After traveling around Italy for about a year, I have come to terms with the fact that I have a sweet spot for the south of Italy in particular. Jared and I recently got a chance to visit Sicily as our ‘bon voyage‘ trip from Italy a week before our departure. I think it’s safe to say we were both pleasantly surprised by our stay there, as we didn’t know what to expect when arriving to the island.
Sicily, located right off the boot of Italy, is the largest Mediterranean island with plenty of rich history that lies within its well-preserved monuments. With that said, we had to settle on what we were most interested in seeing since the island was so big. We settled on staying in Palermo and the surrounding area, to take advantage of the beaches and still get some historical context.
While we wanted to base ourselves in Palermo for the majority of the trip(we were only in Sicily for 3.5 days), we also wanted to explore nearby areas as well. The coastal city of Cefalù was our first stop. Being that it’s basically a beach town, it was exactly what we needed.
Where to stay: We always tend to go with Airbnbs when we travel. Our Airbnb was the perfect place for us to soak in the beauty of the city. The view from the balcony was breathtaking alone. Although the hike from the bnb to the beach may be a bit much for some, we enjoy walking so it was great exercise for us.
Where to go: Obviously you have the beach here to enjoy, so take advantage of this and make a beach day out of it! Unfortunately our train got in rather late to Cefalu the first day so we wasted half of the day waiting around for it(oh, Italia). So instead of getting in the water, we just walked around the city, took pictures, and headed to dinner. Also, walk around the town and get a feel for it. I found that the people here were more friendly than they are in Rome and made us feel very welcome.
Where to eat: Since we only had one night in Cefalu, we had to make the dinner decision a good one. A friend recommended Kentia, which has a terrace overlooking the sea and a good selection of seafood dishes. We were lucky to get a table during sunset and I had the best plate of spaghetti alle vongole(spaghetti with clams).
After Cefalu, we made our way over to Palermo via train. Palermo is the capital of Sicily and covers a large region of northern Sicily. We were only here for 3 days and 2 nights so only for a brief amount of time.
Where to stay: We opted to stay in a private room inside this apartment. Our host, Valentina, was very kind and accommodating throughout our stay and provided us with a map and recommendations of where to go in the city as soon as we arrived. Overall, we were really happy about how in-expensive lodging was in general in Sicily compared to other more touristy places during high season, like Capri.
Where to go: Sicily has some of the best beaches I have ever seen, hands down. If you are a beach bum like us, make it a must to visit Mondello beach. It has all of my favorite qualities about a beach..soft sand, clear blue water, and let’s not forget those pastel colored houses(too cute, right?) To get here from Palermo, it is a 50 minute bus ride that only cost $1.30 each way.
Also, take a stroll down Via della Liberta and catch a glimpse of all the beautiful churches and buildings that align the street. In this area you will find the Teatro Massimo, Regional Archeological Museum, markets, shops, and restaurants.
Where to eat: A couple of stops we made that are worth the trek, are at Ke Palle Arancine and Bisso Bistrot. Bisso was where we had dinner the first night. We walked out very full and pleasantly surprised by how inexpensive our dinner was! Three glasses of wine, an appetizer, and 2 entrees for only €22. We have yet to find a place to eat dinner that in-expensively in Rome with decent service so very thankful to our host for recommending that place.
If you are a fan of suppli, which is a specialty snack of the Lazio region, which is made up of a rice ball with rice, tomato sauce and sometimes other ingredients inside, then you will enjoy the arancine from Ke Palle. It is a similar concept but I find the arancine, especially at this location to be bigger and more filling with a large variety to choose from.
Have you been to Sicily? If so, what were some of your favorite places to eat or visit?
If not, I do hope you get to plan a visit there. It has everything you would want in an Italian vacation-beach, landscape, history, and great food! What more could you ask for?
“Live the full life of the mind,
exhilarated by new ideas,
intoxicated by the
romance of the unusual. ”
All my love,