Do you recall that horrible feeling that you missed something when you go home after travelling? Well, I want you to make the most of Palermo. I have worked to pare down all the things to do in Palermo to 10 of the musts.
1. See the sights
The first thing you must do in Palermo is visit all the monuments and places that made the history of the city. In the “town of delights”, Arabic domes, baroque churches, Art Nouveau buildings, neoclassical theaters, eighteenth green spaces, and bustling traditional outdoor markets, like the Arab Souk, coexist harmoniously.
Impossible not to be charmed by this city that is undeniably beautiful, even though it displays the signs of neglect and decay in many of its historical monuments. However, the mild climate, the vitality of the Palermitans, and the outstanding Sicilian food conceal any of the city’s weaknesses. Check out the top 15 things to see in Palermo.
2. Taste the delicacies of Sicilian cuisine
Palermo gastronomy is varied, healthy, and tasty. From appetizers to desserts, Palermo offers dishes with a unique and unforgettable flavor, a unique combination of ingredients, and fragrances, resulted from the passage of the countless dominions, which have left their mark in the Sicilian cuisine. Saffron, pistachio nuts, dairy products, prickly pear, and aromas for granita are just some of the items used in the inventive Palermo cuisine. Don’t fill your stomach only with Cannoli and Cassata, but taste the traditional dishes of the popular street food as well, such Arancini, Panelle, and Crocchè, or the proverbial pani ca ‘meusa. Check out what you must eat in Palermo.
3. Take a bath in the best beaches of Sicily
In the beaches of the beautiful province of Palermo, you will feel like you are in seventh heaven. All the beaches on the north coast will welcome you in a unique way and make you spend pleasant days between relaxation and entertainment. The variedness of the Palermo Coast will ensure the best choices that suit your needs, from beautiful pebble beaches and cliffs to wonderful sandy beaches. The favorable climatic conditions make it possible to go swimming from April until October.
4. Experience the Palermo Nightlife
Palermo offers an intense nightlife that compares with other well-known Italian cities, like Milan or Rome. There is a great selection of cocktails & wine bars and discos that gratify all different tastes and needs of people. You can have a drink and watch the sunset in Mondello, drink a beer in some trendy pub while listening live music, or dance in the old street market, Vucciria, until 5 am. Many cultural associations organize great night out in Palermo where culture and art are mixed with music and fun.
Palermo nightlife is a parallel world made of sounds, lights, and colors to discover. See the best places to experience.
5. Watch Sicilian Puppet Theatre
The Opera Dei Pupi Siciliani (The Sicilian Puppets Theatre) is a type of puppet theater in which the main characters are Charlemagne and his paladins. The puppets are called Pupi (from the Latin “pupus” meaning child). The marionette theatre is typical of the Sicilian tradition, and UNESCO recognizes it as a masterpiece of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity. Learn more about the Pupi Siciliani.
6. Go for shopping
If you are in the beautiful Sicilian capital, and you feel like doing a bit of stylish shopping, you will be spoilt for choice. Palermo has plenty of streets in the city centre where you will find boutiques of the most important brands, like Prada, Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Hermes. The Old Town’s alleys are full of small shops where you can buy Made in Italy products at low cost. Whatever your budget and whatever your style, in Palermo you always find what you need. See the best place for shopping in Palermo.
7. Visit Palermo by Vespa, Ape or Carriage
One of the best ways to visit Sicily Island is definitely by the timeless myth of Vespa. You will breathe sea air and the scent of lemons while you explore the far corners of the city at full speed.
If you don’t like going on “2 wheels” – or is two are not enough – why don’t you go for three? I’m talking about the iconic Piaggio Ape, also known as Ape car. You will experience the city with a local driver, who will show you the best part of Palermo from another point of view.
Don’t you like the three wheels? Well, go on four legs! Another way to visit Palermo is by horse drawn carriage. You will experience the Sicilian capital from the comfort of a horse-drawn carriage and be part of a 200-year-old tradition in Palermo. The “Carrozza” (carriage) service is allowed only in the area of the old town and in some other tourist parts of the city.
8. Go on excursions
Whether you go to Palermo in winter or in summer season, there will be many excursions that you can’t miss. Isole Eolie (Aeolian Islands), Isole Egadi (Egadi Islands), Etna Mount, Nebrodi Mountains, and Monreale are just a few of the places that you can easily reach from Palermo. You can even plan a Mafia tour to see all the most important place where the organized crime Cosa Nostra begun to take its first steps. I suggest asking some tour operator or a local agent to plan the right excursion based on the time you have available. Learn more about places to visit near Palermo.
9. Spend time with locals
Sicilians are a very particular people, especially people from Palermo, as the result of a series of the different cultures ruling the city throughout its long history. The Palermitans feature a long list of strengths and weaknesses – often contradicting each other – that make them unique in the world. Hospitable and generous, but they created Cosa Nostra; rough but clever suitors; non-English speakers, but able to make everyone understand; proud of themselves and their city, but they crave living abroad. Spending time with a Palermitan will be an experience of life!
10. Go for a stroll and visit all districts
The town has a lot of districts very different from each other. As well as the most famous quarters mentioned by the most authoritative tourist guides, I suggest you take a good pair of walking shoes and visit the city from the top to the bottom. Every ten steps, you will have to stop and admire something. Every neighbourhood has characteristics that make it unique. Learn more about the districts of Palermo.