For sure, it is of my favorites places in Italy. You might not have heard of the Zingaro Natural Reserve, maybe, but I sure hope you will want to visit the area after you read this article. 🙂 This is a perfect destination for nature lovers and hikers. Perhaps you can already start planning to see Sicily this year.
I made this road trip to Sicily some time ago. It is one of the best destinations in Europe if you think of stunning landscapes, vegetation, color, and photogenic areas. It was a self-organized trip. Still, Sicily remains a destination I would love to visit again, each time with the same enthusiasm. I spent a few days in each location, doing a tour of the island with a rented car. Indeed, some of these locations deserved much more days to discover them. And Zingaro is one of them.
Please check the traveling conditions to Sicily before making any plans to visit in the actual epidemic situation. Here you can find the traveling conditions if you come from Romania. Also, check this link to find out the latest information about visiting Sicily from abroad.
Of course, there are many more places to discover in Sicily, like the volcano Etna, or cities like Taormina, Agrigento, Palermo, Notto. All these areas are full of history and incredible natural landscapes.
How was my trip?
Because I was only passing by and had so little time available for this, I only did a short hike and enjoyed the beach to relax. Probably the best way to get to Zingaro is by car. And, it is perhaps the best way to visit Sicily and make the most out of it. Public transportation is not very developed and, you cannot reach certain areas, like Zingaro Natural Reserve.
Still, if you consider visiting Sicily and using public transportation, you can find more information about it here.
Depending on which way you are coming from (Scopello or San Vito Lo Capo), you can enter the reservation through two areas: the North Entrance and the South Entrance.
This is the North Entrance:
To explore the area effectively, you will probably need at least 2-3 days. I took my trip in May, so it was not yet high season. It was perfect, no crowds, the beaches were empty, and I could fully enjoy my short stay. It is an introvert’s dream come true: alone on the beach.
However, if I were to do that again, I think I would choose to go in June. In this way, even if I make a small compromise on the number of tourists I will encounter on my way, I would also be able to take a bath. Unfortunately, the water was too cold in May for bathing. But still, the views made up for it…
Schedule and must-haves
After you enter the reservation, you see no market and no commercial area whatsoever. While it is fantastic to walk these wild areas without any sign of the civilized world, it can also create a few problems. What you should have in mind when visiting the reservation:
- You’ll have to carry everything with you from water to lunch or snacks. You can buy those at the entrance.
- The heat was extreme, even in May. I cannot even imagine how it is in the summer. Because there are no many areas where you can rest and enjoy some shade, this can become very unpleasant. Make sure you have a hat and sunglasses with you and enough water.
- Also, I would recommend sunscreen lotion to avoid sunburns.
- The entrance to the park is 5 EUR.
- Opening hours and visiting period: 7 am-7.30 pm (in the summer) and 9 am-5 pm (in the winter)
What activities could you do in Zingaro Natural Reserve?
Here are some of the activities that you can do:
- Hiking. There are three hiking trails available for tourists:
- Hiking Trail 1 – on the Coast – easy in difficulty (2 hours one way, about 7 km)
- Hiking Trail 2 – medium in difficulty (4 hours, about 8,5 km)
- Hiking Trail 3 – high difficulty (7 hours, 17 km)
- Boat tours. They start from San Vito Lo Capo or Castellammare del Golfo.
- Sunbathing at the beach and swimming in the crystal clear waters of the Mediterranean Sea. 🙂
- Snorkeling or diving: Check out these two diving centers in Castellammare del Golfo with good reviews on Trip Advisor. They also offer boat excursions.
With such clear water, I think the area can be fantastic for snorkeling or diving. Worth giving a try.
Facts and Figures
Zingaro was the first Natural Reserve established in Sicily. It has 1650 ha, and it was officially recognized in 1981. Initially, they planned to build a road in this particular area. The road should have been built right through the Natural reserve, on the coast side. Because of its immense beauty and the variety of its flora and fauna, locals organized protests to stop the building. As we can see today, their efforts were successful, and this is now a protected area. No vehicles are allowed, and nature is thriving.
You can only visit it on foot. There are over 40 species of birds that you will find here, mostly prey birds like the peregrine falcon, the common kestrel, and the buzzard.
The area is quite abundant when it comes to plants, so here you will find more than 650 species of plants. The dwarf palms are ubiquitous. The Mediterranean vegetation is spectacular. In the spring, when I visited the area, there were a lot of small bushes full of colorful flowers. Seeing this spectacle of colors next to the azure and green shades of the sea, the grey rocks and the almost red soil of the trails made this whole natural scenery a real piece of art.
Here you will find some resources if you plan to visit the Reservation.
If you have already visited Zingaro Natural Reserve, feel free to share your experience through a comment in the section below. I would love to know about your experience and what you liked the most.