Scala dei Turchi (Stair of the Turks) is a breathtaking white cliff in the province of Agrigento, Sicily. In the past, tourists have flocked to Scala dei Turchi to explore and wander along the chalky white cliff, timing their visit with an unforgettable sunset. Unfortunately, access to the famous Stair of the Turks is now prohibited. In other words, Stair of the Turks is officially closed! Thankfully, it’s still possible to visit, explore and admire the Stair of the Turks. In this travel guide, we’ll tell you about the best ways to experience the Stair of the Turks, despite access being forbidden.
We hope you find this guide helpful. If you’re looking for similar epic white cliffs near the Stair of the Turks, you should read our guide about the immense Capo Bianco.
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Scala dei Turchi (Stair of the Turks)
Scala dei Turchi is an outstanding natural attraction near the historic town of Agrigento on the southern coastline of Sicily. The glistening chalky cliff supposedly got its name from invading Arab pirates, who would use the cliffs to hide or gain access to the land. Being featured in Andrea Camilleri’s series of novels and TV series called Commissario Montalbano, the natural site became even more popular in the 1990s and 2000s. In 2007, the Stair of the Turks became a candidate for UNESCO World Heritage site status.
FYI – Scala dei Turchi is also known as La Scala dei Turchi (The Stair of the Turks) and the Turkish Steps.
Where Is Scala dei Turchi?
The Stair of the Turks is located on the coast of Realmonte, near Porto Empedocle in the province of Agrigento in southern Sicily. To help get your bearings, check out an interactive Scala dei Turchi map on Google Maps.
Things to Know Before Visiting Scala dei Turchi on Sicily
Before the Stair of the Turks was closed, there wasn’t too much to know before a visit. You’d simply park nearby, find one of the many entrances and then follow the respective path down to the cliffs. Basically, you were free to wander on the cliffs and even swim in the ocean at the base of the cliffs.
These days, the most important thing to know about the Stair of the Turks is that access to the cliff is now forbidden. So, what exactly happened? Let’s explore the closure of the Stair of the Turks in a little more detail below.
Access to Scala dei Turchi Is Prohibited
Following vandalism and degradation of Scala dei Turchi, access to the cliffs was closed in 2022. Since then, access to the cliffs has remained closed. To prevent people from accessing the cliffs, the site is now guarded. Also, fences and gates have been put up to stop people from entering and gaining access to the cliffs. So, if your dream was to wander along the Stair of the Turks, you’d now have to break the rules to fulfil that dream!
Thankfully, it’s still possible to visit the Stair of the Turks and appreciate the mesmerising landform from afar. Personally, Beck and I were pleased to see the natural site being protected, maintained and conserved. After much foot traffic over the years, it’s perhaps time to give the Stair of Turks some breathing space. After all, something needed to be done about erosion from visitors and vandalism from pea-brains.
How to Visit Scala dei Turchi Responsbily
So, with access forbidden, is it still worth visiting? Yes, absolutely! The Stair of the Turks remains a captivating white cliff that’s worth seeing. Below, we’ll talk about the best ways to visit this natural attraction, that doesn’t involve accessing the cliffs directly.
See Scala dei Turchi From Majata Beach
From Majata Beach, you’ll enjoy superb views of the Stair of the Turks. Located just south of the white cliffs, you’re free to wander along this beautiful beach to enjoy views of the white cliff. Previously, you could access the base of the Stair of the Turks from Majata Beach. But, these days, you’ll find a fence, which is sometimes guarded. Thankfully, you’ll still enjoy awesome views of the white cliff from the beach.
Depending on the tide, you may be able to access some of the rock platforms along the shoreline. From there, you’ll enjoy some of the best views of the white cliff.
Checkout Viewpoints of Scala dei Turchi
From the roadside, there are a couple of great viewpoints of the Stair of the Turks. From Belvedere – Scala dei Turchi – F.A.I., you’ll enjoy a stellar view of the western face of the beaming white cliff. Even though this lookout is farther away than some other lookouts, it still provides some of the best views. That’s because there are fewer obstructions blocking your view. Indeed, you’ll enjoy a fairly uninterrupted snapshot of the white cliff from this lookout.
You’ll find a similarly named lookout here, which is actually located closer to the white cliff. But, from this lookout, your views of the Stair of the Turks are mostly impeded by the surrounding coastline. Sure, you’ll still enjoy fantastic views of the coastline. But, if your mission is just to get a phenomenal view of the white cliff, then head to the first lookout we mentioned above.
Scala dei Turchi Boat and Sunset Tours
Back in the day, one of the most popular things to do at Scala dei Turchi was to visit for sunset. Indeed, you can still enjoy an awesome sunset at Scala dei Turchi! Simply head to Majata Beach and you can watch one of the most marvellous sunsets you’ll ever see.
