The first thing you’ll notice about Cefalu (besides its beauty) is the calm atmosphere that prevails here. If you at least plan your visit, because during the summer months this cozy town is occupied by lots of tourists from anywhere in the world. This place, together with Mondello, is one of the nicest beaches on the beautiful Sicilian island. Therefore it’s not so strange that there are so much visitors. After all, you too want to visit this beautiful spot!
The best things to do in Cefalu
If you want to lie quietly on Cefalu beach, it’s best to travel a bit later in the year. The months of September and October are in fact ideal for doing a bit of relaxing. In terms of temperature it’s still very pleasant, so you’ll certainly be able to take a splash in the Tyrrhenian sea! Yet it would be a shame to do nothing at all on the beach, because there are so much other things to do in and around Cefalu. It’s with great pleasure that I put the nicest sights of this cozy town in a handy list for you:
The Cathedral of Cefalu
You don’t have to be a pious Catholic to appreciate the beauty of this imposing building. The construction began in 1131, some forty years after the Normans conquered Sicily. These conquerors wanted to leave their mark right away and since King Roger II had survived a dangerous storm, he also had to express his gratitude to God. Not much later, the cathedral started to dominate the cityscape of the harbor town. Don’t forget to admire the magnificent mosaics on the inside as well!
Where citizens of the USA think of Alcatraz (‘the rock’), the Sicilians associate these words with the 268 meter (879 ft) high mountain that awakens both awe and admiration. Fortunately for you this bad boy can actually be climbed! You should go to the Salita dei Saraceni and follow it until you get to the ticket seller. Tickets cost four euros for adults and two euros for children. From then on, you simply follow the stairs that take you to the top in about 45 minutes. Good walking shoes and sufficient water are therefore a good idea. On the way you can enjoy an unparalleled view of Cefalu itself with the beautiful red roofs that form a beautiful contrast with the azure blue sea. Furthermore, the temple of Diana and the remains of the Castello di Cefalu are also worth exploring. La Rocca is definitely one of the most beautiful things to do in Cefalu!
If you have conquered La Rocca, you may enjoy a well-deserved rest at the beach. In Cefalu you have two options. The first is the smallest beach, Cefalu Beach, near the Porta Marinara, one of the only two remaining city gates dating back to the Middle Ages. This beach is very small but if you visit during the autumn you’ll still be far away from where most crowds go to. You also have the large beach on the promenade, which is two kilometers long (a bit more than a mile) and where you certainly will find a place to soak up some sun.
Both beaches can be visited free of charge, but you have to pay for a deck chair if you want to rent one. If you want to avoid the hustle and bustle you can go to the beach of Lascari, the train stop just before Cefalu. Here it’s a lot calmer and in terms of beauty it’s definitely as gorgeous.
Eating and drinking in Cefalu
Since you’re visiting Sicily, there’s no such thing as bad food. However, I still would like to recommend an address where you can eat excellent for a reasonable price. If you’re lucky (or if you book in advance) you can eat in Il Covo Del Pirata (The Pirate’s Cave) right next to the sea. Many locals order a pasta con ricci di mare: a pasta with sea urchins. It’s an absolute delicacy and definitely worth a try. If you would just like to drink an Aperol Spritz, you should go to Schittino Salvatore, the best place for getting a buzz!
Hotels in Cefalu
Because it’s quite touristy, there are many places to stay overnight. With the Sea Palace Hotel you can never go wrong. Despite being in the middle of the city center, it’s very quiet here and the rooms are also spacious enough so that you can enjoy your holiday in luxury and comfort.
Cefalu from Palermo
If you are brave enough to defy the Sicilian traffic (and especially that of Palermo) by car, just follow the E90 which will take you to Cefalu in about an hour and ten minutes (if all goes well). Finding a parking can be difficult and expensive (especially in the summer months) so you are better off if you travel by train, especially if you still plan to return to Palermo the same day. From Palermo Centrale there is a train every hour and for a single journey you pay €5.60. Please note that you take the regional train, because for the intercity you pay €9 and it takes you the same 50 minutes…
Would you like to combine Cefalu with a visit to Monreale? Then you can also book a tour. These cost €50 per person for half a day.
If you would like to get a taste of Sicily, you should definitely watch the movie Cinema Paradiso. This Italian classic by Giuseppe Tornatore was recorded in Cefalu and is the perfect manner to get in the right mood and get an impression of the things to do in Cefalu! But of course there is nothing better than to admire this charming town with your own eyes. Cefalu is located really close to Palermo and without a doubt one of the nicest villages in Sicily!
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Hi, I'm Sam Van den Haute. The last three years I've been traveling the world almost constantly. Heading out for an adventure and visiting the most beautiful places are what I love to do! Let me inspire you with great stories, beautiful pictures and handy tips from my adventures and travels. On my facebook page and instagram account you'll get to see the latest updates and photos to inspire you for your next vacation.