What to see in Palermo in 3 days

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Joel Fulleda

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

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Capital of Sicily, Palermo is a city with an ancient charm that offers its visitors the opportunity to get lost among cathedrals, palaces, theaters and markets, without forgetting the sea.
Here Normans, Byzantines and Arabs lived and almost everywhere you can enjoy the mixture of cultures that have coexisted for centuries.
Here is an itinerary to visit Palermo in 3 days.


  1. 1 day
  2. 2 day
  3. 3 day
  4. How much does a weekend in Palermo cost
  5. User questions and comments

1 day

1 - Morning: Breakfast, Capo Market, Immaculate Conception Church, Sant'Agostino Church, Cathedral

For your first day in Palermo we suggest a good breakfast based on typical sweets at the Pasticceria Scimone (pastries from € 1,00).
From here in 8 minutes on foot you reach the Cape Market which dates back to the times of Muslim rule and is definitely worth a quick look.
Nearby are also the Church of the Immaculate Conception (Mon-Sun 09: 00-17: 00) and that of Sant'Agostino also known as "Santa Rita" with an adjacent beautiful cloister (Mon-Sat 07: 00-12 : 00 and 16: 00-19: 00; Sun 7: 30-12: 00).

Here you are in the center and continuing through the alleys you will arrive at the beautiful and imposing Cathedral of S. Virgin Maria, one of the most evocative places in the city.
Take about 30 minutes to visit its interior and climb the rooftops from where you will have a wonderful view (Mon-Sat 09: 00-14: 00, Sun 09: 00-13: 00; free admission, to go up € 2,00) .

2 - Afternoon: Lunch, Church of San Giovanni degli Eremiti, Palazzo dei Normanni, Convent of the Capuchins and catacombs, Giardino della Zisa

For a good lunch we suggest the Trattoria Bersagliere where you can taste traditional dishes of the day at very reasonable prices (lunch from € 15,00 to € 25,00) before resuming your tour of Palermo.

After having refreshed you reach with a walk of 20 minutes before the Church of San Giovanni degli Eremiti of Norman origin surmounted by red domes, symbol of the Arab-Norman style of Palermo (full € 6,00, reduced € 3,00).
From here you reach the Norman Palace, also known as the Royal Palace, and in about 90 minutes visit the frescoed rooms and the Palatine Chapel completely decorated with Byzantine mosaics (Mon-Sat: 8: 15-17: 40. Sundays and holidays from 8:15 to 13:00; Full admission € 12,00 - Reduced € 10,00).

Once out, you can walk for 20 minutes or take the bus 327 which leaves you from Piazza Indipendenza at the Pitrè-Pindemonte stop near the Catacombs of the Capuchins (travel time 6 minutes, € 1,40).
Inside the convent there are the famous Catacombs which house 8.000 mummified bodies including the little Rosalia, one of the most famous mummies in Italy (hours every day from 9:00 to 13:00 and from 15:00 to 18:00; cost € 3,00).
After this slightly macabre visit, another 20 minutes on foot (about 1 km) from via Cipressi to finish the afternoon at the Zisa Castle, a palace built in 1165 as a summer residence for the royal family (Mon-Sat: 9: 00-18: 30. Sundays and holidays 9: 00-13: 30; cost € 6,00).

3 - Evening: Aperitif and dinner in Piazza Verdi

To end the first day in Palermo we suggest you to reach Piazza Verdi, near the Teatro Massimo, where you will find several clubs and restaurants to spend the evening (bus 124 to Central Station P. Verdi stop € 1,40 valid for 90 minutes or € 3,50, daily).
Reach Pasqualino la Tavernetta del Buon Bere for an excellent aperitif served with trays of "pane cunzato" and then go for dinner at Fud Bottega Sicula a sublime gastronomic experience (hamburger from € 9,50).

