What to see in Palermo and surroundings in 7 days

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Joel Fulleda

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

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Sicily, every year, welcomes tourists from all over the world. One of the most beautiful cities to visit is undoubtedly Palermo, interesting both from a historical-cultural point of view and for its folklore and naturalistic beauties. Its long history of the city and the succession of numerous civilizations and peoples that have dominated it, have given it a remarkable artistic and architectural heritage. Masterpieces such as the Norman Palace and the Palatine Chapel are worth the trip alone.

Are you thinking of organizing a trip to Sicily? So here it is what to see in Palermo and surroundings in 7 days!


  1. 1 day
  2. 2 day
  3. 3 day
  4. 4 day
  5. 5 day
  6. 6 day
  7. 7 day
  8. How much does a week cost in Palermo
  9. Before leaving: useful tips
  10. User questions and comments

1 day

Start at the Norman Palace (or Royal Palace), la oldest royal residence in Europe. The visit is not to be missed especially for the Palatine Chapel which is part of the complex, famous for its Byzantine mosaic decorations of immeasurable value (Mon-Sat 8: 15-17: 40, Sun and holidays until 13:00).
Take Via del Bastione (10 minutes on foot) and you are in front of the scenographic Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the most important place of worship in the city (7: 00-19: 00). It is very interesting as, over the centuries, it has been enriched with new decorations, portions and features.
Cross Via dei Biscottari (600 m) and enter the folkloristic atmosphere of Ballarò, one of the famous markets of the city, where we obviously suggest you have lunch among the local street food (average cost per person € 8,00).

Then proceed towards one of the symbolic places of Palermo: the Quattro Canti, an intersection in the heart of Baroque Palermo. Visit the adjacent Piazza Pretoria with the Fountain, the Church of San Giuseppe dei Teatini (7: 30-12: 00 and 17: 00-20: 0), the Church of San Cataldo with 3 Arabesque domes (10: 00-18: 00), the Martorana (9: 30-13: 00 and 15: 30-18: 00), Piazza Bellini and the Bellini Theater from the outside.

End this first day with a dinner at the Al Vecchio Club Rosanero restaurant (average cost per person € 15,00).

In summary:

  • Distance traveled: 2,9 km / 35 min
  • Places visited: Palazzo dei Normanni + Palatine Chapel (€ 12,00), Cathedral (free), Ballarò (free), Quattro canti (free), Piazza Pretoria (free), S. Giuseppe dei Teatini (free offer), San Cataldo (€ 2,50), Martorana (€ 2,00), Piazza Bellini (free), Bellini theater (free)
  • Daily shopping: € 45,00
  • private walking tour, Palatine Chapel and lunch 3-hour walking tour of street food and history walking tour of the markets and monuments of the center
  • Lunch at Ballarò (Get directions), Dinner at Al Vecchio Club Rosanero restaurant (Get directions)

2 day

Start the day with the Chiesa del Gesù (also known as Casa Professa), one of the most important Baroque churches of Sicily and declared a National Monument (6: 30-13: 00 and 16: 00-19: 00).
With a walk of 10 minutes (Via Beato Paolo) immerse yourself in the Sicilian atmosphere of Mercato del Capo, one of the most famous local markets of Palermo where to have a snack with local street-food. Going along Via Volturno (300 m) you will find yourself in front of the Politeama Theater, which houses the famous Sicilian Symphony Orchestra (10: 00-14: 00). Enjoy the square, the real heart of Palermo, and walk through the living room of the city along Via Ruggero Settimo and eat something quick and tasty at I Cuochini (average cost per person € 10,00).

Continue to another theater, the Teatro Massimo, the largest opera house in Italy and the third largest theater in Europe (Mon-Fri 9: 00-18: 00 and Sat 9: 00-13: 00). Walk along a piece of Via Maqueda and head towards the Vucciria, another market that embodies the typical local folklore.
In the area is the Palazzo Chiaramonte-Steri, ancient seat of the Sicilian Inquisition and today transformed into the rectorate of the University of Palermo and museum center (10: 00-19: 00).

