Situated on the western coast of Sicily, Trapani is one of those great finds often bypassed for the larger ports of Sicily like Palermo and Messina. Highly walkable, this romantic town — which flourished in the Middle Ages — offers pleasures in the form of quiet streetside cafés, sandy beaches, and magnificent churches. While mega ships rarely call here, Trapani is frequented by smaller luxury and expedition ships. Most dock right in the center of town, leaving guests to stroll the historic center.
What We Love
Picturesque Streets: Lose yourself among the cathedrals and centuries-old buildings that make up modern-day Trapani. From the cruise ship port to the end of town is but a short 20-minute walk, and the possibility of getting lost is slim to none.
Beaches: Trapani has two beaches that are a short stroll (or a taxi ride) away. They get crowded in the summer months, but not to the degree of the more popular stretches of sand.
Best Known For
The Ruins of Selinunte: Founded by the Greeks in the middle of the 7th century, Selinunte was once a bustling ancient city with one of the largest temples dedicated to Apollo. Eventually sacked by the Carthaginians and later abandoned, the site is situated in the Sicilian countryside not far from Trapani, and makes for a stunning day excursion. Most visitors will want to see the massive Temple E, resembling a sort of miniature acropolis complete with intricately carved columns, pedestals, and frescoes.
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Who It's Best For
Port Collectors: Frequent visitors to Italy may not have toured this off-the-beaten-path town. It's a great choice for travelers who have "been there, done that" in the Mediterranean.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Shops Close in the Afternoon: Siesta kicks in from around 1 pm and typically lasts until 4 pm. Most shops will be closed during this period so make sure get your retail fix in the morning.
The Off-Season Is Sleepy: Make a port of call in November, and you'll get to know just how much Trapani shuts down when the weather turns. Off-season guests should plan on taking an excursion to get the most out of their time on shore.
Aaron Saunders is a Calgary-based contributor to ShermansCruise.com.