BC at a time when Segesta was fighting the Selinunts. When you get close to the temple, you can see that it was never finished. This is especially evident on the blocks in the foundation where the handles to carry the heavy stones were never removed. Up on Monte Bàrbaro are the remains of the thriving trading town, where you can walk around the Greek amphitheater and also see traces of Normans and Moors who later occupied the city.
If you want to read more about Segesta, then one of the more easy-to-read articles on the subject is on Wikipedia: Segesta. On the park’s own page there is also a great article about Segesta, which is in Italian. If you can’t read Italian, then use Google Translate.
How do you get to Segesta?
You can get by bus to Segesta from both Palermo and Trapani. Since our starting point was Trapani, this article will focus on this journey. As with all the other trips around Sicily where you have to go by bus, it is a challenge to find your way around time tables and bus stops, so here is a detailed guide on how to get from Trapani to Segesta by bus.
The bus company that runs to Segesta is called Tarantola, and the stop is at the bus station behind the train station. How to find it: Go to the train station and stand in front of it. Go right around the building, towards the small snack bar. At the ticket office, turn left, in the direction of Piazza Giangiacomo Ciaccio Montalto, and then the bus stop is in the middle.
It says on the sign at the bus stop that you can buy tickets at the Tabacchi kiosk, but this is not correct. You have to buy a ticket on the bus and you can pay with cash. In April, it was €6.50 for a return ticket. The trip takes about 40 minutes from Trapani to Segesta. The bus doesn’t run in the middle of the day, so check the bus times and plan your trip from home on the Tarantola website.
How to get around Segesta?
The bus stops at the entrance to the park and from there it is a few minutes walk to the ticket office. You can also buy your ticket online here: Parco Archeologico di Segesta (in Italian). From the ticket office there is a 1-minute walk to the café and restrooms, and from here the path goes up to the Segesta temple. It takes about 5-10 minutes to walk the 400 meters up there. The path is steep and with high steps.
When you buy your ticket, you can also choose to buy a ticket for the shuttle bus, which runs up and down the mountain to the theater and agora all day. You can also walk up the mountain like we did. There are 1200 meters of steep climb and gravel paths, and it took us about 20 minutes, the descent only 10. If you want to go out and explore the fortifications and the smaller buildings, there are small paths through the landscape along the way.
How long should you set aside for your visit?
The buses run all day, so you can choose to spend two or five hours in Segesta. Five hours is not too much if you are interested in archeology and history or want to gor for a hike in the countryside. If you just want to see the temple and the theater, two hours is fine.
Is Segesta for children and the disabled?
We have written several places about the steep climbs, but for adults in good shape, Segesta is no problem, especially not if you choose to take the shuttle bus up the mountain. If you have children in a stroller or toddlers in the run-away age, it is a good idea to opt for a day trip to the Egadi Islands instead. Segesta is located on a mountain surrounded by steep ravines, where one should not fall down.
We also don’t recommend the trip for the disabled. The place generally does not invite for either strollers, crutches or wheelchairs, and it is uneven terrain with pebbles that you can easily slip on.
What should you bring to Segesta?
It is essential for a visit to Segesta that you wear good shoes, e.g. sneakers or hiking boots. High heels or flip flops can definately not be recommended.
At the ticket office there is a small café where you can get something to eat and drink, but up on the mountain there is nothing, so bring a bottle of water and salty snacks or a sandwich in your backpack. We were there in April and already in the spring it was a pretty hot trip. If you want to hike further out into the area, bring plenty of water. Also remember sunscreen and sun hat.
More tips for your holiday in Trapani
Find a great hotel in Trapani
There are three areas you can choose to stay in when you visit Trapani: the old town, the new town and then in the medieval town of Erice. The old town is where it all happens with the shopping street Corso Vittorio Emanuele as a lively center. The new district is where the locals live in the smaller roads going in all directions from the long shopping street. Here you are also close to the best beaches. Erice is located on a mountain, making you dependent on the cable car, but in return yo have an amazing view over Trapani and the Egadi Islands.
On Booking.com you can see the hotels and holiday apartments in Trapani, and below you can also read our recommendations for Trapani. Please do your own search on Booking.com for a good hotel in Trapani right here:
Recommendations for an apartment and a hotel in Trapani
Being in Trapani for a week, whe had the time to have both a city break and a beach holiday at our time in Trapani. The first days we stayed in an apartment in the center of the old town right by Corso Vittorio Emanuele. The restaurants, harbor and sights were right below our window, and it was nice to have your own kitchen.
During the week we moved to the relatively new and really nice beach hotel Punta Tipa, where the photo is from. Trapani is not (yet) patched up with beach hotels, and in fact Punta Tipa is one of the only ones. It is located just before the best beach in Trapani (at the university) and with the most beautiful view over the city.
From the hotel there are about 10 minutes walk up to the new town and 30 minutes to Torre dell’Orologio in the old town. Trapani is an expensive city to park in, with prices from 1 euro per hour inside the city center, but Punta Tipa is with its free parking spaces a good hotel for you who is renting a car and want to use Trapani as a base to get out and see a lot of sights in the area. Read more about the hotel by clicking on the links or photo.