In summary:

  • Distance traveled: 7,5 km / 1 h 34 min
  • Places visited: Capo Market (free), Immaculate Conception Church (free), Sant'Agostino Church (free), Cathedral of St. Virgin Mary (free), Church of San Giovanni degli Eremiti (€ 6,00), Palazzo dei Normanni (€ 12,00 , 3,00), Capuchin Convent and Catacombs (€ 6,00), Zisa Castle (€ )
  • Discovering Palermo: tour with a local guide
  • Breakfast at Pasticceria Scimone (Get directions), Lunch at Il Bersagliere (Get directions), Dinner at Fud Bottega Sicula (Get directions)

2 day

1 - Morning: Breakfast, Politeama Theater, Massimo Theater, Salinas Museum

For your second day in Palermo you could start the day from Politeama Theater that gives its best outside.
Going down via Ruggero Settimo, at the intersection with the pedestrian street Principe di Belmonte you will find the Antico Caffè Spinnato where you can have an excellent breakfast of cannoli and almond cakes (pastries from € 1,50).
Continue to the Massimo Opera House, the largest Italian opera house and one of the most important in Europe. We suggest a guided tour inside that you can do from Monday to Friday from 9:30 to 18:00 (cost € 8,00); the best alternative would be to book a ticket for the evening shows according to the calendar.
At this point, if you fancy a bit of Sicilian history, stop by at Antonio Salinas Regional Archaeological Museum to admire the collection of artifacts concerning this region (Tuesdays: 9: 30-18: 30. Sunday from 9:30 to 13:30; cost € 4,00).

2 - Afternoon: Lunch, Quattro Canti, Fontana Pretoria, Piazza Bellini, Kalsa district, Santa Maria dello Spasimo, Piazza Marina, Palazzo Steri, Giardino Garibaldi

Lunch at the historic Ferro di Cavallo restaurant (dishes from € 6,00) along the road that takes you to the Quattro Canti, a crossroads distinguished by 3 orders of baroque statues found in the 4 corners.
After resting, admire the Fontana Pretoria in the homonymous square and the religious structures of Piazza Bellini: the Church of San Cataldo and the Church of the Martorana (opening hours from Mon to Sat 9: 30-13: 00 15: 30-17: 30; Sunday 9: 00-10: 30. Admission € 2,00).
If you like markets pass by Vucciria to get to Kalsa (15 minutes on foot) or go directly by skipping the market and passing through the Giudici descent and Via Sant'Anna.

La Kalsa is a very picturesque popular neighborhood where you can see several murals and the beautiful Church of Santa Maria dello Spasimo with an open-air central nave that makes this complex unique (opening hours Tuesday-Sunday from 09: 30-18: 30, free admission).
Before the last afternoon stop, eat a good granita with ice cream or a chocolate at the Cioccolateria Lorenzo and then finish the day in one of the most beautiful squares in Palermo.
Piazza Marina, in addition to hosting the Garibaldi Garden with an immense specimen of Ficus Magnolioides, is the seat of several historic buildings such as Palazzo Steri, home to the Museum of the Inquisition and the "Vucciria" of Guttuso, Palazzo Abatellis, home to the Regional Gallery of Sicily, Galletti di S. Cataldo palace, etc.

3 - Evening: aperitif and dinner

To conclude the second day in Palermo, treat yourself to a good aperitif at Calamida a place located on the ancient port of Palermo and then finish with a full immersion in palermo street food going up Corso Vittorio Emanuele up to Via Pannieri. Here, stop by Rocky Basile, for the best sandwich with the spleen in town (€ 1,50), and then enter Piazza Caracciolo following the smokes and aromas of the street food at Vucciria (tastings from € 1,00).

In summary:

  • Distance traveled: 4,2 km / 52 min
  • Places visited: Politeama Theater (external), Massimo Theater (€ 8,00), Salinas Museum (€ 4,00), Quattro Canti (free), Fontana Pretoria, Piazza Bellini, Vucciria, Kalsa and Santa Maria dello Spasimo (free), Piazza Marina, Palazzo Steri (€ 5,00), Garibaldi Garden
  • 3 hour tour with the segway walking tour between street food and 3 hour history
  • Breakfast at Caffè Spinnato (Get directions), Lunch at Ferro di Cavallo (Get directions), Dinner at Rocky Basile alla Vucciria (Get directions)

3 day

1 - Morning: breakfast and visit of Monreale

The last day in Palermo we suggest you dedicate it to a couple of trips out of town.
After having breakfast at Bar Santoro (€ 3,00) near the Norman Palace, take bus 389 which from Piazza Indipendenza will take you in about 30 minutes to Monreale (frequency approximately every 30 minutes, cost € 1,40 ticket 90 minutes or € 3,50 daily).
Get off at the terminus and walk to the Cathedral of Santa Maria Nuova, one of the most important medieval churches.
Visit the interior where you can admire beautiful mosaics and then move to the nearby monastery of San Benedetto (weekdays 8: 30-12: 30 and 14: 30-17: 00; holidays 08: 00-09: 30 and 14: 30-17: 00. Admission € 4,00).