At this point you are on the sea, we suggest you take a walk in the harbor area and have dinner in one of the many places like Ristorante Castello a mare (average cost per person € 40,00).

In summary:

  • Distance traveled: 5,9 km / 1 h 14 min
  • Places visited: Church of Gesù (€ 2,00), Capo Market, Politeama (€ 5,00), Massimo Theater (€ 5,00), Vucciria, Palazzo Chiaramonte-Steri (€ 5,00)
  • Daily shopping: € 70,00
  • walking tour of the markets and monuments of the center private walking tour with typical lunch 4 hours private walking tour
  • Lunch at I Cuochini (Get directions), Dinner at Castello a mare Restaurant (Get directions)

3 day

Full day to discover Segesta and Erice, by tour organized from Palermo (about € 60,00) or by bus, with change in Castellammare (2 hours, € 28,00) or by car (74 km) following the E-90. If you want to be independent, the best solution is the rental car (from € 25,00 per day), as there are no public transport connections between Segesta and Erice.

Segesta is famous for the Archaeological Park where it stands, in fact, Segesta, the most important city founded by the Elimi, an ancient people of western sicily of uncertain origins. It is a very suggestive place for the "Great Temple", in Doric style and almost intact, and for the ancient theater built on the highest peak of Monte Barbaro and from which you can enjoy a splendid view of the sea and the surrounding hills ( 9: 00-17: 00, in the summer months until 19:30).

Have lunch at the Segesta Mediterranean Restaurant (average cost per person € 28,00).
Reach Erice now: 40 minutes by car via A29dir / E933 or by taxi (€ 80,00), there is no public transport.
Of an unforgettable beauty, Erice is the ancient Phoenician and Greek city, perched 751 m high on the homonymous mountain. In ancient times, Erice was known for the temple where Greeks, Phoenicians and Romans worshiped their respective deities. Worth seeing are the Chiesa Matrice, near the Porta di Trapani, and the castle with the Norman-era Balio tower (10: 00-18: 00, in August until 20:00).

Finally, you return to Palermo, where you can dine in the station area at the Trattoria Trapani (€ 20,00).

In summary:

  • Distance traveled: 236 km / 3 h 40 min by car including travel from / to Palermo
  • Places visited: Segesta Archaeological Park (€ 6,00), Erice, Mother Church and Castle (€ 4,00)
  • Daily shopping: € 85,00, including car rental
  • Segesta, Erice and the salt pans: full-day tour from Palermo
  • Lunch at Segesta Mediterranean Restaurant (Get directions), Dinner at Trapani Trattoria (Get directions)

4 day

Spend the morning in one of the most relaxing places in the city: Villa Giulia, public garden (8: 00-18: 00) that Goethe defined "the most wonderful corner of the earth". We also highly recommend a visit to the adjacent Botanical Garden (9: 00-18: 00, from 1st May to 31st August until 20:00). Both are places that deserve to be "lived", take it easy and enjoy them calmly.

Take Via Lincoln and stop for lunch at Pizzeria I Picciotti (Il Siciliano) (€ 20,00).
After lunch, head to the Basilica of the Holy Trinity of the Chancellor, known as La Magione, one of the oldest churches of Palermo in the Kalsa district (Mon-Sat 9: 00-19: 00, Sun 9: 00-13: 00).
At 250 meters there is the Church of S. Maria dello Spasimo, very suggestive because it has no roof, it is deconsecrated and today hosts concerts and events (8: 00-20: 00, closed on Thursday).
Cross Via della Vetriera (350 m), you are at La Gancia, Church of S. Maria degli Angeli, known for the wooden ceiling (9: 00-17: 00, Sat 9: 00-13: 00, holidays 10:00 -12: 30).
So go to the Foro Italico, in front of you just 450 m. IS' the favorite walk of Palermoas well as the waterfront. Enjoy the landscape also from the Mura delle Cattive (stairway next to Porta Felice).

End the day with a seafood dinner at Paolo's Scialè Estivo (€ 35,00).

