Cefalù, on the north coast of Sicily 60 km from Palermo, is a splendid declared village World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2015. With strong Arab-Norman characters in architecture and traditions, it is known for the Norman cathedral, the Madonie Park that surrounds it and the wonderful sea. During the summer season, the small town gets to triple its population, which fills the most important squares and streets of the town.
The atmosphere is truly suggestive, among ancient houses facing the sea, breathtaking sunsets and timeless architecture. Here's everything you need to know to enjoy a visit: from things to see to restaurants where to eat.
- 10 things to see in Cefalù in a weekend
- What to see in Cefalù in one day: recommended itinerary
- Where to eat in Cefalù: the best restaurants
- What to do in the evening: the nightlife areas and the best clubs in Cefalù
- Plan your stay in Cefalù: info and useful tips
- User questions and comments
10 things to see in Cefalù in a weekend
1 - Cathedral
La Transfiguration Cathedral it is a minor basilica located in the historic center whose architecture follows the model of the great Benedictine basilicas, with a Romanesque style linked to northern Europe and enriched by Arab influences. Construction began in 1131 and embellished over the years since Byzantine mosaics work of masters brought directly from Constantinople by Ruggero II, who had it built after making a vow to escape a storm. It was consecrated only in 1267.
- accessible on foot from Corso Ruggero, in the city center - Get directions
- Every day 10: 00-13: 00 and 15.00-19.00
- € 10,00 for the Red Itinerary (including a visit to the Towers, external walkway on the south side, view under the Mosaics, Treasure Room, Episcopio, Episcopal Chapel and Canonical Cloister); € 7,00 for the Blue Itinerary (including a visit to the Towers, external walkway on the south side and a view under the Mosaics); € 6,00 for the Green Itinerary (including the Treasury Room, Episcopio, Episcopal Chapel and Canonical Cloister).
2 - The Rocca
The Rocca rises up to 268 meters above sea level and at the base is the historic town of Cefalù. The lower western part instead is characterized by the ruins of a series of mills. From here starts the path that leads to the top of the fortress. On the other side, the western one of the walls, the door opens to which the access path arrives.
During the climb, halfway up, there are the remains of the Diana temple, a construction dating back to the th century BC In the northern part of the walls overlooking the precipice above the Cathedral, a metal cross several meters high was erected which at night lights up to dominate the panorama.
- taking one of the characteristic alleys that open at the beginning of Corso Ruggero, such as the Vicolo dei Saraceni, which leads to a path that goes up to the monumental entrance of the Rocca - Get directions
- always accessible
3 - Mandralisca Museum
In Cefalù there is only one museum, the Museo Mandralisca, commissioned by Baron Enrico Pirajno of Mandralisca. During his life, Pirajno collected numerous art objects, coins, books and archaeologists and, as a fervent supporter of the ideas of the Risorgimento as he was, he made them available to the city upon his death through a will.
Among the various multidisciplinary works (archeology, numismatics, paintings, ...), the most valuable piece is certainly the Portrait of the Unknown Sailor by Antonello da Messina, as well as other works of Flemish and other Caravaggesque attribution.
- from the railway station proceed towards via Ruggero and then take via Mandralisca. You will arrive in about 15 minutes. Get directions
- 9:00 - 19:00 every day, 9:00 - 24:00 in July and August
- full € 6,00 reduced € 4,00
4 - Medieval wash house
In via Vittorio Emanuele is the public wash house known as the "Medieval washhouse", in the Martino palace. In the summer of 1991 the restoration works were completed.
The wash house comes with a lava stone staircase which leads to a floor smoothed by time and to a series of pools that are filled with the waters that flow from twenty-two cast iron mouths (including fifteen lion heads) arranged along the walls dominated by low vaults. Through a small cave, the water reaches the sea. In the tubs the supports that were used to rub the clothes are evident.
- from the Piazza del Duomo in 5 minutes on foot along via XXV Novembre up to Palazzo Martino - Get directions
- always accessible
5 - Porta Pescara
The only survivor of the four doors that opened along the city walls, it is called Porta Pescara from the name of the viceroy who had it repaired in 1570.
It is located in the old part of the city, near the beach and the old port, where it frames the spectacle of the sea through its Gothic arch surmounted by the coat of arms of the kings of Sicily. Beautiful and of historical importance, it is one of the favorite spots for tourists for suggestive photos and videos.
- from Piazza del Duomo through via Mandralisca in 5 minutes on foot - Get directions
- always accessible
6 - Osterio Magno
The Osteria Magno is a ancient palace of Cefalù which rises in the historic center.
