Sicily, Licata: Cruisers comment on Marina di Cala del Sole
This report is an accumulation of feedback from cruisers who have spent time at Marina di Cala del Sole. Remember also there are comments posted at the bottom of the report and also a lot of feedback in the related user comments for Licata.
Published 7 years ago, updated 4 years ago
Posted 18 June 2019
See related user comments for Licata and comments at the bottom of this report, for a lot more feedback on this marina and port.
Posted 10th May 2018
Rumours circulating in April 2018 that the marina was threatened by financial problems have been clarified by the Judicial Administrator in this letter (pdf), which has been sent to all berth holders to reassure them that the activities of the Marina will continue without interruption.
Posted 25th April 2016
We are just finishing up a very pleasant 6 months in Licata.
We had no problems at all with security, and I think the issue is overblown in one of the comments – or at least it is outdated. If one’s bottom paint is in decent shape, the winter growth (which is impressive) can be removed by a diver in a couple hours. It’s soft stuff.
Posted 17 June 2014
We spent the entire winter in this new marina, and are delighted we did! We really felt at home with the wonderful staff and facilities. We will return to the marina one day for another winter, what better endorsement can I give?
Supermarket on the doorstep – yes
Very helpful staff – yes
Excellent shelter -yes
Hardware stores in the town – yes
Easy travel to rest of the world – yes
Hot showers all day – yes
Social scene – yes if you want it ( we prefered to skip most of this!)
On-site laundry with the full-size machine – yes
Wifi – yes
Don’t listen to the name Syers, go you will love it!
Charlie – SY Sulaire (Scottish)
Posted May 12, 2014
Hi all! I arrived here January 1st, 2014 and stayed till the middle of May. This is wonderful and smart. place! The staff is very, very polite and helpful in all matters. Licata is a nice town, where you find everything. a shopping mall in walking distance and service over in the main harbour makes this a quiet place to stay with all you need at hand. connection to Catania airport is easy and if you come by bus the marina will pick you up at the station. I liked my stay there very much and I am sure, that. I will return somewhen.
Posted May 3, 2014
After a 3-years-circumnavigation of 47.000 miles and 188 harbours/marinas, I brought my catamaran in Dec. 2013 for the winter season to this marina in Licata. So, I have seen a large spectrum of many marinas/harbours. Now, in May 2014 I can report that I am fully satisfied and happy with this local situation. This made my book again for the 2014/15 winter.
Nowhere on my whole circumnavigation have I encountered such a friendly, helpful and efficient marina staff (up to the boss). The staff will also bring you to and get you from the station for buses to Catania (135 mins, every 2 – 3 hours, 9 EUR) or to Palermo (165 mins, every ca. 4 hours, 9 EUR). And they help actively with shopping in the town if you do not find your item in the 100 m nearby shopping mall (with an excellent supermarket). For German-speaking sailors, it might be interesting to note that this language is well understood by many inhabitants in Licata because of those many Sicilian workers having worked or still working in Germany/Austria/Switzerland.
As a member of the German DSV-Kreuzerabteilung and of ADAC, we get 7 winter months berth for the 16.4 m x 7.8 m cat for ca. 2100 EUR plus 3 EUR/m3 water plus 30 cts/kWh electricity. The boatyards in the neighbourhood charge typically 30-35 EUR/working hour of their technicians and ca. 450 EUR each for a lift out and a return. As of this fall, the Oceanica Naval Cantiere reports being able to lift out even 9m wide catamarans with their new travelling overhead gantry on order. Thus, I consider all this as very good conditions for long term berthing also for catamarans. The observed fouling in the underwater structure is quite normal and easily removable on my cat (painted in May 2013 with International Micron Extra).
Regarding security: Since my cat is located on the main quay right next to the office (and since a 70 years old skipper is awake often at night, unfortunately) I can observe that there is at least one guard 24 hrs/7 days a week to check security in the whole marina on many CCTV-screens in the office, and additionally, say, every 30 mins, outdoors in the marina by a fast golf-cart. I have not heard of any serious negative event during my time here. The daily radio messages from the sailors themselves, at 0900 on channel 72, would reflect such an event immediately.
