Cala della Disa is one of the most beautiful beaches in the Zingaro Nature Reserve in Sicily, Italy. In this guide, we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about visiting Cala della Disa. Additionally, we’ll talk about all of the magnificent beaches you’ll find dotted along the Zingaro coastline. This will include details about Cala Berretta, which is the closest beach to Cala della Disa.
We hope you find this guide helpful. If you want more in-depth information about other beaches at Zingaro Nature Reserve, then you should read our guides about Cala Capreria, Cala Marinella and Cala dell’Uzzo.
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About Cala della Disa
Cala della Disa (AKA Cala Disa) is a spectacular beach tucked away in the sublime Zingaro Nature Reserve. Certainly, the Zingaro Nature Reserve is home to some of the best beaches in Sicily. Cala della Disa is no exception. It’s only a small pebble beach. But, it’s packed with huge amounts of beauty, serenity and ruggedness. Surrounding the beach are these immense orange-coloured cliff walls and sea caves waiting to be explored!
Given the remoteness of Cala della Disa in the Zingaro Nature Reserve, this beach isn’t quick or easy to access. You can’t drive to it. You’ll need to put some effort in to reach it by foot (unless you’re exploring by boat!) But, that’s part of the appeal. Its relatively hidden location means the beach isn’t overrun. Also, you’ll feel a greater sense of adventure and satisfaction upon reaching and relaxing at this beach.
So, exactly where in the Zingaro Nature Reserve is Cala della Disa located? Let’s check out a map below!
FYI – Zingaro Nature Reserve (translates in Italian to Riserva dello Zingaro) goes by many similar interchangeable names. These include Riserva Naturale dello Zingaro, La Riserva dello Zingaro, Lo Zingaro Nature Reserve, Zingaro Reserve and Zingaro National Park.
Cala della Disa Location
To help you figure out the exact location of Cala della Disa, feel free to press on the image below to access an interactive map on Google Maps.
Now you know Cala della Disa’s location, let’s look at how you’ll visit this breathtaking beach.
How to Visit Cala della Disa in the Zingaro Nature Reserve
To visit Cala della Disa, you’ll need to enter the Zingaro Nature Reserve on the northwest coast of Sicily. From the southern entrance of the Zingaro Nature Reserve, Cala della Disa is around 3km away. From the northern entrance, the beach is around 4.5km away. So, it makes sense to access Cala della Disa from the southern entrance. Following along the superb Sentiero Costiero (Coastal Walk), you’ll reach Cala della Disa, from the southern entrance, in around an hour or so.
Personally, Beck and I explored Cala della Disa as part of doing Sentiero Costiero, which is one of the best coastal walks in Sicily. As it turned out, Cala della Disa was the second beach we stopped at during the sublime coastal walk. We first stopped at Cala Capreria (AKA Cala della Capreria), before bypassing Cala del Varo and arriving at Cala della Disa.
Of course, it’s totally up to you if you just want to visit Cala della Disa on its own, spending the day there. Otherwise, we highly recommend visiting this beach as part of doing the immense Sentiero Costiero.
Entrance Fee and Opening Hours For the Zingaro Nature Reserve
The entrance fee for the Zingaro Nature Reserve is €5 per person. So, visiting Cala della Disa, or any other beach in Zingaro for that matter, isn’t a free activity.
Between October and March, the nature reserve is open from 8am to 4pm. From April to September, the opening hours are extended from 7am to 7pm.
As mentioned, Cala della Disa is only a small beach. This means it can feel quite crowded, particularly during the peak season in summer, even when the crowd numbers aren’t huge. So, during peak season, we recommend visiting early in the morning or later in the afternoon. Because Beck and I visited in March, during the off-season, we enjoyed the beach to ourselves in the later part of the morning, which was a pure delight.
The Southern Entrance to Cala Capreria
Below, we’ll tell you about the brilliant journey from Zingaro’s southern entrance to reach Cala della Disa and also the nearby Cala Berretta.
Starting at the southern entrance, you’ll shortly pass through a large tunnel. You’ll then pass a visitor centre and a museum with toilets.
Near the museum, you’ll find a side trail leading to Cala Capreria. Personally, Beck and I think Cala Capreria is certainly on par with Cala della Disa in terms of natural beauty. So, you should definitely go and explore this other beach. But, if your mission is to get to Cala della Disa, then you’ll pass by this side trail and continue north.
