What to Visit in Palermo

To visit Cathedral - the first thing to do in Palermo

What to do in Palermo in 1 to 3 days for an independent traveler? Main attractions, not so famous sights, tickets, tours and hotels prices 2024. As well as where to visit in the surroundings of Palermo – in a review by good Time for Trip.

Sicily, despite being the largest island in Italy, cannot yet boast of stunning popularity among foreign travelers and Italians themselves. The provincial reputation and, in addition, a criminal fame does not contribute to a surge of optimism among the seekers of safe adventures.

If beach tourists somehow find their way to Taormina, other Sicily places are still in relative oblivion. As they are visited only in conjunction with a seaside vacation.

To visit Palermo rarely come on purpose, unless you come to Sicily in April or another, not too hot month. This is usually done by “occasion”: the capital of Sicily pleasantly diversifies the program of cruises in the Mediterranean Sea and disperses the melancholy of vacationers tired of idleness.

Although, if it was located somewhere in Lombardy, it would be incredibly popular among travelers

Main Attractions of Palermo

Let’s take Palermo Centrale, the main railway station of the city, as a starting point. It is connected by direct communication both with the Sicilian airport Falcone Borsellino (Punta Raisi station) and with other settlements of the island.

First, we recommend you to do in Palermo is to point your feet towards La Martorana. That is, the church of Santa Maria del Ammirallo, famous for its literally luxurious Byzantine mosaics of the 12th century.

The richness of the interior decoration of the Palermo’s church will be envied by the Venetian Basilica of San Marco!

Next, you should see the Palermo Cathedral, which largely retained the original features of the XII-XIII centuries. On the way, pay attention to the spacious Piazza Pretoria with the grandiose “Fountain of Shame” in the middle. This is the 16th century, the work of the Florentine Camigliano!

Optionally, visit the Church of St. Catherine. Whose front facade forms the entire side of the square!

Next in the program is the interesting baroque square Quattro Canti, that means “Four Corners”. The buildings facades, “hugging” a regular octagon, are designed in the same style.

Their lower tiers are decorated with fountains. The Church of San Giuseppe dei Teatini settled in one of the houses.

The Cathedral

It is literally impossible not to visit the main temple of Palermo. Inside you will get through the pretty three-arched portico of Gambar, dating back to the 15th century.

The chapel to the left of the entrance houses the porphyry sarcophagi of the Norman kings of Sicily from the Hohenstaufen dynasty

It's impossible not to visit in Palermo its Cathedral

From an architectural point of view, the main, western, facade of the cathedral is especially interesting. It is connected to the bell tower by two arrow-shaped arches thrown across Bonello Street.

The next item in the daily tourist repertoire is the Palazzo Normani, which can be reached from the Cathedral in just a few minutes. Both the Royal Palace itself with the personal apartments of the monarchs, and the pearl of the complex, the Palatine Chapel, require special attention.

That is, you will have to spend more than 30 minutes inside … in fact, the price of entrance tickets (12 €) insists on it!

On this, the first day of visiting Palermo can be considered over. Unless, of course, you want to consolidate your impressions by a group or an individual city tour. It costs from 30-40 € for 2-3 hours walk.

After that, you will only have to return to the hotel…

Where to Stay

We tend to recommend an inexpensive and situated geographically close to the station hotel Ballarattik. Which rooms are quite spacious, each has a balcony and air conditioning, a breakfast is included in the price.

Even more advantageous, though located next to the square of the same name the B&B Hotel Palermo Quattro Canti. Staying there is noticeably more expensive, but the hotel has a rooftop terrace with wonderful panoramas.

Also, you can pay attention to the Hotel Joli, which is located in an old mansion near the port. Guests praise the beautiful interiors, cleanliness and hospitality of the staff. A hearty breakfast is included in the price of the accommodation.

Day 2 Of Visiting Palermo

Since you didn’t visit one of the top attractions of Sicily the day before, you should start from doing it. We are talking about the famous Cathedral of the Nativity of the Virgin in the nearby town Monreale.

XII century, Arab-Norman architecture, magnificent Byzantine mosaics, a forest of 228 carved columns surrounding the courtyard… Fountains, greenery, powerful views of Palermo…

Despite the ridiculousness of the distance – just 8 kilometers from the main railway station – getting to Monreale by public transport is not easy. But, of course, it’s worth a work.

A rented car will greatly facilitate the task of delivering tourists there and back. But driving in Sicily can hardly be called a pleasure.

The rest of the second day you can devote to Palermo’s museums. For example, to the top one – “Antonino Salinas” Regional Archaeology Museum. In its way, it’s one of the best museums not only in Italy, but in general in Europe.

 “Antonino Salinas” closed on Mondays and August 16, an adult ticket costs only 7 €!

You can spend an hour or more in the Regional Gallery of Sicily, lodging in the Gothic Palazzo Abatelis built in the 15th century. If you don’t believe, of course, the reviews on Tripadvisor, reporting that actual ticket price is “too much” for viewing a few paintings.

Day 3

We recommend spending on sightseeing nearby Palermo. Both on independently developed routes, and together with an organized excursion.

Again, you can easily spend the day relaxing on the beach – the same Mondello is widely known outside of Sicily

No doubt, in the summer months there is very little free space on it. But having visited Sicily in September on weekdays, you may well enjoy the sea and the sun in a not too numerous company.

The Mondello Beach you may visit near Palermo


But if only we hadn’t come to Sicily for a vacation in hot months, we would have spent this day on a trip to Erice and Segesta. On your own or with a guide – in the latter case you will have to pay about 100 euros per one.

However, this investment will definitely pay off. For these two non-neighboring Sicilian sights in the province of Trapani are a must-see when in Palermo

Erice is a wonderful old town on a rock. The Temple of Segesta is what remains of an ancient city built by the Trojans. A well-preserved temple with Doric columns but no roof – certainly worth seeing!

San Vito lo Capo and Trapani

The first is a famous and downright incredibly picturesque resort, located 110 km (along the highway) from Palermo. Every year becoming more and more popular holiday destination on the sea.

So much so that the local beach is not empty even in autumn! However, as you probably know, even in October you can swim in Sicily!

Near San Vito lo Capo and, by the way, on the road to Palermo, there is a stunning park Riserva Naturale dello Zingaro. If you have a couple of hours of free time, be sure to visit it!

As for Trapani, it is best to walk along it with a guided tour. Listen to stories about the “good old days”, salt mines and windmills.


Lovers of antiquities will undoubtedly add this place to their list of must-see attractions near Palermo. After all, the local archaeological park is considered to be the largest in Europe!

And the Sicilians themselves tend to call it even the “Eighth Wonder of the World”

Travelers can’t believe their eyes when they find out that there are as many as eight ancient temples to be seen here.

You can get to Celinunte from Palermo by car in 1.5 hours (105 km), an adult ticket costs 10 euros. On March 10 there is a free entrance to the excavations – coopculture.it/en/archaeological-area-of-selinunte/.


This seaside resort is easily accessible by train and therefore, a trip to Cefalu is maybe the first thing you should do outside Palermo.

The imposing Romanesque cathedral of the 12th century is Cefalu’s main attraction. Absolutely magnificent and the view that opens from the top of the fortress rock overlooking this picturesque coastal town.

To tell the truth, from such beauty, some tourists simply lose the power of speech for a while!

© Goodtimefortrip.com

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