In recent years, Tonnara di Scopello and Faraglioni di Scopello, in Sicily, has become a tourist hotspot, thanks to social media. The image of the picture-postcard Sicilian coastal setting went viral and continues to do the rounds. A striking red-coloured seaside building is surrounded by mindblowing sea stacks and the translucent turquoise water of Spiaggia dei Faraglioni, which is now one of the most popular beaches to visit in Scopello.
Undoubtedly, it’s a beautiful place with an interesting history. But, after visiting, the question remains – is Tonnara di Scopello and Faraglioni di Scopello a tourist trap? In this guide, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about visiting Tonnara di Scopello and Faraglioni di Scopello in Sicily. By doing so, we’ll let you decide whether you think it’s worth a visit or whether to avoid it like the plague! Of course, we’ll also throw our two cents into the mix.
Table of Contents
What Is Tonnara di Scopello?
Tonnara di Scopello is a restored 13th century tuna fishing complex and seaside village. Of course, when it comes to buildings that have made Tonnara di Scopello more well-known, it’s the pretty red-coloured house that sits perfectly on the shores of Spiaggia dei Faraglioni. At the medieval-walled tuna fishing estate, you’ll also find boathouses where equipment was kept. You’ll also find the angler’s houses.
Indeed, Tonnara di Scopello was the site of a thriving tuna fishing community back in the day. But, it was last used for tuna fishing in 1984. Now, the complex is privately owned. On one hand, privatisation has meant the restoration and refurbishment of the site. This means you can visit and learn about the history of the place and experience its beauty, without the walls falling down. On the other hand, it’s become a money-making venture. On-site, you’ll find a hotel, which also acts as a wedding venue. There is also a museum on-site.
What Is Faraglioni di Scopello?
Faraglioni di Scopello are the incredible sea stacks located within the bay where Tonnara di Scopello is located. The spectacular rock formations are an integral component of the amazing natural scenery surrounding Tonnara di Scopello. Certainly, some (if not most) people are lured to the site, not because of the history of the tuna fishing complex, but by the natural beauty of the area, including the magnificent Faraglioni di Scopello.
So, exactly where are Tonnara di Scopello and Faraglioni di Scopello located in Sicily?
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The Location: Where Is Scopello in Sicily?
As the names suggest, Tonnara di Scopello and Faraglioni di Scopello are located in Scopello in the northwest 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 Visit Tonnara di Scopello and Faraglioni di Scopello
Now you know a little more about Tonnara di Scopello and Faraglioni di Scopello, let’s look at information about visiting this tourist attraction. Let’s start with the costs associated with visiting.
The admission fee for Tonnara di Scopello is continuously increasing. So, the price at the time of writing may be different when you visit. If that’s the case, please let us know in the comments section.
Most recently, the entrance fee is €15 per person. This will give you access to some areas of Tonnara di Scopello, includes a guided tour of the museum and common areas and includes a sunbed on Spiaggia dei Faraglioni – the private beach on-site.
Much of Tonnara di Scopello is cordoned off, so you won’t get to freely explore the site. In reality, areas that you can independently explore are fairly limited to Spiaggia dei Faraglioni. Most of the common areas of Tonnara di Scopello can only be accessed by doing a guided tour, which tend to run hourly.
By doing a guided tour, you’ll learn about the history of the place and the fishing practices used on site. We’ve heard mixed reviews about the guided tours. It’d make sense to try and do the guided tour as it’s covered by the cost of the entrance fee. But, we’ve also heard the tour can be rushed and queues can be long. Indeed, in the height of the peak season in summer, Tonnara di Scopello can get absolutely rammed. So, we’ve heard that many people wanting to do the guided tour of the museum and common areas, don’t end up doing it as the queue is too long.
Whilst we’re on the topic of queuing, expect quite a long one just to enter in the first place, especially in the peak season. Although, it’s possible to buy tickets online (either on their website or Instagram page), which means you can skip the queue upon entry.
Generally speaking, Tonnara di Scopello is open from 10am to 6pm. But, again, opening times seem to continuously change. We’ve heard opening times stretching from 9:30am to 7pm. It’s best to check the official website before visiting for the latest information about opening hours. Because there are long queues to enter, we recommend getting there around 30 minutes before opening time.
