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37°47.3′N, 12°26.29′E Chart icon.png
Marsala harbour from the N

The city of Marsala is situated at the westernmost point of the mainland of Sicily, some 18 miles south of Trapani and 16 miles NW of Mazara del Vallo. It is a popular stopping-off point for yachts heading SW to Tunisia or the island of Pantelleria. The city occupies the original site of the settlement of Lilybaeum, which was the main Carthaginian stronghold on the island until its cession to Rome in 241 BC at the end of the First Punic War. The city’s current name was given to it by the Saracens (Marsa Ali - great harbour) in recognition of the scale of its ancient port. Garibaldi landed here on 11 May 1860 at the head of his famous One Thousand to start the liberation of the island. Marsala’s other claim to fame is the eponymous wine, discovered in the 18th century by an English trader, John Woodhouse, and now popular all over the world as a chilled aperitif or dessert wine.


2122 - Bizerte to Capo San Marco


The prevailing wind on the south coast of Sicily during the summer is a SW seabreeze, which rarely gets up much above force 4-5. Most of the harbours along the south coast are liable to swell in strong southerly winds which are, however, rare outside the winter months.

Sources for weather forecasts:

  • There is a continuous (computerised voice) weather forecast on VHF 68 - first in Italian and then followed with an English translation
  • The same forecast is given in Italian and English on VHF coastal stations following a notification on channel 16
  • Navtex weather forecasts are broadcast from stations at Roma, Cagliari (Sardinia) and Augusta (Sicily)


List popular passages/routes, timing, etc.


Egadi Islands:
  • Isola Favignana
  • Isola Levanzo
  • Isola Marettimo


Also see World Cruiser's Nets.


Beware of the extensive shoals in the approach from N, especially around Capo Lilibeo. The harbour is protected by a short eastern and longer western breakwater. An additional breakwater runs due south from near the end of the western breakwater. The harbour is approached from due S, avoiding the shoals 500 metres E of the breakwater extension. There are depths of 7.0 metres right up to the entrance and 2.0 - 3.0 in the porto turistico. A heavy swell builds up in the entrance in strong SE winds and entry can be dangerous in these conditions.


Marsala is a port of entry to Italy.

For entrance details see Italy.


The porto turistico is immediately to starboard on entering the harbour. It offers a total of 200 berths for yachts of a maximum length of 20.0 metres. Yachts berth as directed on one of the five privately operated pontoons. There are laid moorings at all berths. Depths at the pontoons range from under 2.0 metres at the inner end to 3.0 - 3.5 metres at the outer end. Shelter is good from all directions, although a strong southerly sends in a swell. Water and electricity are available on the pontoons.

Caution: Marsala harbour is occasionally subject to the phenomenon of the marrobio, a tidal wave that can raise and lower the water level by as much as a metre in the space of 10-15 minutes. The phenomenon is most frequently experienced in the winter months during strong westerly winds.

Marinas & Yacht Clubs


  • Isola Favignana. Anchor in 3.0 - 5.0 metres west of the island’s mini-harbour (or tie up alongside if there is space). Good shelter in all but northerly winds.

Yacht Repairs and Services

Marine Stores

Submit addresses and contact details of marine related businesses that are of interest to cruisers.


Slipway (up to 150 T). Fixed crane (10 T). Travel lift. Outdoor storage. Engine, electrical and electronic equipment repairs. Wood and fiberglass repairs. Divers.

Fuel, Water, & Electricity

Fuel berth in the porto turistico and another at the north end of the commercial harbour (0630 - 1900). Water and electricity on the pontoons.

Things to do Ashore


A stroll around the partly pedestrianised old town taking in the heady scents of the marsala wineries is a rewarding experience, especially if followed by a sampling of the wonderful marsala stravecchio at one of the many excellent trattorias. The town itself is surprisingly attractive, with numerous Spanish-style palazzi dating back to the 15th-18th centuries. On the seafront is the Museo Archaeologico Regionale Baglio Anselmi, which contains the remains of an ancient Punic ship probably sunk in 241BC during the first Punic War. The Museo degli Arazzi (Tapestry Museum) houses several superb 16th century Flemish tapestries illustrating scenes from Vespasian’s campaigns in Judaea. The cathedral is dedicated to St. Thomas of Canterbury and was constructed in the 17th century on the site of a pre-existing Norman Church.

Marsala Old town entrance
Marsala cathedral
The solera method of marsala production

Grocery & Supply Stores

Good shopping in the town, which is several hundred metres from the harbour.


  • Excellent restaurants in the town, especially for seafood
  • The Trattoria Garibaldi does an excellent spaghetti alla vongole con bottarga (spaghetti with clams and tuna roe)




Motorbike & Car Rentals

Outlets in the town.

Garbage Disposal

Bins around the harbour.


List transportation (local and/or international.)


Contact details of "Cruiser's Friends" that can be contacted for local information or assistance.


List links to discussion threads on partnering forums. (see link for requirements)


References & Publications

See Italy.


We welcome users' contributions to the Wiki. Please click on Comments to view other users' comments, add your own personal experiences or recommend any changes to this page following your visit.

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SailorSmiley.gifContributors to this page

Names: Lighthouse, Athene of Lymington

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