San Vito lo Capo is a gorgeous petite coastal town in west Sicily, Italy. In this guide, we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about visiting this superb seaside town. We’ll talk about the best things to do whilst you’re there and all the awesome places to visit nearby. Afterwards, we’ll talk about logistics and cover some practical tips. This will include details such as how to get to San Vito lo Capo from Palermo and where to stay in town, focussing on the best hotels, B&Bs and camping options.
We hope you find this guide useful. For information about other beautiful parts of the Sicilian coastline, read our guides about Capo Bianco, Scala dei Turchi, Mondello Beach and Capo Milazzo.
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About San Vito lo Capo in Sicily
San Vito lo Capo is one of the most beautiful coastal towns in Sicily. Whether it’s a week-long holiday or just a day trip, you’ll need to visit this town during your travels in Sicily. Set on the sensational sandy beach of Spiaggia San Vito lo Capo, next to glorious mountainous terrain, headlined by Monte Monaco, this town is truly an idyllic location. So, where exactly is this town located?
Where Is San Vito lo Capo?
San Vito lo Capo is located in the northwest of Sicily around 2 hours from the capital city of Palermo. To help you get your bearings, feel free to click on the image below to access an interactive map on Google Maps.
Things to Do In San Vito lo Capo
Other than just enjoying the stellar scenic location, there are a fair few things to do and places to see during a visit. Below, we’ll look at the best things to do in this stellar coastal town. We’ll start with the town’s crown jewel – Spiaggia San Vito lo Capo.
Spiaggia San Vito lo Capo (San Vito lo Capo Beach): Swim in the Mediterranean Sea
The beach at San Vito lo Capo is one of the best beaches in Sicily. Owing to the many beaches in Sicily being pebble beaches, Spiaggia San Vito lo Capo stands out from the rest, being a sensational long white sand beach. Indeed, it’s by no coincidence, that the beach has been awarded the coveted Blue Flag Award on many occasions.
When it comes to things to do in San Vito lo Capo Beach, well, it’s totally up to you. Swimming, sunbathing, snorkelling, reading, walking – do as you please at this awesome beach.
FYI – despite being a long 3km beach, it does get very crowded in summer. To ensure a good spot on the beach during peak season, make sure to arrive nice and early (before 9am) at one of the beach clubs. That way, you can bag a good seat and umbrella, before the hoards of tourists arrive.
Read more: Spiaggia San Vito lo Capo – Visit One of Sicily’s Best Beaches
Santuario de San Vito (San Vito Sanctuary)
Located in the town square, Santuario de San Vito is the most worthwhile monument, in town, to explore. Dedicated to the town’s patron saint – Saint Vito Martyr, the 15th-century-built ancient fortress, turned-church, is a fascinating historical building to visit.
Faro di Capo San Vito (San Vito lo Capo Lighthouse)
Opening in 1859, the 38 metre-high lighthouse stands proudly on the northern tip of the town. Located next to the port, we recommend visiting this sparkling white lighthouse. Indeed, if you’re needing to stretch your legs after chillin’ on the beach, consider a walk to the lighthouse.
Monte Monaco is one of the most famous mountains in Sicily. Given its spectacular location next to the beach, the dolomite-mountain is well-recognised. Certainly, from the town itself, it’s hard to escape the sight of the magnificent mountain as it overlooks the town.
Of course, Beck and I are all about hiking. So, hiking up Monte Monaco was an obvious option for us when we visited the area. It’s possible to start the walk from the town centre itself, eventually walking up the western face (western trail) of Monte Monaco. From town, it’s around a 10km return walk. Personally, we parked our car near the trailhead, which made for a 4.5km out and back walk, completing the western trail.
The hike to the summit of Monte Monaco, along the western trail, is a short but steep hike on a well-defined track. It’s a moderately challenging trail that’s adventurous and thrilling. Indeed, it’s one of the most underrated walks in Sicily. From the summit, you’ll enjoy the best views of San Vito lo Capo and its awesome beach.