Cala Capreria to Cala della Disa
Further north of Cala Capreria, you’ll soon enjoy fantastic views at Punta di Capreria Grande. Then, you’ll pass by another small museum before seeing a small beach called Cala del Varo. It’s such a small beach that it isn’t even recognised on the official Zingaro Nature Reserve map that you’ll be given at the entrance. We also didn’t notice any particularly obvious trail to reach Cala del Varo. So, we passed this beach and headed towards Cala della Disa and Cala Berretta.
Before arriving at Cala della Disa, you’ll pass another superb expanse of the coast called Punta Leone. Soon enough, you’ll then arrive at a side-trail turnoff for Cala della Disa. You’ll turn right and descend a rocky trail. You’ll soon pass by an incredibly located beachfront holiday home called Rustico Zingaro. It’s one of the rare accommodation options in the Zingaro Nature Reserve.
Just around the corner from the beach house, you’ll find a steep and winding set of wooden steps. From the top of the steps, you’ll enjoy your first glimpse of the mesmerising Cala della Disa. Wow! It’s an absolute pleasure to reach the beach and begin exploring. The tide will determine how easy it is to navigate around the beach. There are immense small caves at the northern end of the beach worth exploring if the tide allows. Otherwise, it may be time to pop your towel down, commence relaxation mode and go for a dip!
Of course, if you’re keen on seeing another nearby beach, then we recommend continuing to Cala Berretta.
Cala della Disa to Cala Berretta
Cala Berretta is actually one of the smallest beaches at Zingaro Nature Reserve. Honestly speaking, Beck and I didn’t stop at Cala Berretta for too long. That’s probably because Cala Berretta isn’t quite as nice as Cala della Disa. Don’t get us wrong, Cala Berretta is still a natural haven. It’s certainly another great hidden gem along the Zingaro coastline. But, Cala Berretta just isn’t quite on the same level as Cala della Disa. So, you may make Cala della Disa your base and just do a quick out and back to Cala Berretta to stretch your legs!
Other Beaches at the Zingaro Nature Reserve
The Zingaro Nature Reserve is home to many breathtaking beaches. Following Cala Berretta, if you continue north along the coastal path, you’ll find three other lovely beaches. Let’s look at these other beaches below.
- Cala Marinella: a stunning bay with crystal clear water. You’ll find steps carved into the rock platform that leads you down to the sea. Swimming at Cala Marinella is trickier as there isn’t a flat stretch of sand or pebbles. Certainly, swimming at Cala Marinella is reserved for the more experienced swimmers.
- Cala del’Uzzo: this is one of the best beaches at the Zingaro Nature Reserve. Unlike Cala Capreria and Cala della Disa, Cala del’Uzzo isn’t surrounded by cliff walls. Rather, the small pebble beach is surrounded by plants and trees, giving it a real tropical vibe.
- Cala Tonnarella dell’Uzzo: the largest pebble beach in the reserve. Given its closeness to the northern entrance, Cala Tonnarella dell’Uzzo gets busier than Cala della Disa.
How to Get to the Zingaro Nature Reserve
The easiest and quickest way to get to the southern entrance of the Zingaro Nature Reserve is to drive there yourself. You’ll find a large car park at the southern entrance. Although it does fill quickly, particularly in the peak season. So, make sure to arrive early.
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, and Italy, make sure you’re fully aware of the rules and conditions of the car hire. That way, you won’t get stitched up with an unexpected fee when you return the car.
It’s possible to reach the southern entrance of the Zingaro Nature Reserve by using public transport. During the peak season, there is a bus service running from Scopello and Castellammare del Golfo. Although, in the off-season, there are no public transport options to the southern entrance. So, during the off-season, it’s likely you’ll have to drive there yourself unless you want to pay for a taxi.
- Scopello: from the village centre, the bus takes 15–20 minutes and usually costs around €1.90 per person one-way. During the peak season, there are usually half a dozen departures per day, starting at around 7:55am.
- Castellammare del Golfo: from the bus stop at Piazza della Repubblica, the bus takes approx. 45 minutes and costs around €3.20 per person one-way. On average, during peak season, there are three to four departures a day, ranging from roughly 7:30am to 6pm.
For more information regarding departure times, frequency and location as well as the lastest about pricing, click here.
