San Vito Lo Capo, paradise for sailors, free climbers and trekkers
San Vito Lo Capo, the sail cruise for those who love immersing themselves in nature. Sailing is beautiful in itself because it allows you to travel and explore the coastal area with an approach very different from the typical tourist. Beyond the technique and knowledge required to navigate the boat, the sailor enjoys an unusual perspective, that of the sea, much richer and more aware of nature towards which they are obliged to have the utmost respect.
That’s why those who love sailing often also love walking, following trails, discovering bays and coves, conquering them on foot. It’s not at all uncommon for the passion for sailing to intersect with that for the mountains and free climbing.
Here is a destination in Italy that offers the perfect combination of these activities: sailing, hiking and climbing. It is located in Sicily and is called San Vito Lo Capo. Sailors have always loved this seaside village primarily for its large bay with white sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters. It is indeed hard to find a more attractive setting with vibrant colors and such a diverse landscape: the white houses of the town, the horizon of the blue sea, the Piana dell’Egitarso, a terrace immersed in green with a breathtaking view and the steep cliffs that frame this enchanting place. Not to mention the lighthouse built by the Bourbons, the small churches and the ancient fortresses that bear witness to the history of a town that had to both defend and enrich itself from and by the sea.
Just a stone’s throw from the Egadi Islands, these are havens away from the hustle and bustle
Beyond its nautical beauties and qualities, San Vito Lo Capo is, for sailors, in an absolutely strategic position. To the west, it beckons the splendid Egadi Islands, just a few miles away, which with their hidden corners, enchanted emerald-colored coves, and an atmosphere far from the city chaos, have always been a privileged route for sailing cruises. Each one is more beautiful than the other: Favignana, the largest, Levanzo, the small and chic one, and finally Marettimo, reminiscent of the Greece of the Cyclades.
On the eastern side, San Vito Lo Capo borders the famous Zingaro Reserve, a corner of the coast protected as a marine protected area and unique in the world due to the sheer limestone cliffs overlooking a clear and turquoise sea. This incredible stretch of coast is a succession of small coves and beaches with white pebbles, coves and caves that have been inhabited since the Paleolithic era. It ends with the bay of Scopello, a pearl of the Mediterranean immortalized in famous films, starting with Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather.
A truly ideal place for trekking and walks, but also for swimtrekking, snorkeling and birdwatching. The North entrance, where the marked trails start, is located in the Tonnara del Secco area near San Vito Lo Capo. From here, the first cove to appear is Cala Tonnarella dell’Uzzo, which absolutely deserves a first swim in the celestial and transparent water.
In the Mediterranean scrub and among the prickly pears, beautiful coves unfold in splendid succession: Cala Marinella, Cala Beretta, Cala della Disa, Cala del Varo and finally, Cala Capreria. The environment here is truly pristine and it is essential to be absolutely respectful of nature.
Climbing the cliffs overlooking the turquoise water
But another vocation of San Vito Lo Capo is precisely what attracts hundreds of free climbers from around the world every year: its cliffs overlooking the sea. Among the most well-known local climbers is Daniele Arena, who has equipped dozens of routes on the so-called “Salinella,” a 4-kilometer-long cliff that rises up to 45 meters. For some time now, its limestone rocks have become a cult destination for enthusiasts worldwide, and not surprisingly, the venue for one of the most popular events in the field, the San Vito Climbing Festival.
In San Vito Lo Capo, climbers ascend high-quality rock, commencing their journey from the grassy terrain that stretches between the shoreline and the cliffs, offering a range of difficulty levels suitable for all skill sets. To meet other climbers, you can go to the Climbing House, the operational base and specialized store. As for the refreshing plunge at the end of the day, you can choose between the bays of Cala Mancina and, on the opposite edge of Salinella, Cala del Bue Domestico, the only access points to the sea carved into a coast of very sharp rocks.
And then, at the end of the day, once satisfied with having conquered walls and paths above the sea, we return to our boat, ready to welcome us and restore us for the next adventures.