Situated by a golden sandy beach, in the Gulf of Castellammare, Balestrate could not be in a more beautiful location with easy access from a good road system and around 25 minutes drive from the International airports of Trapani to the west and Palermo to the east.

Car-hire is reasonable and driving, contrary to popular belief, is no worse or better than anywhere else in the Mediterranean. If driving in built up areas you will need to be alert and anticipate unexpected manoeuvres from other drivers. But if driving in the countryside it is a complete pleasure.

However, if staying in Balestrate, car hire is not even necessary as there is a good bus service and train service into neighbouring towns and villages and, of course, the vibrant city of Palermo.

Balestrate has most of the things you need for a perfect holiday whether in or out of the main holiday season. It is a small seaside town that very much retains its true Sicilian identity and the local people are welcoming, kind and hospitable.

Good traditional restaurants along with all manner of shops and a few bars are all within an easy walking distance. There are Banks, Travel Agencies and a Post Office.

Where else in the Euro-zone can you breakfast on delicious pastries with sweetened ricotta and huge cafe-lattes for 2 Euros per person! If you have a sweet- tooth, Sicily does not disappoint with some amazing pastry-shops and their specialities are also served in the cafe-bars for breakfast and snacks. They can also be wrapped or gift-boxed to bring back home.

Restaurants are reasonably priced and the standard of food excellent along with a wide choice of good Sicilian wines at relatively low prices. Although many dishes on the menu will be recognisable as Italian, Sicily has its own unique cuisine, which has influences from North Africa. Try the fish cous-cous and the Spaghetti with Bottargo (Tuna Roe), or Buccatini with sardines. If you love Italian food then Sicily cannot fail to impress.

For the more adventurous, Balestrate also serves as a good base to explore Western Sicily with numerous places of interest within easy reach by car. The pretty hill-top village of Erice with its cobbled streets and amazing views can be reached in the summer months via a funicular from the harbour town of Trapani. The well-preserved Greek Temple of Segesta is just a 15 minute drive from Balestrate and well worth a visit.

Roads are generally good but be prepared for some mountain roads, if heading inland, as western Sicily has quite diverse scenery. The scenery can vary from stunning white beaches to wild mountains and traditional Sicilian villages that feel relatively undiscovered by mainstream tourism.

This part of Sicily is worth visiting at any time of the year as winters are often mild and sunny. August is very busy as this is the main Italian holiday season. Outside of this peak time accommodation is reasonably priced and most are just a short walk from the beach. If a short walk is too much then Alcamo Marina, only a 5-minute drive from Balestrate, offers holiday homes where you can walk from the terrace onto the beach!

Direct flights are available all year round to both Palermo and Trapani from both Gatwick and Stansted with EasyJet and Ryanair. Summer- season flights are also available from Luton to Trapani with Ryanair. Return tickets, in the winter, can start from as little as £25 return!

If you are not hiring a car at the airport, private transfers can also be arranged.