Where to Stay Near Cala della Disa
When it comes to accommodation near Cala della Disa, there aren’t any closer options than Rustico Zingaro. The small beach house is located, more or less, at the beach, making it the perfect base for exploring Cala della Disa.
Otherwise, there are idyllic towns near the southern entrance of Zingaro, such as Scopello and Castellammare del Golfo. In these towns, you’ll find a fairly wide range of accommodation options. With that said, we’ve handpicked the best budget, mid-range and luxury options in Scopello and Castellammare del Golfo.
Scopello is located right next door to the southern entrance of Zingaro Nature Reserve. So, it’s a popular place to stay if you plan on visiting the nature reserve.
- Budget – Residence Guidaloca: this apartment hotel is up there with being one of the best cheaper stays in Scopello. Residence Guidaloca has luxurious facilities and amenities, all at a budget price.
- Mid-range – Tenute Plaia Agriturismo: featuring a restaurant-bar and a swimming pool, Tenute Plaia Agriturismo is one of the most popular and highly sought-after accommodation options in Scopello.
- Luxury – Hotel Baglio Di Scopello: this is one of the most highly-rated hotels in the area. Undoubtedly, it’d be hard to find a better place to stay in Scopello than at Hotel Baglio Di Scopello.
Castellammare del Golfo Accomodation
You may want to consider staying in the larger town of Castellammare del Golfo. It’s located around a 30 minute drive away from the southern entrance of Zingaro, so Castellammare del Golfo is also a popular base for exploring the nature reserve.
- Budget – Alle Scale: this is the most budget-friendly accommodation option in Catellammare del Golfo. But, don’t let the cheap price fool you – Alle Scale is a highly-rated option with excellent facilities.
- Mid-range – Hotel Al Madarig or Luxmarì Hotel & Spa: it’s a tough call to make between the best mid-range hotel stay in Castellammare del Golfo. You’ve got Hotel Al Madarig or Luxmarì Hotel & Spa, which are both fairly similar in terms of value for money. You’ll have to click on the links provided and scope out these hotels for yourself to decide which mid-range option is best for you.
- Luxury – Hotel Punta Nord Est: this hotel is one of the most popular accommodation options in the area. Hotel Punta Nord Est features a luxurious swimming pool and sun terrace. Certainly, if you’re looking for one of the best places to stay in Castellammare, then look no further!
Zingaro Nature Reserve Boat Tours
Other than beach hopping on foot, it’s possible to explore the Zingaro Nature Reserve by boat. Seeing the Zingaro coastline and mountains from the water is simply incredible. GetYourGuide offers very affordable Zingaro boat tours. These include the Zingaro Nature Reserve and Scopello Cruise From San Vito lo Capo and San Vito Lo Capo and Zingaro Reserve Tour From Castellammare. On both tours, you’ll explore Zingaro’s coastline, stopping at some of the best beaches along the way.
What to Wear and Pack
These are our gear essentials for visiting Cala della Disa.
- Swimming gear
- Water shoes (aqua shoes): to help protect your feet when exploring the pebble beaches of Sicily.
- 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 is great if you’re exploring the coast during the off-season. In the summer, it’s very unlikely you’ll need any jacket as the weather is very hot. But, by way of habit (and by living in the UK), we always pack a waterproof jacket!
- Merrell Moab Mid Gore-Tex Hiking Boots: if you’re doing Sentiero Costiero, a decent pair of footwear is recommended.
Particularly, in summer, you’ll need to pack plenty of water for your trip to the Zingaro Nature Reserve. You won’t find shops in the nature reserve. So, make sure to have supplies such as water and food. Also, make sure you’re sun safe – if you’re not, you’ll get absolutely roasted out there! So, apply sunscreen, wear a hat and cover your skin.
- Do Sentiero Costiero: this is possibly the best coastal walk in Sicily. Other than exploring awesome beaches during the walk, you’ll visit Grotta dell’Uzzo, which is a gigantic cave worth seeing in its own right.
- Take cash: there are card machines at the Zingaro Nature Reserve entrances. From personal experience, sometimes they don’t work because of the remote location. Take cash just in case.
- Visit Spiaggia San Vito lo Capo: north of Zingaro, you’ll find this awesome beach. Assuming you want to explore all of the best beaches in Sicily, Spiaggia San Vito lo Capo should be included in your itinerary.
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