Built by Ruggero in the 1602th century, it was enlarged and fortified by the powerful Ventimiglia family who handed it down from generation to generation until . Of considerable historical and structural importance, it has a large Roman cistern, while the quadrangular walls of the tower date back to the period Norman.
Note the windows, the large three-light window and the two mullioned windows, of clear Chiaramonte origin, which overlook the hall of the building.
- reachable on foot in 10 minutes from the train station taking the direction Corso Ruggero. The building is located at number 63 - Get directions
- not visitable internally. Occasionally it hosts exhibitions, for prices and opening hours, please contact the Cefalù tourism promotion agency on the website www.comune.cefalu.pa.it depending on the period.
7 - Cefalù seafront and beach
Clear waters and a wide golden beach is the ideal choice for families, thanks to its gently sloping seabed and the countless services it offers to bathers, such as beaches, refreshment points or small shops that guarantee an outdoor holiday. 'sign of comfort and relaxation. From sunset it becomes one of the destinations of Cefalù's nightlife: bars, restaurants and discos stay open until late at night.
- easy walk to downtown - Get directions
- always accessible
8 - Other beaches: Mazzaforno, Settefrati, Capo Playa, Kalura
The promenade is not the only solution for a relaxing bath. In the area there are other more private beaches, some of pebbles, others in sand. Among these we point out Mazzaforno, Settefrati and above all Capo Playa, the latter particularly popular with surfers, sailors and kitesurfers, because of the constant winds that blow. The seabed of this part of the coast drops rapidly, which makes it unsuitable for families with children.
Finally, the beach of Kalura (or Caldura) is located 20 minutes from the center, towards the east, and is characterized by gravel but above all by rock spurs in front of a turquoise sea, perhaps the clearest in all of Cefalù. Here the rocks are quite jagged, certainly not comfortable, the beach is ideal for those looking for a place away from the crowd and suitable for diving and snorkeling. It is advisable to go in the morning, because the beach, surrounded by greenery, is shaded in the afternoon.
- They are all just over 10 minutes by car from Cefalù
- always accessible
9 - Sanctuary of Gibilmanna
The sanctuary of Gibilmanna is located in the homonymous hamlet of the village of Cefalù. The Church, of the century. XI, was rebuilt from 1619 to 1624, and the Chapel of the Madonna was completed in 1625 with the assembly of the spectacular altar machine in mixed marble from Pampillonia. Located about 800 meters above sea level, this Benedictine monastery is a destination for pilgrimages and a place of prayer; it preserves numerous works of art including the Statue of St. John the Baptist Statue of Saint Helena and the precious marble simulacrum of the Madonna of Gibilmanna.
- the sanctuary is located close to Monte S. Angelo about ten km from Cefalù and can be reached by car along the panoramic road SP 136 or by bus from the railway station - Get directions
- 10 pm (CET)
10 - Madonie Park
The Madonie Park is a regional natural park which includes the Madonie massif, whose peaks reach 2.000 meters above sea level, behind the village of Cefalù.
The park is home to over half of Sicilian plant species, and in particular most of those present only in Sicily.
For the fauna there are over half of the bird species and all mammalian species in the region. There are several trekking routes for all difficulties, adventure parks and it is also possible to try out more extreme sports such asfree climbing.
- from the center of Cefalù take the SP 136 to Gibilmanna and then the SP 9 to the small town of Isnello - Get directions
- always accessible
- free. To book or inquire about the activities of the park it is advisable to contact the body in charge on 0917487186 or via the official website www.parcodellemadonie.it
What to see in Cefalù in one day: recommended itinerary
In the morning, when the beaches are not yet crowded, the color of the sea and its stillness become a very strong attraction for those looking for the relaxation of a nice swim. Lido di Cefalù is the best way to start the day, and then maybe leave it soon when the crowd of bathers starts to be too pressing.
From the beach you can then leave for theexcursion to the Rocca, which takes about 2 hours between ascent and descent at a medium pace. You can rest at the Temple of Diana and enjoy the wonderful panorama from the summit. Getting off will be faster but you will arrive in the historic center not before lunch.
In the afternoon, after eating in one of the many fish restaurants in the center, you can visit the Duomo with its Romanesque style and its mosaics, then head towards theOsterio Great and visit the Cefalu Cathedral. From here continue to admire the Medieval wash house, the ancient port and Porta Pescara. This part of the village is the most evocative, because you can still breathe the air of work, fishermen's fatigue and past history and it is advisable to walk along its alleys and streets in relaxation, without thinking too much about where to go, letting yourself be carried away by the heat afternoon wind.
