Portopalo di Capo Passero, a magical place of beaches and sunsets

portopalo island sightToday, I want to discuss about a magical place, the one in which sea and wind meet in a wonderful embrace. That is a town closely linked to Marzamemi, namely Portopalo di Capo Passero. The two towns have very similar beaches, only that the beaches of Portopalo better fit to sunbathe and swim. As Marzamemi, Portopalo is a pleasant and enjoyable old fishing village, where you can also see the old Tonnara and the “scieri”, namely the boats used by fishermen to fish tuna.

Tourist information

Portopalo di Capo Passero is in the most Southern tip of the South East of Sicily The village is included in the municipality of Pachino and in the district (province) of Syracuse. It has less than 4000 inhabitants, that in summer become much more, thanks to its unspoiled and charming beaches. During the year, the old harbour of the town is occupied by the boats of the fishers, which give a more picturesque look to the town. The origin of the name comes from the fact the town lies at the most southern tip of Sicily as if the town was the guardian of this section of Sicilian coast, while the name Capo Passero comes from the nearby island of Capo Passero, which is just opposite to the town. This small isle is among the most beautiful tourist attractions of Portopalo, along with the Isola delle Correnti. The isle is called Capo Passero for the presence of several sparrows and for the tapered shape of the same isle, which just resembles the head of a sparrow. Capo Passero is mistakenly considered the most Southern tip of Sicily, but in reality, it is the third foot of the “Trinacria”, the female emblem representing Sicily, indeed, on the emblem, you can see three legs depicting the three triangular tips of Sicily. They are: Capo Faro (Messina), Capo Lilibeo (Marsala, in the province of Trapani) and Capo Passero.

What to see

Just as mentioned above, in Portopalo, you can enjoy the untouched and charming beaches and the mesmerizing sigportopalo castleht of the island of Capo Passero and the Isola delle Correnti. Before arriving in these wonderful islands, you should also see the town. It is 58 kms from Syracuse and faces the Ionian and the Mediterranean sea. On the Ionian, once, there was a small harbour, where you can still see the houses of the ancient fishers. Today, these houses are abandoned, but they are still very picturesque. In the town, you can also see the Castle of Tafuri ( see the image). This is a magnificent palace built in 1933 by marquis Bruno di Belmonte. The walls were built with the stone extracted from the cave of the Isola delle Correnti. The castle just arises near the Tonnara di Portopalo. It was never inhabited by the family of the marquis and was restored in 2015. Today, it has been turned into a luxury resort facing the sea. In the town, you can also see the San Gaetano Church, built in 1927 in a liberty style, an unusual alternative to many baroque churches of many Sicilian towns. There is also the Church of the Greek Madonna, Eleusa, The Mother of Mercy. This is another unusual church in Portopalo, because it has a very modern style and a shape resembling a ship. This Church was built in 2014. Now, I know that information about churches are much appreciated by elder tourists, while young tourists want to know more about the beaches and the fabulous Island of Portopalo and the Isola delle Correnti. Hence, read the paragraphs below to imagine your trip in Portopalo di Capo Passero.


portopalo beachPortopalo is regarded as one of the most charming beaches of Sicily and Italy. The beaches, I recommend you visit are: Playa Carratois, Punta delle Formiche, Scalo Mandrie and Capo Passero Beach. Playa Carratois is the natural continuation of the coastal section facing the Isola delle Correnti. It is seven kms from the fishing village of Portopalo and has crystal and shallow waters and a sandy beach. The unique facilities you can find on this beach are the bay and a summerhouse. This is the ideal place for a relaxing summer vacation. The final tip of this beach is called Punta Rio. The latter is a sort of natural pool, with a very low bottom, also suitable for children. In this part of the coast, thanks to a mild weather, you can also do windsurf in the winter. Punta delle Formiche is located amid Costa dell’Ambra and the Isola delle Correnti. This is made of a sandstone tip flanked by a thin sandy section and intertwined with the white rock. The crystal and turquoise waters create a stunning and unmissable landscape that allows you to observe the magical sunset of the Isola delle Correnti. You can reach this beach on foot, from a small and winding road, or by sea. Scalo Mandrie With alternate sandy and rocky sections, this is surely the most enchanting beach of Portopalo. This is amid the Tonnara and the naturalistic jewel of the Island of Capo Passero. The waters are crystal, blue and shallow, which slowly drop off shore. There are many facilities here, in summer, to let tourists enjoy a fabulous sea. The capo Passero beach is just located in the wonderful Island of Capo Passero and is made of a charming sandy zone and of a rocky one which is also harder to reach. The sandy beach can easily reached on foot, by walking the sea when there is the low tide, or with a small fishing boat which every day carries tourists from the Portopalo village to the Island of Capo Passero. I suggest that you try the second option, because the journey aboard a boat driven by the local fishermen will give you an unforgettable emotion. But, now, it would be better to talk about this island in detail.

