Cala del Bue Marino (AKA Spiaggia Bue Marino) is an epic beach on Favignana Island (Isola di Favignana) in Italy. In this guide, we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about visiting Cala del Bue Marino on Favignana.
We hope you find this guide useful. To help plan your trip to Favignana, please read our Favignana Guide.
Table of Contents
Cala del Bue Marino (Spiaggia Bue Marino), Favignana
Cala del Bue Marino is one of the most intriguing beaches on Favignana Island. Featuring awesome caves and tunnels from an abandoned quarry site, there’s more to Cala del Bue Marino than just its gorgeous crystal-clear turquoise-coloured water. In this guide, we’ll tell you the best way to visit Cala del Bue Marino. But, first, let’s talk about a little history of the area!
FYI – Cala del Bue Marino is also known as Spiaggia Bue Marino, Spiaggia del Bue Marino and Bue Marino Beach. Basically, Cala del Bue Marino and Spiaggia Bue Marino are used interchangeably. To keep things simple, we won’t use the term Spiaggia Bue Marino throughout this guide. We’ll stick to Cala del Bue Marino.
Also, there are many places in Italy that use the name, Bue Marino. Just so you’re aware, there is also Caletta del Bue Marino in San Vito lo Capo in Sicily and there’s also Grotta del Bue Marino in Sardinia.
Cala del Bue Marino History: Origin of the Name
In English, Bue Marino translates to ‘monk seal‘. Indeed, Mediterranean monk seals used to live at Cala del Bue Marino on Favignana Island. But, unfortunately, due to human activities such as hunting, you’ll no longer see monk seals there.
Even sadder, the monk seal is close to extinction. Thankfully, there are efforts to save the monk seal from extinction through conservation and protection. This has mostly been achieved by the Italian Ministry of the Environment, which established the Egadi Islands Marine Protected Area.
Where Is Cala del Bue Marino in Favignana?
Cala del Bue Marino is located on the east coast of Favignana. So, where is Favignana? Well, it’s one of the Egadi Islands (Aegadian Islands) located near the west coast of Sicily. To help you get your bearings, feel free to press on the image below to access an interactive map on Google Maps.
How to Get to Cala del Bue Marino in Favignana
Most people visiting Favignana will get around the island by bike. That’s what Beck and I did and we highly recommend it. Getting around Favignana by bike is fun, adventurous and convenient. Indeed, some of the roads leading to Cala del Bue Marino are rocky, unpaved and narrow. So, we definitely don’t recommend hiring a car to reach this beach in Favignana. Basically, from the Favignana ferry terminal to Cala del Bue Marino, it’s around a 5km cycle, which takes around 15–20 minutes.
Personally, during our day trip, Beck and I first visited Cala Rossa from the Favignana ferry terminal. We then cycled to Cala del Bue Marino. If you follow suit, you’ll find the cycle between Cala Rossa and Cala del Bue Marino only takes around five minutes.
When it comes to hiring a bike, we recommend going to Noleggio Bici e Motorini Isidoro. The local bike rental store is only a five-minute walk from the ferry terminal. It’s only €5 to hire a bike for a full day. The bikes are in excellent condition, have gears, and a basket and come with a lock. In comparison, you’ll find overpriced and less reliable bike rentals being flogged near the ferry terminal. Just ignore these offerings and head to the trustworthy bike rental store mentioned above.
Cala del Bue Marino, Favignana: An Awesome Cove
Cala del Bue Marino is less of a beach and more of a cove. Indeed, don’t expect a sandy beach or even a pebble beach. Instead, the sparkling waters of Cala del Bue Marino are surrounded by large limestone cliff walls.
If you want to visit a more traditional beach on Favignana Island, then we recommend heading to either Cala Azzura, Lido Burrone or Cala Rotonda. But, if you’re keen on exploring a unique cove with fascinating limestone rock formations, then Cala del Bue Marino will be right up your alley.
From the cliff tops above, you’ll find steps that lead down to the water. From a flat rock platform, it’s possible to access the magnificent sea. Otherwise, it’s possible to scramble down some rocks for alternative and easier access to the water.
