You are faced with several options. Which of the three islands? how long in each? By a boat excursion or on my own? Should I pre-purchase boat tickets? Of course we are all different, and we all travel differently, but this plan worked wonders for us.
The boat excursions sounded like a fun, stress free way of visiting the islands. But the more I looked into this, exploring the islands on our own sounded superior in many levels. The islands are just too beautiful for a quick timed stop. We opted to visit Favignana and Levanzo.
First order of business, purchase the tickets at Liberty Lines in advance. Recently two companies merged to make this purchase a lot more convenient, and tickets do sell out sometimes. Arrive at the port, present your vouchers, and you get your tickets. They ask you to pick up your tickets 30 minutes prior, but I dont think its a hard rule. We opted for the 8:30 boat from Trapani to Favignana (30 mins), 14:00 From Favignana to Levanzo (10 mins), and 17:00 from Levanzo to Trapani (45 mins through Favignana). The one caution: When taking the ferry from Favignana to Levanzo, once you arrive, you may naturally feel like waiting for some green light, or someone to tell you you may leave. That will not come. You need to get up and leave, otherwise, you leave with the rest of the passengers to Trapani. You may be the only one getting off. Get off!
Five hours in Favignana, and three hours in Levanzo seemed about right. In Favignana, the closest and most visited island, biking is king. Rent bikes and explore. And by explore I mean make sure to make it to the stunning Cala Rossa. Or you can try to hire a taxi as we did, and for about 60 euros, give you a tour of the island, drop you off at Cala Rossa, and pick you up at a designated time. We spent 90 minutes which felt about right, maybe another 30 would have been perfect. He took us to see other beaches, coves and a very curious Cave Bianche Hotel, essentially a resort inside a giant hole. Other than that you can visit the beach near the port (walk right), The Tonnara (tuna factory), and the charming little town where you can grab a bite.
On Levanzo, you have Egadi’s biggest, and most important attraction, the cave paintings of Grotta del Genovese. You can try to schedule it in advance or just ask for some info at the bar, or the popup info desk (just a girl greets and helps new arrivals) when you arrive. We opted against doing it, and instead take the 20 or so minute trek to the Cala Minnula. This is another rocky cove with crystal clear water and the added bonus of a forest and picnic tables right there. Just walk right (there’s only one way), until you see the sign at about the half way point. The other big attraction in Levanzo is the picturesque little village you’ll see as soon as you get off the boat. In a way, with only 400 inhabitants, and no hotels, this is the more memorable island.