Read more: Monte Monaco – The Ultimate Hiking Guide
Tonnara del Secco
If you’re looking for something to do that’s a little more on the intrepid side of things then consider heading to Tonnara del Secco. At Tonnara del Secco, you’ll basically find an abandoned tuna factory. Dating back to the 15th century and having shut in 1965, it’s possible to explore the historic ruins of the factory.
Also, if you’re looking for a quieter place to swim, then Tonnara del Secco isn’t a bad choice. Next to the ruined buildings, you’ll find a quieter part of the Mediterranean Sea for a paddle.
Things to Do Near San Vito lo Capo
Other than exploring the town itself, there are plenty of epic places to visit nearby. Indeed, after spending time in the town, seeing its historical and natural attractions, you may want to travel a little further afield. Thankfully, there are many awesome beaches, attractions and nature reserves nearby. Let’s start with Caletta San Bue Marino – a stunning nearby cove.
Caletta San Bue Marino (Cove of Bue Marino)
There are plenty of other spectacular beaches in San Vito lo Capo, other than just the main beach in town. Caletta San Bue Marino is a wondrous cove surrounded by epic caves and other beaches. At Caletta San Bue Marino, you’ll find a small pebble beach. But, what’s most special about Caletta San Bue Marino are the numerous sea caves dotted along the small cliff wall that opposes the water. You’ll find many sea caves, some with the most intriguing geological patterns, shapes and colours. The natural mosaics, formed by erosion over time, are truly amazing.
Given the unique geology on display at Caletta San Bue Marino, it’s a popular place for snorkelling and diving. There are even underwater caves to explore!
Near Caletta San Bue Marino, you’ll find other superb natural attractions. This includes a cave called Grotta Racchio. There’s also another smaller beach, just north of Caletta San Bue Marino, called Spiaggia di Isulidda, which has a mindblowing lunar landscape at its northern end.
Read more: Caletta del Bue Marino – The Ultimate Visitor’s Guide
Spiaggia Baia Santa Margherita (Santa Margherita Beach)
Just south of Caletta San Bue Marino, you’ll find Spiaggia Baia Santa Margherita. It’s another popular pebble beach to visit located between the small hamlets of Castelluzzo and Macari. Other than the lovely beach itself, you’ll enjoy the superb surrounding landscape. You’ve got the hills of the Valle degli Ulivi and the Cala Mancina cliffs behind you. Whilst, the outline of Monte Cofano can be seen in the distance.
Spiaggia di Macari (Macari Beach)
Just south of Spiaggia Baia Santa Margherita, you’ll find Spiaggia di Macari. It’s another lovely pebble beach, sharing a similar stellar location. Indeed, a great day trip from the town of San Vito lo Capo is beach hopping along the coast. This could include exploring Caletta Bue Marino, Spiaggia Baia Santa Margherita and Spiaggia di Macari in a day.
Riserva Naturale Orientata Dello Zingaro (Zingaro Nature Reserve)
Riserva dello Zingaro (Zingaro Nature Reserve) is possibly the best nature reserve in Sicily. Because of the nature reserve’s remoteness, the beaches aren’t as quick or easy to reach. Certainly, it’s not a case of parking your car next to the beach and then setting foot on the sand a few moments later. Each beach at Riserva dello Zingaro requires some effort to reach. This means the beaches are even more tranquil to visit.
By doing Sentiero Costiero, which is one of the best coastal walks in Sicily, you can visit every single beach in Riserva dello Zingaro. From north to south, these include Cala Tonarella and Cala dell’Uzzo, Cala Marinella, Cala Berretta, Cala della Disa, Cala del Varo as well as Cala Capreria. Indeed, the beaches at Riserva dello Zingaro are some of the most rugged, wild and serene in Sicily.
Read more: Zingaro Nature Reserve – The Ultimate Hiking and Beaches Guide
Tonnara di Scopello
The picture-perfect Tonnara di Scopello and Faraglioni di Scopello are must-see places during your trip to Sicily. Tonnara di Scopello is a privately owned bay, which has been restored into a classic-style tuna fishing village. Surrounded by the extraordinary sea stacks – Faraglioni di Scopello, this destination has become a very popular tourist attraction.