Other than just swimming and chillin’, we highly recommend sussing out the abandoned limestone quarry. You’ll find a deep tunnel, offering shade and reprieve from the sun. There are also mindblowing caves and smaller tunnels to explore. Indeed, Cala del Bue Marino is more than just a cove – it’s an intriguing attraction and one of the most unique sections of the coast.
Other Beaches in Favignana
Other than Cala del Bue Marino, Favignana is home to many spectacular beaches and coves. Below, you’ll find an overview of the other beaches worth exploring in Favignana.
- Cala Rossa: one of the most popular beaches to explore on Favignana Island.
- Cala Azzurra: a superb white sand beach with a conveniently placed bar by the beach.
- Lido Burrone: the biggest beach on the island, which features a beach club in the peak season.
- Spiaggia di Marasolo: a lesser-known beach, located near the island’s tunnel.
- Cala Rotonda: an excellent pebble beach, which has rugged coastal surroundings worth exploring on foot.
- Cala Grande: when we visited in the off-season, unfortunately, the beach was quite polluted. We can only hope that efforts will be made to keep the beach cleaner in the future.
- Spiaggia Praia: located in the town centre, the beach itself is nothing to write home about compared with all of the other breathtaking beaches on the island.
Other Things to Do in Favignana
Other than cycling to Cala del Bue Marino and other awesome beaches, there are other things to do in Favignana. In terms of other natural attractions, you should also visit Grotta Perciata, which is an awesome chasm featuring rock pools and sea caves.
Personally, after exploring all of the beaches and natural attractions by bike, we spent the rest of our day in and around the town centre, sampling delicious Italian cuisine.
We started with seafood street food at Pescheria Florio. Then, we had granita and gelato at #ICECREAM for dessert. And, of course, an Aperol spritz was added into the mix (we went to the quaint Monique Concept)! Additionally, it’s worth visiting the beautiful neogothic Palazzo Florio. It’s surrounded by a small park which is a great place to sit and relax.
From the town centre, and from many places on the island, you’ll see the dominating Castello di Santa Caterina, perched high on a hill. If you’re up for a walk, it’s possible to hike to the castle ruins. Certainly, from Castello di Santa Caterina, you’ll enjoy some of the best views of the island. We’ve heard it’s particularly good to visit the castle ruins for sunset.
Otherwise, we recommend simply wandering the charming streets surrounding the town centre.
How to Get to Favignana
To get to Favignana, you’ll need to catch a ferry from Trapani. Liberty Lines is the main ferry company running the service between Trapani and Favignana. You’ll find the Liberty Lines ticket office and ferry terminal located here. The journey time between Trapani and Favignana, on the Liberty Lines ferry service is around 30 minutes. The other company running this service is called Siremar. But, the service takes twice as long and is the same price. So, it doesn’t make sense to use Siremar.
During the peak season, you can expect long queues of people wanting to buy ferry tickets. To avoid this tedious holdup, we recommend buying your tickets in advance. That way, you can skip the queue for tickets and just join the queue for boarding. You can buy tickets online, directly with Liberty Lines or with the more user-friendly Direct Ferries.
A return ferry ticket is around €24–27 per person. In the peak season, you can expect a higher departure frequency, with around two services departing per hour beginning from around 7–8am. Keep in mind, that most bike rental stores on Favignana Island open between 8–9am. So, it doesn’t make sense to arrive much earlier than 8 or 8:30am. There are usually ferry departures from Favignana as late as 8pm. But, make sure to double-check departure times from Favignana and book tickets in advance as you don’t want to be left stranded on the island!
Getting to Trapani
To get to Favignana (to explore Cala del Bue Marino), you’ll first need to get to Trapani for the ferry. The easiest and quickest way to get to Trapani, and to get around Sicily in general, is to drive yourself. We recommend parking at the large Piazza Vittorio Emanuele Car Park, which is very cheap (expect to pay around €0.20 per hour).