With a short walk of 10 minutes through the alleys of Monreale you reach the Belvedere which is located behind the Town Hall from which you will have a wonderful overview of Palermo and its surroundings.
At this point, go back to the terminus to get back on the bus and reach the sea of ​​Mondello, the most beautiful city beach.

2 - Afternoon: lunch and Mondello beach

To get to Mondello from Monreale you can take a taxi which takes about 30 minutes and will cost you € 30,00 or you can get around by public transport.
In this case it will take you approximately 1 hour and a half and you will first have to take line 380 (from Monreale terminus to Indipendenza) then 104 (from Indipendenza to Puglisi Bertolino) and finally bus 806 (Piazza Don Sturzo to the Regina Elena factory) .
Once you arrive, treat yourself to a good lunch by the sea at the B&B Simpaty Restaurant (main courses € 12,00) and if time permits, treat yourself to an afternoon in the sun or a walk on the beach.
Then take the 806 bus again which in about 1 hour will take you to the city center (from Principe di Scalea to Politeama about 1 hour).

3 - Evening: Underground Palermo and dinner

For the last evening in the city we suggest a very suggestive tour: the "Underground Palermo" which usually starts from the court yard.
The visits allow you to walk underground following particular channels, the famous Qanat (hours 19:00, 20:00 or 21:00 cost € 16,00 booking required at 3806523494, 3285717631 or 3396042434).
After this unique experience, if you are hungry, we recommend the nearby Ristorante ai Vecchietti di Minchiapititto which serves excellent local food (about € 30,00).

In summary:

  • Distance traveled: 44,9 km / 1 h 17 min by car
  • Places visited: Monreale, Mondello and underground Palermo (€ 16,00 approximately)
  • Monreale: Cathedral, Monastery and Mosaics Guided Tour Palermo, Monreale and Mondello: Private Tour and Street Food Palermo and Monreale: Half-Day Historical Tour
  • Breakfast at Bar Santoro (Get directions), Lunch at B&B Simpaty Restaurant (Get directions), Dinner at Ai Vecchietti Restaurant (Get directions)

How much does a weekend in Palermo cost

Palermo is a pretty cheap city both for accommodation (you can find excellent central b & bs without spending too much) and for eating.
The offer in the field of catering is varied, you can have lunch and dinner in the markets or kiosks that often serve dishes of the day at moderate prices or decide to indulge in more chic restaurants.
If you plan to use public transport often, the day ticket at € 3,50 is worthwhile even if Palermo is a beautiful city to visit on foot.

  • Costs to eat: about € 35,00 per day per person (including breakfast, lunch, dinner)
  • Costs for museums and attractions: about € 60,00 per person following the itinerary we suggest
  • Transportation: about € 15,00 per person (return bus from airport and bus to Mondello and Monreale)
  • Hotels, accommodation and b & b: Hotel and b & b starting from € 45,00 per room -
  • Fun: from € 15,00 per person per day (including snacks, coffee, aperitifs, drinks, ...)
  • Total cost of a weekend in Palermo: from € 400,00 per person (flights excluded)

Before leaving: useful tips

  • When to visit Palermo: the best times to visit Palermo are spring and autumn when the days are warm but not muggy - find out more
  • definitely by plane (flights from € 29,00 -). The Falcone and Borsellina airport is 35 km from the center and is connected by the buses of the Prestia and Comandè company (from 4:00 to 00:15 every 30 minutes - single ride € 6,00, round trip € 10,00). Travel time is about 40 minutes depending on traffic. Alternatively the taxi costs about € 40,00, a collective taxi to share with 4 other people that leaves only when full costs about € 8,00 per person
  • the best area to stay in palermo is the historic center - Hotels and b & b from € 45,00 per room -
  • Getting around: the best way is on foot; to reach the beach of Mondello and other places outside the city you can use buses or taxis - find out more

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