Because it’s privately owned, you’ll need to pay a fee to enter the grounds of Tonnara di Scopello. After paying your fee, you can swim at the small private beach, which, by all accounts, gets very busy in the peak season.
Read more: Tonnara di Scopello and Faraglioni di Scopello – Is It A Tourist Trap?
Riserva Naturale Orientata Monte Cofano (Monte Cofano Nature Reserve)
Other than Riserva dello Zingaro, Riserva Naturale Orientata Monte Cofano (Monte Cofano Nature Reserve) is another excellent nearby nature reserve. Similar to Monte Monaco, Monte Cofano is one of the most easily recognisable mountains in Sicily.
Measuring 659 metres above sea level, the captivating mountain dominates the surrounding northwest coastline. Seeing the mountain from afar is a joy in itself. But, just as we recommend hiking Monte Monaco rather than just gawking at it, we recommend visiting and exploring Monte Cofano.
The Monte Cofano Nature Reserve became a protected space in 1997. This is mainly because of the area’s rich flora and fauna. The nature reserve has over 300 species of plants, many of which are endemic or rare. You’ll also find Monte Cofano is home to a large number of birds. Around 50 species of birds call this natural space home.
Unfortunately, many of the trails exploring the nature reserve are officially closed due to the risk of rock fall. You can find out which trails are closed and which trails are open in our comprehensive hiking guide.
Read more: Monte Cofano – Everything You Need to Know About Trekking
How to Get to San Vito lo Capo
The easiest way to get to San Vito lo Capo is to drive there yourself. 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 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 aware of the terms and conditions of the car hire. That way, you won’t get stitched up with an unexpected fee when you return the car.
As is the case with most towns in Sicily, you’ll be hard-pressed to find free parking in the town centre. Thankfully, you’ll find free parking here at this large unpaved car park on the outskirts of town. From the car park, it’ll take around 10 minutes to walk to the beach. By all accounts, it’s a safe place to park and is used by most locals looking for free parking in the area.
Getting From Palermo To San Vito Lo Capo Using Public Transport
Many people visiting San Vito lo Capo will do so from the capital city of Palermo. Indeed, Palermo has one of the main international airports. So, many of you may be wanting to go straight from Palermo to San Vito lo Capo. Let’s look at your options below.
It’s worth noting that most of the options discussed below don’t run as frequently during the off-season. So, if you visit Sicily outside of peak season, public transport is a slower and less reliable option.
Using public buses to get from Palermo to San Vito lo Capo isn’t recommended. That’s because there are no direct services running between Palermo and San Vito lo Capo. Basically, you’d need to get from Palermo International Airport 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 get a Segesta bus from Palermo to Trapani, which takes around 75–90 minutes and costs around €11–12 per person. Then, to get from Trapani to San Vito lo Capo, you’d catch an AST bus, which takes around an hour and usually costs around €4.50 per person.
Depending on departure frequency, timing and traffic, the overall journey could take nearly 4–6 hours.
Direct Private Shuttles
Taking a direct shuttle service from Palermo International Airport to San Vito lo Capo is the best solution if you don’t have your own vehicle. Autoservizi Russo S.R.L. (The Russo Company) offers a direct service, which takes around 2–2.5 hours and costs around €9.50 per person. In the peak season, there are a few daily departures, whilst, in the off-season, you’re usually limited to one service per day.
Where to Stay in San Vito lo Capo
You’ll find plenty in the way of nice hotels, villas, apartments, B&Bs, holiday homes and Airbnbs in San Vito lo Capo. To keep things simple, we’ve handpicked the best budget, mid-range and luxurious options in San Vito lo Capo, choosing from a range of hotels, apartments and B&Bs.
San Vito lo Capo Hotels and B&Bs
- Budget – Baglio del Mulino a Vento: if you’re looking for one of the most highly-renowned and budget-friendly hotels in San Vito lo Capo, then look no further than Baglio del Mulino a Vento. This is one of the San Vito lo Capo hotels that you can count on for an affordable price, but a lovely and memorable stay.
