Cala Rotonda is one of the most outstanding beaches on Favignana Island (Isola di Favignana). At this beach, you’ll find Arco di Ulisse, which is an impressive natural arch. In this guide, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about visiting Cala Rotonda and Arco di Ulisse on Favignana (and show you some awesome photos). We’ll also include details about other popular beaches on Favignana, including Cala Grande (AKA Spiaggia di Cala Grande), which is just around the corner from Cala Rotonda.
We hope you find this guide helpful. To help with your trip planning, please check out our Favignana Guide.
Table of Contents
About Cala Rotonda, Favignana
Most people visiting Favignana for a day trip will tend to explore more of the eastern side of the island. That’s because the most popular beaches are located on the east and southeast coasts of the island. But, you should still definitely visit the west coast of the island to see Cala Rotonda and Arco di Ulisse. Not only is it worth seeing the rugged pebble beach and extraordinary natural arch, but it’s worth exploring the beautiful surrounding coast and headlands.
So, exactly where is Cala Rotonda located in Favignana? Let’s find out below.
Where Is Cala Rotonda on Favignana?
Cala Rotonda is located on the west coast of Favignana. So, exactly where is Favignana? Well, it’s one of the Egadi Islands (Aegadian Islands) located near the west coast of Sicily, Italy. To help you get your bearings, feel free to click on the image below to access an interactive map on Google Maps.
How to Get to Cala Rotonda on Favignana
A popular way to get to Cala Rotonda and Arco di Ulisse is to cycle there. Indeed, most people visiting Favignana will get around the island by bike. It’s an enjoyable and convenient way to get around the island. Basically, from the Favignana ferry terminal to Cala Rotonda, it’s around a 6km cycle, which takes around 20–25 minutes.
Personally, Beck and I visited Favignana on a day trip. We didn’t head straight to Cala Rotonda when we arrived on the island. Exploring the island in a clockwise direction, we first visited Cala Rossa, then Cala del Bue Marino, Cala Azzurra, Grotta Perciata and Lido Burrone, before arriving at Cala Rotonda. We then went to Cala Grande (AKA Spiaggia di Cala Grande).
When it comes to renting a bike for the day, we recommend going to Noleggio Bici e Motorini Isidoro. The local bike rental store is only a five-minute walk from the Favignana ferry terminal. The orange-frame bikes are in fantastic condition, have gears and come with a lock. The staff are also very friendly and helpful – they’ll help fit your bike if you like. Perhaps, best of all, it’s only €5 to hire a bike for a full day.
In comparison, you’ll find overpriced and less reliable bike rentals being flogged near the ferry terminal for around €10–15 for the day. Just ignore these offerings and head to the trustworthy bike rental store mentioned above.
Visiting Cala Rotonda on Favignana
Whilst pedalling along a paved road, you’ll soon see the turn-off for Cala Rotonda, which leads you down a bumpy and unpaved road. Soon, you’ll arrive at the northern outskirts of the beach. Given the bumpy terrain, we walked our bikes closer to the beach, before setting foot on the pebbles and exploring the area.
The beach consists of one long stretch of undisturbed pebble terrain. This is where most people set up their towels and hang out. There’s also another similar smaller area, separated by some rocks, nearer to Arco di Ulisse.
Other than chillin’ out on the beach, we recommend going for a walk, along the headland south of the beach. From there, you’ll enjoy a nice view of Cala Rotonda and you’ll just be able to make out Arco di Ulisse in the distance.
Arco di Ulisse, Cala Rotonda
At the northern end of Cala Rotonda, you’ll find Arco di Ulisse, which is one of the most impressive natural attractions on Favignana Island. Arco di Ulisse is an amazing small natural arch rock formation.
Nearby Cala Grande (Spiaggia di Cala Grande)
Just around the corner from Cala Rotonda, you’ll find Cala Grande, which the Favignana locals also call Spiaggia di Cala Grande. The small pebble beach is surrounded by hotels and villas. We’ve heard Cala Grande offers one of the best sunsets on Favignana.
Admittedly, when Beck and I visited, the beach was looking worse for wear. We visited during the off-season, in March, so it was a real ghost town. The beach itself was polluted with lots of rubbish.
We’re sure others have visited Cala Grande on Favignana and had much better experiences. But, personally, Cala Grande was one of the worst beaches we visited in Favignana. So, perhaps, prioritise your time at Cala Rotonda, which we think is much better.
Other Beaches to See on Favignana
Despite Cala Grande being disappointing, Favignana is home to many other sublime beaches and coves. Below, you’ll find a summary of the other popular beaches in Favignana worth visiting.
- Cala Rossa: one of the most popular beaches to explore on Favignana Island.
- Cala del Bue Marino: a unique cove on the island, featuring an old limestone quarry.
- Cala Azzurra: a smaller white sand beach, located near Cala Burrone.
- Lido Burrone: a beautiful white sand beach with a lively beach club in the peak season.
- Spiaggia di Marasolo: a lesser-known beach with turquoise-coloured water that’s located near the island’s tunnel.
- Cala Faraglioni: a less-explored pebble beach at the northern tip of the island.
