This article will give you multiple tips and considerations to make when the time comes to book a stay in Palermo. Read through this carefully to make sure you have all the relevant information necessary to make the best choice.
Ciao! It is your purebred Sicilian friend Nico here.
Today is all about saving you money and time when you take your vacation to Palermo. To do this, we are going to talk about the best places you should stay.
Before we begin, there’s one crucial thing you need to know.
Where you book your hotel in Palermo makes a difference. This single choice can let you say, “What a great time we had in Palermo” to “What a nightmare that was“.
If you don’t take the time to get the right information, you might end up in accommodations that aren’t exactly on the brochure. You end up in inconvenient or unsafe areas of the city that make the vacation terrible.
This has even happened to me in other areas of the world.
If you don’t have the patience to look deeply at an area, you might just get caught looking at pictures or reading some reviews that might not be forthcoming about all the potential problems.
And really isn’t aspect like the size of your hotel bathroom or decorations in the room that are going to make or break the trip. Instead, it is where these accommodations are located.
That is critical.
It cannot be understated that choosing the best place in Palermo is important for your trip. Carefully read what is happening throughout this guide despite the fact that it’s a long article.
You cannot find this information anywhere else on the internet, and it may completely change your opinion of the city because you took this time.
What Are the Best Places to Stay in Palermo?
It is not incorrect to say that Palermo is a huge city, as it is the 5th largest in the country. In total, there are 25 different districts that make up the area.
As is the case with any big city, you have beautiful and convenient areas that are ideal for tourism, but also inconvenient areas or shady places that even Satan himself wouldn’t comfortably sleep.
I won’t lie to you and tell you that we only have great areas. This would make Palermo a paradise, and I don’t think we have any place like that on our planet.
A priest friend of mine one said, “if you believe you seen heaven on the planet, you’re either dead or you’re dumb“.
To make things a little easier for you I boiled down some of the areas that I would recommend someone should stay. There are three of them, and they are:
- Centro Storico (Old Town)
- Politeama/Libertà (Downtown)
- Mondello (Seaside)
Before you let your finger go wild and start scrolling down, hold on a minute.
I’m going to take the time the list the best hotels, apartments, and B&B’s in each of these areas, but you should be diligent enough to read the pros and cons of each district.
I know I sound like a broken record, but it’s very important to me that you have a nice time.
Read the three area descriptions and then choose the hotel or accommodations that you like and what suits your traveling party. Capito (Understand)?
Good! Let’s not waste much time introducing you to these areas of the city. Stay with me.
Pros and Cons of the Top 3 Districts in Palermo
While I have already told you what the three best locations are to staying in Palermo, I should remind you again in case you forget things after only a brief time like I do.
- Politeama/Libertà (Downtown)
- Centro Storico (Historical Center/Old Town)
- Mondello (Seaside Resort Area)
Each of these has its own feel and distinct characteristics, so it matters what suits your plans and party the best.
Let’s take a closer look at each of these options in Palermo.
1. Politeama/Libertà (Downtown)
- Safe and clean- Walking distance to most attractions and monuments
- Active nightlife
- Directly connected with the airport
- Loaded with retail and restaurant locations
- Direct bus to Mondello Beach
- More traffic congestions
- Long-term stays
- Women traveling alone
- Visitors who rented or own a car
- Families with children
This shopping area is among the best in the entire city and surrounding areas.
From the early morning to late at night, there are always people here shopping (or at least pretending to.) You will find a myriad of stores including popular franchises like Zara and H&M to more luxurious brands for posh people like Prada and Gucci.
This is the quarter where you find some of the wealthiest inhabitants of the city. If you have an apartment on Libertà Road, or one of its side streets, there’s a good chance that you are well off.
Then again, you might just be one of the lucky devils who have inherited a property from their relatives, but even still the locals are always going to have that preconceived notion.
It’s sad to say, but we Sicilians live on stereotypes.
One of the drawbacks for this area is that it lacks the history and charm of Old Town, but has it unique attraction for those looking for a clean, safe, and less crowded environment.
Of course, in recent years, this area has seen an uptick in tourism.
My “damn website” (as many have put it) has been blamed as one of the causes for the growth in overall tourism, and the subsequent higher rental costs.
Perhaps one of the most important factors to consider for those traveling from airports, is how easy it is to reach the downtown area from the airport and vice versa. Shuttle buses and shared taxis both make stops in the main square here at Piazza Castelnuovo.
If you bring your car, you can park on the curb throughout the area. Be careful, as blue-lined spots (striscia blu) require payment.
Reasons You Should Stay in the Politeama/Libertà Area
Most of the times that I recommend staying in this area it is for three main reasons. Let’s take a look at them.
1. This is Deemed a Safe Area
Ultimately, Palermo is considered a safe place to stay. Do not let mafia stories and nonsense that people might show you in the movies dissuade you. They are not that way here, just on the silver screen.
Of course, like other cities in the world, there is a share of shady areas that you will want to avoid. This district is one of the safest in the city to stay and travel through.
I can guarantee you that no one is going to put a gun to your head, or “make you an offer you can’t refuse“, but this doesn’t mean that you cannot also make irresponsible, naive, or absent-minded decisions.
People get mugged everywhere on the planet. Even at Disneyland in Paris, pickpockets are looking around every corner. You need to take precautions even in one of the most magical places on Earth.
I will always say that there’s no safe place for certain people, namely those that are naive, dumb, and totally drunk.
2. Within a Short Walk of Main Attractions
Politeama/Libertà directly joins with Centro Storico (Old Town). Because of how close the two are, you can walk without difficulty to most of the major attractions of Old Town.
That’s right, I said 15 minutes on foot. If you are among those grouchy tourists that cannot stand a 15-minute walk, Palermo might not be the place for you. You really should visit most of this city on foot if you can.
