One of the most scenic towns in Sicily, Erice is perched high on Mount Erice above Trapani and offers sweeping views of the north-western coastline and the Mediterranean Sea to the Aegadian Islands. Take the cable car or steep road up to its fortified historic center to stroll the picturesque lanes and tour the medieval castle and tower.
The beauty of Erice begins with the journey 2,460 feet (750 meters) up to the mountain-top town by cable car or dramatic winding road, affording spectacular views along the way. This medieval walled town has ancient roots as an important center of the cult of Venus, and today is a captivating maze of steep rough-paved lanes lined with small artisan ceramic shops and traditional bakeries. Highlights include the hilltop Castello di Venere (Castle of Venus) and Torre di Pepoli (Tower of Pepoli), as well as the lively Piazza Umberto I, the 14th-century Chiesa Madre church, and the medieval Church of Saint John the Baptist.
Best explored on foot, Erice is among the loveliest towns in western Sicily, and a popular day trip from Palermo or Trapani along with top attractions like the Trapani and Paceco Salt Pans Natural Reserve, Segesta Archaeological Park, and the wineries of Marsala. Multi-day Sicily tours often include a stop to explore this charming town, and gourmands can opt for a food and wine tour that includes a turn through town to sample Sicilian pastries.
Things to know before you go
- Tours of Erice require walking along steep lanes, so wear sturdy shoes and bring a hat and sunscreen.
- Photographers will especially appreciate the endless views from this town perched high above the coastline.
- The town has steep, unevenly paved roads that may pose a challenge for wheelchair users.
- Satisfy your sweet tooth at Pasticceria Maria Grammatico, perhaps the most famous pastry shop in Sicily.
How to get there
Erice is located just northeast of Trapani in the countryside of western Sicily. Take the winding SP31 highway up to the historic center, or join a guided tour including transportation.
When to get there
With its endless views over the countryside and coastline, Erice is a photographer’s delight and best visited in the early morning or late afternoon, both for the best light for taking photos and to avoid the Sicilian heat at midday.
The Segesta Archaeological Park
A visit to Erice is easily paired with a tour of the Segesta Archaeological Park, one of the most notable attractions in western Sicily and home to ancient ruins of Magna Grecia. Highlights include the main temple—dating back to the fifth century BC, and one of the world’s best-preserved examples of Doric architecture; and the Greek theater, built in the fourth century BC.