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Vendicati Tonnara

Vendicari Natural Reserve, Sicily: What to see and best beaches

Sicily has many beautiful natural reserves and nature oasis, such as the enchanting Vendicari Natural Reserve, between Noto and Pachino, in the southeast of the island.

Vendicari Tonnara Tuna-fishing building,©Antonella Ravidà

Visiting Vendicari: what you need to know

Vendicari Natural Reserve is a paradise for nature lovers! Its territory is over 1512 hectares and it is home to many different species of flora and fauna. Its unique landscape with stunning wild beaches, archaeological finds, deep blue sea and dense vegetation made it officially preserved by the Sicilian Region since 1984.

Vendicari Location and how to get there

Vendicari Reserve is located is the south east of Sicily and belongs to the Province of Syracuse. The easiest way to reach Vendicari is by car following the SP19 provincial road Pachino-Noto and then directions to Torre Vendicari. Bear in mind that there are five entrances to the ReserveCittadella, Vendicari, Calamosche, Marianelli, Eloro – and depending on where you enter, your itinerary inside the reserve changes.

If you are visiting Vendicari for the first time, my suggestion is to enter from the main entrance “Vendicari” from which, after a short distance, you will be able to get to the Tonnara and the Swabian Tower.

Vendicari paths,©Antonella Ravidà

Entrance and timetable at Vendicari Natural Reserve

The entrance ticket is 3,50€ (7€ for families) and it is the same for every entrance in the oasis. It is easy to park at each entrance as they are all provided with parking area. Vendicari Reserve is open everyday and the opening time changes according to the season (usually roughly 07h00-19h30 in summer season and 09h30-16h00 in winter season).

WHAT TO SEE AND DO in VENDICARI NATURAL RESERVE

Thanks to its strategic location in the southernmost part of Sicily’s east coast, Vendicari is a real place to be in Sicily. No matter if you are an archaeology lover, a trekking explorer, a beach person or an ornithologist: in Vendicari you can experience it all!

Hiking in Vendicari

Vendicari represents one of the best trekking sites in Sicily thanks to its three hiking trails: 1. Blu Trail from Eloro beach to Calamosche beach, passing by Marianelli beach; 2. Orange trail from Vendicari main entrance to Calamosche beach passing by the Tonnara and the Salt pans; 3. Green trail from Cittadella entrance to the Tonnara, passing by the byzantine settlement and necropolis.

Hiking in Vendicari,©Antonella Ravidà

Each of these itineraries are of medium difficulty and generally suitable for families and amateurs. Bear in mind that there is a lack of shadow almost in the whole reserve, so my advice is to avoid walking during the hottest hours.

Vendicari Sveva Tower and Tonnara

Vendicari wildlife Oasis still preserves inside it some ruines which date back to the Greek era (5th century BC) when it used to be Eloro ancient city and its Necropolis.

Walking inside the reserve you can come across ruines of the Byzantine area, such as the Trigona,a Byzantine Cuba.

The most popular historic building inside Vendicari is by far the Sveva Tower, constructed between 1406 and 1438, it was used as a fortification against Saracen pirates and Barbary.

Sveva Tower, Vendicari,©Antonella Ravidà

Belonging to the 18th century, the Tonnara di Vendicari, the Sicilian Tuna fishing building was used until 1943 and then got dismissed.

The historical heritage represented by these ruines is of unastimated value and contributes to the uniqueness of this place.

Birdwatching in Vendicari

One of the most interesting attractions when you visit the reserve is by far the wide variety of birds and the local fauna. The African migratory birds stop here every year thanks to the pleasant ecosystem they find in Vendicari. The Reserve is a real paradise for ornithologists that can easily observe the resting pink flamingoes and many others aquatic birds.

Flamingoes,© Pixabay

Along the marked paths and by the quagmires – such as Pantano Grande or Pantano Piccolo – there are some observation points with binocular lenses to watch the migrating birds.

Pantano Grande,Vendicari,©Antonella Ravidà

Snorkeling in Vendicari

Vendicari offers to the visitors some of the most beautiful beaches of Sicily. With its cristallyne sea, rocky coves or fine sand coastline, you have plenty of choice to experience swimming and diving in this natural pool.

There are five beaches inside Vendicari Natural Reserve:

Vendicari Beach is a wide sandy beach with view over the Tonnara; it is ideal for families with kids.

Eloro beach is in the northern side of the Oasis, it has a parking and after a short walk you will enjoy a fabolous landscape with clear water and sand dunes.

