White beaches, crystal clear waters, arid and typically Mediterranean vegetation, rocks sculpted by wind and sea.
The island of Lampedusa is at the most southern point of Italy and in geological terms belongs to the African continent. Two hundred kilometres from the coast of Sicily and little more than a hundred from that of Tunisia, together with the island of Linosa and the small uninhabited island of Lampione, Lampedusa is part of the Pelagie archipelago.
Lampedusa is a rather small island, the sixth of the Sicilian islands, long and narrow, with 5800 inhabitants. With its surface of twenty square kilometres, once covered by cultivated fields, now bushy and in places bare, it is evocatively fascinating, even if this is due to somewhat belated environmental attention.
Hiring a bicycle or a moped is an ideal way of travelling around the island. Discover the views characterized by the cliffs rising up into the sea, the sea stack past the Punta di Muro Vecchio; visit the 13th Century Santuario della Madonna di Porto Salvo that holds safe the statue of the Virgin Mary taken out in the procession of the 22nd September, until you reach the southernmost point, that is, the final point of Italy, Punta Sottile, that thins out to immerge and disappear into the sea.
The main village, also called Lampedusa, doesn’t offer many attractions. Its most characteristic part is the area around the old port with its thick weave of little streets. Nevertheless, in summer the small town comes to life thanks to the tourism attracted by the wonderful sea and by the many beaches. In the evening the bars and small restaurants create a lively atmosphere, and it’s possible to enjoy excellent (even if it’s not the most economical) fish and dishes of cous cous, inherited from a past in which the island was a landing place for Arab pirates.
The sea and beaches of Lampedusa
The northern coast of Lampedusa is somewhat high and steep, suitable for exploration by boat, with its little bays and caves which open out between the sea stacks rising up from the sea. The most famous beaches can be found on the lower and sandy southern coast.
Some of the caves are very suggestive, and sometimes unsettling. One of them, that near Capo Ponente, is semi-circular in shape. For those who dare to swim along the narrow stretch of water, you can reach an attractive beach inset between the rocks.
The other attraction of the island is diving. Go to nearby Lampione or immerge yourself in any point of the of the northern seabed, a real paradise for diving. Or you can explore the Passante underwater cave with its statue of the Virgin Mary. For those of you who love shipwrecks, around 10 miles from the coast there’s the Sacca di Levante.
With regard to the beaches, we recommend Guitgia that’’right in the bay of the port of Lampedusa town. It’s a pretty beach with white sand, and the most popular and well-equipped on the island with hotels, shops and bars. There’s also a series of small bays: Cala Croce, the first to the west of the town, Cala Francese, Cala Madonna, Cala Pulcino and Cala Maluk.
The pearl of Lampedusa is without doubt the beach of Isola dei Conigli, to be found within the Nature Reserve located on the island of Lampedusa, and one of the rare places in the Mediterranean where sea turtles, now at risk of extinction, still nest. It’s possible to swim to the island or walk there at low tide, to enjoy the beautiful beach of Conigli that stretches all along the coast.
How to get there
AirOne, Darwin Airline and Windjet fly to the island’s airport from Palermo and Rome. Ferries and hovercraft leave from Porto Empedocle with Siremar and Ustica Lines.