Spiaggia dei Faraglioni
Also known as Tonnara di Scopello Beach, Spiaggia dei Faraglioni is the private beach on site. Indeed, many people aren’t interested in the museum or guided tour and just want to visit Spiaggia dei Faraglioni. Because of the mesmerising Faraglioni di Scopello and majestic Tonnara di Scopello vibes, Spiaggia dei Faraglioni has become one of the most popular beaches in Scopello.
As mentioned, with the price of entry, you’ll get a sunbed on the shores of Spiaggia dei Faraglioni for the day. Although, it’s worth noting that Spiaggia dei Faraglioni does get very crowded in the peak season. After all, Spiaggia dei Faraglioni is only a very small bay area. So, don’t expect much in the way of space. Perhaps, visiting outside of peak season is a way of getting around this problem. But, often Tonnara di Scopello closes in the off-season for maintenance.
The Secret Lookout
Now you know everything about visiting Tonnara di Scopello. For those who can’t justify the price, there is another way to enjoy Tonnara di Scopello, Faraglioni di Scopello and Spiaggia dei Faraglioni, without paying anything. Simply, visit the viewpoint, or secret lookout, located here. By doing so, you’ll get to enjoy a marvellous view without paying a penny.
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Best Things to Do Near Tonnara di Scopello and Faraglioni di Scopello
Whether you visit Tonnara di Scopello or not, it’s worth knowing that there are other awesome places to visit nearby. So, even if you decide not to visit this attraction, then it’s still worth visiting Scopello and the surrounding areas of Sicily. With this in mind, let’s look at the best things to do near Tonnara di Scopello.
The small village of Scopello is worth seeing in its own right. In Scopello, you’ll find a beautiful town square with a lovely stone fountain and centuries-old eucalyptus trees. There are nice restaurants and gelaterias to enjoy, whilst you’ll have a lovely view of Torre Bennistra (Bennistra Tower).
Castellammare del Golfo
Castellammare del Golfo is the nearest large town to Tonnara di Scopello. The name translates in English to ‘Sea Fortress on the Gulf‘, owing to the impressive medieval fortress in the harbour. Certainly, the harbour is worth visiting, or, at least, worth enjoying from this viewpoint, called Belvedere Castellammare del Golfo. Dotted along the coastline around Castellammare del Golfo, you’ll find sublime stretches of the coast. In particular, Spiaggia Plaja is a popular beach to visit.
Other Scopello Beaches
There’s nothing quite like having a dip in the Scopello sea at one of its nice beaches. If Spiaggia dei Faraglioni sounds a bit crowded for your liking, then you may want to explore other beaches in Scopello. Spiaggia di Guidaloca (Guidaloca Beach) is the most popular beach in Scopello. The pebble beach sees many visitors during summer. You’ve also got Cala Mazzo di Sciacca, which is another great beach to visit in Scopello. Otherwise, there are some other smaller lesser-known beaches in Scopello.
Zingaro Nature Reserve (Riserva dello Zingaro)
Tonnara di Scopello is just a stone’s throw away from the sensational Zingaro Nature Reserve. Personally, Beck and I think the Zingaro Nature Reserve is the best nature reserve in Sicily. Because of the nature reserve’s remoteness, the spectacular beaches aren’t as quick or easy to reach, compared with the beaches in Scopello. Indeed, each beach at Zingaro Nature Reserve requires some effort to reach, which means the beaches are even more serene to visit.
By doing Sentiero Costiero, which is one of the best coastal walks in Sicily, you can visit every beach in the Zingaro Nature Reserve.
How to Get to Tonnara di Scopello
The easiest way to get to Tonnara di Scopello is to drive there yourself. In terms of parking, you have two options. There is parking on-site, which costs €10. But, the parking area is tiny, with only enough space for a dozen cars or so. Additionally, you’ll need to negotiate a short, narrow and winding road to reach the unpaved parking area. The best parking option is found at this nearby large car park. Parking costs €2.50/hour. Certainly, if you’re just wanting to visit the secret lookout, you can simply park there, cross the road and follow a short dirt trail to the viewpoint.
If you don’t have your own set of wheels, we recommend hiring a car. 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!