In the meantime the group of liveaboards has increased in such a way that there a typically 20-40 persons present at the weekly “Stammtisch” on Wednesday, or the “Skipper meeting”(often with a presentation) on Friday, or the “Barbeque” on Sunday; if there are appropriate, capable musicians present there is an additional “Singing-Jam Session-Monday” in a nearby bar. And there is an extra “Ladies Coffee Circle”. So, some friends did complain even about the increasing “social stress” here. In the marina bistro (with a book shop, etc.) with a beautiful terrace, in a green setting with many palm trees, the Happy Hours brings you a glass of good vino rosso for 2 EUR or a beer for 3 EUR. An adjacent Pizzeria, Pasteria and Gelateria are to be opened in June 2014.
A positive report in “Noonsite.com” on Oct. 18, 2012, by Ben Ho, SY Three Rivers, brought me here. The marina was almost full this winter and many have renewed already their contracts. However, if this report of my also positive experiences should influence some other sailors to test this marina themselves, there is hope: the marina plans to build an additional pontoon device during this summer (and to grow to even larger berths numbers in the more distant future)!
Prof. Dr. Herwig G. Paretzke
Posted March 24, 2014
We have just had a full winter in Licata and the information supplied here is first hand and truthful.
They are two sides to this marina and people should be a where to both sides before making a deciding if they like to go to Licata.
The positive side to the marina
It very safe from the weather we had some big blows while wintering out there without any problems, each boat have two bowlines, there are two sets of showers and toilets for each of the men and women.
The marina staffs are mostly on hand and there are offend seen going around checking lines when a blow is a forecaster.
The female office staff are friendly and helpful .
The price for a 12 mts yacht was 1000 Euros 2013/2014 water and electric extra, there is a chandler in the marina and one outside.
There a large supermarket just outside the marina.
Licata town although a bit run down is lovely a real Sicilian town and people very friendly, we just love the Sicilian people.
The Negative side of the marina.
The growth in my view is horrendous, the worst I seen in 27 years sailing, within months boats where covered, by March when some try to move it was impossible and they had to be towed to the yard.
There is no Security around the marina although the marina says it has a security company that patrols at night I have only ever seen it three times and that after the report of a breaking and two attempting breaking.
We were promised that lock gate would be installed but until the time we left nothing was done, my guess nothing will be done.
There are no safely ladders or life rings anywhere in the marina.
The management is friendly until anyone decided to complaint about the marina then it a very different story.
There are three boat yards just down from the marina for lifting out
One will let you work and live on board the others won’t
12 mts yacht lift out clean and launch around 850 Euros that goes up to over 1300 Euros if they rub and antifoul the boat.
The most boat would have no option but to get lifted out unless you paid a diver to at less clear the prop and sea cocks but with the amount of fouling you won’t be going very far.
Although on paper the winter fee here sound good and cheap when you have to add on that there a real possibility that unless your boat is copper coated like ours ( we still had growth on the water line in places ) that you have to factor in the cost of getting lifted out before you can leave, it becomes not so good valve . We hope this help others decided if Licata is the marina for them.
Posted January 10, 2014
From a CA member in Licata:
The vast majority of liveaboards here in Licata are delighted with the marina, the staff, the town and weather!
The dissenting voices and comments on TripAdvisor et al would appear to emanate from two boats, one British and one German, who both have long-standing reputations as trouble-makers – one to the extent that he has actually been refused re-admission to one marina here in Sicily and one in Turkey!
The marina and facilities, as you know, are safe and generally excellent. There was an evident incidence of fouling at the end of the summer season, but now that the water temp. is a bit cooler it seems no worse than anywhere else.
There was originally a problem with the availability of hot water in the showers, but the owners quickly rectified that by installing uprated heaters to supplement the solar heating.
There have been two incidences of theft – both from the same boat. The owner refuses to raise his passarelle at night – despite the fact that he is in the most exposed (to the public) berth in the marina, and on both incidents refused to file a complaint with the police so that they might investigate the incidents!
Relations with the marina owners and staff remain excellent – evidenced by significant collections raised for staff Christmas presents and a wedding gift for the marina administrator.
As you rightly say, the owners have proved highly responsive to all complaints and have done all in their power to rectify problems. The marina development is a private enterprise and the owners are very aware that the success of the marina in the future is dependent on the endorsement of their customers!
And don’t forget – the price is right!!!
