Zingaro nature reserve is a protected area on the north-west coast of Sicily, Italy. It is absolutely stunning place for beach hopping, amazing coastal views and learning about endemic plants of this area.
You can enter the park either from south or north (parking lots on both sides) and the whole coastal hike is about 8km long. The path goes slightly up and down and the hike is not very difficult, there is no need for hiking shoes. It is totally suitable for kids too. There are 6 small pebble beaches along the way with stairs leading you down from the path to the beach. Let’s get to the Zingaro nature reserve beaches.
Here are all 6 Zingaro nature reserve beaches, ordered geographically from the south to the north.
You will reach the first beach after 1.2km of walk from the southern parking spot. It is called Cala (Cala means bay) Capreria.
Crystal clear water, pleasant access to the water and you can swim around the corner to the small cave. If you are into bouldering, you can do that on the small rock above water.
It is kinda small and it will be packed with people in the main season because it’s so close to the entrance.
Another 2.4km from Cala Capreria and 3.6km from the southern gate you will reach Cala Disa.
This beach is slightly longer and because it is very close to the cliff, half of the beach will be in shade since midday. That’s actually very pleasant during the hot summer days.
And you can enjoy some jumping to the water from nearby rock.
Just 300m from Cala Disa is another beach Cala Berretta. This beach is very small and not that attractive as others, but it is still very cute and has a good access to the water.
If you walk 1km more from Cala Berretta you will reach Cala Marinella. It is about 5km from the southern gate and 3.2km from the northern gate, so it is the first beach which is actually closer to the northern entrance.
Cala Marinella has the most difficult access to the water. You need to climb down the rock while fighting the waves, so it is not that suitable for the kids. But still it is not too difficult with at least bit of balance and physical strength (considering there are no big waves).
There is very small beach / cove, but you can access it only via water.
We actually like this one very much as it has big area of pebbles under water and it looks just beautiful. Well all of the beaches do, but this one is bit different and special.
This beach is 6.4km from the southern gate and you probably won’t reach it from this side with all the swimming on the previous beaches. But it is only 1.8km from the northern entrance.
It is very popular beach, because it has pleasant access to the water, pebbles under the water and it is easy to reach from the north.
Just 700m from the northern gate, this beach (also called Cala Tonnarella dell’Uzzo) will be packed in summer as it is so easily accessible. It has great access to the water and is surrounded by cliffs from both sides, which gives the beach distinctive feel.
Nearby the beach are few old buildings which used to work as tonnara. Tonnara is a place where red tuna fish is caught and processed in traditional way, but this one ceased to work in the end of 19th century.
So these are all 6 beaches of Zingaro nature reserve. We cannot say which one we like the most as all of them are different and have different feel. But the great thing about Zingaro nature reserve beaches is that you can try most of them in 1 day.
Where to stay
1. If you are planning to come from southern side, you can stay just 1 kilometre away from the park entrance at Scopello village. It is such a cute village overlooking the cliffs of the coast.
The most magical place you can stay at is actually on the property of the 16th century coastal tower, sitting on the cliff above the sea. It is 10 minutes by walk from the Scopello and the whole property is private, so you will have it all for yourself. The views from the tower are spectacular and you will have even your own private bathing spot, but you have to walk 230 stairs from the tower down to the sea. This is definitely the most atmospheric place we have ever stayed at. It is often booked long time in advance, so don’t leave it on the last minute. Don’t hesitate with this choice, you can book it here.
2. If you plan to come from the north, the closest place to stay is San Vito Lo Capo. It is a small town with public beach and it is a popular choice for summer vacationers. There are many very nice places to stay, so choose according to your preference and budget.
3. Despite Zingaro is protected area there is one place to stay inside the park. It is nearby Cala Disa. Honestly we didn’t stay there and don’t even know the price, but if it interests you, you can inquire on this number – 3203580983.
Zingaro nature park has basically no infrastructure inside (beside few rural houses) and the only place to buy some food and water is nearby the gates. Same goes for toilets, they are only at the entrances of the park. So bring your own food and enough of water.
Entrance fee is 5 euro per person and parking is free.
While Zingaro beaches are the reason why most of the people come here, you can also hike the mountains and enjoy the view from there.
If possible, avoid to come here in the main touristic season (July – August). The beaches are small and they will be packed with people during the good weather. If you plan to come here in these months, better wake up early to enjoy the place without crowds.
We visited Zingaro twice – both times in late October (2014 and 2018) and you can see on the pictures how many people were there in this time. Btw. even locals told us October is the best time to visit Sicily – main season crowds are gone, but you can still enjoy great weather without summer heat.
And if you wonder what is our personal pick of best places in Sicily, check out our this article.