The entire city doesn’t suit grouchy people. We have many flaws, so you are unlikely to last even a day.
You can walk to most of the major attractions from this district, but if you want to find a place to rest your feet, you can easily board a bus to Old Town on some of the only reliable and timely routes of our public transportation system.
If you have brought your car, another point in favor of this area is that it’s easier to park without having the pain of the ZTL (restricted traffic zone) like you experience in Old Town.
3. Active Scene at Night
Another advantage to suggesting this quarter over many of the other districts is the active nightlife. You might not compare it to some of the chaos and madness you find in Old Town, but the area is busy and full of bars and restaurants that stay open till late in the night.
Comparing it to Old Town, the atmosphere is far more refined and calmer.
I suppose I could paint you a picture by saying there are many smaller bars they feature well-dressed people sipping glasses of wine over polite conversation, snacking on a delicious aperitivo.
This is not where you go for loud music and dancing on tables. You’re not going to find big clubs with long lines outside of them. No people with dreadlocks, hard rockers, hippies, or people smoking joints.
This scene features well combed hair, high heels, designer handbags, evening dresses, button up shirts, and glasses of some of the finest Sicilian wine.
The locals started their winter nights out with a glass of wine around 8:00 PM. Then, you go to a restaurant to grab a bite and then move yourself to Old Town.
If you are a female traveling alone, this is a great place to be. You can make new friends easily in the bar without running into some of the lesser evolved Sicilians that we refer to as Tascios.
I recommend this area so often because it’s safe, clean, and convenient for tourists. It is a little less crowded than the historical center or Mondello during the appropriate seasons. If you want to live in the city temporarily as a real Sicilian, and you are willing to make a few extra steps to reach the major attractions, this is definitely the area you should consider.
Best Accommodations in Politeama/Libertà Area
This might be the moment you’ve been waiting for. Below, I want to list three different accommodations suitable for all budgets. In the next paragraph, I will list a couple of luxury options as well.
Hold your horses, I’m not quite done prefacing it.
The combinations that I have selected are not perfect. These places don’t exist in Palermo, nor do they in any other city.
Everything is subjective and personal.
I’ve worked in five-star luxury hotels and resorts such as The Four Seasons, Sheraton, and Millennium & Copthorne – and I can assure you that even these have flaws.
It really just depends on how you look at things and from what angle.
With that being said, here is the list that I have come up with. I selected 5 places to sleep based on the opinions I have gathered from thousands of visitors. Check it out.
Nico’s Golden Tip 💡:
No matter what you use to book accommodations, use a text box allowing you to make special requests. Leave a message stating that you would like a silent and clean room. People don’t typically realize how powerful that box actually is. The hotel staff labeled you as a “potential pain in the ass” and might give you some special care to avoid any disturbances.
1. Family Affair Palermo (B&B)
This place is small and cozy, with a distinct 19th century charm. It is refined, but at the same time comfortable and familiar with warmth and friendliness.
This place is already very picky about their cleaning, but in the aftermath of COVID-19, they became more obsessed with sanitizing all the time. This is a good thing.
You can find this on the elegant, tree-lined Via XX Settembre street. This sits next to the main shopping street in town, Via Libertà. You are at the heart of the district when you are staying here, so you really could not ask for a more ideal location.
You can walk to any of the major attractions in Old Town. If you have a heavy ass, as we Sicilians say about lazy people, you could hop on one of the many buses that will frequently come through the area to get you there.
There are many restaurants in cafes in the area, not to mention a large 24/7 supermarket named Carrefour around the corner.
The rooms that you stay in have a very tasteful interior and decor. A lot of thought went into their design. Antique floor and ceiling fixtures are gorgeous and are sure to catch your eye. Some of the rooms have balconies with street views as well.
You can get spoiled with some of these rooms, because they have all the comforts and amenities you hope to find. Each of these rooms has free Wi-Fi, TV, an electric kettle, a mini bar, and air conditioning. Some of the rooms also have a Nespresso coffee machine.
You are never going to be let down by the breakfast either. It is as delicious as it is abundant. There are sweet and savory items to suit every taste. Fruit, yogurt, serial, pastries, and more for even the pickiest of eaters. You get a very thorough Italian offering every morning that you stay here.
You also cannot ask for much better staff than what you have here. They will go the extra mile to make sure that the people staying here are happy, which is not necessarily given in Palermo. Most of these companies that you will find throughout the city have no idea what customer service is.
If you needed, this private parking nearby. This isn’t free, so you need to inform the staff before you arrive to make sure that you have a spot available.
The real drawback of this place are the cheaper rooms. Those that are overly critical might consider this accommodation too small or too loud as it is closer to reception area.
2. Politeama Apartments
If you are considering an apartment in the area, there is likely no better solution than the Politeama Apartments. I personally am a very big fan of this place.
These are apartments that are located on the 1st floor of one of the historic refurbished buildings in the city originally constructed in the 1800s. This has an old fashion lift inside which adds a unique charm to the structure. The apartments are not just meticulously cleaned, but also well sanitized with respect to new COVID-19 concerns.
The building is located in the main square of the district, named Piazza Castelnuovo. From this point, you can reach most of the main monuments in points of interest throughout the city on foot. This includes many of the delicious restaurants, cafes, bakeries, retail location, and local shops.
If you are staying here, you do not need to rent a car to visit the city. Often, you don’t even need to rely on the public transportation system if you are not one of the lazy people scared to walk a little.
The apartment you can rent our very well designed, spacious, and adorned with comfortable furniture.
These units are designed for an extended stay. Guests can benefit from air conditioning and heating in all of the rooms, free Wi-Fi, TV, and a stocked kitchen including a fridge, kettle, and microwave. You can also enjoy larger bathrooms with showers, toilets, a bidet, and a hair dryer for use.
The host of these apartments is exceptional and making sure your stay is a memorable one. He is friendly and capable of helping you out with anything you might need.