If you don’t have your own set of wheels, we recommend hiring a car using Rentalcars.com. You’ll find a wide variety of cars on Rental Cars, which are super easy to book online.
Personally, Beck and I picked up our car hire from Catania International Airport. For an automatic car, we only paid around €7 ($7USD) per day! Of course, with all car hire companies in Sicily, make sure you’re fully aware of the terms and conditions of the car hire. That way, you won’t get hit with any unexpected fees when you return the car.
It’s also possible to get to Trapani using public transport. From Trapani International Airport, you can get an AST bus to the Trapani town centre. The journey takes around 45 minutes and costs around €4–5.
From Palermo International Airport, you’d first need to get to the Palermo town centre by taking the bus or train. Both options take around an hour and cost around €6. Then, you’d need to get a Segesta or Salemi bus from Palermo to Trapani, which takes around 75–90 minutes and costs around €11–12 per person. It’s easy to buy these bus tickets in advance using Busbud.
Where to Stay in Favignana
Although most people will simply just do a day trip to Favignana, it’s also a popular option to stay on the island overnight. As expected, you won’t find much in the way of budget accommodation options.
Most of the accommodation options in Favignana are higher-end villas, hotel resorts and apartments. For your convenience, we’ve handpicked the most highly-rated and best value-for-money accommodation options in Favignana, if you’re interested in staying overnight.
- Il Gelsomino: this apartment hotel is perhaps one of the best value-for-money stays on Favignana Island. Equipped with a kitchenette, you’ll be able to cook your own meals so you can stick to your budget.
- L’Oasi Villaggio Albergo: this eco-friendly resort is one of the most popular accommodation options on the island. When it comes to value for money, we recommend the Economy Double Room, which is much cheaper than the other rooms on offer.
- Resort Il Mulino: this hotel resort comes out on top in terms of ratings and reviews. It’s certainly one of the most highly-rated accommodation options on Favignana Island. Featuring a swimming pool, hot tub, restaurant and snack bar, there’s much to enjoy at the hotel after a day spent exploring the island.
Favignana Boat Tours
Most visitors to Favignana will explore independently. But, there are also incredible Favignana boat tours worth considering. The main advantage of doing an organised boat tour is that you’ll also get to explore the neighbouring island of Levanzo. Indeed, the combined Favignana and Levanzo boat tours are a fantastic way to explore more of the Egadi Islands if you’re strapped for time.
GetYourGuide offers many brilliant boat tours to Favignana. The most popular and highly-rated GetYourGuide boat tour is currently the Favignana and Levanzo Mini-Cruise. By doing this tour, you don’t have to worry about organising any logistics. Just simply turn up to the tour and focus on relaxing at Favignana and Levanzo.
What to Wear and Pack
These are our gear essentials for visiting Cala del Bue Marino and Favignana.
- Swimming gear
- Water shoes (aqua shoes): to help protect your feet when exploring the pebble beaches.
- Quick-dry towel
- Osprey Skarab 30L Day Backpack: a great backpack for adventurers, which has plenty of space to store your gear.
- The North Face Venture Jacket: a fantastic windproof jacket that will serve you well if you’re exploring the island during the off-season.
Particularly, in summer, make sure to have plenty of water on you. Cycling is thirsty work! Also, you’ll want to be sun smart – otherwise, you’ll get absolutely roasted! So, apply plenty of sunscreen, wear a hat and cover your skin.
- Explore the walking trails: don’t just arrive and pop your towel down for a sunbathing session. Follow some of the short walking trails that explore the abandoned quarry. They’re very cool!
- Visit in the off-season: Cala del Bue Marino is much quieter. When Beck and I visited in March, we had the place to ourselves for the majority of our visit. Although, it may still be too cold for swimming.
- Other exceptional beaches to explore in Sicily: check out Capo Bianco, Majata Beach at Scala dei Turchi and Spiaggia dei Faraglioni at Tonnara di Scopello.
Do you have any questions about visiting Cala del Bue Marino (AKA Spiaggia Bue Marino) on Favignana Island? Please leave us a comment below.