Top Tips For Palermo

Feeling inspired to book a trip to Palermo, after reading 48 Hours in Palermo? Here’s our top tips on where to stay, where to eat and what to see and do.


➤ il Convento dei Cappuccini
Piazza Cappuccini, 1
I didn’t get there on this trip but this is one of the must-visit sites in Palermo. Sicilians are known to be fatalistic, but to truly experience the full implications of this mentality, a trip to the convent’s catacombs is recommended. The practice of burying the dead in the crypt began in the 16th century when the monastery’s graveyard became full, and continued – through the plague of 1624 – right into the 20th century. It is a fascinating experience, but not one for the faint-hearted: it really is quite macabre.

➤ I Quattro Canti
This is the heart of the city and possibly the place you should start at if this is your first visit to Palermo. Look up at the buildings that represent each of the corners and you can see stunning Baroque statues of Sicily’s four Spanish kings, a reminder that despite Palermo’s fading beauty this city was once a dazzling beacon of European power and glory.

Il Teatro Massimo*DSC_0350
Piazza Verdi
+39 091 605 3521
Palermo’s opera theatre is an artistic masterpiece. It is the largest opera house in Italy and the third largest in Europe (after the Opéra National de Paris and the Vienna State). Opened in 1897, its classical-style columns are flanked by two enormous bronze sculptures of lions. There are guided tours for you to explore the history and intrigue of the theatre. A night at the opera is highly recommended for true Sicilian culture.

Santuario di Santa Rosalia
Via Pietro Bonanno
+39 091 540326
This 17th century church is conjoined to the rocks of Monte Pellegrino. The church is the sanctuary of Santa Rosalia, one of Palermo’s patron saints. Santa Rosalia is worshipped today by Palermitans for saving the city from the plague during the 1600s. Many locals are still devoted to Santa Rosalia today.

➤ La Opera dei Pupi
Via Bara All’Olivella, 95
+39 091 323400
Puppetry has been part of Sicilian culture since the first half of the 19th century. The Puppet Theatre regales audiences with old-world story telling. Tales of ancient heroes such as Charlemagne and French knights keep the embers of history burning in a time-honoured tradition.


Porta Felice
Via Butera, 45
+39 091 817 5678
The Porta Felice offers an elegant and stylish retreat from the excitement of Palermo’s streets. An oasis of calm, the hotel’s spa is an ideal way to relax and reinvigorate before returning to the city for more stimulation. The staff are extremely friendly and offer an excellent service. This hotel really does represent great value for money.

Grand Hotel et des Palmes
Via Roma, 398
+39 091 602 8111
Centrally located off Via Roma, the Grand Hotel Et des Palmes is an ideal location from which to venture into the city. The sumptuous lobby resonates with glamour and luxury from times gone by. The rooms are spacious and allow the guests to relax in luxury.

Villa Igiea Hilton
Salita Belmonte, 43
+39 09 631 2111
Originally part of the famous Florio family’s dynasty, this villa is the last word in Palermitan extravagance. A regular haunt of Italy’s glitterati, the Villa Igiea offers a wonderful experience in indulgence, Sicilian style. The villa’s outdoor pool is a must for sun-seekers and those wishing to relax and contemplate the magic of Sicily.

Mondello Palace*DSC_0502
Viale Principe di Scalea
+39 091 450 001
The Mondello Palace hotel is located in the vibrant seaside resort of Mondello. The hotel’s staff are extremely attentive to guests and the hotel has a spacious and modern ambience to it that makes it an ideal location for relaxing and enjoying the seafront views.

Centrale Palace
Corso Vittorio Emanuele, 327
+39 091 8539
Perfectly positioned literally just a few steps from the Quatro Canti, and fice minutes away from the Cathedral, this hotel maintains a balance between extravagance and simplicity. Just as the name implies, the Centrale Palace offers guests a luxurious stay right in the heart of the city’s historic centre. Eating breakfast on the rooftop terrace while the city awakes is a must.


Osteria dei Vespri
Piazza Croce dei Vespri, 6
+39 617 1631
Situated below the Palazzo Gangi, the Osteria dei Vespri is famous for its high standards in Sicilian gastronomy. The creative approach to local dishes make for an exquisite culinary experience. The staff’s service is impeccable and the Osteria’s interior is both rustic and intimate. Well worth a visit.
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Kursaal Kalhesa
Foro Italico Umberto I, 21
+39 091 616 2282
For an unforgettable evening in Palermo’s old Arab quarter a visit to this restaurant is highly recommended. Part restaurant, part winebar, part jazz club, Kursaal Kalhesa is a novel experience and the fusion food is truly exotic. No trip to Palermo is complete without an evening dining in La Kalsa.
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Al Fondaco del Conte
Piazza Conte Federico, 24
+39 091 652 2312
Located near to Palermo’s Ballaro market in an ancient building that used to offer respite to the city’s cart drivers, there now lies a vibrant contemporary styled restaurant. Seafood is a speciality in this restaurant where flavours are masterfully combined to create a truly memorable dining experience.
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Al Covo de’ I Beati Paoli*DSC_0736
Piazza Marina, 50
+39 091 616 6634
Benefitting from the natural ambience of Piazza Marina, this restaurant has an old world quality that makes it a very pleasant dining experience. The restaurant is a popular choice for locals and tourists. The food is delicious and portions are hearty, an ideal way to spend an evening.
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Piazza Sant’Andrea, 4
+39 091 334 999
Famous for its delicious pasta dishes, this quaint and charming trattoria offers diners a chance to sample fresh local produce that has been attentively prepared and served with a sense of local pride. The service is friendly and the location is near to the lively Vucciria market.
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