Nearby, there is safe paid parking available. It is possible to leave your car here for extended periods of time. Ask your host before arriving.
Really, the only complaints that I have received involved the lack of washing machines in some of the rooms. Others might note that the Wi-Fi signal is not as strong in certain areas of the building as it is with those closer to the primary router. You have to make a decision as to whether or not this bothers you enough to deter your stay.
3. Hotel Politeama
This four-star location is historic, and despite having ups and downs in the past, it is thankfully firmly on the right track under new management.
I would not describe this structure as beautiful, as it has no real wow effect. It is, however, very clean and tidy. They have created a thorough coronavirus protocol.
The highlight of this place is really the location. Because it is found in the main square of the quarter, Piazza Castelnuovo, right in front of the renowned Politeama Theater, it is a well sought-after location to stay.
Choosing this place means that you are close to everything. Shops, attractions, restaurants, and more all can get easily reached. You can also quickly hop on a bus to Mondello Beach right around the corner.
You should note that the rooms here are modern, spacious, and highly clean.
The rooms for guests have all the comforts you might expect in a four-star hotel. Just know that, much like every other large hotel, there are different types of rooms available. A simple equation shows the cheaper the room the crappier it becomes.
Some Luxury Options in Politeama/Libertà Area
There is not an abundance of five-star hotels in Palermo that make you jump up and down with excitement.
The reason is obvious, as we have a historic city with a great beach and tons of things to do.
This requires a lot of time to explore and be away from a hotel, so as a consequence, tourists and locals alike are less likely to spend their money on a 5-star accommodation they are only using to sleep and shower.
Of course, your motivations might change if you were loaded.
Below, I have included two spots that you should check out if you aimed to raise the bar for your accommodations.
1. Hotel Wagner
This historic location in Palermo was recently renovated and restored from its original construction in the early 1900s.
When the moment that you walk in the place, it will take your breath away with its rare marble, elaborate chandeliers, old paintings on the wall, and rich carpeting. The interior has been included in a famous Italian film “The Leopard”.
Much like other accommodations in the area, the location of this structure is one of the biggest draws. Between two historical theaters in the city, including the Politeama and the Massimo. Massimo Theater is found where Old Town begins, and Politeama Theater is one of the focal points of the district.
Because you have so many restaurants and cafes surrounding you at this location, you can easily walk to many of the main tourist sites throughout the historic center.
Rooms get decorated classically, so if you’re not into the look of years gone by, you may not like the furniture at all. All of it is clean and follows strict COVID-19 safety protocols. Amenities include Wi-Fi any other comforts one might expect from a five-star location.
Breakfast here is good, but not fantastic. Like many of the big hotels around, they tend to provide a decent quality meal for the morning hours but lacks heart. If you compare it with the highest standard of breakfast food found at many in Palermo’s cafes, you will understand what I mean.
The staff is kind of hit and miss with this location, as I have some visitors that might say that this is the best and most attentive staff that they have seen or that they are a bunch of unprofessional idiots. I also came to a conclusion that the staff is on the moodier side, and this is certainly something that you should consider before paying the money for your accommodation.
Parking is sufficient, although it is on the pricier side. It is limited for guests, so I recommend informing the hotel well in advance if you have a reservation and intend on using the service.
I would recommend this hotel to somebody that is considering a five-star structure, but I would do so with the warning my teachers always gave my mom. “The hotel is good but is only ever going to do the bare minimum. They could do more”.
2. Grand Hotel Et Des Palmes
This structure was built in 1874 by the prominent English Ingram-Whitaker family prominent in trading at the time. It has been completely refurbished as of December 2020. This is an excellent example of Art Nouveau in Palermo.
Because it has been in the city for so long, it has become one of its symbols. Many characters who have been significant in history have stayed here for long periods of time, such as Richard Wagner who finished up the famous opera “Parsifal” here in this hotel.
Because it is only a short 5-minute walk from Massimo Theater (where the historical center area begins) or a three-minute walk from Piazza Castelnuovo, it is a convenient location for any tourists in the area.
You have a short walk to any of the major attractions, restaurants, cafes, and retail locations without breaking a sweat (unless its July.)
You can expect to find classically furnished rooms with a modern touch. As a five-star hotel, they have much in the line of amenities and comforts. This includes and intricate COVID 19 protocol.
Breakfast here is among the better that you can expect to find at the hotels and is served in a luxurious hall that includes many Sicilian specialties including pastries and savory recipes. It is hard for hotels to stay at the same level as the cafes and restaurants of Palermo, but this as a decent offering.
The staff of the hotel is well trained and competent in making guests feel comfortable and solving problems. They are ready to go the extra mile to make your stay memorable and for you to return in the future.
If you are coming with your car, you do have the option to use their private parking service. This comes at an extra charge, however.
In the past, this hotel was badly managed and had many complaints from visitors from all over the world. Since they have reopened, and changed management, they are doing much better.
2. Centro Storico (Old Town/Historic Center)
- Houses all key attractions
- Several pedestrian-only streets
- Full of shops, cafeterias, and restaurants
- Hectic and memorable nightlife
- Experienced Travelers
- Nightlife Lovers
Because this area houses are historical center, this is one of the most important areas in Palermo. In Italian, we call it Centro Storico. The focal point of the area is Quattro Canti, and the main roads moving through this district are Via Maqueda and Via Vittorio Emanuele.
The Centro Storico is a historian’s vivid wet dream.
If you have done your homework before coming, and random little bit about Palermo’s history (which I hope you did), it would know that it is one of the most conquered cities in the world. Palermo has seen multiple significant eras throughout its colorful history.
You will find many corners and buildings that all showcase different ancient civilizations that once considered Palermo part of their territories.
But OK, I will save the rest of my history lesson for another time.