In summary:

  • Distance traveled: 2,9 km / 36 min
  • Places visited: Villa Giulia (free), Botanical garden (€ 6,00), La Magione (€ 3,00), Church of Santa Maria dello Spasimo (€ 2,00), La Gancia (free), Foro italico (free)
  • Daily shopping: € 70,00
  • tour of the magnificent mix of architectural styles exclusive tour of the monuments of the city 4 hour private walking tour
  • Lunch at Pizzeria I Picciotti (Il Siciliano) (Get directions), Dinner at Scialè Estivo da Paolo (Get directions)

5 day

The Catacombs of the Capuchins are certainly a macabre place but, for those who feel it, really very suggestive. One of the most impressive in the world with hundreds of mummified bodies of characters from 9th-00th century Palermo, arranged according to a "cataloging" by professions (13: 00-15: 00 and 18: 00-: ).
10 minutes on foot, via Via Antonino Agostino, will lead you to The Zisa (from the Arabic al-Azīz, "the glorious", "the splendid"). Amazing example of Arabic architecture outside the walls of the ancient city of Palermo, the most important and representative monument of the Genoardo, from the Arabic jannat al-ar, "garden" or "paradise of the earth" (9: 00-19: 00, Sun and holidays 9: 00-13: 00).

At the L'Emiro-Di Svevia stop, take bus 124 and get off (10 stops, 18 min) at Roma-Bandiera.
Have lunch at the Osteria Mangia e Bevi (average cost € 20,00).
Dedicate the afternoon to visit of the so-called Treasures of the Loggia, as the neighborhood behind the Church of San Domenico was once called. Here masterpieces by Serpotta and Gagini are ringed: the Oratory of the Rosary of San Domenico, the Church and Oratory of Santa Cita, the Church of S. Maria in Valverde and San Giorgio dei Genovesi. All open from 9:00 to 18:00.
Towards evening, walk along via Bottai (700 meters) towards Piazza Marina, the most beautiful in the city according to the Palermitans.

End the day with a dinner at La Cambusa (€ 25,00).

In summary:

  • Distance traveled: 5.1 km / 1 h 2 min
  • Places visited: Catacombs of the Capuchins (€ 3,00), La Zisa (free gardens, palace € 6,00), Oratorio Santa Cita (€ 6,00), Oratorio San Domenico (€ 4,00), Churches of S. Maria and S . Giorgio (free), Piazza Marina (free)
  • Daily shopping: € 70,00
  • Lunch at Osteria Mangia e Bevi (Get directions), Dinner at La Cambusa (Get directions)

6 day

For this sixth day enjoy another day excursion, a Monreale and Cefalù.
To reach Monreale, the 389 bus from Indipendenza - Palazzo Reale to Fontana Del Drago is convenient, 30 minutes € 1,40. Since you have to reach Cefalù in the afternoon, we advise you to rent a car (starting from € 25,00 per day). Alternatively, you can take part in the half day organized tour from Palermo, which would be the most comfortable option (from € 65,00 per person).

La Monreale Cathedral, Unesco Heritage since 2015, it is famous for its mosaic decoration, the largest in Italy, and for the Christ Pantocrator in the apse (8: 30-12: 45 and 14: 30-16: 30). Inside it is also possible to see the royal tombs of William I and William II. The cloister and the surrounding medieval village are also worth seeing.

For lunch the choice is very wide, we recommend Bricco E Bacco (€ 15,00).
After lunch you reach Cefalù: the train (with change in Palermo) takes 1 hour (max € 40,00) otherwise an hour by car via the E-90.
Absolutely to see the Cathedral (10: 00-13: 00 and 15: 00-18: 00), the Mandralisca museum (9: 00-19: 00), the Medieval Lavatory, the medieval village and the seafront.

If you are self-driving and free from time constraints, we suggest you dine here, overlooking the sea, at Al Porticciolo (average cost per person € 40,00).

