Is Marsala worth visiting? – Sicily Travel Guide
Sicily is full of interesting towns and charming places. Marsala is one of the bigger seaside towns on the island and it’s an attractive name when it comes to tourism. However, the city’s location makes it hard to visit. This begs the question: is Marsala worth visiting?
Marsala is known for its historic center, its architectural and historical museums, and it’s actually a pretty famous wine region. These characteristics draw tourists to the town, however, we understand that Marsala is not for everyone. So let’s see if it’s a place that you should visit or if it’s one that you should skip.
The main question with these towns is usually time. Do you have enough time to spare a full day to visit Marsala? Or is this something you can’t afford timewise? If you can afford it, is Marsala the right place to spend a full day or you should look at other options? Let’s see!
When to consider visiting Marsala?
Marsala’s location makes it inconvenient to visit. It is one of the most western cities and if we are honest other attractions and notable towns are pretty far (considering other distances in Sicily).
This means that you should only consider Marsala if you have a ‘free day’. In case you are on a tight schedule then skipping Marsala is definitely the right choice.
However, if you are crazy about wine, and you’ve got someone to drive you around the wineries of the region then a visit to Marsala is worth it for you.
Things to see in Marsala
First of all let’s do a quick run-down of all the things to see in Marsala. This will give you an idea of what you can expect from the city and the region.
As it is with many cities in Sicily, Marsala has an amazing historic center. It’s filled with interesting buildings and temples. It’s also a city that was heavily influenced by Arabic culture so the streets have a different atmosphere to most of Italy.
You can easily spend a few hours walking around the center as you explore all the narrow streets and photograph all the interesting buildings.
The Archeological Museum
One of the most important stops in the city for history buffs. The local archeological museum is filled with interesting artifacts from the area. Whether it’s the remains of ancient cities or ancient ships you’ll find it in the museum.
It’s a great place to learn about history, but we understand that not everyone is interested in museums, especially when Sicily has amazing weather and great beaches.
Tour the Marsala Wine Region
IF you are a wine lover then you’ll appreciate this region of Sicily. Marsala has some of the most famous wines on the island and you can try some tasting rooms in the area near Marsala. The local wineries have amazing views, great wine, and friendly people.
Visit the Salt Marshes
Finally, one more important attraction is the salt marshes of Marsala. They are used to extract salt from the seawater. Salt was an extremely important commodity during medieval times but even today it’s pretty important.
Some of the historical salt marshes allow walks for visitors. It’s a unique experience in this part of Sicily and it offers plenty of beautiful picturesque moments.
Getting to Marsala
Getting to Marsala via train is not exactly convenient. There is no direct train to the city from Palermo. You’ll always need to change trains which is not ideal. On the other hand, the tickets are usually around 10 euros and the travel time is around 3 hours. The main downside is the long travel time, if there was a direct train it would be less.
This means the best way via public transport is by bus. There is a direct bus between Palermo and Marsala that costs around $12. Travel time in this case is roughly 2 hours.
The most convenient way to visit Marsala is by car. There are some paid parking garages and parking lots near the city center where you can leave the car while you explore.
The Best Way to Visit Marsala
We think the best way to visit Marsala is by car and by visiting another place in this direction. We did Erice in the morning and then Marsala in the evening. It was quite a long day but it was the perfect way to see Marsala.
Is Marsala Worth Visiting for you?
We’ve already advised that you should only visit Marsala if you have the time or if you really want to check out the wine region, but the decision is up to you ultimately.
What we will say is that Marsala is not very different from other Sicilian cities. Yes, it has some Arabic influence and some interesting buildings but when you’ve been to the many beautiful cities of Sicily you start to appreciate these things less and less.
So if you would only come to Marsala to check out a box and tell others that you’ve been here then you should not make the detour. It’s out of the way, and it’s not super special.
If however, you are genuinely interested in the town of Marsala, then by all means, do come. You’ll like the city and you’ll enjoy a nice stroll along the historic parts. There are also some nice restaurants if you want to spend more time. In this case, Marsala is worth visiting for you.
How much time to spend in Marsala?
We think half a day is perfect enough for Marsala. If you want to explore the wine region then more, but if you just want some sightseeing then a few hours of strolling around the city center is perfectly adequate.