Top 10 Things to do in Palermo

Things to do in Palermo

Palermo is a stunning example of a typical Italian city, with modern facilities built around a historical core. The Sicilian capital has a gloomy background, with numerous mafia incidents in the area of organized crime, but things have changed significantly; the city has “calmed down” significantly and presented the notes of an impressive mixture of architectural and ornamental styles, such as Byzantine, Arab, and Italian. So, if you get the chance, go to Palermo and make the most of it! 

10. Visit the Sicilian beaches

You could get tired of hearing it, but you’ll never get tired of the sights of the Sicilian beaches.

These are all set against the backdrop of gorgeous waves and lengthy, spectacular coasts that you might expect to see on a screen saver or stock vacation image somewhere. This is where the captivating Insta photos emerge.

All sorts of beaches can be found on the island. Pebble and sand beachfront, as well as cliffside options, may be available. Nothing compares to the appeal of the Sicilian coasts.

Sicilian beaches - Things to do in Palermo
Sicilian beaches

9. Enjoy An Aperitif On Via Maqueda

Palermo’s bustling main street comes alive at night and in the evenings, especially during the summer. It’s the perfect place to unwind with an aperitif after a day of touring the city. There are several bars and restaurants along the street, and it has a pretty nice ambiance in the late evening. It feels like all the locals are here! It’s also nice to dine or drink something here during the day.

During the day, though, it feels more like a shopping street. There are numerous designer stores at the end of Via Maqueda and the next street. Evenings are the best time to experience the Mediterranean dining culture.

8. Try local foodie favorites

Like the rest of the country, Sicily is a foodie’s heaven. Local specialties such as arancini and cannoli can be sampled at the famed food markets, along with many other epicurean delights. In fact, Palermo is regarded as having some of Europe’s best street cuisine. It is also relatively inexpensive and often vegetarian. Their gelato in a delicious brioche bun is a particularly delicious treat.

Italian Food - Things to do in Palermo
Italian Food

7. Recharge at the Botanical Garden and Villa Giulia

A visit to the Botanical Gardens is a great thing to do in Palermo for those searching for something a little different to do in the city. See a large selection of rare and unique tropical plants and some spectacular native plants and trees. The extremely old ficus trees are quite interesting to behold, and some of them are absolutely massive. Next door is the lovely Villa Giulia, a large elaborate garden with a multitude of monuments, statues, and ponds, as well as rows of massive palm trees. Keep an eye out for the turtle and fish families who live in the garden’s ponds.

Botanical Garden and Villa Giulia - Things to do in Palermo
Botanical Garden and Villa Giulia

6. Tour the Palazzo dei Normanni

The Palazzo dei Normanni was erected atop an Arab palace and served as the seat of the Norman Kings of the Kingdom of Sicily beginning in the 11th century. It has been used by many others since, including the Sicilian Regional Assembly.

Visitors today generally come to view the spectacular Cappella Palatina with its UNESCO-listed mosaics, though other areas of the palace are sometimes open to the general public.

Palazzo dei Normanni - Things to do in Palermo
Palazzo dei Normanni

5. Attend a Traditional Puppet Performance

Seeing an actual puppet play is one of the most popular Palermo activities. These events, known locally as Opera Dei Pupi, are a great cultural tradition that has been going on for generations. Because puppets, stories, and talents are passed down through generations, you could be attending a presentation with hundreds of year-old puppets.

 Opera Dei Pupi - Things to do in Palermo
Opera Dei Pupi

One of the best places to see a puppet play is at the Teatro dell’Opera dei Pupi in Palermo’s Jewish Quarter. Incredible performances based on gallant knights, damsels in distress, infamous bandits, and many other figures from medieval literature and Italian Renaissance poetry can be seen here.

4. Walk Around La Cala And Foro Italico

The port of Palermo (known as La Cala) is another gorgeous area of the city. You can wander down the promenade and observe the beautiful fishing boats before continuing on to Foro Italico. Foro Italico is a vast green park that spans along the waterfront. It’s a nice area to unwind and watch the boats enter Palermo Harbor. Indeed, you may take the boat from here to other sites in Sicily and Italy, such as Messina, Naples, and even Sardinia!

La Cala And Foro Italico - Things to do in Palermo
La Cala And Foro Italico

3. Get a birds-eye perspective of Palermo from Mount Pellegrino.

Mount Pellegrino, located just north of Palermo, 5 kilometers from the Old Town, provides a refreshing breath of fresh air and a fantastic opportunity to use your legs…or not, as there is a bus stop at the top of the mountain. Mount Pellegrino, a popular weekend picnic spot, is known for its beautiful panoramic views of the city, neighboring mountains, and the Tyrrhenian Sea. You can also visit the sanctuary of Saint Rosalia, Palermo’s patron saint, while you’re there.

Mount Pellegrino - Things to do in Palermo
Mount Pellegrino

2. Capella Palatina

The Palatine Chapel, located near the Pallazzo dei Normanni in Palermo’s center, is one of Europe’s best-preserved specimens of Byzantine architecture and artwork. It was built in 1132 as part of the palace and commissioned by Roger II of Sicily. The chapel, dedicated to Saint Peter, includes a central basilica and a variety of outstanding Byzantine artwork and architecture. The walls and ceiling are covered in magnificent mosaics with a remarkable amount of detail and color and are crammed full of religious and historical imagery. Every angle or corner you turn reveals another detail or interesting depiction – this truly is a work of intellect and aesthetic craftsmanship.

Capella Palatina - Things to do in Palermo
Capella Palatina

1. Visit Palermo Cathedral

Cattedrale di Palermo (Palermo Cathedral), built at the end of the 12th century, is a remarkable religious structure that integrates many various architectural styles, including Byzantine, Gothic-Catalan, and Neoclassical, to mention a few. The cathedral is as beautiful on the interior as it is on the outside; it is a magnificent masterpiece embellished with precious stones and loaded with historical artifacts. If you want to access the roof of the cathedral and get a panoramic view of Palermo, go early in the morning.

Palermo Cathedral - Things to do in Palermo
Palermo Cathedral

Palermo is a city that effortlessly blends history, culture, and culinary delights to create an unforgettable travel experience. From exploring magnificent landmarks like the Palermo Cathedral and the Royal Palace of Palermo to indulging in the mouthwatering street food at the famous Ballarò Market, there is no shortage of fascinating activities in this Sicilian gem. Immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere of the city, wander through its charming neighborhoods, and discover the unique blend of influences that have shaped Palermo’s identity. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a food lover, or simply seeking a taste of authentic Sicilian life, Palermo promises to leave you with lasting memories. So, make sure to explore the top 10 things to do in Palermo and let this vibrant city enchant you with its undeniable allure.

Are you excited to visit Palermo? You may also enjoy Italy’s cuisines through our top picks of places to eat, we have listed the Best Restaurants in Palermo, Italy where you can dine in when you are visiting around Palermo.

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