What to visit in Cefalù and when is the best time to travel in 2024? Weather, sea temperature by month, hotel and excursions prices. Best things to do in Cefalù, how to get to from Palermo, what other seaside resorts are there in Sicily – a detailed guide from good Time for Trip.
Cefalù is a small resort town in Sicily, the largest but not yet immensely popular among tourists the island of Italy. Even local vacationers, Italians themselves, would rather choose to relax a little further north, in Calabria, than go south. So, the question of the best months for vacation in Cefalù is not often on their agenda. As, of course, is what can be visited there.
Foreign tourists are slightly more informed. Today, they eagerly come not only to see the sights of Sicily but also to vacation on the sea here. Fortunately, the season on the island lasts very long: it practically starts in May and ends closer to November.
At the same time, a seaside resort like Cefalù is not particularly often noticed when choosing a place for a summer vacation. There is also nothing to say about massiveness – tour operators today, if they sell tours to Sicily, almost exclusively focus on its eastern coast. On the same famous Taormina, Letojanni, and the like…
Arriving to spend your holiday in Cefalù
In the Summer
you will be surprised, comparing our words with reality – during the season, the town experiences a literal invasion of travelers. However, the overwhelming majority of them are day-trippers.
Operating in the format of “arrived (from Palermo), swam a couple of times, took a walk, forgot”. In other words, they were charmed and remembered something, but after a couple of days, they still left – because “what can you visit in Cefalù – almost nothing”?!
Such a course of action is understandable and even forgivable – Italy has enough cozy towns with enchanting views of old houses, incredibly charming and exclusively photogenic. But not all of them have in addition warm sea and a spacious sandy beach.
Equally, a very small number of other places in Italy and Europe have a climate similar to the local one – after all, in May in Sicily you can swim in the sea!
What to See in Cefalù
There are very few attractions in Cefalù. And with proper physical preparation, you can visit them all in one day. Of course, if you don’t decide to stay here for a week! Because you can climb the Rocca di Cefalù, a rock overlooking the city, several times.
And this is a worthwhile thing! Since on the way you will not only confirm your good or bad physical shape but also see ancient ruins of houses and fortresses, a temple of Diana, and even a small church. The view from the panoramic platform at the top of the rock fully justifies the money you will have to pay at the entrance (€5).
The ascent requires comfortable shoes – walking in sandals can rub your knees and palms to blood. Or even lead to more unpleasant consequences.
Also, during your stay in the seaside town, you will surely see the
Cathedral of Cefalù
from the outside and inside. Because this magnificent building of Romanesque architecture with Arabic notes and rich Baroque details inside is the undisputed architectural dominant of the city. It was placed here for the edification of the descendants by the Norman king of Sicily, Roger II, in the 12th century.
You must visit the cathedral – especially since it’s free. The original Byzantine mosaics preserved in the altar, especially the image of Christ Pantocrator, are masterpieces. For the climb to the towers and the opportunity to survey the interior of the cathedral from above, you will have to pay a small fee.
Since 2015, the Cathedral of the Transfiguration of the Lord in Cefalù has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. The temple appeared here in 1130.
In that year, sailing past the shores of Sicily, the local king Roger II got into a terrible storm and promised to build a church if he was saved. His ship was able to dock at Cefalù on August 6, on the Feast of the Transfiguration.
For a long time, it was believed that this whole story was a legend, but not long ago, documents from the 12th century were found that confirmed it. Since then, the Feast of the Transfiguration has become the main city holiday. On this date, an even larger fair is opened here.
Now the celebration begins with the fact that a flag with the image of Christ is solemnly raised to the tower of the cathedral, cannons are fired, and fireworks are launched. On August 6, on the feast day, a solemn procession carrying the statue of Christ comes out of the doors of the Cathedral of Cefalù and passes through the city.
Naturally, in addition to the cathedral, it is worth seeing the
Old Town of Cefalù
strolling through it both in the morning and in the evening – it is an exquisite pleasure. In most cases, it is not worth doing this on a summer day – even gelato in your hand can melt.
Prices in shops and local taverns will not please either. But this is understandable – becoming a resort, any town raises itself and rewrites price tags.
Excursions to the notable places of Cefalù with an English-speaking guide are a priori not cheap (from €200), but as part of a group and for much less money, you can always come here for a few hours from Palermo or Taormina. And – if you don’t swim – you will make the right impression of this wonderful seaside town.
