The best things to see and do in Palermo, Sicily

 Well hello to you my reader chums! Sicily is a gorgeous part of Italy and a place I'm grateful to have finally experienced a dose of (and now I'm incredibly eager to go back and see more of it). I flew into Palermo and spent just under 3 days exploring (due to a flight delay) the best of the city and beyond - and wish I could have had longer as there were plenty of things to see, do and EAT. 

Palermo Sicily

If you're new to Palermo or planning a trip there soon, here are the best things to see and do in Palermo, Sicily.

Things to do in Palermo

Mooching around the cobbled streets

Palermo has a rustic and true Italian vibe throughout with its colourful, traditional buildings, cobbled streets and residential homes. I adored walking around the city, discovering new streets, new buildings, restaurants and shops in my path. It's as if each section had its own personality and I could see the different eras of history jumping out. You could easily spend a few hours or even a day walking around to get a feel of the place.

The best things to see and do in Palermo, Sicily

Drinks in the port area

Palermo doesn't have any beaches of its own, however, it is home to a gorgeous harbour/port area. I would recommend having a little mooch around the port to see it in all its beauty, especially if it's a blue-sky day, and grab lunch to eat by it. Or alternatively, visit the Nauto bar, which has a mini beach next to the port and overlooks most of the city - you can get a drink and admire the views.

Palermo port

Palermo Cathedral

Built in 1184, this cathedral is probably one of the most important sights to visit when in the city - not to mention how stunning it is, inside and out! The cathedral is huge and I loved being able to mooch around it and see different eras of history pop out through its design. The cathedral is free to visit, however, if you'd like to see the tombs, treasury and crypts, it's around 7 euros.

Palermo cathedral

Palazzo Dei Normanni

The Royal Palace also known as Norman Palace is a UNESCO heritage site and a must-see when exploring the city. I would say it's a pretty pricey attraction, costing around 19 euros each. However, it's an activity which will take up a good few hours of your day with its church, galleries, gardens and palace itself to explore.

Explore the churches 

Visiting churches is one of my favourite things to do when in Italy because I love to admire the different architecture. The few worth visiting in Palermo are Chiesi del Gesu, Chiesa di San Cataldo and Chiesa Di Santa Caterina. The most important one to see would be the Chiesa di Santa Caterina because of all its historical influences and sheer beauty.

The best things to see and do in Palermo, Sicily

Visit the famous food markets

Italy is where it's at for food and Sicily lived up to every expectation of the south. Palermo is renowned for its vibrant, loud and delicious food markets selling all kinds of fresh produce from juices, fruit, and arancini, to fish and meat - and the atmosphere is something truly unique. The two most famous ones are Mercato del Capo and Mercato Ballaro.

Palermo food markets

Fall in love with its food scene 

The Sicilian food scene is a true wonder and I definitely want to go back and eat my way around the island. The Sicilians are renowned for their arancini, pasta alla norma, granita brioche for breakfast, gelato, caponata, cannolis and many more delicious choices. You can't really eat badly in Palermo as the majority of the food is made authentically and fresh, living up to the expectation of how the Sicilians treat their food: with love.

Explore the quaint shops

Palermo featured many beautiful shops to mooch in from jewellery to homemade items and I loved the variety on offer, and the opportunity to see what the locals have created. It's definitely worth having a walk around and seeing what quaint shops you can discover - and hitting up the high street ones too if you fancy a shopping spree.

Villa Giulia

This gorgeous park, I stumbled upon unexpectantly as my boyfriend pointed it out and it was a fab place to stroll around and have a little sit-down. The park was lined with manicured trees, endless shrubbery and colourful flowers.

Day trips/excursions from Palermo

Mondello Beach

The most popular day trip from Palermo is Mondello Beach because it's the nearest beach to the city. It's around a half-hour bus journey from the city and costs 1-2 euros for a single trip ( a bargain if you ask me). You'll need to take the 806 bus in the direction of Mondello. The Mondello Beach was absolutely stunning and even though pretty packed, the majority of it was full of locals. Its sands were white and the sea, crystal clear. The area itself had that beach holiday vibe to it with gelato stalls and beach restaurants.

Mondello beach


Sicily has to be one of the most gorgeous places I've explored as the authentic vibe never really left throughout every place I visited during my time there. Bagheria was a tiny town/village and only took around 15 minutes and cost a couple of euros. I wouldn't say the town had a lot to see as it was very residential, however, its architecture and the main stretch of shops/restaurants were lovely to mooch around. Aspra however, the coastal area, about a 40-minute walk from Bagheria was phenomenal. It had that rustic, Italian coastal vibe about it, boasting old-school restaurants and the sunset of dreams. 

Aspra sicily


Cefalù was my favourite excursion out of the three during my stay in Palermo. It takes around 45 minutes on the train and costs 12 euros each. Once I arrived, the place looked like a dreamy postcard, I couldn't believe how phenomenal the coastline looked; the gorgeous cobbled walkways and views. I could have easily spent all day, even days exploring the local restaurant scene, eating gelato and lapping the sunshine up on the beach. I would go back here in a heartbeat.

Cefalu sicily

Where to eat

Ferro Di Cavallo

I had to queue for this restaurant and it was worth every minute of waiting. The pasta alla norma here was a dish I've been dreaming about ever since. Paired with arancini for starters and a glass of white wine, I would love to visit this place over and over - and try more of their delicious menu. It had a family-run, traditional appeal about it which I adored.

restaurants in palermo


This restaurant had a modern, hipster atmosphere and an Italian tapas kind of menu, which gave us the opportunity to sample some of the traditional dishes. The food here was divine and accompanied by live music, it was a complete experience! I especially loved the Sicilian-style aubergine rolls - if I could only eat one side dish for the rest of my life, it would be that.

Ricci E Capricci

Overlooking the beach in Aspra, this traditional pizzeria had everything we could have wanted in pizza. The atmosphere, the views and the quality of the food were top-notch - I would love to try more of their pizzas.

How to get around the city

Palermo as a whole is easily accessible by foot. You're able to walk to all the main attractions (if you're able to of course) and find hidden gems that way too. Public transport is super easy to navigate around and cheap too - perfect if you don't fancy a lot of walking or want to go on the many incredible day trips available.

The best things to see and do in Palermo, Sicily

I hope you enjoyed this travel post. Where would you like to visit next?

Thank you for reading <3


  1. Thanks for sharing, these all look lovely places to visit while in Sicily, esp the restaurants :)

    Nic | Nic's Adventures

  2. Sicily sounds incredible! I love the idea of walking through the cobbled streets, and going to their famous food markets. The photos you took were lovely, glad you had a nice time x


Thank you for reading my blog! I hope you enjoyed this post and found it helpful in anyway. I'd love to hear any feedback you may have.