The point I am trying to make is that all the major monuments and attractions are within this district. Whether or not you take accommodations here, this is where you wind up spending the majority of your time.
This doesn’t stop just because the sun goes down either.
When it gets dark, the district turns into a sort of Disneyland for those that love the nightlife. A recurring phrase that you might often hear is “Ok, last stop in that bar and we will just take a drink and we go“.
People just keep saying this over and over until they realize that the sun has come back up and it’s morning.
Reasons to Stay in Centro Storico
When I am recommending this to others, I would say it is for two primary reasons. There is also a bit to be cautious about and a hassle that you might want to be aware of.
1. Major Attractions Are Here Around You
In Palermo, there is no metro or reliable public transportation to get you from place to place. You are going to have to walk. This is the city that has to be seen on foot to be fully appreciated, not behind the windows of a bus anyway.
Because many of the monuments are nearby, it is one of the major draws just saying in the historical city center. This is considered the second largest historical city center in all of Europe, coupled with the worst public transportation on the continent.
Unless you happen to be one of those people that “don’t give a damn about attractions for tourists”, you are going to spend a great deal of time immersed in the culture and history that you can find in Old Town.
What this means is, picking your accommodation in this location is half of your battle already won.
All you need to pack now is some comfortable shoes, well planned itineraries, and even audio guides that you could put on your phone to understand what you’re seeing. Don’t rely on English information at these monuments and attractions, or you’ll be looking through the eyes of an idiot to see our most treasured landmarks.
2. The Night Comes Alive
When discussing Old Town, the nightlife is another huge draw. I can say on behalf of all locals, that Old Town (Centro Storico) is where we spend most of our time at night.
The area itself is huge, allowing all kinds of fun and even crazy occurrences for you to get involved in.
You might enjoy the lawless open-air feel of the Vucciria Square which offers dancing and drinks until the sun comes up. There are also multiple old alleys offering incredible scenery and authentic Italian cocktails.
A major difference between here and the Politeama/Libertà district is that this area is much more casual and entertaining then the latter.
People hanging out in the bars here are different types then you find in downtown, with more relaxed looks. You aren’t going to find perfectly ironed shirts in high heels like you might see in Politeama.
If you intend to experience Palermo by night, almost every interesting thing happening occurs here in Old Town. It will absolutely beat whatever is going happening on your hotel room ceiling. Staying here is a real blessing, given that public transportation after the sun goes down is almost nonexistent.
Caution: Watch Out for Pickpockets and ZTL (Restricted Traffic Area)
Some areas, like the Vucciria Street Market are cluttered, loud, and crowded. This makes them an ideal location for pickpockets.
The reason for this is obvious. Street markets tend to get very crowded, and it seems like almost half of the people are entirely wasted and the other portion have fallen into a “let’s have a hug because we’re family!” mode.
You do not need extensive experience in a degree in criminology to understand that these situations or places where pickpockets can thrive.
Surprisingly, Palermo is one of the safest cities in all of Italy in terms of street crime. As I’ve always said, those who are naive, drunk, unaware, or all of the above can get robbed just about anywhere.
Based on the statistics, Old Town has more incidents than Politeama/Libertà, but as alarming as a possibility of robbery is, it isn’t likely to happen to somebody who is using the proper precautions and guarded to it occurring.
You might also consider that many alleys in this area are poorly lit. They are not dangerous, but you may not feel as safe as you normally would there. I would encourage everybody to ensure that their lodging is on a well-lit street.
The municipality is also part of this circle that wants the reach into your pockets and take what you have. Old Town is now a ZTL area, meaning that we have restricted parking and traffic in this area.
What it actually means is that you have to buy a daily pass to drive and park within the zone. If they catch you (and they will) inside without a pass, you will be presented with a hefty ticket.
This is one of the areas that I like the most. Everything seems to be happening here between the day and the night, but you do need to keep your eyes open inside of the markets. Avoid some poorly lit areas as well. If you get our guide, The Sicilian Way, you can always check out our safety map for the latest information.
The Best Accommodations in Centro Storico
Without further ado I’d like to tell you the three best accommodations that I would recommend for us mere mortals. The luxury options are going to be available in the upcoming section.
Before I get into the list, wait one second.
The historic center is huge, and as I told you above, some of the streets are poorly lit at night give off a feeling that they are less than safe.
I made sure, on your behalf, to only select accommodations that are located on the streets that will not freak you out when you have to walk back to them at night.
If you opt for different options that I have not listed below, make sure with the staff that you don’t have to walk at night with your heart in your throat to return to your lodging.
Let’s not waste any more time and get to the three best options that I recommend for accommodation in Old Town.
Nico’s Golden Tip 💡:
You can ask the staff at your lodging to activate a daily ZTL pass (5€) for you on your check-in day. You will need to provide them with the car’s license plate number and pay them when you arrive. This can keep you from some of the hassles of obtaining it on your own.
1. Palazzo Sovrana (Apartments)
These apartments sit right in front of the Massimo Theater. I can say with certainty that leaning out from a balcony to see the third-largest Opera House in all of Europe does not happen every day.
The property has been completely renovated on the inside, offering modern comforts without losing the charm and character of the outside of the building. This is a very alluring contrast.
While cleaning has always been impeccable in this establishment, they now strictly follow safety protocols put in place after the spread of COVID-19 began.
The structure itself is in an area the locals refer to as Champagneria. You’re going to find this is one of the most active areas in Old Town continuously packed with people because of all the restaurants, cafes, shops, and peddlers.
As for the apartments themselves, they are bright and well appointed. They have everything you need to stay for a long-term visit, including a fully equipped kitchen, stable Wi-Fi connection, and other amenities to help you work while you are here.
But that’s not all! You can also get a good breakfast included with the price of your rental, which is a pretty considerable rarity with renting an apartment. This is available daily at the cafe on the front of the property. Options are limited, but you can choose among croissants, pezzi di rosticceria, ice cream in brioche, and others.
