Ustica is a gorgeous Italian island off the coast of Palermo, Sicily. On Ferryhopper, you can find useful information about holidays in Ustica, its best beaches, must-see locations, gastronomic delights and all the ferries to get there. Find all available routes to Sicily and its islands, and book your tickets online!
The wild coast of Ustica and its transparent sea
Vacation in Ustica
Choosing Ustica for your holidays means you’ll get to visit one of the most beautiful islands around Sicily. Known as the “black pearl of the Mediterranean”, it’s also hypothesized to be the home of the mythological sorceress Circe.
We recommend spending at least 5 days discovering this heavenly location. It is suitable for couples seeking tranquility, while some locations on the coast might not be very accessible to families with small children.
How to get to Ustica
Ustica can only be reached by ferry from the port of Palermo. Ferry connections are numerous and frequent throughout the year.
If you wish to travel by plane, travel to the Sicilian capital and then catch a ferry or hydrofoil to Ustica. Learn all about ferries to Ustica below and get in the right mood for your holidays in the Mediterranean!
Waving goodbye to the coast of Ustica
What to do in Ustica
There’s more to Ustica than what meets the eye, with plenty of things to do and see. After all, it's one of Italy's top hidden gems!
Wandering through the scenic alleys of its inhabited center, exploring its caves and joining a boat tour are all a must! And if you don’t want to get your feet wet, hiking in Ustica is a fantastic activity. The trail of Sentiero del Mezzogiorno is one of the most famous options and introduces you to breathtaking panoramic views. You might even get to visit some places that are ideal for bird-watching!
And after your adventures in the sea and nature of Ustica, reward yourself with the culinary specialties of the island. Discover the best of them below, along with the best beaches, attractions and activities on the island.
Beaches in Ustica
The coast of Ustica is mostly rocky and full of coves, pebble beaches and unspoiled beauty. Not all beaches are accessible, as the coast is a protected marine reserve.
Here are the 7 most beautiful beaches in Ustica that you must visit:
- Cala Sidoti: located in the west of the island, towards Punta Spalmatore, it is one of the most beautiful beaches in Ustica. You can find pebbles, rocks, black sand and a very transparent sea. To get here, catch a bus from the town of Ustica.
- Spiaggia del Faro: located on the foot of the lighthouse Punta Cavazzi, it is a beautiful beach among rocks. It’s a concrete platform with views of crystal clear waters. There is a free area, as well as an area with a small bathing establishment where you can rent umbrellas and deck chairs.
- Cala Acquario Santoro: it is located within the Marine Protected Area of Ustica and is one of the 2 accessible bathing areas in Zone A. It’s a shallow cove with black sand and concrete platforms. Perfect for families and lovers of snorkeling, you can get here by bus and then walk a path.
- Scoglitti Beach: located at the end of Sentiero del Mezzogiorno, it’s a tranquil and uncrowded beach. It has black sand and pebbles, but no visitor amenities.
- Cala di Patricuono: close to the lighthouse of Ustica, this is a small stretch of beautiful black sand. Here, you can find umbrellas and deck chairs to rent, but also free areas. To get to the sea, there’s a small concrete platform.
- Caletta dello Spalmatore: here, we have a small rocky bay that is located in the west of the island and is part of the nature reserve of Punta Spalmatore. There are no amenities nearby, so make sure to come prepared with snorkeling gear, as it’s a popular spot for snorkelers!
- Natural Pool (or Natural Swimming Pool): below the lighthouse of Punta Cavazzi, this transparent body of water is great for a relaxing swim away from the wavy sea. Surrounded by a cliff, the path leading to this pool may prove challenging. The mud from the sea is a perfect skincare ritual that you must try!
Fun fact: the island of Ustica is a true “submarine museum”, with precious depths and caves to explore.
The marine life of Ustica awaits you!
Sightseeing in Ustica
Ustica is a wild island that is best discovered through its idyllic paths. From the town center, you can visit numerous historical sights and continue to more wild landscapes. If you’re a fan of trekking, then you can reach some of the most wonderful places on the island.
