Palermo Vacations

Despite not being one of Italy's “must-see” cities, and a bit of a reputation for crime (though what major city doesn't have crime?), Palermo is an Italian metropolis full of culture, beautiful architecture, and a uniquely southern style. Separated from the mainland by only a narrow strip of water, Sicily, and Palermo in particular, feels ... Read more
incredibly remote-- in terms of both space and time. You may, for instance, find your taxi driver yelling and gesticulating wildly about the slowly-moving horse-drawn cart in front of you creating a traffic jam. Palermo was was one of the most important ports in antiquity, and it seems everyone had a turn at conquering the city. It shows in its architectural and cultural history-- a melting pot of Greek, Italian, Norman, and Arabic influences. Though technically a large city, the historic center and a number of exciting things to see are all within reasonable walking distance of each other: Monreale Cathedrale, Qattro Canti, Catacombe di Cappuccini, Gesu Church, and Piazza Pretoria-- the city is certainly no slouch when it comes to sight-seeing, offering world-class art and archeological museums. If the grit and dirt of the city start to overwhelm you (Remember, this is Sicily. It does get hot and sticky, especially during the summer, when the afternoon siesta becomes a necessity), day trips to Zisa or Cuba palace, the beach at Mondello, or even the Mediterranean island of Ustica offer welcome refreshment.
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Palermo places to stay and top hotels

Palermo things to do and experiences

  • Teatro Massimo
    9.225 reviews
    Performing Arts, Theater, Opera House
    Popular withHistoryArtsy
  • Palazzo dei Normanni
    9.618 reviews
    Sights and Museums, Historic Site, Castle or Palace
    Popular withHistoryArtsy
  • Teatro Politeama
    9.314 reviews
    Performing Arts, Concert Hall, Theater
    Popular withHistoryFamilies
  • Fontana Pretoria
    9.213 reviews
    Sights and Museums, Monument
    Popular withHistoryArtsy

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Palermo

Weather

Weather-wise, the best times to visit Sicily are during the late spring (May to early June) or early fall (late September and October) when temperatures are in the 70s and 80s Fahrenheit (20s Celsius). ... Read more
Unfortunately, the timing of Sicily’s ideal weather is a well-known fact: this is when most tourists flood the island, driving up prices. Tourists stick around the coasts until mid-September, though you likely won’t want to; July and August temperatures can reach unbearable levels. Late fall and winter are too cool for swimming, but much quieter, and sites begin to reduce their hours; some resort hotels shut down entirely.

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Top Palermo restaurants

  • Antica Focacceria San Francesco
    9.19 reviews
    Italian, Deli & Sandwich
    Popular withFoodiesFamilies
  • Ferramenta
    8.01 review
    Italian
    Popular withLuxury
  • A'Cuncuma
    9.02 reviews
    $$$$
    Italian, Mediterranean
    Popular withFoodiesNightlife
  • Tritalo
    9.02 reviews
    Seafood, Burgers, Italian, Salad
    Popular withFamiliesFoodies
Palermo

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Palermo reviews & trip reports

  • 9.8
    History Buffs
  • 9.4
    Foodies
  • 7.4
    Art & Design Lovers
  • 7.1
    Family Travelers
  • 6.7
    Trendsters

Member Reviews(60)

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San Francisco, California, USA
Community Manager

Many combine their visits to Palermo and Cefalu because they offer such different things but are really not far from one another. Palermo is a fascinating city that's worth visiting, even if just for the day. Lots to see and eat!

Recommended for:FoodiesHistory Buffs
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Montreal

Busy and dirty. We did not get a good vibe or maybe Palermo was just not a city for us. We went to close by cities like Mondello and Cefalu which we loved.

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San Francisco, California, USA
Ambassador

I've been to many places in Italy. If I had to compare Palermo to any other, I'd say it feels like a more industrialized and spread-out Naples: The smog on some streets are bad, so much so that they sting my eyes

Recommended for:Budget TravelersFoodiesHistory Buffs
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Padua, Italy

Sicily is the most beautiful Region In Italy, for climate, nature, History, food. You can take a tan and ten minutes after visiting a museum or an historical site. There are many monuments to visit. People are calm and typical dishes are really fantastic, expecially seafood. Sweets and cakes are also excellent: granita al caffè, cannoli alla siciliana, cassata. If you go you ought to try all of them.The sea is beautiful also, but not everywhere. It is really fantastic in the islands (Eolie, Egadi, Pelagie) and in Riserva dello Zingaro, close to Trapani. Palermo is a very alive city with nice theatres, restaurant and shops.

Recommended for:Family TravelersTrendsters
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Rome

One of my favorite cities in Italy! Check out this view of the city... You can see the the city's cathedral in the background as well.

Recommended for:Adventure TravelersArt & Design LoversBackpackersFoodies
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Longmont, Colorado, USA

I really enjoyed our time in Palermo. The city supposedly has been cleaned up dramatically and we had no problems. Palermo's architecture is a fusion of Italian, Greek and Arab elements. There are many beautiful churches and palaces to see. The Cappuchin Catacombs are just about the creepiest thing I have ever seen. If you like seafood, the food is excellent.

Recommended for:Art & Design LoversBudget TravelersFoodiesHistory Buffs
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Verona, Italy

One of the most incredible markets of Palermo is 'la Vucciria', closed to the port.in the night this neighborhood is full of young people and you can eat fish and have cheap drinks.

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Piacenza, Italy

An impressive load of art at your disposal, ranging from palaces, hundreds of churches, 400-year old courtyards, botanical gardens, eucalyptus trees, stench and perfume of sweet and salty delicacies. Palermo is a festival for your senses, barely sleeps (if not after lunch for long siestas), opens up to you like it had been waiting for you to be discovered. Aside from the rubbish more or less everywhere, the discontent for most lacking services, the sicilians here are living a bustling life, made prominently of relations, family and living the streets. No wonder Palermo has been a mouthwatering desire for Arabs, Greek, Normans, Hunns or Carthage. Just one big sad comment: Palermo can only find improvement through themselves, because Sicilians are very jealous of their problems. Palermo is not among the top 5 must see cities in Italy for that reason and because it's "hard to handle". Be prepared for some rough traveling, which makes it even nicer!

Recommended for:Budget TravelersOutdoor EnthusiastsStudents
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Pittsford (town), New York

This was our first stop on a tour of Sicily. What a way to begin! One can sense the influence of nearby North Africa in this busy, colorful, and friendly city. Fabulous restaurants and bakeries, picturesque markets, beautiful buildings of historic significance, and a unique combination of gritty and upscale areas all combine to create an exciting urban experience!

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It feels big, though the population is less than 1M, and it sure does bustle. The driving is chaotic, the history rich, and the restaurants serve up wonderful Sicilian food with an emphasis on fish. After all, it's an island. A popular dish is pasta with sardines, fennel, raisins and pine nuts in a light tomato / saffron sauce. Add a bottle of Nero D'Avola and you are on your way to gustatory bliss. Incredible.

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