The staff of the building is available 24/7 and will make every effort to ensure that you have a memorable and wonderful stay.
Unfortunately for all the good sides of the coin, there are always going to be negative aspects you also must consider.
This is a pedestrian and ZTL zone, so if you come with your car, know that parking is going to be a considerable pain in the ass. The staff can help you by providing directions to a nearby paid car park area should you need it.
You can rent a bike from the Palazzo Sovrana, as cycling is an enjoyable way to navigate Old Town and areas nearby.
Another word of caution that I have for you is that the area is full of tourist traps. If you get my guide, The Sicilian Way, make sure that you check our blacklist map before walking into any place to eat or shop here.
2. La Terrazza sul Centro (B&B)
Up in the attic (no elevator unfortunately) of an ancient Palace constructed in the 15th century, is the La Terrazza Sul Centro B&B. The name refers to the panoramic terrace on the roof which offers incredible views of architectural treasures any time of the day.
Not just for the views, but the structure is actually one of the best locations that you can choose. It is a short 2-minute walk to the historic center’s focal point – Quattro Canti.
Also, from this location, you have fast foot access to all of the major attractions throughout Old Town. You also have a short walk to many restaurants, cafes, and bars. You can reach the central train station in a few moments if you want to see areas beyond Palermo.
This B&B has five spacious and simple rooms all with private bathrooms, air conditioning, Wi-Fi, TV, desk and electric kettles.
While the cleaning service is always up kept the property to a high standard, since the pandemic, they have been taking extra measures that have been required by local law.
One of the noteworthy aspects of staying here is that you can enjoy a quality, Italian style menu served from a caring staff on the roof terrace while taking in the gorgeous panoramic views.
If you do come with your car, the staff will advise you where you can leave it in a trusted car park. You can expect to pay around 15 euros. Don’t forget that Old Town is ZTL zone.
Perhaps one of the downsides of the structure, being a historic building, it does not have an elevator to get you up to the top floor. This could be challenging for those with the suitcase. It might also be strenuous exercise for those who already have mobility issues. This staff is always very accommodating to help carry up your bags when needed.
3. Palazzo Natoli Boutique Hotel
The Palazzo Natoli is a boutique hotel that is modern and refined. It has nine rooms in the building, which makes for an intimate and elegant environment for those staying.
The hotel is always very clean, though now following extra COVID-19 measures required by local law to ensure the safety of guests.
You will find this location strategically placed on Via Vittorio Emanuele, which is one of Palermo’s principal streets, though now a pedestrian zone. Around the location, you have many places to eat, shop, and enjoy the exciting nightlife throughout Centro Storico.
This is also only a few steps away from the focal Quattro Canti centerpiece of Old Town, and Palermo Cathedral. you can walk to nearly all other attractions without relying on any public transportation. If you stay here, unless you are really lazy, you can get just about anywhere.
The rooms are all very clean and comfortable, offering amenities like free Wi-Fi and additional services relative to a four-star hotel. Some of the rooms have balconies with an impressive view overlooking the main street. each of these rooms is well soundproofed as well if you want to shut out the craziness of the night.
The breakfast here is also a draw, as it is tasty, and you have many options to choose from served by a smiling staff. They will do everything in their power to make sure that your stay is pleasant.
The parking situation here is terrible. It is hard to find any free spots, and on top of that, it is a ZTL zone. If you inform the hotel before your arrival that you were coming with the car, they can send someone to help you find the appropriate parking spot.
Most of the people who stay here end up happy that they did. Somebody lamented about the hotel being on the 1st floor without an elevator, but the staff is so kind and helpful that they will be sure to help even with small luggage.
Luxury Hotels Within the Historic Center
As I mentioned before, Palermo does not have much in the line of five-star hotels. This doesn’t make sense for visitors that spend most of their time and money outside of the room. Especially when luxury amenities are involved.
This happens especially in Old Town.
If you choose this area to stay, it means that you are here for the sightseeing in the nightlife, not to waste hours of your day at the spa or the pool that your hotel might have.
That being said, there are no hotels in Old Town worthy of being five stars, but there are a couple of really good four-star hotels. While these are not especially fancy or even all that exciting, they are still close to what you are looking for should you want to indulge on your vacation.
Let’s take a look at these two.
1. Grand Hotel Piazza Borsa
This is probably the option that comes closest to being a five-star hotel. I can recommend it, but only when I tell you my reservations. It is a huge structure with great amenities, but a lot of rooms are undoubtedly outdated.
From the time that you first entered the building, you could be swept away with its impressive architecture. Most notably, the intricate marble work and beauty of the ancient cloister which has been used as a venue for concerts in other public events.
From this hotel, you can reach the focal point of Old Town, Quattro Canti, in only 5 minutes. You can also walk to any of the major attractions throughout this district without the reliance on public transportation.
The hotel is close to many popular bars or nighttime venues. If you have come for the nightlife in Palermo and want to stay in a big hotel with a plush feel, this is the place I would choose.
As with most large hotel structures, the rooms come in various sizes depending on how much money you want to spend. They have all that you might expect from a well-managed four-star hotel, including free Wi-Fi service. Cleaning has always been a strong suit of this place, though due to the coronavirus, these measures have improved significantly.
Complimentary breakfast is still available for all guests, but it is nothing that you want to write home about. There are much better locations throughout Palermo to have breakfast. The hotel offering could improve in terms of both quality and the variety of the options that they provide
.Parking is going to be a struggle when you arrive, but you can leave the car on the street and let them know the front desk. They will park the car for you. Granted, you will have paid more for the service. Don’t forget the entire historical center is ZTL zone, meaning that you will need to purchase a daily pass to park within it.