If you’re looking for the most luxurious sunset experience at Scala dei Turchi, then consider a boat tour. GetYourGuide offers an amazing Boat Tour From San Leone. This tour, operated by Empeeria, is a group tour. So, it’s a cheaper alternative to the more expensive Private Boat Tour.
For more information about the Stair of the Turks itinerary for these tours, head to GetYourGuide.
Go to Lido Scala dei Turchi
Located on Majata Beach, Lido Scala dei Turchi is a lovely beach bar and restaurant. After exploring the white cliff from Majata Beach, you could easily stop in for a bit to eat or just a drink. It’s also possible to catch a lovely sunset here too!
Go to Lounge Beach Scala dei Turchi
Also located on Majata Beach, Lounge Beach Scala dei Turchi is another possible place to eat or drink. Located near the Stair of the Turks, you’ll have excellent views of the white cliff and the surrounding coastline.
How to Get to Scala dei Turchi in Sicily
The simplest and most straightforward way to get to the Stair of the Turks is to drive there yourself. If you don’t have your own set of wheels, then we recommend hiring a car using Rentalcars.com. You’ll find a wide variety of cars on Rental Cars, which are very easy to book online.
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.
Scala dei Turchi Parking
It’s possible to find free street-side parking here if you arrive early during the peak season, or, if you visit in the off-season. Personally, Beck and I visited in March. We arrived around midday and still found plenty of free street-side parking. Otherwise, there are plenty of private parking areas near the Stair of the Turks and Majata Beach. You’ll pay anywhere between €5–10 depending on your length of stay.
As far as we’re aware, there isn’t any public transport running to the Stair of the Turks. But, there is a shuttle service that runs during the peak season in summer. Although, even during peak season, there are limited services. The bus runs from Agrigento to Scala dei Turchi via Porto Empedocle. From what we’ve heard, the bus doesn’t directly drop you at Scala dei Turchi or Majata Beach. You’ll be dropped about a 40-minute walk away from the Stair of the Turks. So, by far the better option is driving there yourself.
Where to Stay
Many people visiting the Stair of the Turks will visit from Agrigento. You’ll find a decent range of hotels in Agrigento. But, if you wanted to stay closer to the action, there are some fantastic accommodation options that are just a stone’s throw away from the Stair of the Turks. Let’s look at the best accommodation options near the famous white cliff.
Scala dei Turchi Resort
Scala dei Turchi Resort is the most highly-rated and popular accommodation option near the Stair of the Turks. Featuring a large outdoor pool, a continental buffet breakfast and elegant decor, you’ll have a fantastic stay at this modern resort.
Home Scala dei Turchi B&B
Home Scala dei Turchi B&B is an excellent bed and breakfast that’s also located super close to the Stair of the Turks. Guests rave about the yummy breakfast and large terrace area. Best of all, you’ll have an equally nice stay here at a much more affordable price.
The Terrazza Rooms are another exceptional bed and breakfast located near the Stair of the Turks. This beachfront property offers access to a patio, offering an impressive view for sunset. Indeed, this is a great accommodation option if you’re wanting to base yourself near the white cliff.
Below, you’ll find the most frequently asked questions about Scala dei Turchi in Agrigento, Sicily.
Is Scala dei Turchi Open?
Access to the Stair of the Turks is now forbidden – the natural site has been closed off, but you can still enjoy and see it from afar.
Can You Climb Scala dei Turchi?
No, climbing the cliff is now forbidden. This ban on climbing and accessing the cliff seems to be permanent and in place for the foreseeable future.
Can You Swim in Scala dei Turchi?
Not really. Previously, people would access the cliff and swim at the base of it (Scala dei Turchi Beach). But, because you can’t access the cliff, swimming at the base of it isn’t easy to do. Of course, you can swim at Majata Beach and enjoy the views of the cliffs from afar.
How Was Scala dei Turchi Formed?
A little about Scala dei Turchi history! The cliff is made of a combination of marl (white marble), clay and silt. As a result of erosion and sedimentary dipping, the levels, or layered steps, were created naturally over time.
- Visit for sunset, even if you’re not doing a Scala dei Turchi sunset tour: this is a popular time of day to visit. Watching the sunset, behind Scala dei Turchi, is an unforgettable experience to have during a trip to Sicily, Italy. And, indeed, you don’t need to be doing a specific sunset tour. Simply, rock up at Majata Beach and enjoy the show!
- Visit Agrigento: most people visiting the Stair of the Turks will also visit the nearby Valley of the Temples. Certainly, don’t miss a visit to one of the most outstanding Italian archaeological sites.
- Scala dei Turchi Villa Saraceni: by the way, if you’re looking for somewhere to stay near the attraction, and have heard about the Villa Sacareni at Scala de Turchi, you should know that it isn’t a real place! It’s just a concept project by an artist from Architecture & Design that went viral.
Will you still visit the closed Scala dei Turchi in Agrigento, Sicily? Or, will you visit the similar, less-explored and fully accessible white cliffs at the nearby Capo Bianco?