Other Things to Do on Favignana
Other than visiting Cala Rotonda, there are other fun things to do in Favignana. In terms of other natural attractions, you should also visit Grotta Perciata, which is an exceptional chasm featuring rock pools and sea caves.
After exploring beaches and natural attractions, you should head to Favignana town for some local cuisine. We started with seafood at Pescheria Florio. Then, we had granita and gelato at #ICECREAM. And, of course, we enjoyed an Aperol spritz at Monique Concept – YOLO!
Worth seeing in Favignana town is Palazzo Florio, which is a captivating neogothic-style building. It’s located in a small park which is a great place to find some shade.
Also, during your visit, you’ll notice the imposing Castello di Santa Caterina, perched high on a hill in the middle of the island. If you don’t mind the heat, it’s possible to hike to the castle ruins. Indeed, from Castello di Santa Caterina, you’ll enjoy sweeping views of the island.
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, this service takes twice as long and is the same price. So, there’s no point in using Siremar.
During the peak season, you can expect queues at the Liberty Lines ticket office. To avoid this, we recommend buying your tickets online in advance. That way, you can skip the queue for tickets and just join the queue for boarding. You can buy e-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. There are usually ferry departures from Favignana as late as 8pm. But, make sure to book your outbound tickets in advance, so you don’t get left on the island!
Getting to Trapani
To catch the ferry to Favignana (to see Cala Rotonda), you’ll first need to get to Trapani. The easiest and quickest way to get to Trapani is to drive there yourself. We recommend parking at the large Piazza Vittorio Emanuele Car Park, which is very cheap (expect to pay around €0.20 per hour). From this car park, it’s around a 15–20 minute walk to the Liberty Lines ferry terminal.
If you don’t have your own set of wheels, we recommend hiring a car using Rentalcars.com. You’ll find a variety of cars on Rental Cars, which are very 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!
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 about €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.
You may need to spend the night in Trapani if you’re doing a day trip to Favignana. We stayed at Solemar Beach Apartment Trapani. It’s a lovely apartment, set on the beach on the outskirts of Trapani. Otherwise, it’s possible to stay on Favignana itself.
Where to Stay On Favignana
Most of the accommodation options in Favignana are higher-end luxury properties such as villas, hotel resorts, holiday homes and apartments. But, with a bit of digging, you will find some affordable accommodation options. For your convenience, we’ve handpicked the best budget, mid-range and luxury options in Favignana using Booking.com (where you can find great deals).
- Budget – Dimora Quattro Vanelle: this is the most affordable accommodation option on Favignana. Dimora Quattro Vanelle is a lovely guest house featuring a garden, free parking, a terrace and BBQ facilities. Every room is equipped with a coffee machine, and a private bathroom, while some rooms have a kitchen with an oven.
- Mid-range – Il Gelsomino: this modern apartment hotel is one of the best value-for-money stays on Favignana. Equipped with a kitchenette and dining area, Il Gelsomino is one of the best self-catering accommodation options you’ll find on the island.
- Luxury – Resort Il Mulino: this hotel resort has phenomenal ratings and reviews. Resort Il Mulino is certainly one of the most highly-rated accommodation options on Favignana. Featuring a swimming pool, hot tub, restaurant and snack bar, there’s much to enjoy at the hotel!
Most visitors to Favignana will explore independently by booking their own ferries and renting a bike on the island. Still, many people choose to do a Favignana boat tour instead. Certainly, exploring the Favignana coastline by boat is a wonderful experience. In fact, one of the main advantages of doing an organised boat tour is that you’ll get to explore the neighbouring island of Levanzo. Indeed, the combined Favignana and Levanzo boat tours are a great way to explore more of the Egadi Islands if you don’t have much time.
GetYourGuide offers many excellent 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, all of the planning is done for you! You’ll just simply enjoy a stress-free day exploring the Egadi Islands.
What to Wear and Pack
These are our gear essentials for visiting Cala Rotonda in Favignana.
- Swimming gear
- Quick-dry towel
- Water shoes (aqua shoes): to help protect your feet when exploring the pebble beach.
- 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. Getting around the island by bike is thirsty work! Also, you’ll want to be sun smart – otherwise, you’ll get sunburnt. So, apply plenty of sunscreen, wear a hat and cover your skin.
- Cala Rotonda Favignana aperitivo: during the peak season, Pura Vida is a beach club that operates on the beach. If you want a beach club experience on Favignana or just want an aperitivo, head to Pura Vida! Don’t worry, even during peak season, free access to Cala Rotonda is still possible. By law, all beaches in Italy must still provide free access areas on beaches, even when beach clubs are in operation.
- Cheap food on the island: head to Pasticceria FC. We’re sure you’ll find some cheap and yummy pastries!
- Beaches to explore in Sicily: if you’re exploring beaches on Favignana, we’re sure you’ll want to know about the best beaches in Sicily. check out Scala dei Turchi, Capo Bianco, Spiaggia San Vito lo Capo in San Vito lo Capo and the many awesome beaches at the Zingaro Nature Reserve.
Do you have any questions about Cala Rotonda or Spiaggia di Cala Grande? Please leave us a comment below.