The professional staff is friendly and warm here, but they do not go above and beyond to make a visitor stay memorable as far as I can tell. When it comes to recommending restaurants, they particularly fall short. They almost always tend to bring up the touristy restaurants in town that are just traps for visitors.
As I’ve said in the beginning, the entire structure needs to be refurbished. If made modern, it would probably be the best hotel available in Old Town.
2. Hotel Principe di Lampedusa
This is a hotel inaugurated in 2018. It does not have a traditional four-star look, and instead, has chosen a very simple but modern look to the exterior.
The structure itself is from the early 1900s, but it has been brought back to ancient splendor through careful and meticulous restoration.
You cannot ask for a better location than where this hotel is. It is only a four-minute walk to the popular Quattro Canti and Fontana Pretoria, so essentially this hotel sits at the heart of town. It is a short walk to nearly all attractions, including the churches and cathedrals, the restaurants, and many other alluring sites.
Despite the smaller size of the hotel, the rooms themselves are spacious and nicely decorated. They have everything that you should expect from a four-star hotel, including free Wi-Fi.
There is a continental breakfast with some of the traditional specialties of the area, though the reports of this breakfast vary by the customer. I always say, however, that no hotel can serve the fresh breakfast like Sicilian cafes can.
It is important to note that the staff is resourceful and professional with all of the customers. They greet you with a smile on their face and help you out with whatever you might need.
The drawback here is that this hotel is also in those ZTL zone, making parking of pain. If you come with your car, inform the staff in advance and they will give me directions to a paid parking area nearby that allows you to safely store your vehicle for 15€ per day.
Perhaps the most negative aspect about this hotel is that rooms near the stairs or the reception area can be a bit noisy, so utilize the special request box when reserving to note that you would like a quiet location.
3. The Mondello District (Seaside)
- Safe and clean
- Active nightlife in summer months
- Shops, cafeterias, and restaurants
- Lush greens
- Great beachfront
- A good distance from Old Town
- You need a vehicle to get around
- Active only during the summer months
- Those wanting to spend their holiday on the beach
- Families with children
Mondello, a former fishing village turned upscale residential area, has become a haven for wealthy (and tax-evading) politicians, entrepreneurs, dentists, and surgeons.
Perhaps the most alluring attraction here is the sandy beach and crystal-clear water. The tree lined avenues an expensive Art Nouveau villa also provide a distinct charm to Mondello.
When the warm weather arrives, Mondello gets overrun by the locals. You will see people everywhere. You will see everything from those getting sunburnt on the beach, jogging down the boardwalk, riding their bicycles off balance (see the best itineraries to avoid killing yourself), or stuffing their face on the shore.
If you would determine that your vacation is all about staying out in the sun, swimming, and eating with a view of the sea, this is where you’re going to want to find your accommodation.
While this is the neighborhood of Palermo, it is also a world unto itself. It is only a 15-minute drive from downtown, but when we say, “Let’s go to Mondello” it feels like we’re driving out of the city.
This is one of my favorite areas to stay, or maybe I should say, my favorite area to stay during the summer. In the winter, the area goes into a hibernation and there are hardly any people around or shops open.
If you have a car, you can arrive in park here without trouble. Be mindful of any paid blue spots, however.
Reasons to Stay in Mondello
I have listed several of the major draws for this area, but also one word of caution.
1. Great Beach
Mother Nature was kind enough to provide Mondello with one of the most spectacular and envied beaches in all of Europe. The water is so clear it looks like mineral water.
The beach area is divided up into two parts, the private areas that get filled up with lidos you can rent with sunbeds and umbrellas or the public areas where there is a zoo to fight for any available space.
Unfortunately for us to enjoy the immense beauty that Mother Nature so generously provided, we must also endure local chimpanzees that choose to litter the beach with their cigarettes, beer bottles, plastic, and other trash.
If you want to make sure that you stay in one of the cleaner parts of the beach without all of the riffraff, you can find some of the best lidos available if you look in our travel guide.
As you might suspect, the sun is not all that hot throughout the whole year. We are close to Africa, but not that close.
Often, our warm season runs from the spring until mid-fall. This gives you around six months to enjoy the sea without much difficulty.
My favorite months to enjoy the beach are May and September, because these are usually not as crowded with the cavemen as you will find in June, July, and August.
2. Active Nightlife in the Summer
There is no mistaking that the nightlife in Mondello is among the best of the Palermo area during the summer. Nights have cooled off, and the result is much fancier than Old Town.
The first of these categories belongs to those running street food carts (you could check out a video that I put together about the scary foods that we can eat at times). The other two listed are frequenters of the bars along the seaside.
The toco wears white linen shirts and a watch that costs 1000 euros. The profumiera wears five-inch heels and a four-inch skirt. Both of these groups are as tanned as burnt chocolate biscuits.
Both of these types of bar frequenters or fill all the clubs and nighttime venues along the shore beginning at sunset. The nights here often begin with the aperitivo, and end with everyone wildly dancing and drinking.
Mostly all the venues and bars are going to follow the aperitivo-then-dance recipe, but it is important to know which ones the locals are going to be at, and which ones are just tourist traps.
If you have required our guide The Sicilian Way, you can look at the nightlife section to have all the updated places to go (and what to wear). If not, you need to start asking the locals. You are not going to find credible information on TripAdvisor or any other website.
Caution: You Are Far from the City Center
Sicilians are among the world’s laziest people, and theatrically pretend to be tireless workers. This can go so far as to simulate actual physical ailments. In truth though, they avoid work and physical effort like they might an actual disease.
With that being said, anything beyond 500 meters (or 0.3 miles) might as well be another country. So, imagine how these same Sicilians look at 13 kilometers (8 miles) separating Mondello from Old Town. “That’s a trip that will take half a day” they would say.
Despite what you might think from hearing everyone talk, the seaside is not on some other continent or even all that far away from the city center. It is not exactly around the corner, either. If you rent a car for the trip, you’ll be fine. It’s just a 20-minute excursion with favorable traffic.
