Tonnara di Bonagia Hotel, Trapani ****
Housed in a converted 17th century cannery, this Trapani hotel is set in a historic estate with outstanding facilities and a unique maritime past. Guests stay in well-appointed suites with complimentary bathrobes, DVD players and coffee machines, often with views over the Mediterranean from this lovely part of Sicily. View hotel
Double rooms from €90
Hotel Baglio Santacroce, near Trapani ***
Located on a hilltop in western Sicily, the Hotel Baglio Santacroce (in Erice near Trapani) affords its guests the most wonderful views in the most tranquil of settings. If peace and quiet and relaxation are what you're after, then look no further. Gaze out at the horizon over the Gulf... View hotel
Double rooms from €75
As Sicily's westernmost point pushes out into the Mediterranean, one of the last landfalls is Trapani, an ancient coastal port but a mere stripling compared to Erice on the hill above. Trapani actually began a few thousand years ago as the port for Erice, or Eryx as the Greek settlers would have known it - so old is the city that it was colonised by the Ancient Greeks. With ancient Phoenician and Elymian walls still extant, the city also has two castles, the Saracen Pepoli and the Norman Venus (itself on top of the ancient temple of Venus). This city is draped in myth, with the temple supposedly being founded by Aeneas.
Erice sits atop Monte Erice, some 750m above sea level and gazes down on Trapani, Marsala, the lovely Punta del Saraceno and Capo san Vito, and on to the Egadian Islands ... a stunning vista. It's a town of narrow cobbled streets, gloomy or atmospheric depending on your taste for melancholy, but quite special in our book. Discerning visitors choose to book a hotel in Erice and venture down to the ritzier delights of the coastal stretch for sun, sea and some very good restaurants. Sicily has excellent cuisine throughout, with a heavy emphasis on fish and seafood, and one local speciality you must try is the Marsala wine, sweet or dry, taken alternatively as dessert wine or aperitivo.