Posted December 2, 2013
I am sorry Mr Campbell sees things in a negative light. The Marina is great, the staff delightful, the moorings ace and the rates are the best in this part of the Med….so who is complaining? we are ashamed, truly ashamed, by the apparent pleasure people take into kicking without true base and then abscond with no further detail. we, as cruisers, do get ourselves a bad reputation this way which is to be avoided.
Posted November 24, 2013
We visited Licata just a few days ago planning to book into the marina for the rest of the winter , the marina is very nice with a supermarket just a walk away , The marina staff seen very helpful but there was a lot of unrest with the cruisers their, talking to some of the Germans English and French we been told that there were two robbers on boats which didn’t surprise us , there is no security , the marina is totally open just some bushes in between the roadway and the pontoon , problems with showers, parts of the pontoon was coming away, on one part jetting up in the air waiting for an accident to happen some of the facilities offered to cruiser have now taken away, fire exit door in a common room bolted down so no one can use the door and some of the boats are already showing an extreme Amount of fouling, there are no recuse facilities around the water Edge .
At the eastern end of the marina, there was a foul smell of sewage and building
Site, With so many problems and the unrest of the liveaboards community we decided to go elsewhere.
Posted 18 October 2012
We have been staying at Marina di Cala del Sole, a relatively new marina at Licata on the southern coast of Sicily. This is a fairly new marina and is not well known to most cruisers, so I thought some details on this marina might be of interest to the cruising community, especially since the marina is offering very attractive winter rates while it is trying to attract customers.
The marina is located in the large harbour of Licata and is well protected by large, overlapping breakwaters. This is a modern, first-class marina with excellent facilities. The ground is nicely designed with beautiful landscape. The washrooms are especially nicely done. Within the marina, there is a chandler, reasonably well-stocked; a laundromat; a well-appointed coffee house/bar; and a restaurant.
The marina has WiFi, but for a fee. For a long term stay it would be cheaper to get internet through one of the cell phone companies. There is 24 hr security in the marina. This is a small town so it’s quite
safe. Most cruisers leave their boats here for the winter. The winter rate for my boat at 13 meters is 1,000 Euros for 6 months. Repair service and haulout can be arranged at the commercial harbour next to the marina.
Right next to the marina is a large, modern mall with a full-size supermarket and shops. The marina staff is excellent and extremely helpful; the office staff speaks fluent English. The marina has a grand plan of having a condo-resort, beaches, etc. which are under various stages of construction, but at this point all the basic
services are in place.
The town of Licata is a typical mid-size Sicily town. It is not a tourist resort and is not particularly attractive, but it’s vibrant and friendly enough. Within a short bike ride, one can get to all the desired services of a live-aboard – shops, hardware stores, restaurants, etc.
The down-side? The marina is still going through its growing phase and there are only two pontoons occupied, with about 40 larger cruising yachts mainly on one pontoon. There is only a handful of liveaboards who are staying through the winter, so the social life here in the winter will be on the quiet side until more boats stay here.
S/Y Three Rivers (Canada).
Update from Ben April 2013: After 6 months of leaving my boat here, there is the usual level of growth on the bottom. The type of anti-fouling paint makes a big difference; I have Hempel on mine (applied in May 2012) and I noticed my boat has substantially less growth than the boats next to mine. Overall I think the level of growth is similar to where I wintered the year before, in Port Vell, Barcelona. The marina offers a bottom-cleaning service by a diver, at a reasonable rate. Or, the boat can be hauled out at the commercial boatyard next door and get pressure washed there.
Further Questions and Answers
What is the protection from strong winds like?
Overall protection is quite good. The main down-side is that the marina basin is quite large and is designed for several more quays than the two that they currently have, so at the exposed end of the quays there can be a bit of chop. But there’s never been any actual safety issues that we are aware of.
The local Supermarket – does it have a wide selection of goods and how do costs compare to say Spain?
Selection is good. It’s a large, modern supermarket. Price is comparable to Spain supermarkets. Generally, we find Italy groceries
are a bit more expensive than Spain, but since Licata is not a tourist resort overall things are quite reasonable.
Is there a Car hire service on site?
Yes, the marina can arrange a rental car to be brought on site. There’s no rental agency in Licata, so they prefer to do this only for multiple-day rentals. Price is competitive.
Is there a bus service running from the marina to the local town and beyond?
The main bus station is about 15-20 minutes walk from the marina. Marina staff can provide a free ride to the station if given advanced
How much does it cost for the bus into Licata?
No bus needed; it’s just a short walk.
