Isola Grande and Isola Santa Maria
Between Marsala and Trapani, there is a small archipelago of islands that forms a lagoon, and lets you get off the "mainland" for some "exotic" fun.
The lagoon is frequented by kite surfers, so if you're into that, you'll find several schools and providers that rent equipment right there at the waterfront (the area is called Contrada Spagnola, frazione of Marsala).
The larger island is like a backward 7, and is called Isola Grande, also called Isola Lunga, and a smaller one is called Isola Santa Maria. (Another is Mozia Island, but we cover that one separately.) To reach Isola Grande, you can actually walk there! A shallow sandbar lets you walk to the island (called the traversata punto nord) from San Teodoro. Wear your swimsuit and water shoes! Once you're there you'll find an intriguing world of abandoned salt pans and buildings, beaches with shallow water, and mounds of salt to climb on, along with wild macchia brush. You can also arrive by boat. Isola Grande is actually a collection of small island strung together by narrow strips of land. You can see underwater salt pans no longer in use, and piles of salt on land. It is fascinating, and is frequented by a variety of water birds, including flamingoes.
For Isola Santa Maria, you'll need to take a ferry boat or tour boat around it but can't get off on the island which is privately owned. However, a boat tour is a great idea to see the islands, the flora and fauna, and the colorful salt beds that the area is famous for.
Address in Trapani:
Isole dello Stagnone.
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