Pantelleria, Sicily; with many caves and natural saunas

Photo of Pantelleria

Visit Pantelleria

The large island of Pantelleria is off the coast from western Sicily - indeed, it is closer to Tunisia than it is to Italy.

The island has been inhabited for the last 4000 years, and it was some of the earliest inhabitants who constructed the neolithic structures ('sesi') that you will see scattered around the island - the best are just outside the main town (which is also called Pantelleria, and was largely destroyed during World War II bommbing so not a great deal of historical interest) and in the Cunelie region.

The natural highlights include many caves, and also natural water sources that give rise to warm water and are popular with bathers. Monestero and Santaria are among the best of these natural saunas. see also the Lago di Venere (lake).

There is much to admire about Pantelleria, which has a very dramatic coastline surrounding the scenic volcanic interior of the island - centred around the 'Montagna Grande' at 836 metres above sea level and offering the best views - including views to Africa on a clear day.

This mountain is centre of the Mantagna Grande Natural Parc that is home to a wide range of plant and animal species and can be accessed by several marked trails.

Note: despite the impressive rock coastline and sea-facing cliffs Pantelleria does not have any beaches, although swimming off the rocks is possible. Diving is a popular activity in the clear waters along the coast, and boat trips are another popular activity, and a lovely way to admire the coastline - the boats tour around the entire island.

Among the most attractive of the 11 small villages on the island visit Gadir and Kamma on the eastern coast.

Another defining characteristic of the island - wide use has been made of the readily available lava stone on the island - for constructing terraces, walls, and protected citrus plantations.

The island of Pantelleria is usually accessed by ferry (5 hours) or hydrofoil (2.5 hours) from Trapani,although there is also a small airport on the island (30 minutes from Sicily, occasional flights from mainland Italy).

See also:

Map of Pantelleria & places nearby