If you happen to be relying on the shoddy public transportation system, my grandmother might say, you are in the hands of the Lord. This gets even worse at night when I don’t know that I’ve ever actually seen a bus running.
During the day, you could take the dedicated 806 bus line. This is an irritating and time-consuming trip, however. I’ve written an entire guide on how to get to Mondello – so check it out.
I love this area of the seaside. It was one of my favorite places to stay around the city, but only during the summer. If I was a visitor, I would never stay here without a scooter or a car accessible to me. If you pick your accommodations here, and rely on public transportation, I fear that your vacation will soon turn into a nightmare.
The Best Places to Stay in Mondello
Here is some of the information you might have been waiting on. I understand that my preambles of the areas might run a bit long. But understanding where you’re going and what you’re getting into is crucial to making sure that you have the best time.
As usual, wait a minute before scrolling down to the accommodations for a couple of quick pieces of information.
Let me just start by saying the structures that I recommend are only be B&B’s and villas, and there is only one hotel mentioned in the paragraph about luxury lodging. Worse still, this one that is mentioned is not five-star.
There’s a very simple reason that the hotels in Mondello are not that great. And the pictures they might appear big and beautiful, featuring great pools and incredible views, but in reality, they are outdated and poorly managed.
There are many great B&B’s and villas that you can choose from with the caring staff that want to go the extra mile.
OK that’s enough talking, let’s take a look at the five best accommodations that I have for you in Mondello.
Nico’s Golden Tip 💡:
I would suggest that everybody mentions the host to ensure that they get a silent and clean place. You can also ask questions about reserving bikes for free if they have them. You might also consider asking in advance about certain necessities. In Sicily, you cannot ever be afraid to come across as a pain in the ass or to tell people the obvious more than once.
1. B&B Mondello Design
The B&B Mondello Design is a gorgeous Liberty Villa renovated with passion and dedication only 200 meters from the sea in a quiet area.
You really cannot ask for a better location in this community. Everything that you need is within a walking distance, including the beach, restaurants, bars, and many of the popular ice cream shops open during the summer. If you want to go a little farther into town, there is free bike rental available here that is also a very convenient service.
Rooms are bright, clean, and sanitized with new COVID-19 protocols. They are beautifully designed and smartly furnished with reliable free Wi-Fi service.
The breakfast here is remarkable, genuine, and prepared by hand from the owner every day. You have a wide variety of options including homemade cakes.
It might be important to note that the host really does love her job and is always going out of her way to make her visitors feel at home. Honestly, I rarely hear so many visitors singing such high praises of a host.
There is free parking on the street nearby, but you can also park your car inside the private confines of the property. Just ask the owner about the parking situation before you get there.
Generally, I don’t get too many complaints from visitors who have stayed here. Somebody once complained about the street being poorly lit at night. I’ve sent many of my friends here and I’ve always received great feedback though.
2. B&B Casa Chinaski
This is a gorgeous home with an attractive garden that the owner has turned into a B&B to share with a few guests. Don’t worry, she is not there watching your every move. She is very discreet and appreciates the privacy of her guests while maintaining inefficient operation of the accommodation.
It is only a 10-minute walk to the beach from here, but it also comes with peace and quiet. It is also a medium walk for some of the better restaurants and cafes, the closest of which are usually still 5 to 10 minutes on foot.
Rooms are very clean and follow the compliance set in place for COVID-19 sanitizing. Rooms are big and quiet, and all have a good, reliable Wi-Fi signal. Each is different but furnished with attention to detail and all the comforts that any guest might need.
Breakfast is also worth mentioning here. It is tasty and genuine, prepared every morning with fresh local products and served to the guests in the garden.
If you travel here by car, there is yet another reason to pick this B&B over the other options. You can park right outside the house for free, but you do need to speak with the owner before you arrive.
The only complaints that I have received are the distance from the beach and the other main restaurants and cafes throughout town. You don’t need to walk a lot, but they are not around the corner, either. If it’s hot, it may not be the most pleasant of strolls.
3. B&B L’Officina di Apollo
This is another very charming house that radiates with a sweet feeling of being at home. The property is clean and sanitized to strict COVID protocols.
This has a slightly longer walk to the beach, which usually is around 15 minutes. It’s not central to Mondello, but it is in one of the quieter areas. The problem is partially solved by free bikes that guests can use directly from the accommodation.
The rooms are big and well organized, and each is equipped with multiple amenities designed to make guests feel as comfortable as possible. These include a minibar, air conditioning, TV, reliable Wi-Fi, and kettle. Each room also has its own bathroom with a shower and bidet.
Perhaps one of the most alluring highlights of this particular place to stay is the breakfast. The owners make fresh cakes every day along with many savory and sweet options. The owners take care of the structure themselves and are always very nice and friendly to everyone staying on the property.
If you bring a car, you will be happy to know that you could park for free a short spot from the entrance to the building. You should inform the owner in advance if you are coming with a car.
If not for the distance from the beach, this might be one of the top choices for someone staying in Mondello. A 15-minute walk to the beach is not that bad for many months, but there are significantly warmer times of the year where Palermo gets hot.
4. Villa Cinzia
This accommodation is actually three large apartments that have been created from the renovation of an old house.
The house is remarkable, spacious, and sits in a very enviable position compared to other places you could stay.
This is located in a very quiet and peaceful area, though at the same time, only a 2-minute walk from the beach or a 5-minute walk to the main square of Mondello where you find the supermarket, pharmacy, and many of the top cafes and restaurants. You cannot ask for a better location than this.
Each of the three apartments are decorated with fine furniture. For each unit, you will find 2 double bedrooms, a large living area, large bathrooms, and next generation showers. Each unit also has an outdoor area where you can take in the summer nights.
