Visit the Zingaro nature reserve in Sicily: tickets, prices, opening hours

Zingaro en Sicile paysage

Looking for a breath of fresh air in the heart of Sicily? Here’s how to make the most of your stay by discovering the Zingaro nature reserve, one of the most beautiful natural areas in southern Europe!



The Zingaro nature reserve is one of the must-see places in western Sicily. It is located in the splendid province of Trapani. The reserve covers almost 1,700 hectares and stretches along 7 km of coastline. This protected area was Sicily’s first nature reserve.

Zingaro offers superb opportunities for unforgettable hikes. Hiking trails lead visitors to steep cliffs, splendid wild coves and breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea.

We’ve put together a guide to help you make the most of these magnificent stretches!

Ready to stretch your legs? Andiamo!

History of the Zingaro nature reserve

Zingaro crique Sicile

Photo credit: jackbolla via Shutterstock

The Zingaro nature reserve lies in the far west of Sicily, north of the town of Trapani. Once home to tiny farming villages, the area has a much darker side. The area was prized by smugglers and traffickers, who made use of the caves scattered all along the coast. Weapons, foodstuffs and illicit goods were stored here. This troubled period adds a touch of mystery to the beauty of the area.

Let’s go back to the 1970s: the north of the country is ahead of the south, revealing areas that are still very poor and poorly connected to the rest of the country. The Italian government wanted to move up a gear and modernize the country. A major road infrastructure construction plan has been launched. It is intended to open up all these remote areas, since no Italian is expected to live more than 20 kilometers from a freeway.

In the future Zingaro nature reserve, construction of a coastal road was due to start in 1977. However, the project has run into opposition from local residents, who are keen to preserve the authentic landscape. The inhabitants of the province of Trapani formed pressure groups. Thanks to their solidarity, the area was classified as a « nature reserve » in 1981. A first in Sicily!

Even today, tourists visiting the Zingaro nature reserve benefit from this mobilization. No one is allowed to pollute the area. The landscape and environment are totally free from industrial and architectural pollution.

What to see and do in the Zingaro Nature Reserve?

nager eaux limpides de zingaro

Photo credit: Marcin Krzyzak via Shutterstock

This protected natural area is home to a rich and unique flora and fauna! As some species are endemic, it’s very important to be able to preserve them.

In addition to the 650 plant species, including several types of orchid and rare species, the fauna is also well represented. Ornithology enthusiasts can look forward to admiring some forty species of bird, including the peregrine falcon, the fastest bird of prey in the world, and Bonelli’s eagle!

To give yourself a chance to admire them, simply follow the three main paths: the coastal path, the central path and the high altitude path.

The central trail

The central trail is made up of numerous paths leading inland. They lead to small gardens where olive trees, palm trees and typical Mediterranean succulents seem frozen in time. But also to deep, gloomy caves or to hills overlooking the Sicilian coastline.

The high-altitude trail

The altitude trail takes you – with some effort – to the highest point in the Zingaro nature reserve: Mount Speziale, 900 metres high!

The coastal path

The coastal path follows the magnificent Sicilian coastline for almost seven kilometers. With its gentle gradient, it offers optimum safety for visitors to the Zingaro Nature Reserve! This hike takes you to sumptuous panoramas and pretty coves. You’ll be able to swim in crystal-clear water and admire many species of multicolored fish. Along the way, small beaches are accessible with a little effort, but these tiny ones quickly become crowded during the summer season!

The coves of the coastal path

If you had to choose just one, we’d definitely recommend the coastal path. It provides access to some sublime coves that have remained untouched:

  • Cala della Disa, the largest in the reserve. It offers walkers crystal-clear water and protection from the waves. The sometimes violent waves crash against the rocks.
  • Nearby, Cala Berretta appears to be a miniature copy of Cala della Disa.
  • Cala Capreria is less than a kilometer from the park’s southern entrance. This pebble beach is ideal for snorkelling and swimming among the fish.
  • Cala dell’Uzzo, to the very north of the reserve, is certainly more pleasant to photograph than to swim! Exposed to the wind, it can be prone to strong waves, which can pose a serious risk if you’re not careful.
  • Finally, Cala Marinella is our favorite. It’s the least frequented, as it’s far from the main entrances. To reach it, you’ll have to walk for a while!

Be careful, though, whether you’re walking up a steep slope or going for a swim: the Zingaro nature reserve is wild and unsupervised. In the event of a problem, it would take the emergency services many minutes, if not hours. Take every precaution to avoid any unfortunate incident!

How do I get to the Zingaro nature reserve?

The reserve is less than twenty kilometers from the Castellamare del Golfo freeway exit. You’ll need a car to reach the area, which is still relatively undeveloped economically!

You can reach the Zingaro nature reserve from both north and south:

  • From the north: from a parking lot 12 km from San Vito Lo Capo (to reach it, take Strada Provinciale 63).
  • From the south: from a parking lot two kilometers from the village of Scopello.

The parking lots are quite large, and it’s possible to park many cars here. However, tourist numbers during the high summer season make access difficult. Spaces become scarce, so be sure to arrive early in the morning!

Getting to Zingaro by plane

There are many air links to Sicily. Ideally, we recommend landing in Palermo, just a few kilometers from Zingaro. Our partner Ulysse will help you find a plane ticket to Sicily.

Where to stay in Zingaro?

As for accommodation, you can book a hotel in Zingaro. You can also rent accommodation via Airbnb in Zingaro Park. The surrounding towns are also a good option. Please note: wild camping is not permitted in Italy!

Zingaro Nature Reserve opening times and prices

You can visit the Zingaro nature reserve every day, from 7am to 7.30pm.

The north and south parking lots are both free of charge. However, you will be asked to pay €5 per person to enter the reserve. This is reduced to €3 for children aged 10 to 14, and is even free for children under ten.

Good to know

  • Severe fires occasionally break out in Sicily during the summer season. Beware of them and, of course, try not to start one inadvertently during your visit!
  • Except when you arrive in the parking lots, where snack bars are available, it’s impossible to stock up on food and drink in the park. So make sure you bring everything you need, especially water during the summer heatwaves.
  • To visit the reserve from one end to the other, allow a minimum of six hours’ walking.
  • If you want to visit the Zingaro nature reserve and avoid the scorching summer temperatures while still enjoying the great outdoors, you’ll need to leave in spring. This splendid protected area is at its best from April to June!