Best Months to Visit Cefalù
You should start thinking about a trip to Sicily no later than February. Because even in April, nature on the island, even its northern coast, not only blooms but has already done so.
So, the prudent tourist, having arranged (for fair money) hotel booking in Cefalù in winter, will be rewarded with warmth, plenty of sunny days, and incredibly vibrant colors.
The grass and trees look as if they were just painted. And looking at the sea, you want to close your eyes and wake up – many do not even suspect the presence of such shades in the natural palette.
The air temperature in Cefalù in April ranges from +15-23 °C, sometimes reaching peaks of +24-28 °C. Nights are initially noticeably colder: +7-12 °C. But closer to the end of the month, the air warms up, so that even after the sunset, the air remains heated up to +18 °C.
May is more consistent – mostly +20-25 °C, at the end up to +28-30 °C – and clear. The number of rainy days in the month rarely exceeds 2-3. And they are more likely to be called by tourists from the UK or the northern states of the USA, changeable-cloudy.
here is not the beginning but the real high season. Not in terms of heat – the atmosphere warms up to a moderate +28-30 °C in this climate – but because of the clarity of the days and the dryness of the air. Perhaps the beginning of summer is the best time to visit Cefalù!
To stay outdoors this town in July and August for a long time, you need to be born in these parts. Or at least have excellent health – temperatures above +40 °C, and sometimes even +45 °C in the shade, will not be endured by everyone.
September in these places is slightly less sunny – regularly arriving atmospheric fronts successfully push the African dryness. The rains fall more often, breathing becomes easier, and thermometers try not to shock vacationers with degrees: usually +25 °C and rarely – +28 °C.
At night, you can walk without fearing to cool down even in a T-shirt – the air is filled with real summer warmth, +20-22 °C.
October in Cefalù is considered a fairly suitable month for taking sun and even sea baths: during the day from +20 °C to +24-26 °C. Rainy days will rarely exceed 5-6.
Sea Temperature in Cefalù
You can start swimming here as early as May! Sometimes at the beginning, but more often by the middle of the final month of spring, the coastal waters warm up to +20-22 °C. In June, the Mediterranean Sea here is no longer penetrated by only the lazy or those who simply don’t like this sort of activity.
In July and August, the water off the coast of Cefalù warms up to +27-28 °C. Surprisingly, while maintaining its natural color and transparency. Blue-green algae have been noticed by individual travelers, but a jelly-like mass along the shore is a rarity for these places.
On the beach of the resort during the day, it becomes quite difficult to lay out a towel. Although those who swam in Mondello, the near suburb of Palermo, in the summer will testify – there are far fewer people willing to plunge into Cefalù.
Even in September, the sea in the vicinity of the town maintains a pleasant degree: up to +25-26 °C. And only in October does the water temperature begin to decrease to levels of +21-23 °C. Which, of course, does not prevent swimming and floating. But literally disgusts most locals from this activity – for them, it’s as if a red flag has been hung.
Hotels and guesthouses in the town itself cost not too budget money. Prices in the range of €150/night for a double room, even at the start of the season, are more the rule than the exception. But both in the very center of the resort and its surroundings, you can find much more attractive options from a price point of view.
For example, in the old town of Cefalù, there are apartments Incao Holiday Il Moro House Campeggio Sanfilippo. Which in mid-May can be rented for less than €100/night. The beach is a couple of minutes’ walk away, and as soon as you step out the door, you find yourself in the thick of city life.
Noticeably more expensive (from €120) is Baronetto B&B, which is located approximately at an equal (and small) distance from both the city beach and the historic streets. But here, both breakfast and parking are included in the price. And from the train station, where trains from Palermo arrive, you can walk in about 15 minutes.
How to Get There
Trains regularly run from Palermo to Cefalù, the journey will take from 40 to 55 minutes, and the adult ticket costs less then 7 € for one-way. You can check the schedule and buy it online on the official website of the Italian railways.
Traveling by car from the central part of Palermo will take longer – over an hour. And you will have to spend not only on gasoline but also on a toll road!
In addition to Cefalù, Sicily has other excellent seaside resorts.
You must have heard about the famous Taormina before you even came to the island. But San Vito Lo Capo, one of the best places for a seaside vacation in Italy, is still not suspected by every potential vacationer.
You can quickly swim and sunbathe in Mondello, a beach near Palermo. Although in the season, there are too many vacationers there.
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