Marianelli Beach is the wildest and more isolated, it has a rocky coastline and pure water. It is particularly appreciated by naturists for its privacy and wild atmophere.

Calamosche Beach is the most famous beach of this area and after a short walk (roughly one kilometer) you reach this particular beach among two rocky promontory whcih makes it a natural paradise for its shape and clean sea.

San Lorenzo Beach is in the southest side of Vendicari and its turquoise water will win you over.

Snorkeling in the rocky caves, Vendicari,©Antonella Ravidà

Day excursion in Vendicari and surroundings

With so many spots to visit and activities to experience, you cannot miss a day excursion to Vendicari during your Sicilian holidays! Moreover, the reserve is situated very close to many enchanting places of Sicily, such as the lovely fishing village of Marzamemi, Noto baroque town, the archaelogical area of Cava d’Ispica, Modica and so on..

Marzamemi,©Antonella Ravidà

If you are planning to visit this place and want some advice do not hesitate to write me in the comments below.

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Antonella

Ciao! My name is Antonella and I am a Sicilian Travel Designer based in Catania, Sicily. My mission here is to share my knowledge and love for this amazing island of Southern Italy and to help you tailor your dream trip to Sicily.

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20 Responses

  1. I dream of a trip to Noto and its surroundings for a long time, and even if I don’t like trekking, the Sveva tower, with its pirate charm, could convince me to visit Vendicari!

    1. The walk to Vendicari is one of the easiest trekking route you could experience in Sicily, because it is a flat path and you can choose how far you want to get, the Sweva tower is at the beginning of the path and you should visit it!

  2. When I visited this part of Sicily I didn’t see the Vendicari Nature Reserve for loss of time. Sicily has so many beautiful things to see and to do that it is impossible explore everything in one trip. I reat ths post with attention for a possible new visit in this part of the island

  3. La riserva di Vendicari deve essere davvero meravigliosa e Marzamemi sono anni ormai che finisce tra i borgi più fotografati d’Italia. Che luoghi mmagnifici!

      1. I hope to visit these amazing places as soon as possible, Sicily can put something beautiful in everything.

  4. Questa riserva avrei tanto voluto raggiungerla durante il nostro ultimo road trip in Sicilia, ma non è stato possibile. Il tempo in viaggio è sempre troppo poco. Spero di poetr tornare presto sull’isola per esplorare questo posto come merita.

  5. The Vendicari Nature Reserve is one of those places that I would love to visit! Like the whole area of ​​Syracuse and the nearby towns, your photos have inspired me, what a show the sea is!

  6. I’ve been to Vendicari a few years ago. It was late spring and the clean light of the sun was playing with the column in a magical atmosphere. Sicily is a very special island

  7. Will be in Sicily with partner in September w/o a car and wondering how to include Vendicari. It was suggested that we go
    from Ortigia to Noto by bus . And from there
    arrange a private transfer to San Lorenzo entrances of the park and hike Green Route and Blue route to Eloro Hotel from where 5:15 pm Noto shuttle departs and from where we can get publictransport back to Ortigia. Though active I am 79 and partner is 61. Is this practical and doable for us in your opinion or should we arrange private transport from park back to Ortygia . And I even was thinking of a lunch stop in Marzamemi!

    1. Hello Jack, thank you for your comment! I strongly advice you to visit Vendicari during early hours in the morning or second half of afternoon as Sept is still hot in Sicily and the reserve is under the sun. My suggestion for a first time visitor is to entre from vendicari main entrance in order to visit the old tuna fishing building, the sweva tower and the pantanos for birdwatching. So consider the orange path to calamosche beach. If you have the chance to hire a private driver, do it and avoid public transport which is not totally reliable and in september you don’t want to wait the bus under the sun. you can book a full day transfer from ortigia to Vendicari, spend the morning there and meet the driver at lunch time or afternoon to go to marzamemi and enjoy a walk/ice cream there and back to ortigia.

  8. La Riserva Naturale di Vendicari è spettacolare: mio padre ci è stato e mi ha detto che ha uno splendido ricordo nonostante siano passati anni. Vorrei tanto tornare in Sicilia e godermi questi panorami unici, è da tanto che non ci torno!

    1. Vendicari Nature reserve is one of the main natural attractions which should be explored in Sicily. The landscape is unique and also the historic buildings belonging to the former tuna fishing activity are really interesting to visit.

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