In the late afternoon you can opt for theexcursion to the Sanctuary of Gibilmanna, which can be reached in just 15 minutes by car, for the last farewell to a full but relaxing day, where time is never running out and where the smells blend with the incredible colors of a breathtaking panorama.
One day itinerary at a glance
- Lido di Cefalù, always accessible - ticket price: free
- La Rocca, always accessible - ticket price: free
- Lunch at Triscele restaurant, via Umberto I, 34
- Duomo, 8:30 am - 18:30 pm - ticket cost: € 3,00
- Mandralisca Museum, 9:00 - 19:00 - full price € 6,00 reduced € 4,00
- Sanctuary of Gibilmanna, 10:30 - 19:30 - ticket price: free
Where to eat in Cefalù: the best restaurants
- Triscele: restaurant in the historic center with fish specialties. Small and intimate environment where you can taste traditional local dishes. Usually crowded.
Average price per person: € 35,00
Address and contacts: via Umberto I, 34 (Get directions) / tel: (+39) 0921921571
- Sutt'a Ràvia: young restaurant on the seafront with excellent value for money. Ideal for a fish-based lunch without spending a fortune.
Average price per person: € 20,00
Address and contacts: Piazza Cristoforo Colombo, 11 (Get directions) / tel: (+39) 0921820253
- Bastion & Constance:
restaurant / pizzeria ideal for couples, it is advisable to book on the terrace overlooking the sea. Excellent quality especially as regards the pizzas, made with ancient grains and exclusively local products.
Average price per person: € 45,00 (€ 18,00 for pizza + dessert)
Address and contacts: Piazza Francesco Crispi, 13 (Get directions) / tel: (+39) 0921571222
- Al Capone: beautiful panoramic terrace at the gates of Cefalù, on the road to Gibilmanna. Fish specialties in an elegant and high-level setting.
Average price per person: € 45,00
Address and contacts: via Dei Mulini, 20 (Get directions) / tel: (+39) 0921423900
- The Corner of Sweets: Sicilian pastry and ice cream parlor that offers regional specialties using high-quality raw materials. The cannoli and cassata are excellent. It is worth the visit.
Average price per person: € 5,00
Address and contacts: via Pietro Novelli, 2 (Get directions) / tel: (+39) 0921923047
What to do in the evening: the nightlife areas and the best clubs in Cefalù
Cefalù offers many opportunities for recreation and, of course, almost all on the seashore. The nightlife usually starts around 18:00 when the bars on the beaches start serving aperitifs and people in swimsuits mingle with those just out for the evening. Pubs, clubs, DJ sets and discos follow one another along the coast and through the streets of the village.
The best pubs, clubs and discos
- Kalapinta: brewery, with a small kitchen, which also offers a selection of craft breweries
Address: via Carrettieri, 3 (Get directions) / Facebook page
- Calette Disco Club: historic outdoor disco in Cefalù famous for theme nights and parties that go on until late at night. Always packed and with the possibility of booking tables
Address: Porto Presidiana (Get directions) / Facebook page
- Maljk: bathing establishment that from the late afternoon turns into a DJ set with cocktails, aperitifs and live music. From after dinner, the music accompanies customers until late at night
Address: Lungomare Giardina (Get directions) / Facebook page
- Petit Tonneau: characteristic wine bar where you can enjoy a romantic aperitif on a small terrace overlooking the sea (just two tables). Recommended at sunset.
Address: Via Vittorio Emanuele, 49 (Get directions) / Facebook page
Plan your stay in Cefalù: info and useful tips
- by bus with Flixbus that connects the city of Palermo with Naples, Rome and Milan every day at very competitive prices. The closest airport is that of Palermo, well connected to the major Italian cities also by low cost airlines. The Messina - Palermo train ride costs € 9,90 and takes about 1 hour in Regionale Veloce - Compare flights to Palermo - from € 36,00
- Getting around: the village can be easily visited on foot, for the surroundings the car is the ideal vehicle and it is possible to rent on site even at some affiliated hotels
- Where to park: all hotels have parking spaces. Near the seafront there are many paid parking lots, also covered, with which to take out daily and weekly passes. On busy days, you can find a seat near the train station.
- Hotel and b & b starting from € 46,00 per room -
- What to see in the surroundings: Palermo (60 km), Bagheria (55 km), Castelbuono (20 km), Capo d'Orlando (78 km)