Tonnara di Scopello, Sicily

Perched along the stretch of sea Est of the famous Zingaro Reserve in Northern Sicily lays one of the most beautiful coastal villages of Italy: Scopello.

Visiting Scopello (and Tonnara di Scopello) in Sicily is nowadays a must for every traveler that is planning a trip to Southern Italy. After being chosen as the location for the movie Ocean’s Twelve and several Italian tv-series, this destination has become increasingly popular among locals and tourists alike, which is why it’s important to plan your visit well ahead.

With this in mind, below is your quick but comprehensive travel guide to help you plan your own visit to Scopello, Sicily.

Where is Scopello located? And how to get there? 

Scopello is a tiny village located in the municipality of Castellammare del Golfo, Sicily, about 37 km (23 miles) from Trapani and 73 km (45 miles) from Palermo. You can see the exact location on the map below.

Tonnara di Scopello – a tuna fishing complex nowadays used as a sunbathing and swimming area – is located just a couple of kilometers away from Scopello’s main square.

The easiest way to get to Scopello is to drive from Palermo, which is served by an international airport. The airport of Trapani is an option too, but keep in mind that it’s on the smaller side and is mainly served by low-cost airlines. Whatever your choice, I highly recommend renting a car to explore this area, as public transportation is not yet adequately organized.


Tonnara di Scopello

What is exactly this Instagram-famous ‘Tonnara di Scopello’

Tonnara di Scopello is an old tuna fishing complex and factory that sits right on top of the blue waters at the foot of the village.

The whole site is set in an inlet characterized by several sea stacks named Faraglioni, which slightly resemble the famous ones in Capri. The building complex, which dates back to the 13th century, was once the property of the Society of Jesus and is currently owned by the Florio family.

The Tonnara has been recently turned into a tourist site, with beach chairs scattered along the property and a concrete slab (there is no beach as such) serving as access to the sea. A couple of buildings have been converted into cozy apartments, so you can book directly on Tonnara di Scopello’s official website to treat yourself to a stay right inside the complex. In the same area, you will also find a church and a museum that collects the original ships and fishing tools.

How to visit the Tonnara?  What is the ticket price? What about opening hours?

In order to visit the Tonnara, you have to pay for the 10€ entrance ticket, plus the 10€ parking ticket in case you’re getting there by car. With the entrance ticket, you are guaranteed a deckchair and a visit to the museum. 

I cannot say that the museum is particularly remarkable. However, together with the access to the shore and the deckchair, I’d say the price is somehow worth it if you’re planning on staying for a full day.

Regarding opening hours, Tonnara di Scopello is open Monday to Sunday from 9:30 AM to 7 PMBear in mind that this place is extremely popular, and in order to get the best deckchairs I would highly recommend getting in line as far as 8:45-9 AM. 

Best things to do around Scopello:

Scopello is a great starting point for many fun day trips and activities in the surrounding areas. I highly recommend checking out:

  • Scopello historic village

The village has a beautiful sixteenth-century “Baglio” (from the Arab bahal, courtyard), in which you’ll find an imposing tree surrounded by old houses and cute little restaurants. Outside the Baglio you’ll find a picturesque water fountain and a couple of pretty streets with some more hotels and restaurants. Sightseeing here is only a matter of minutes, don’t skip it!

  • Zingaro Natural Reserve (Riserva dello Zingaro)

Created in 1976 thanks to a strong environmental initiative, Zingaro Natural Reserve is a rare example of biodiversity conservation.

Inside the reserve, you’ll find 1.600 hectares of untouched nature, from towering mountains and green valleys facing the sea to spectacular beaches. The water is so crystal clear you’ll be able to see the bottom even from the trails, without getting closer to the beaches! And on that note, you cannot possibly miss the wild beach Cala Marinella and the peaceful Cala Tonnarella dell’Uzzo. The reserve has only two entrances which are about seven kilometers apart, and the only connection between the two consists of walkable paths. Make sure you have good hiking shoes and plenty of water!

  • Cretto di Burri, Gibellina

A real gem unknown to most tourists, Cretto di Burri is a huge land artwork conceived by the artist Alberto Burri, which took nearly 30 years to finish. The modern artwork consists of a 90.000 m2 white concrete sculpture located in Gibellina, on the ruins of the old town which was completely destroyed by an earthquake in 1968. To date, il Grande Cretto is considered one of the most remarkable land artworks in the world.

In person, it is astounding to see the maze of huge concrete blocks, 2 meters tall, against the grassy, surreal setting of Gibellina, evoking the heart-wrenching story of the land.


When is the best time to visit Scopello, Sicily?

The best time to visit Scopello, and Sicily in general, is from May to July or September to October. These months offer pleasant temperatures which are ideal for beach-hopping or hiking. I’d avoid August – the heat can be unbearable (temperatures usually exceed 33°C/90°F) and the local crowds are at their maximum.

Where to stay in Scopello?

If your budget allows it, I’d highly recommend staying inside the Tonnara. The apartments are absolutely stunning and all guests have access to a gorgeous private beach that is secluded from the other public areas.

The alternative is obviously to stay in one of the many hotels located in the main village, like Hotel La Tavernetta, or Hotel Torre Benistra.

If you prefer to stay in a quiet apartment surrounded by nature, I can also recommend Baglio la Riserva, which is located in a very strategic position.

Anyhow, I know you will have a blast wherever you decide to go!


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Tags: Visit Scopello, Sicily; Tonnara di Scopello; Scopello, Italy; Sicily Travel;