- Mid-range – Ninni e Fede: this is one of the best mid-range accommodation options in the area. Ninni e Fede is a modernly decorated guesthouse, featuring a lovely garden, terrace and shared kitchen. Of course, there are plenty of mid-range hotels to choose from in San Vito lo Capo. If you’re looking for a slightly more luxurious mid-range hotel option, you could stay at Hotel Sikania.
- Luxury – B&B Le Biciclette: this B&B is an excellent option if you’re after a more luxurious stay in San Vito lo Capo. Guests rave about the breakfast, whilst its location near the beach and stylish decor are all features to enjoy during a stay at B&B Le Biciclette.
San Vito lo Capo Camping
There are also plenty of camping options in town. Below, you’ll find the best camping options in San Vito lo Capo. We’ll look at camping options in the town itself and we’ll also discuss a fantastic option on the outskirts of town.
- Camping Village La Pineta: this is the most popular and easily the best camping village in town. There’s room for traditional camping and also reasonably-priced bungalow-style accommodation. Otherwise, another decent option in town includes Camping Soleado; but, we’ve heard it’s a bit dated. Additionally, a no-thrill option would be Area Sosta Camper Giovanni, which is more suitable for campervans.
- El Bahira Camping Village: a camping option to consider just outside of town is the popular El Bahira Camping Village. Located near Caletta del Bue Marino, this is a great option for those looking for a quieter coastal stay, away from the hustle and bustle of town. You can rent lovely holiday homes at El Bahira Camping Village, featuring an equipped kitchenette and a spacious outdoor seating area. Otherwise, there’s room for traditional camping and pitching. In the camping village, you’ll find an outdoor pool and a restaurant.
Where to Eat In San Vito lo Capo
There are plenty of restaurants and bars, located next to or near the beach. Personally, Italian cuisine is one of my favourites. So, it would be rude to not try some regional food during a visit. Some of the best restaurants to try the local cuisine include Buena Vida Siciliana Ristorante, KM Restaurant and Ristorante La Zagara. Sure, there are plenty of other restaurants in the area. But, these restaurants are particularly renowned by the locals. Also, you’ll find street vendors and gelaterias, all serving up something delicious and fresh.
Don’t Forget to Try Cous Cous and Caldo Freddo
In terms of local delicacies, the town is known for its cous cous and caldo freddo (a Sicilian gelato dish). When it comes to food festivals end events, there is even a Cous Cous Fest held annually!
San Vito lo Capo Weather
So, when is best to visit San Vito lo Capo? Well, Sicily has hot summers and mild winters. Most visitors will head to Sicily in summer for the hottest weather (35–40°C). But, this coincides with the peak season and its increased prices and higher visitor numbers.
Perhaps, the best time to visit Sicily is either side of the peak season. Certainly, during April and May as well as September and October, there’s milder weather with a low chance of rain, cheaper prices for accommodation and flights as well as less-crowded beaches and attractions.
Undoubtedly, San Vito lo Capo should be high on your to-do list when visiting Sicily. Personally, Beck and I visited this beautiful small town on a day trip from Trapani. But, afterwards, we were actually wishing we had stayed in this picturesque and tranquil town, rather than in the hustle and bustle of Trapani. But, of course, a day trip was better than not seeing the lovely town and surrounds at all. Either way, we hope this guide inspires you to visit, in whatever shape or form!
- Time your visit for an event: you’ve got a couple of events in town that would be fun to experience. There’s the Feast of the Patron Saint of San Vito lo Capo on the 15th of June and also the Cous Cous Fest, often held later in the year.
- San Vito lo Capo climbing: Monte Monaco is the best place to climb in the area.
- Visit in the off-season: when Beck and I visited in the off-season, in March, the beach and town were very quiet. Whereas, in summer, it can get extremely crowded. If you want a more peaceful visiting experience, certainly, visit outside of the peak season.
- Boat tours and trips: one of the best ways to explore the coastline near San Vito lo Capo is by boat. GetYourGuide offers many exceptional boat tours.
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