Is the town within walking distance?
Yes, the town is right outside the marina. The main town square is 15 minutes walk.
What is the access to Catania Airport by public transport like? Can you get a train or direct bus? How much do these cost and are the services regular?
There are frequently run buses from both Palermo and Catania international airports into Licata. Cost is about 10 Euros for the
3-hour ride. Schedules can be found on the internet.
What is the average cost of eating out locally and is there a good choice of restaurants?
There’s a reasonable choice of restaurants, not expensive. There’s even a Michelin starred restaurant!
What is the cleanliness of the facilities block like? Are the showers hot?
First-class shower facility, excellent cleanliness, a short walk from the quay. Yes, hot water coming off the rain-forest shower head. One of the best we’ve seen in the Med.
Is there any haul out facilities?
Yes next to the marina, at the commercial harbour.
Do they have a diver service to change anodes?
What sort of things are there to see and do if living on the boat through the winter? Is there an established liveaboard community?
There is a small live-aboard community, so winter is a bit quiet. If a large, active live-aboard community is the main criteria, check out
Ragusa, about 30 miles to the east.
What does the wi-fi at the marina cost per month?
Check with the marina. We use Wind Mobile, much cheaper.
Going downhill, I’m afraid.
After five great years of overwintering in Licata, I was taken aback when the new management refused to reimburse me the €25 deposit for my key fob (used for gate entry and electric top ups), saying that it was owed to us by the old, bankrupt, management! They would be happy to take them from us to use again for new guests and charge them another deposit (presumably worthless if they then get taken over). Having left, it seems that raising the issue with them is an embarrassment that is not worthy of a reply – €5 a year! Thanks guys.
The community spirit is definitely not what it was but if you are booked to stay there, then I would recommend applying to join the Facebook page “Boatowners in Marina di Cala del Sole” Its run by, and solely for, resident boatowners with no commercial or management access.
Posted on behalf of Con Sprenger – SY Big Sky:
Considering wintering here 2016/17, we were quoted (for the 12-15m boat) 1702 euro for a 7-month contract for next season (2016) and Ragusa quoted 1700 euro, both including VAT.
We would like to echo the positive comments posted by fellow sailors. We wintered our Pacific Seacraft 31 “Tigerlily” in Licata over the 2015-2016 season, based on the recommendation of a colleague. Here are our conclusions:
— The staff was exceptionally friendly, helpful, and most importantly, executed their promises with promptness. This ranged from having a diver clean the bottom, to arranging a rental car to visit the ruins at Agrigento and a car to take us to Catania Airport.
— This is an exceptionally protected harbour. It is a breakwater within a breakwater. I suggest interested mariners take a look a Google Earth. We could not have felt more secure.
— This is a “community” feel to this marina; that is, it is large and comfortable (we never felt like our boat was a sardine amongst other boats!) but not a mega-marina. We have nothing against the marina at Ragusa, where we stayed for several days, and we know it is popular among many fellow cruisers. But it is huge. I felt we had to take a ten-minute hike to the office. My wife and I prefer a greater sense of “closeness,” both to other boaters and to marina staff.
— Licata is a small town, but restaurants are fine and all walkable.
— There is a large supermarket a very short walk from the marina. This is important to us.
— Showers are modern, water is hot.
— We did not have Wi-Fi at the boat, but used the Wi-Fi in the marina library, next to the office, which was perfectly adequate for our needs.
— Yes, there is bottom growth, particularly along the fringe of the hull at the water’s edge, but we always have our bottom cleaned by a diver before we depart a marina after wintering, and the diver provided by the marina did a beautiful job.
— In summary, these two factors meant the most to us: there was a sense of community, and the staff were exceptionally friendly and helpful. We like to feel as though we have a close and meaningful relationship with those who care for our boat. We found that at Marina di Cala del Sole.
NEW CHARGES! 1. From this month, the marina is now charging 10 Euros per person for a lift to/from the bus station. (?Is the vehicle insured as a taxi.?Don’t they need a licence for this sort of activity.)
2. Hire cars can no longer be left in the marina. You are supposed to use the car park next door, built last year at great expense for 130 cars, but never has more than 3 in it!
Seems that they are starting to “sweat” their customers for more money. Personally, I think they have spent too much on empty expensive shops, empty expensive holiday flats etc… This could be the thin edge of the wedge.