In summary:

  • Distance traveled: 160 km / 2 h 57 min by car including travel from / to Palermo
  • Places visited: Cathedral of Monreale (€ 4,00); Cefalù: Cathedral (€ 3,00), Mandralisca museum (€ 6,00), medieval wash house (free), seafront (free), medieval village (free)
  • Daily shopping: € 95,00
  • Monreale and Cefalù: half day tour from Palermo
  • Lunch at Bricco E Bacco (Get directions), Dinner at Al Porticciolo (Get directions)

7 day

For this last day in Sicily, we recommend an excursion to Marsala, Stagnone and Saline Islands.
The ideal would be to be independent with the means (1 hour and 30 min by car via E90 and A29dir, car rental cost from € 25,00 per day), otherwise, the bus takes between 2 hours and 2 and a half hours and costs about € 10,00.

The attractions of Marsala are the Archaeological Museum (9: 00-18: 30, Sun and holidays until 13:30), the Hypogeum of Crispia Salvia and the Church of Purgatory.
But the pride of the city is his lagoon, a nature reserve where the Saline are located and Stagnone islands (among which there is Mozia). To reach them you have to take one of the many ferries that depart every day from the port of Mozia, in the Contrada Spagnola, in Marsala.
The salt pans are a natural spectacle formed by waters with a high salt concentration. You will see windmills, tanks for the evaporation of sea water, huge piles of salt and, of course, admire a somewhat unusual panorama. Mozia is instead a very special island whose territory is entirely considered an archaeological park; this peculiarity has earned it the title of Unesco site! The nature reserve can be accessed from 9:15 am to 18:30 pm.

Given the type of trip, for lunch we suggest you bring a lunch-box while, if you can stop here for the evening, have dinner at Mammacaura (€ 30,00).

In summary:

  • Distance traveled: 271 km / 3 h 58 min by car including travel from / to Palermo
  • Places visited: Archaeological Museum (€ 4,00), Hypogeum of Crispia Salvia (free), Church of Purgatory (free), Stagnone Islands: lagoon, salt pans, Isola Mozia (€ 5,00)
  • Daily shopping: € 55,00
  • From Palermo: Private Wine and West Sicily Tour
  • Lunch box lunch, Dinner at Mammacaura (Get directions)

How much does a week cost in Palermo

NB: The prices expressed in the table above are to be intended "per person".

Palermo (and its surroundings) is exactly in one mid-range from a cost point of view. Without prejudice to the discourse, valid for any destination, that the high season periods reach very high prices, those who have the opportunity to come to these areas in the low season (May / June and September), consider saving a good 25% on accommodation and services. Among other things, considering its very advantageous geographical position, even in these periods of the year, it still enjoys an optimal climatic condition.

However, in Palermo there are accommodations for all budgets and all needs, from the cheapest to the decidedly luxurious ones. Ditto for the food: there are starred fish restaurants but to spend little you just have to be satisfied with the tasty local street-food (arancini, panelle, crocchè, ca 'meusa bread etc ...). The very useful City Card Palermo: it costs only € 10,00 and for 72 hours you can enjoy discounts and concessions on entrances, rentals and restaurants.

  • starting from € 70,00 -
  • Hotel and b & b starting from € 30,00 per room -
  • Palermo by hop-on hop-off bus with 24-hour ticket 3-hour street food and history walking tour Corleone: private full-day tour from Palermo
  • Total cost of a week, flight included: from € 700,00 per person

Before leaving: useful tips

  • When to visit Palermo: the Mediterranean climate allows you to visit Palermo all year round. If you also want to do a seaside life, opt for summer, otherwise mid-seasons are preferred - find out more
  • the airport is 35 km from the center, reachable by Trinacria Express (ticket cost € 5,80), Prestia and Comandè bus (ticket cost € 6,30), taxi (average fare € 40,00)
  • the historic center is huge, avoid staying outside. Choose Mondello if you want to dedicate yourself only to the sea.
  • Getting around: the historic center can be visited on foot, but you have to walk; for neighboring excursions (eg Monreale or Mondello) the bus is the best way even if not punctual (single ride € 1,40, daily booklet € 3,50). Beware of renting a car as traffic is heavy and often messy - find out more
  • Recommended cards and passes: Palermo City Card, includes discounts and concessions on entrances, rentals and restaurants. It lasts 72 hours and costs € 10,00

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