A Daytrip to Erice, Italy – What To See, Eat And Do april 27, 2022 – Posted in: Italy, Travel – Tags: Attractions, Erice, Holiday, Italy, Sicily, Trapani, Travel, Weekend Breaks
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A day in the medieval town of Erice
Just above Trapani lies the mountain village of Erice. Erice is one of the biggest sights in Europe, and if you only have one day in Western Sicily, then skip everything else, including Palermo, and go on a day trip up the mountain to the old city. Erice is a must and with its narrow medieval streets and gray-brown stone houses a sight that makes most people lose their breath.
As you have probably noticed while reading along here on SittingUnderAPalmTree, we have over the years visited quite a few historical sights, but never anything like Erice. It’s simply incomparable!
Must see attractions in Erice
750 meters above sea level is the small village of Erice, high up on the mountain and well hidden behind the ancient city walls. When you arrive in in Erice by the cable car, the relationship between the town here on the mountain and Trapani below suddenly becomes very clear. The port city of Trapani was the suburb of the outstanding Erice, which was protected up here. This was where the important monasteries and administration buildings were located, and this was where one could seek protection. Erice was well protected with its steep mountain slopes and fortifications, and even today, apart from the cable car, there is only one other way up the mountain.
The city map of Erice looks like a triangle, making it easy to find your way around. On your trip around the city you can choose to take the short (red) or the long sightseeing route (blue). Above you’ll find a map of Erice – click on it to enlarge it.
It’s free to walk around the city, but if you want to see churches, monasteries and museums, you have to buy a ticket. You can buy a joint ticket at Torre di Re Federico. In April 2022, it €6 euros to see all the main sights in Erice. You have to buy a separate ticket to Castello di Venere, the Venus Castle.
The short trip around Erice
The short trip starts at the beautiful city gate, which on the map here is located in the western tip of the triangle. Going left when entering the city, you come to the Torre di Re Federico, from where you have an excellent view of Trapani and all the way down to the Phoenician island of Motya. Next door is the beautiful cathedral Real Duomo, built in Gothic style. From here you can stroll through the narrow cobbled streets to San Giuliano, the very first church in the city.
The long trip around Erice
The long walk takes you all the way out to the Spanish castle in the Quartiere Spagnole at the top of the triangle and down to the Norman castle Castello di Venere and to Torretta Pepoli at the eastern tip. Also take a walk along the western city wall. The city wall, which starts at Torre di Re Federico and faces the slope, is more than 2,500 years old and was built by Elymers and Phoenicians.
What to eat and taste in Erice
In Erice is the famous bakery Pasticceria Maria Grammatico, where you just have to make a stop to taste some of all the delicious cakes. The orphaned Maria grew up in the San Carlo convent in Erice, where she from the nuns learned to make marzipan. The bakery is also where you should taste the delicious genovesi, a small cake filled with cream that was traditionally sold by the nuns to the pilgrims. Also order the pistachio balls and rinse it all down with the green Ericino liqueur or just a cup of coffee.
NB! In Erice there are also a number of small cafes and restaurants that serve food and drink both for lunch and dinner.
How do you get to Erice?
From Porta Oscura and the clock tower of the old town, there are four kilometers to the cable car that leads up to Erice. To find the distance from your hotel to the cable car, type “Funivia Trapani” in the Google Maps search box . You can walk there along the wide shopping boulevard, Via Giovanni Battista Fardella, or take the bus. See the different bus routes here: Bus Lines to the Cableway Station.
In April 2022, it was €9.50 for a return ticket with the cable car, and the trip takes about 10-15 minutes. The cable car is closed until 13.00 on Mondays due to maintenance and testing. You can see the timetable for the cable car here: Funivia. You can also walk up the mountain on the trail just below the cable car, but that requires you to be in pretty good shape.
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.