The island of Sicily is simply magical. Every bit of it.
With a drastically different landscape and culture than that of its neighbors to the north, Sicily offers travelers a unique Italian encounter right smack in the middle of the Mediterranean. And there are so many gems spread around the island just waiting to take your breath away. In this post, we’d like to talk about one of those gems: San Vito Lo Capo.
It’s the perfect place to spend a day or, even better, settle in and relax for a few days. Regardless of whether San Vito Lo Capo is just a day trip from Palermo or it’s where you’ll lay your head at night, this will be a fantastic trip!
The beach, pristine water, mountainous backdrop and picturesque lighthouse all combine to make San Vito Lo Capo a memorable little spot on the Sicilian coast. And yes, unlike most Mediterranean beaches, this one is soft and sandy! San Vito Lo Capo is located between two beautiful nature reserves as well so this whole area is filled with fun.
But first, let’s talk about logistics. How do you get to San Vito Lo Capo?
How to Get to San Vito Lo Capo
Let’s assume that you’ll be coming from Palermo, the nearest major city (largest in Sicily). If you’re coming from Trapani or Marsala, which are also larger, nearby cities, then the same will apply!
If you’re staying in Palermo then be sure to check out our quick but delicious Palermo itinerary!
You will need a car to get to San Vito Lo Capo.
There are ways around it but trust us, it will make your life so much easier and you’re on holiday, after all. You don’t want to be juggling random bus times and interpreting the Italian bus system when you don’t have to.
We’re huge fans of taking public transportation when it’s available. That said, we’re even bigger fans of renting a car. While the price of rental cars can vary depending on destination, the joy of seeing a country via the open road remains the same. Renting a car in several different countries, we’ve never been disappointed on the road.
So, we recommend you to do likewise and get behind the wheel. We used Kayak to find our rental deal: a whopping $12 USD for two days! That’s right, our rental cost only $12 USD for two whole days. Wow!
Pro Tip: Manual transmissions will almost always be cheaper. If you’re comfortable with a stick shift then, by all means, go with a manual and save money! However, we always drive automatic and still got an amazing deal.
Granted, you may not find as great of a deal but we just want to convey that cheap bargains exist and all you have to do is look! Your odds of finding a good deal increase when you use the airport for your pickup and drop-off location. This could work seamlessly in your travel plans if you fly in and out of Palermo. That said, we trained to Palermo from Naples; however, the airport is easily reachable by a direct train from the city center.
A car ride from Palermo to San Vito Lo Capo will take between 1.5-2 hours and the whole ride is scenic. If leaving directly from the airport, the drive takes just one hour.
Ok, but what about driving in Sicily? Many get nervous about driving in Italy but don’t fret!
There are plenty of stereotypes out there about driving in Italy and we definitely experienced some of them firsthand. Excluding highways, the roads are narrow, especially within smaller cities. The traffic can get pretty crazy at times and people can ignore lanes. However, that’s mainly in the big cities, like Palermo.
Our advice? Avoid the big cities if you can and just drive to places like San Vito Lo Capo! That’s what the rental car is for. It’s not for honking and screaming in an Italian traffic jam. Brush up on some foreign driving etiquette by reading our tips for driving in Sicily!
When to Visit
San Vito Lo Capo is a beach town, which inclines visitors to flock in the summer. However, being located in the Mediterranean, Sicily hangs on to summer’s warmth much longer than other European destinations. So you may want to consider visiting during the shoulder season; there will be fewer tourists!
For instance, we visited the first week in October, when temperatures were still in the 80s Fahrenheit. The beach was still populated but not overcrowded; it was so enjoyable!
So, our recommendation? Visit outside of peak summer travel for less crowds and lovely weather!
San Vito Lo Capo
While the town of San Vito Lo Capo itself is quite small, the beach is huge! It stretches for almost two miles! So, there’s plenty of space for everyone. And as we’ve mentioned, the beach is soft and sandy. You don’t need water shoes here!
The water is crystal clear and water activities are rampant. From SUP (stand up paddleboard) to water taxi to snorkeling, you can take part in a plethora of water-related things. However, be prepared for some chilly water! The Mediterranean has always been pretty cold for us but the warm sun will take care of the chill for you.
If you’re lucky enough to have an amazing Airbnb host like we did, then you’ll already have some snorkel gear, towels and an umbrella. If not, these are available near the water from small vendors lining the street. However, please bring your own if you can. You’ll save money and create less waste as a result!
There are chairs and umbrellas for rent from local businesses who have a claim on parts of the beach. The rentals are super cheap, running only 5 euros per person for the day. That’s a great deal!
As you lounge and enjoy the day away in the sun, take notice of the lighthouse in the distance. This historical building, built in the 19th century, is the cherry on top to the already perfect ocean view.
There are restaurants, of course, but eating out may be a hassle depending on how much stuff you’re carrying and how many people are in your party. If you’d rather, pack a lunch! The shores of San Vito Lo Capo are absolutely perfect for a picnic. What’s better than the clear, blue waters in full view, fresh Sicilian meats and cheeses and a bottle of Sicilian wine? It’s hard to top that!
If you do eat out, whether for lunch or dinner, you’re in for a real treat. Seafood can be pricier but you get what you pay for. The seafood here is the real deal. Of course, there’s always piadini! Salumeria Enoteca Peraino offers fresh meats, cheeses and wines that won’t break the bank. For some fantastic food that goes great on the beach, you can’t go wrong here!
For some sweet treats, like cannoli or gelato, head to Laboratorio Dolci Peralta or Pasticceria Cusenza. Both are wallet-friendly and delicious!
However, San Vito Lo Capo is famed for something many might find surprising: couscous. In fact, there’s a couscous festival every year in September!
To sum up this seaside town for foodies: it’s like the rest of Italy. There is no bad choice when it comes to food!
The only thing we wish we had done differently during our time in Sicily was spend more time in San Vito Lo Capo. We just didn’t want to leave! But as a result of our short stay we were able to see more of the island, like the stunning Valley of Temples.
Things to Do Nearby
You’ll pass this scenic mountain as you approach San Vito Lo Capo. Monte Cofano lies right on the coast and is full of hiking trails and swimming areas.
Honestly, a full day of beaching and hiking sounds pretty tiresome so it might be a good idea to do some hiking at Monte Cofano one day and then relax at San Vito Lo Capo on the other day!
Nature Reserve Zingaro
Another nearby attraction, you can find Nature Reserve Zingaro by following road SP63 through San Vito Lo Capo. The road eventually ends and then you have arrived! Again, there are plenty of trails, ample areas for picnics and there’s swimming too; however, the real beauty of this nature reserve is the way the turquoise water clashes against the cliffs. Sicily is teeming with such views!
Summary of a Day in San Vito Lo Capo
San Vito Lo Capo should be packed with tourists, if you ask us. However, this charming seaside town, maybe thanks to its remote location on the coast, seems to have that certain appeal that travelers will remember.
We hope you can make the journey to San Vito Lo Capo and enjoy it as much or even more than we did. Of course, if you have any questions please comment or contact us!