Everything that you need for a long stay is provided, including a fully equipped kitchen. It might also be worth mentioning that all the apartments here feature new fixtures, mosquito Nets, air conditioning, and heating that works independently.
All of the apartments are very clean, and the owner make sure they’re perfectly sanitized to the latest COVID-19 protocols from local legislation.
All the visitors to this villa sing its praises, especially the dedication and passion of the owner. He’s not just a problem solver, but he’s also a friendly and knowledgeable individual about all of the surroundings for Mondello for those unfamiliar with the area.
If you are bringing a car, you do have the option to park outside or inside the structure itself. Inform the owner in advance that you’re coming with your car so the appropriate provisions could be made.
I have yet to hear anyone complaining about these apartments. I have only received good feedback and kind words about the owner.
5. Villa Gabriella
This is a large, vintage villa with the classic feel and they impressive garden they can accommodate up to 8 people.
The structure is located in a quiet lush area, which is not exactly central, but the beach is only a 10-minute walk away. You might have to walk a bit as well to reach some of the restaurants and cafes, but there are bikes available when you check in with the owner.
The Villa comes with four bedrooms, three bathrooms, a flat screen TV with satellite service, a dining area, Wi-Fi, air conditioning, a fully equipped kitchen, and a patio with garden views.
If I were bringing multiple people and wanted to have fun in a cool place close to the beach, this is probably where I would go. I would probably not choose this place if I didn’t have adequate transportation, however. Walking in the sun during months like June and July is not pleasant.
The yard also features a wood oven, barbecue area, an outdoor shower which is comfortable to clean off before coming in from the beach. There is also free space to park your car should you bring your own method of transportation.
The owner of the building is friendly and easy to contact should you have any issues.
She is fairly new to renting these spaces, so I only know of a few reviews from people that I can validate have stayed in this place. No one’s complained, but there has been some grumbling about the distance from the beach.
Luxury Accommodations in Mondello
Because you were still reading this, I can safely say that you and I are friends now. I think anyone looking for luxury hotels in Mondello is wasting their time.
Why would I say this? For one, all of these luxury places are going to be much more expensive than other places I have mentioned. All they can really offer you is a seaside view. The structures are often old, and the rooms are unappealing. the staff also have heavy asses as we say here in Sicily, meaning that they are lazy.
Hotels like these are luxurious on paper, but honestly, you would only be throwing your money away to try any of them.
Despite this, I will still list one of these hotels that I think might fit into this description. While it is not as luxurious as a five-star location, it might be a good compromise.
1. Unico Boutique Hotel d’Arte
This is one of the most beautiful beachfront four-star hotels in all of Mondello. It is though you have chosen to stay in a comfortable and cozy art gallery that they have built along the sea.
You cannot beat the location, as it sits right along the sea. It is only a few minutes on foot from the Mondello center as well. Here you can find the best places to eat, drink, and shop here in the seaside community.
The rooms in this hotel are spacious and well sanitized in respect to the COVID-19 pandemic protocols set in place. Each of these rooms comes with a desk and a flat screen TV. You can appreciate free Wi-Fi, air conditioning, and your private bathroom. For an extra cost, certain rooms also feature a terrace.
Breakfast is served every day and appears to be sufficient but is not up to snuff with the rest of the four-star amenities that you can expect from this location. I will always tell you that there are better cafes out there to have breakfast every day, no hotel can measure up. This includes any five-star structures that might be around Palermo.
So just have a small nibble when you wake up and go get an actual breakfast from one of the best cafes in Mondello that is only a short walk from the doorstep. If you have a copy of our guide The Sicilian Way, you can just go to the breakfast section and see the best places in the area to dine.
The staff in this hotel is friendly and attentive. They do try to go the extra mile to make sure that your stay is pleasant.
If you are bringing your vehicle, it is free to park on the same street that the hotel is located on. Parking spots are limited, so you’re better off informing the staff ahead of time if you’re coming with a vehicle.
I do get grumbles from time to time about those who stay at this hotel, namely small issues like lack of options of breakfast or the temperature in the pool.
The price is also brought up from time to time. I would consider this to be a fine place this day if you’re looking specifically to spend your vacation in a hotel.
I knew going in the article was going to be long, primarily because I’m aware of how much I like to talk. But I do want you to know that all of this was to make sure that you have the best time and don’t make mistakes that could ruin your vacation.
Booking the wrong lodging is probably the biggest mistake that you can make.
I hope I’ve painted a good picture for what to expect in each of these areas, and the best accommodations that could potentially suit you or your family.
Let’s take a quick second and sum up the information of this guide in a very condensed manner. The three best areas for you to stay are:
- Politeama/Libertà – Elegant, safe, and clean downtown area that is nearby to many attractions, retail, and restaurants.
- Centro Storico – The bulk of our attractions are within this district, so it is already where you are likely to spend most of your time.
- Mondello – This is a resort area along the sea with gorgeous tree-lined streets and a charming beachfront.
In any of these areas, I have listed the best hotels, apartments, and B&B’s to stay. I have also mentioned luxury hotels in case you are willing to spend extra for more comfort.
I want to stress once more that getting information about Palermo is critical. If you don’t get the right places, you are going to have a terrible time.
I recommend that everyone sign up for our Facebook group to get the latest information from actual visitors to Palermo. You can also get audio guides for the attractions to avoid looking at them and having no idea why it is significant.
If you want to visit the city like a real Sicilian, without falling prey to traps or scams (and wasting so much of your time), I recommend that you take a look at our travel guide The Sicilian Way.
Have any questions or doubts? Leave me a comment in the box below so I can get back with you as soon as possible.
I hope you have a wonderful trip to Palermo! Cheers!
Note: I have created 7 itineraries specific to Palermo and also five videos featuring tips and information about this city that you cannot find anywhere else. I’m giving them away for free, so check them out!