Where Odysseus threw a barbecue: exploring Sicily’s Favignana island

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The Egadi isles are said to have inspired the mythical islands in the Odyssey. Today, the largest of the group is a quiet place of blissful beaches, fresh fish, neon seas and ice-cream breakfasts

I cycled into birdsong, into colour, the light glimmering against the white of the low stone walls. There was a spaciousness as I cycled, a lateral stretching of soundscape, big skies, birds fluting. I didn’t meet anyone else on the narrow lanes and had a sense of being completely alone on an island of 2,000 people. Is there anything happier than being on a bicycle early in the morning, heading to the sea?

The Egadi archipelago off the north-west coast of Sicily is a well-kept secret. Italians come here on holiday, but the islands are relatively unknown to international tourists. And an even better-kept secret is that these magical islands inspired the fantastical lands of the Odyssey, Europe’s oldest travel story. There are a total of five islands and it’s possible to visit three of them.

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