Here are a few must-see attractions in Ustica:
- Il Castello della Falconiera, a beautiful castle on the highest part of the volcano
- The Civic Archaeological Museum, with findings from the Bronze Age
- The church of San Fernando Re, located in the square Vito Longo
- Via Roma, the main street of the own
- The prehistoric village of Faraglioni, a settlement dating back to 3,400 years ago
- The tower of Santa Maria
- The panoramic viewpoint of Guardia dei Turchi, 244 m above sea level
- The impressive lighthouse Punta Cavazzi, located within the protected marine area of the island
The lighthouse of Ustica at sunset
Nightlife in Ustica
When it comes to Ustica and its nightlife, quiet and relaxation reign supreme. But with the arrival of the summer, its main town comes alive, with pubs, bars and traditional restaurants throughout the city center.
One of the most popular and lively places in Ustica is Ailanto Park, an eco-friendly space for events and shows. Even the music events have a touch of sustainability, with controlled decibels that do not disturb the beautiful natural surroundings.
Food in Ustica
Ustica’s Mediterranean cuisine is full of fish-based treasures. Plus, the volcanic soil of the island produces vegetables and fruits of great and unique quality.
Here are some of the best things to try out during your stay in Ustica:
- Usticese pizza (with garlic, tomato paste and sardines)
- Pasta with swordfish
- Fish balls
- Parapangolo (local red shrimp)
- Sicilian soup from dried fava beans
- Lentil soup
- Cassatelle (Christmas sweets)
- Lentil biscuits
Fun fact: Ustica produces the smallest lentils in all of Italy! This unique variety is part of the Slow Food Presidia and it is produced through ancient techniques.
A delicious bowl of Usticese lentil soup!
Tips for your holidays in Ustica
Here are 3 tips for your trip to Ustica:
- Make sure to pack comfy shoes for your adventures in Ustica!
- If you’re a fan of diving, we recommend the underwater route of Grotta della Balena, which guides you through the Doctor’s Rock (Scoglio del Medico). There, you can admire spectacular marine creatures.
- On the last Sunday of May in Ustica, the Feast of the Madonna dei Pescatori is celebrated at the small port of the island. This rather suggestive event is full of parades, dances and mouth-watering delicacies!
Useful information about Ustica
In Ustica, you can find all essential visitor amenities, as it is a small island. Most activities, services and accommodation options are close to the port, a stone’s throw away from the center of the town.
The island has 2 bank branches and one petrol station. You can also find one pharmacy in Piazza Umberto I and a medical service guard.
Important phone numbers for your stay in Ustica
Here, you can find some phone numbers that might prove useful for your vacation in Ustica:
- Emergency medical service: +390918449248
- Carabinieri: +390918449049
- Municipal police: +390918449924
- Ustica Port Authority: +390918449652
- European emergency phone number: 112
Transportation in Ustica
The size of Ustica is only 8.6 km2, so exploring the island is easy and convenient. You can explore most of its locations on foot or by car, motorbike and bicycle. There is also a bus from Piazza Umberto that reaches numerous beaches and most points of interest.
You can also travel around by private taxi. If you wish to better explore the coast of Ustica and its numerous caves and coves, join a boat ride or rent one upon request.
If you wish to bring your car to Ustica, keep in mind that the circulation of motor vehicles is prohibited for non-residents in August. For more information about vehicle regulations and ferry travel in Italy, check out our complete guide.
The rocky coast of Ustica at sunset
Ports in Ustica
The port of Ustica is located on the northeastern coast of the island, in Cala Santa Maria. It’s close to the main town.
Apart from welcoming ferries and hydrofoils from Palermo, the small port of Ustica has a pier for boats and fishing boats. Nearby, you can find bars, restaurants, rental services and more. There is also a public parking lot, in case you want to bring along your car on the ferry to Ustica.
Ustica ferry: schedules and tickets
You can travel to the island of Ustica from Palermo year-round, thanks to the ferries of Siremar and the hydrofoils of Liberty Lines.
There are around 2-5 daily connections, with increased ferry frequency in the high season. Ferries from Palermo to Ustica make the crossing in 1.5-3 hours, depending on the operator and type of vessel.
Tip: do you only have time for a quick island escape? You can always plan a day trip from Palermo to Ustica and get a taste of the island's highlights.
The port of Ustica and its small picturesque town
Book your ferry tickets to Ustica online
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