Zingaro Natural Reserve, Sicily: guide for visitors

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Visit Zingaro Natural Reserve

The Natural Reserve of Zingaro is in north-west Sicily, on the coast and overlooking the Gulf of Castellammare. It is between the towns of San Vito Lo Capo to the north and Castellammare del Golfo to the south.

The reserve was established in 198 as the first protected nature reserve to be created in Sicily. It covers an area of 1600 hectares (4000 acres) and contains many protected species of wildlife including small mammals, birds and rare plants.

Explore Zingaro Natural Reserve

Italy This Way comment: the trails through Zingaro Natural Reserve are a very lovely way to see part of one of the most attractive coasts in Sicily

There are two entrances to the reserve:

  • Ingresso Sud is 12 kilometres north of Castellammare del Golfo and close to Scopello
  • Ingresso Nord is 12 kilometres south of San Vito Lo Capo

Scenery at the entrance to the trails

We parked at the southern entrance: plenty of parking was available, although it was 10.00 in the middle of May when we arrived, and I got the impression the parking was filling up quickly by the time we left, so perhaps in summer it gets difficult to park...

A small entrance fee is charged (five euros at the time of our visit, if I remember correctly) to enter the reserve, which includes a map showing the various paths. Small visitor centres and snack bars are also found at the entrances to Zingaro.

Insde the park there are various trails between the southern entrance and the northern entrance:

  • Sentiero Costiero, follows the coast, and is an easy seven kilometres walk, mostly flat, although walking shoes are not necessary you will need 'sensible' shoes becaue the surface is often gravel or slippery. There are several small museums along this path to explain the park and the environment.
  • Sentieri di Mezzo Costa, about 7.5 kilometrs long, parallel to the coast path but further up the hills so it is a more challenging walk with more altitude change involved
  • Sentiero Alto, a challenging 13 kilometre walk through the mountains between the two entrances to Zingaro

In addition to the main footpaths there are several additional footpaths that explore further regions of the reserve and connect the principal trails.

While the park does not have direct access to the sea, there are places where additional trails lead down to coves and creeks along the coast which are easy to access and provide an additional perspective on the area as well as a chance to sunbathe and go in the sea.

There is no water or food available in the park, and not a great deal of shade, so bring what you need for the visit with you - as with any coast walk it can be hot!

Of course, as with any nature reserve, it is prohibited to hunt, fish, leave litter behind, take anything away, have a fire or cause any damage!

Scenery along the coat path in Zingaro Natural Reserve

Attractions nearby

One kilometre south of the southern entrance you can visit Scopello, where there is a historic tuna processing centre in a pretty location (if you think that doesn't sound interesting, the film Oceans Twelve thought it was beautiful enough to use as a film setting...).

Outside the boundary of Zingaro Natural Reserve you can visit the small towns of Castellammare del Golfo (to the south) and San Vito Lo Capo (to the north). Both are small resorts, with San Vito lo Capo a more traditional seaside resort and better for beaches, and Castellammare having a small historic centre.

You can find more local travel ideas in the Sicily guide.

See also:

Map of Zingaro Natural Reserve and places to visit

Places to visit near Zingaro Natural Reserve

San Vito lo Capo

San Vito lo Capo

San Vito lo Capo is a small town with some of Sicily's best beaches nearby.

San Vito lo Capo guide

Scopello

Scopello

Scopello is visited for the Tonnara de Scopello, an ancient fishing centre - now a visitor centre and museum - in a very beautiful location

Scopello guide

Castellammare del Golfo

Castellammare del Golfo

The Gulf of Castellammare has beaches, cliffs and interesting monuments and is a lovely part of Sicily.

Castellammare del Golfo guide

Erice

Erice

Visit the splendid hilltop town of Erice with its ancient walls, castle and churches.

Erice guide

Segesta

Segesta

Segesta is home to various ancient monuments including Segesta Temple.

Segesta guide

Alcamo

Alcamo

Alcamo Marina is a popular seaside resort and the old town has a castle and plenty to enjoy.

Alcamo guide