Island of Capo Passero

fishermen housesThis isle ( see the first image of the post) is regarded as a natural jewel and it was classified as a relevant botanic area by the Botanic Italian society. It faces just the fishing village of Portopalo, right in the Southern tip of Sicily Washed by the Ionian sea, it is a land of about 30 ha and it is split from the mainland by a shallow sea strip. As I said above, you can reach the isle on foot, straight from the sea, during the low tide, or with a small fishing boat. You can also reach it with pedal boats or with a canoe. After reaching it, you’ll find before your eyes, an enchanting golden sand beach. Don’t forget to move in the outback, to admire the warehouses of the Tonnara, The Spanish Fortress, and the bronze statue of Maria Santissima Scala del Paradiso. You can see the warehouses of the Tonnara, just a few meters of walk from the beach. These places keep the tools of the ancient fishermen. From the Tonnara, you’ll meet a clay path edged by a thin vegetation of palmettos. This path will drive you the Spanish Fortress, a valuable edifice built in 1652 under the reign of the Spanish King Filippo III. Next to the Fortress, you can also admire the bronze statue of Maria Santissima Scala del Paradiso. Built in 1959, the statue seems to look at the entire isle to protect the town of Portopalo and the local fishermen. Around, the coastal landscape has totally changed. Here, a rocky section, overhanging the sea, replaced the sandy section. To visit the rocky section and admire many sea grottos, you can take a ride in a canoe. In this way, you’ll see the Grotta del Polipo, a natural grotto that offers spectacular light effects. On the opposite side, just in front of the centre of Portopalo, there are the ancient houses of the Tonnara. As the one in Marzamemi, the Tonnara served to shelter the boats used to fish tuna. There are also the scieri ( the ancient boats used to fish tuna) and big iron anchors. The ancient houses of the Tonnara date back to 1640. From the point where the boats are anchored, it starts a pathway of 800 metres leading to the centre of the island. If you walk it, you’ll meet the ruins of a church built in XVII century (Madonna del Carmelo church), the Spanish fortress and the bronze statue I mentioned above. The Tonnara was a complex formed of the loggia, the great furnace and the warehouses. They date back to the Middle Age and were built by noble landowners to let fishermen practice fishing. Today, along with the one in Marzamemi, the Tonnara of Portopalo is the symbol of the ancient economy of Sicily.

Isola delle Correnti

This island is regarded as one of the most beautiful tourist attractions of Portopalo di Capo Passero and the entire Sicily. That is a small roundish isle which extends to 10000 square metres. It is linked to Portopalo by a small strip of sportopalo - isola delle correntitone and it is able to enchant you thanks to its wild and unspoiled landscape. The island is abandoned and the unique sign of the presence of humans is the lighthouse, an evocative military structure built near the home of the lighthouse keeper. The home was inhabited in the past by the keeper’s family. The Isola delle Correnti is so named because this is the exact point where the Ionian and the Mediterranean sea meet. The currents created by this natural encounter give rise to coloured waves and water ripples you must absolutely admire. They are frequently moved by a breeze which becomes stronger in the afternoon. Here, you’ll find out a reddish sandy beach which resembles a moon and desert landscape. There is also a camping on the beach, outfitted with bungalows that are very similar to tukuls. There are also a bar and a convenience store. The bar works also as a restaurant. From the terrace of this bar, the sunset is really breathtaking. Unfortunately, there are no buses and cars to let you move from here to Portopalo. Due to the sandy beach, you must walk barefoot to move to Portopalo. Hence, you must come here only to forget the outside world, to read a good book and play the guitar until the sunset. How to reach Portopalo You can reach Portopalo from Catania or Palermo airport. From Catania, you can rent cars, take buses or a taxi. You must pay about 50 euros for buses, 120 euros for a taxi and 22 euros to rent a car. From Palermo, you can reach the town by train, by bus and by car. By bus, you’ll pay only 35 euros, but the trip will take over three hours, while from Catania, it’ll take only an hour. While you’ll be going to Portopalo, you’ll see endless stretches of greenhouses, where the famous Pachino tomatoes are grown.


In Portopalo,  some hotels and B&B resemble the ancient houses of Sicilian fishermen.

Try to spend a night in there. What a breathtaking effect!

A few accommodations are poor, others are stunning. You can choose any kind of style.  Everything depends on your budget.

By the way, the prices for hotels and accommodations in Portopalo are from 20 to 110 euros per night. In summer,  these prices can be higher.

To stay in this mesmerizing place and find accommodations and hotels with the best valute for money, I recommend you to see this link.

11 thoughts on “Portopalo di Capo Passero, a magical place of beaches and sunsets

    1. Rosalba

      Hi Heidi, sorry for the delay, thanks for appreciating this beautiful destination.
      I hope you’ll visit it very soon.

  1. Betsey

    This is an extremely good tip especially to those new to blogosphere, brief and precise information…
    Thanks for sharing this one. A must read post.

    1. Rosalba

      Hi Jam, thank you for appreciatig my post about this destination.
      Sorry for my late reply, but I was engaged to write new articles about Sicily.

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  3. Pingback: Portopalo di Capo Passero Sicily, a magical place of beaches and sunsets

    1. Rosalba

      Hi Matt, don’t worry, rather, thank you very much for your beautiful headlines. Just seen on your website. You have been awesome! Well featured post! I’ll share it! Thanks again.

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