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My Favorite Airbnb Experience: A Sailing Trip to Sicily’s Egadi Islands

Condé Nast Traveler logo Condé Nast Traveler 8/1/2022 Megan Spurrell

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When my family and I decided to spend a week in Sicily this summer, I quickly carved out a mental image of the trip. There would be plates of bright red tuna crudo, the cold fish drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt flakes. There'd be a house—something spacious, with a huge table for enjoying glasses of Mount Etna–made wine around in the evenings. And there would most certainly be a day on a boat. We'd dip our toes into the dazzling blue Mediterranean and feel the salty air hit our faces, and it would be the definition of vacation.

Sicily boat tours are quite popular: Travelers can book a sailing excursion, private or with a group, and sail around smaller islands off the coast. For those staying in northeast Sicily, the Aeolian Islands are the go-to; we were staying in the northwest, a great jumping off point to the Aegadian Islands. (Traveler has previously dubbed the archipelago an “oasis of wild Italian living,” which was more than enough to sell me on a visit.) 

As a group of six adults, we wanted to book a boat experience before touching down in the destination—we were traveling in peak season, after all. Luckily, we found an experience with Egadi Boating on Airbnb, through which host Daniele (or one of his colleagues) would take us out on the water for a day. We'd sail from the charming seaside town of Trapani, on Sicily's western tip, to the Aegadian Islands, with stops for swimming, snorkeling, and lunch on Favignana. 

With over 100 reviews, and a near-perfect average rating of 4.84 stars, it should come as no surprise that the experience was a highlight of the trip. 

Bookable on Airbnb, these boat tours take travelers from western Sicily to the dazzling Egadi Islands. © Courtesy Airbnb Bookable on Airbnb, these boat tours take travelers from western Sicily to the dazzling Egadi Islands.

For nearly eight hours, my family—plus six other guests, with whom we became fast friends—basked in the sun and sea, making stops along the coastlines of two islands, Favignana and Levanzo. We pulled into cyan-colored bays, where we leapt into the water and watched silvery fish swim past through our snorkels (which were provided on board). We anchored beside an old tuff quarry on the south bluffs of Favignana, where we swam to shore and padded through cool caves studded with fossilized shells. Come lunch, we docked by Favignana's former tuna cannery, where we were given a couple hours to explore on shore—we had uni-rich pasta at a small trattoria, followed by crisp Erse white wine on lounge chairs at Camparia

In the afternoon, we had a chance to swim through caves on Levanzo, plucking tiny mollusks known as patella from the rocks and popping their briny insides into our mouths (not everyone was a fan, but it was fun to try). When we plopped on board after our fifth and final stop, our sunburns starting to tingle, the crew surprised us with Aperol spritzes (soda, beer, and water were also included throughout the day). 

The whole experience ran us less than $100 per person (prices change based on date, and the number of spots you book)—a steal, I thought, for such a full, seafaring day. You could book the entire boat out for around $1,400, but we were happy to share the space with others; when you're spending a week with the same people, especially family, it can be nice to mingle with others for a bit. Our fellow passengers, all from various parts of Europe, were such great company; we were laughing at jokes they'd made through the rest of the trip. 

Are there other companies that offer similar Sicily boat tours in the area? Most definitely—you could likely show up and ask your hotel or Airbnb host to help you book one. You might be able to snag spots for your whole group; you might not. You also might get any variable of the experience, for better or worse. For us, it was important to be able to book advance, and Daniele and his team took such great care of us. I don't think it could have panned out any better. 

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