Exploring Sicily: Erice – A Medieval Town

Usually, I plan my trips, I plan the places I want to visit, I list them and prepare accordingly. However, the historic town of Erice caught me completely unprepared as I was driving towards Trapani and saw it on top of the mount Erice. You can see a castle or stronghold from far away on top of a hill in Erice. So, curiosity got the better of me and I started following the road signs to this new place.

Sign made of white tiles in a stone wall listing Enoteca Locale Erice (Erice, Sicily).
Erice

Milena wasn’t happy with my decision, especially after we started getting higher and everything below us was quickly minimizing as we drove further. Still, I’ll never regret that decision and Milena always mentions our adventure to Erice as one of the best experiences ever.

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First Impressions

We were quite anxious on our way up to Erice, but when we got there we found lots of tourists and cars that kind of calmed us. All of them were appropriately prepared for this visit with comfortable shoes, hats, and jackets; we, on the other hand, we were just happy to be there.

Where exactly?

Erice, Sicily (Italy)

Means of transportation?

Car.

How many people traveling?

2.

How many nights?

1.

Type of vacation?

Exploring, relaxing, photographing.

Trip Date?

September 2014

Walking up to the Castle of Venus in Erice through the Torretta Pepoli.
Torretta Pepoli

Opinion on Erice:

The place in generalErice is a historic town placed on top of the Mount Erice, overlooking Trapani. It is an authentic Sicilian town, where people still live. So, don’t be surprised to see a local putting clothes on a wire as you’re exploring the narrow cobblestone streets. Erice is high up on a mountain, so expect clean air, strong sun, and wind.

There are several landmarks to visit and a few places where you could have a coffee or eat. I must say, Erice is marvelous, it’s so rich and old and simply gorgeous; it feels amazing to walk those streets and imagine how people used to live in the past and how some of them are still combining their tradition with the modern life.

View to Mount Cofano from Castle of Venus in Erice, Sicily.
View to Mount Cofano

Parking – unfortunately, I don’t remember the price of the parking, but I don’t think it was something overly expensive. You can leave your car in any dedicated parking space throughout the complex. The parking lots and spots are asphalted.

Nature – Erice itself is mainly made of stones and cannot boast with nature too much; however, it is on a mountain and offers magnificent views of the entire area. So, nature lovers would certainly love it.

Tourist Map of Erice with different walking routes. This map depicts San Carlo on the red route.
Tourist Map of Erice

Shops – as far as I remember, there were some souvenir shops as well as a bar and a restaurant. We bought a fridge magnet for a reasonable price but didn’t stay for a drink since Trapani was still waiting for us.

During the Stay

Okay, so we were in Erice for a single afternoon and I can’t reveal any insider info. However, I can recommend wearing comfortable shoes, a hat since it gets hot and a jacket because it gets windy. If you don’t want to risk ending without drinks or food, it’s maybe a good idea to bring food and drinks with you and have a picnic overlooking the sea.

Things to see in Erice:

  • Walk around Erice
  • Pepoli Castle
  • Venus Castle build on top of the Temple of Venus
  • Main church Chiesa Madre or Real Duomo
  • Porta Trapani and Porta Spada
  • Venus Fountain
  • Garden of Balio

Why I fell in love with the famous medieval town Erice situated on Mount Erice over looking Trapani on the Italian island Sicily. Traveling and exploring Sicily, one city at a time. #travel #adventures #italy #romantic #family #holidays #vacation

Sad to Leave

Oh, leaving Erice was a really hard thing to do. This place is magical and wonderful in so many ways; it is definitely one of my favorite historical sights alongside the gorgeous Bavarian castles.

Walls from the Castle of Venus in Erice, Sicily
Defensive walls of the Castle of Venus.

Pros of Erice

  • Stunning views of the area
  • Many things to see
  • Awesome for one-day adventures
  • Incredible historical value

Cons of Erice

  • Gets hot and windy
  • Takes a lot of driving to get there

Concluding Thoughts

What I experienced there is something everyone must experience in order to understand. You walk on cobblestone streets, you witness authentic buildings, you visit castles that have been there hundreds of years ago. Erice is a reminder of a time that is probably forever over; nonetheless, this town stands strong and forbids us from forgetting.

Beautiful view of the sea and the city Trapani. Leaving Erice and on the way to Trapani.
Going to Trapani
Why I fell in love with the famous medieval town Erice situated on Mount Erice over looking Trapani on the Italian island Sicily. Traveling and exploring Sicily, one city at a time. #travel #adventures #italy #romantic #family #holidays #vacation Why I fell in love with the famous medieval town Erice situated on Mount Erice over looking Trapani on the Italian island Sicily. Traveling and exploring Sicily, one city at a time. #travel #adventures #italy #romantic #family #holidays #vacation

3 Comments

  1. So after you left a comment on my post about Erice, I was naturally curious to read about it from your point of view. I liked the town, especially the views, but compared to Marettimo where we spent the last three days before arriving to Erice, it was just too touristy. I can imagine the experience would be completely different if we visited out of the main summer season. 🙂 You seem to share the opinion with a dear friend of mine who completely fell in love with this place! I don’t know if you’ve ever been, or if you plan to go back to Sicily- but as far as hilltop towns in Sicily are concerned, I loved Petralia Soprana in the Madonie mountains. Stone houses, cobbled streets, amazing views, little to no tourists, but buzzing with locals, it was a great Sicilian experience. Oh, and delicious food!

    • Wow, thanks for reaching out! Well, I was only 10 days in Sicily (far from enough to explore the entire island) and unfortunately Petralia Soprana wasn’t one of the spots we visited. We went to Cefalu, San Vito lo Capo, Erice, Trapani, Palermo and even drove to Catania. I would love to go back to Sicily again and possibly stay at least two weeks in different areas so I can explore it properly, I still have so many things I wish to visit there; I’ll certainly add Petralia Soprana to the list! In terms of Erice and why I liked it a lot… I think it was maybe because it came as surprise. We never planned to go there, we just saw a sign and headed towards it. So maybe that’s partly why it left such a strong impression on me – it was a really unexpected and wonderful adventure.

      • Oh, it seems that the two uf as are sharing the enthusiasm when it comes to Sicily! We also went for 10 days on our first to Sicily: we went to Cefalu (loved this town!), Petralia Soprana, Sperlinga, Taormina, Val di Noto (Modica, Noto, Scicli), Agrigento, Sciacca and Palermo, and fell head over heals with the island! Unfortunately we didn’t get to see Catania and Siracusa. Last summer, we went for a week to Marsala (I would definitely recommend this town), Mazara del Vallo, Porto Palo, Trapani, Marettimo, Erice and Castellammare. And as you said, there is STILL SO MUCH TO SEE! I agree that another two weeks road tripping around Sicily would be perfect! I can see why you loved your experience in Erice- unplanned adventures always bring something unexpected and make great memories.

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