If you don’t have your own car, you should hire one using Discover Cars. Personally, we use Discover Cars and highly recommend them for finding your ideal car hire at an affordable price. Booking online is super easy and the free cancellation policy is great.
All year round, Autoservizi Russo S.R.L. (The Russo Company) runs a bus service between Castellammare del Golfo and Scopello. From the bus stop at Piazza della Repubblica in Castellamare del Golfo, the bus takes approx. 20–25 minutes and costs around €2.70 per person one-way. The bus will alight in Scopello near Scopello Borgo Storico. From there, it’s as simple as walking around 1km to reach Tonnara di Scopello.
There are usually three to four departures a day from Castellammare del Golfo to Scopello, starting from roughly 7:30am. Similarly, there are three to four departures from Scopello to Castellammare del Golfo, with the last service running around 6:40pm. For more information regarding departure times, frequency and pricing as well as booking tickets in advance, click here.
Tonnara di Scopello Hotel Rooms
Also known as Hotel Tonnara di Scopello and the Tonnara di Scopello Apartments, it’s possible to stay on the premises. Tonnara di Scopello accommodation takes shape in the form of 14 unique apartments. Each apartment has its own name and varies slightly in size, number of bedrooms, amenities and facilities. But, most apartments have a private bathroom, kitchenette and fridge.
As expected, staying there is a highly luxurious option and certainly way beyond a budget or mid-range accommodation option. But, certainly, spending the night there, without the crowds, would be the ultimate way to experience Tonnara di Scopello. For information about booking, please click here.
FYI – Tonnara di Scopello is also a wedding venue, with its apartments seeing many wedding guests.
Guests-Only Private Beach at Tonnara di Scopello
By staying at Tonnara di Scopello, you’ll have access to areas of the site that the general public doesn’t have access to. This includes access to a guest-only section of Spiaggia dei Faraglioni! Certainly, this would have to be one of the most exclusive beaches in Scopello, let alone all of Sicily.
Where to Stay in Scopello
If staying at Tonnara di Scopello goes beyond your budget, but you’d like to stay in the area, perhaps looking at hotels in Scopello is a better idea. To keep things simple, we’ve handpicked the best budget, mid-range and luxurious options in Scopello, Sicily.
- Budget – Residence Guidaloca: this apartment hotel is one of the best budget stays in the area. Residence Guidaloca has fantastic facilities and amenities, all for a very affordable price.
- Mid-range – Tenute Plaia Agriturismo: featuring a restaurant, outdoor swimming pool and a bar, Tenute Plaia Agriturismo is a popular accommodation option in Scopello.
- Luxury – Hotel Baglio Di Scopello: this is one of the most highly-rated accommodation options in Scopello. Indeed, it’d be hard to find a better stay in Scopello than at Hotel Baglio Di Scopello.
When Is the Best Time to Visit?
Most people will visit Tonnara di Scopello, and Sicily for that matter, during the peak season in summer. But, that’s when the site can be very crowded. Unfortunately, as mentioned, Tonnara di Scopello is often closed for maintenance and refurbishment during the off-season. Perhaps, timing a visit just outside of the peak season in April, May, September or October, will ensure fewer crowds and an increased chance that the site is open to visitors.
Is Tonnara di Scopello Worth Visiting?
This comes down to personal preference. Generally speaking, Beck and I don’t like visiting overcrowded places and places where people are merely visiting for the ‘gram. That’s why, we don’t think it’s worth paying to enter Tonnara di Scopello. Besides, there are many other beaches in Scopello, and in Sicily as a whole, which are just as beautiful and far less crowded. Of course, there’s no doubting the beauty of Tonnara di Scopello and Faragliono di Scopello. So, perhaps it’s worth visiting the viewpoint and leaving it at that.
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- Arrive early: there can be restrictions on the number of visitors per day. So, make sure to arrive early to avoid disappointment.
- Visit Cretto di Burri: if you’re looking for something a little further afield and on the lesser-known side of things, then you should visit Cretto di Burri. It’s a huge white concrete structure, an artwork that took Alberto Burri nearly 30 years to complete. During a visit, you can explore the maze of tall white concrete blocks.
- Boat tours and trips: one of the best ways to explore the coastline and best beaches near Scopello is by boat. GetYourGuide offers many exceptional boat tours starting from San Vito lo Capo.
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