The Ultimate Lampedusa Travel Guide
Updated December 2020, The Ultimate Lampedusa Travel Guide was originally written in November 2018
Wind whipping through my hair, cruising the narrow streets of Lampedusa by scooter. Rocking up on desolate and barely known stretches of rugged coast is an all-time favorite of my travels in Italy (you know I’ve been to Italy several times right?).
Closer to Africa than it is to Europe, so close that Lampedusa technically sits on the African continental shelf. Lampedusa is Italian but you’re definitely not in Italy anymore– it feels a bit like North Africa, from the dusty roads to the landscapes.
But most that have even heard of Lampedusa only know of it as a place where refugees, making the journey from Libya & Tunisia wash up.
This has obviously hurt tourism in Lampedusa over the last few years. Making Lampedusa now most definitely Italy off the beaten path. Learn everything you need to know in this Lampedusa travel guide.
- Money: Lampedusa is an island of Italy, therefore the Euro is the currency used.
- Language: Italian.
- Where is Lampedusa: Lampedusa is the southernmost part of Italy, so far south that it is technically in Africa as far as continental plates are concerned. It is about 110km off the coast of Tunisia, 175km off the coast of Malta, and 205 km off the coast of Sicily. Lampedusa is the largest and most populous of the Pelagie Islands in the Mediterranean.
- When To Visit: June-August is the high season in Lampedusa like much the rest of Italy and Europe. June to August is the most crowded and expensive time to visit, but with the most transportation options for getting there. In my opinion fall, especially late September into early November are the best months to visit as the crowds have gone home and the boiling temperatures are now pleasant.
- Visas: Lampedusa is an island of Italy and therefore a part of the European Union. You will only need a visa for Lampedusa travel if you need one in order to visit the EU.
Lampedusa is reachable by flight or by ferry from Sicily.
All throughout the year, there are direct flights to Lampedusa from Rome, Catania, and Palermo. In the summer months, there are flights from several European cities outside Italy.
The Lampedusa Airport is conveniently located a little over a kilometer from the main town, so walking to town is no problem, however, most accommodations will offer to pick you up.
Siremar runs a ferry that departs Port Empédocle in Sicily every night at midnight, arriving in Lampedusa at 8:15 am. Tickets run 35-65€ each way depending on the cabin you choose and the time of year. Cars can be transported on the ferry as well for 60€ to 120€. The ferry stops in Linosa around 6 am.
The best way to get around on Lampedusa is by moped/scooter rental. Several shops rent them around the town for €15-30 per day depending on the season.
Another great way to get around is by bicycle which you will find are available for rent around the main town. In total the island is about 11km long from east to west, so it’s not too big. For those not wanting to drive there is a shuttle between Lampedusa Town and Spiaggia dei Conigli hourly during the daytime.
Another option is to explore the island’s beaches and grottos by day cruise. You will see them on offer down around the harbor in Lampedusa. I cannot comment on any of them as I did not take a cruise on my trip.
Things To Do In Lampedusa
The beauty of Lampedusa is that there’s really not that much to do. The beaches are the main draw for most as they are regarded as the best by some of all of Italy and even of Europe.
- Hop from beach to beach
- Cruise around on mopeds
- Eat fresh caught seafood at a local restaurant
- Go on a day cruise to see the island’s grottos & rugged coastline
- Take a hike
- Scuba dive or snorkle
Where To Go In Lampedusa
Lampedusa is compact enough that you can easily see the highlights in 1-2 days.
One main road and about 20 streets make up the town of Lampedusa. Quite easy to navigate on foot.
Spiaggia dei Conigli
The most famous beach on Lampedusa. I’ve read that the nearby island of Isola dei Conigli gained its name from the abundance of rabbits that once lived on the island and that also it was an error translating the name from the Arab name for the island. Either way, everyone can agree it’s gorgeous. More likely than a rabbit you may see loggerhead turtles out here.
Rabbit Beach is no secret, and during summer months and sunny days, the beach can get quite crowded. Equally as stunning, albeit rockier a beach is Cala Pulcino sat right next-door to Spiaggia dei Conigli.
The beach is accessible by a trail that is easy to spot from the road. For dramatic views hike out on top of the cliffside that separates Spiaggia dei Conigli from Cala Pulcino.
The Jagged Cliffs Of The North Shore
A trip to Lampedusa really wouldn’t be complete without a scooter ride around the island. The north shore of Lampedusa is set on high cliffs, it’s almost always windy and you’re bound to see tons of birds nesting on the cliffside. There’s also a giant sign just off the road marking the 35º Parallelo.
Check out my Southern Italian road trip itinerary
Cala Creta & Mare Morto
These two rugged side-by-side beaches sit on the east coast of the island. Hike along rocky trails for great views of the jagged coast and turquoise waters. To the east of Mare Morto, there is a lighthouse near the cliff edge.
Cala Croce, Madonna, Greca & Galera
These four beaches are just west of town as you head toward Spiaggia dei Conigli, and all are easily accessible by dirt path from the main road. All are great alternatives to Cala Guitgia which can start to feel quite crowded and small as it is near to town.
Cala Francese, Uccello & Pisana
These quiet beaches wrap around the airport and are a good alternative if you’re looking for a quiet spot away from the town.
Sanctuary Of Our Lady Porto Salvo
A small church set down in a depression off the side of the road with interesting grottos all around in the rocks the church is set amongst.
Linosa is one of Lampedusa’s sister island of the Pelagie Archipelago. Home to dark-colored beaches thanks to os volcanic origins. Linosa is reachable from Port Empédocle, Sicily by ferry (the same one that connects Lampedusa and Port Empédocle).
Where To Sleep
There are several hotels and apartments available on Booking.com. I personally stayed at Apartment Cala Creta and loved it, the owner picks you up at the airport and is very friendly and helpful. Simple beach cabin-style rooms. It is also possible to rent a scooter from them too starting at €15/day.
Lampedusa Travel Budget
Lampedusa travel can be cheap if you’re not fussed by staying in beach cabins or even camping, but like most anywhere else, the skies the limit.
€35 Per Day
Camping or renting a cabin, preparing own meals, renting a scooter
€50+ Per Day
Sleeping in decent hotels or apartment rental, eating at restaurants around town, scootering around the island
€80+ Per Day
Staying in nicer hotels, eating meals at upper scale restaurants, taking day tours of the island
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