Pantelleria guide: how to experience the island at its best

Among the most wanted villas in Sicily of our catalogue there are plenty of Pantelleria villas, the so-called “dammusi“, very typical houses first built by the Phoenicians and often used as storage buildings in the past. This is why we decided to make a post about this extraordinary tiny Sicilian island, located about 120 kilometers away from the shores of Trapani, right in the centre of “Canale di Sicilia”, between two continents – Europe and Africa (which is actually closer – just 70 kilometers from the coastline of Tunis).

The shore of Pantelleria in a picture by Luca Volpi

“Pantelleria sulla costa”, picture by Luca Volpi on wikipedia

An unforgettable wild land right in the middle of the Mediterranean
This wild marvelous island will surprise you in every possible way. You’ll find the extraordinary peculiarity of its landscape totally unforgettable, as in Pantelleria natural elements such as the ancient lava tablelands (the island has volcanic origins), huge “faraglioni” rocks and hidden caves perfectly combine with very unique human artifacts – from the “dammusi” houses mentioned above to the dry-stone walls that surround fields, as well as the typical “panteschi” gardens, particular stonework cilindric structures used for protecting citrus trees from the strong salty winds that always blow in Pantelleria.

But for now, we’re sure that what you are thinking is: “Ok, fine. We get it. Amazing landscapes, beautiful sea, unique peculiarities. But how can I reach a tiny island in the middle of Europe and Africa?“. Don’t worry: we are just about to answer you.

How to reach Pantelleria
The island is connected to Sicily through its port: daily routes go back and forth to Trapani and Mazzara del Vallo. Therefore if you are reaching Sicily by plane and want to take a ferry boat , we suggest you book a flight to Trapani Birgi, so that it won’t take you long to reach the port of Trapani. Here, Siremar (boats) is the company you have to look for. The trip takes almost six hours.
The island also has a little airport: therefore, if you want to reach Pantelleria by plane, remember that it is connected to Palermo and Trapani (daily flights), while the connections with Milano (Bergamo, Linate, Malpensa), Venice, Bologna and Rome Fiumicino are seasonal.

See also: airports in Sicily: which one should you choose?

How to enjoy the island at its best: rent a scooter, protect your feet!
Once you reached the island, you’ll find yourself in a beautiful and wild location with really a lot to discover within such little space (the tour of the island by car takes only two hours). As soon as you arrive, do not forget to rent a scooter or a car: distances cannot always be covered by feet, and a scooter or car rental are capital for truly enjoying the beauty of the island on its whole!
Moreover, it’s important to keep in mind that Pantelleria is wild, charming and exotic, and one of its most important characteristics is the absence of sandy beaches. Therefore, if you are not an expert on rock climbing, we suggest you take a pair of adequate shoes with you in order to avoid the risk of hurting yourself while reaching the transparent, deep blue sea.

Venus lake in Pantelleria, pic by Luca Volpi

The heart-shaped Venus lake, a photo by Luca Volpi – from Wikipedia

Must-see locations and sights of interest
– The island has volcanic origins, and thermal waters can be found in various places all over Pantelleria; the most enchanting, anyway, is surely the Lago di Venere (Venus lake), immersed within a verdant landscape, with sulfurous water springs and very healthy mud baths rich in minerals. If you love birdwatching, come here in spring: the lake becomes a base for plenty of rare bird species!
– The inland houses the Parco Naturale della Montagna Grande, a verdant park best known for the wide number of botanic species (more than 600!) that spontaneously grow here. One of the most interesting areas of the park is the Khagiar, an ancient lavic flow covered with typical Mediterranean shrub and flowers.
– For its shape and origins, the island is rich in ancient secret caves: we totally recommend the Benikulà cave, a sort of natural sauna for the hight temperature of its thermal waters, and the very peculiar Bukkuram cave, where temperatures are quite low for a volcanic island – go and see for yourself!
– A tour of the island by boat is priceless: a lot of stunning caves and bays cannot be reached from the land, and scenarios are really unforgettable. You’ll have the chance to see the impressive landscape of Balata dei Turchi, with the legendary Mediterranean sea on one side and a verdant pine forest: the salty breeze merges with the scent of rosemary and lavender, and the atmosphere gets pretty magic.
– And then, of course, one of the most famous sites of the island. Just head towards the point where the sun rises: you’ll find Cala Levante, with the well-known “arch of the Elephant“, an elephant-shaped rock that plunges into the sapphire blue sea.

Pantelleria traditional cuisine and typical products.
As a tiny island right in the middle of two great continents, Pantelleria is a multi-cultural land, rich in different contaminations both in its culture and, of course, in its local cuisine – genuine, simple and really tasteful. The most famous local products are of course capers and the Passito di Pantelleria wine, obtained from the typical “zibibbo” grapes; local cuisine includes fresh seafood dishes as well as delicious vegetables harvested in the “panteschi” gardens and fields – pumpkins, zucchini, potatoes and artichokes, as well as beans, lentils and peas. Local desserts include the Sicily trademark, cannoli with local ricotta cheese, as well as traditional sweets such as the “bacio pantesco”, made with ricotta too.

Of course, it’s not easy to sum up the legendary beauty of Pantelleria just with a few words on a blog post. But this was not our goal: we just want to provide you with the basic information you need to get ready for your holiday. The immense beauty of this black pearl of the Mediterranean cannot be described by words… but don’t worry: just enjoy the island, your eyes and your memory will do the rest.


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