When the streets of Sicily’s Capital, Palermo, get a little too hot and gritty, it’s time to escape to Cefalu for some cool seaside relaxation. It’s true that in Summer you’ll be far from alone in your admiration of Cefalu’s long beach and cute streets, but at other times of year it has a more relaxed vibe.
How to Get to Cefalu from Palermo.
The trip only takes an average of 50 minutes by train, so if you’re time poor, it is possible to allocate as little as half a day to this medieval town. It is so easy, just hop on one of twenty trains each day from Palermo Centrale and get off at Cefalu.
We arrived by Regional train and mistakenly caught an Intercity on the return trip. It wasn’t a problem and the conductor just collected the extra payment on the train.
How to get to the old town.
Leave Cefalu station, turn right down Via Gramsci then follow Via Matteotti into the old town, the Duomo, La Rocca, Bastione Capo Marchiofava and the cute as a postcard Port.
When the Duomo first came into view it seemed lost amongst the restaurants and stage in the Piazza.
But with the Piazza behind us the Duomo and rock were impressive.
The Duomo’s mosaics are the oldest and best-preserved mosaics in Sicily – older than those in Cattedrale di Monreale in Palermo.
Glittering Byzantine mosaic of Christ All Powerful in central apse of Cefalu Duomo.
Although the central apse is all glitz and glamour, the rest of the Duomo is simplicity itself. These columns are thought to come from the ruined Tempio di Diana on La Rocca above.
Even though our visit was in Spring the weather was quite hot and climbing La Rocca lacked appeal. After checking out the the Duomo (don’t forget the cloisters) it was off to Bastione Capo Marchiofava for the views, before finding our spot on a port-side seat along with the retired fishermen and housewives.
La Rocca – The Rock – is accessible by a staircase, Salita Saracena, that climbs up through three layers of walls to where the first inhabitants – a race of giants says local folklore – lived. The view from the top is fantastic with views to the Aeolian islands.
The stark ambience of Bastione.
From the small fishing port we looked across to the beach and seafront promenade. The kids played football and when the ball inevitably landed in the water they jumped in to retrieve it. Such fun.
Down Via Vittorio Emanuele, at the end of XXV Novembre, look for an alcove of 16th Century wash basins known as Lavatoio. When you see a wide curved staircase shaded by large trees, descend to a cool spot where women traditionally did the family’s washing.
How to get to the beach from the Train Station.
On the other hand if you just want to lay like a Lizard on the beach, turn left into Via Gramsci, veer right into Via Martoglio and then it is a straight run down Via Vazzano, to bury your toes in sand. The section of beach near the old town is public, although you will still need to pay for an umbrella and sun chair, or lay on your towel directly on the sand budget travel style.
Public Beach, Cefalu.
Budget Travel Tips.
La Rocca – 3 Euro Entrance Fee.
Opening Hours are 9 am – 4.45 pm Oct/Apr. 9 am – 6.45 pm May/Sept.
Allow 30 minutes for the climb.
Train fares – Palermo to Cefalu. Regional trains are cheaper (5.60 euro) but slower than the faster Intercity trains (9 euro).
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