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Guide to Cefalù: Norman city suspended over the sea

The Duomo is part of the Unesco Arab-Norman itinerary

by Ada Parisi
5 min read
Porta Marina a Cefalù

Today I'm giving you a guide to spend two days in Cefalù: A Norman city suspended over the sea with which it will be love at first sight. At least that's how it was for me. Spring and autumn are perfect months to visit this resplendent seaside village on the northern coast of Sicily about 70 kilometers from Palermo, with a clear Norman imprint. In the middle of summer, It's too crowded. And for me, who are a big fan of off-season holidays, November is the ideal month for a weekend getaway in this village, which is located within the Madonie Regional Park and is among the most beautiful villages in Italy. I leave you a PREVIEW OF CEFALÙ’ in this VIDEO ITINERARY.

Is, if you are in Palermo in a group on holiday, You can have a nice private day tour PRIVATE TOUR FROM PALERMO TO CEFALÙ’ AND SANTO STEFANO DI CAMASTRA. Or, You can RENTING A CAR from Palermo, Catania, Ragusa and other main Sicilian cities to reach Cefalù in comfort: In the city there are several large paid parking lots where you can leave your car for several days.

Among the particular activities in the area, I would like to point out one: in Reitano, just 30 minutes from Cefalù, It is possible to make a SICILIAN COOKING CLASS IN A COUNTRY HOUSE: a unique experience to learn how to prepare iconic dishes such as pasta alla Norma. Don't miss a CATAMARAN RIDE in the picturesque bay of Cefalù.

Two days in Cefalù: what to see

Two days of vacation are ideal for visiting Cefalù in complete relaxation, But even one day will be enough. I recommend you to start your holiday by exploring the old town of Cefalù, city founded by the Greeks in the fourth century BC. First of all, I recommend some facilities where to sleep: If you really want to stay almost on the beach, The right choice is the VICTORIA PALACE CEFALU’: Not a budget hotel but the location is worth the expense. Super central location, Modern and spacious there is the’AWA CEFALU’ UMBERTO I . And finally, with a view of the basilica, There's the Bell’LIGHT BLUE B&B.

Stroll through the narrow, winding streets, admiring the medieval-style houses and baroque churches. Make a stop at the Cathedral of Cefalù, one of the oldest cathedrals in Sicily, built in 1131 by Roger II of Altavilla, with its Byzantine mosaics, including Christ Pantocrator. The Cathedral of Cefalù it is part of the Unesco itinerary on Arab-Norman Sicily which also includes the Cathedral of Monreale, the cathedral of Palermo and the Norman Palace, seat of the Sicilian Region.

Visit the Rocca, 268 meters high overlooking Cefalù from above. Along the way you will find the Temple of Diana. From here you will enjoy an incomparable view of the village and the sea. Have breakfast in Piazza Duomo, admiring the noble palaces that surround it and the vivid colors of Sicily: granita and brioche, but also cannoli and ravioli with ricotta or cream, They are a must for Sicilian breakfasts.

Then stroll through the alleys of the oldest part of Cefalù until you reach the Porta Marina (also called the Viceroys' Gate, o Porta Pescara): A beautiful window on the sea (the only one left of the ancient gates to the sea) which is one of the most characteristic places of the Norman town. A romantic corner where you can take souvenir photos flooded with light and sea.

When you walk around Cefalù, Don't forget to look up at the wrought-iron and marble balconies. And of course take some’ of air and wind along the pier to admire that blue sea, Rich and transparent, caressed by the mistral. Also worth visiting is the Bastion of Capo Marchiafava, a seventeenth-century bastion overlooking the sea.

The cathedral of Cefalù

Yet, visit the Mandralisca Museum, where you will find the Portrait of a Man by the famous painter Antonello Da Messina. Not to be missed, in the immediate vicinity of the museum, The Medieval Washhouse. Legend has it that the Cefalino river was born from the pain of a nymph who, After killing her lover who had betrayed her, He regretted it, and she wept so much that she filled the ancient washhouse of Cefalù with her tears.

Once you've explored the city, Head to the beaches of Cefalù. The main beach is one of the most beautiful in Sicily, with crystal clear waters and light sand. Is’ A very crowded beach in the summer. If you are looking for a quieter experience, head to the beaches of San Leonardo or La Rocca. Here you can enjoy a relaxing day in a pristine environment. I hope this guide to Cefalù Norman city suspended over the sea, has been useful to you!


  • Handcrafted ceramics
  • typical products of the Madonie (Like manna)


  • From Sizzle, If you want to taste well-made arancine of different flavors
  • At Mandralisca 16 for a lunch of fresh fish and traditional recipes
  • At the Locanda del Marinaio, with a spectacular view of the sea of Cefalù

Sicilian itineraries on and off the beaten track: some alternative

Don't forget, if you are planning a holiday in Sicily, to take a look at these alternative destinations as well


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