Cefalu beach in Sicily

Cefalu, Italy: A Beachside Fishing Village in Sicily

Last updated on September 11th, 2018 at 10:42 pm

While I love Palermo, it is clear that the best part of Sicily are the small towns. Luckily, it is possible to have the best of both worlds with a day trip from Palermo to Cefalù.

The town of Cefalu in Sicily

I promise you that if you have seen a seaside shot of Sicily, you have probably glimpsed Cefalu’s charming port.

The small cove is impossibly picturesque even in the off season.

Located about 40 miles east of Palermo, Cefalù is easily reachable by both car and train.

With the regional train, Cefalù can actually be an easier destination to reach than Mondello – which is closer to Palermo but only has a bus option for public transportation. (Side note: the bus is terrible).

Cefalu on the northern coast of Sicily

The train schedule can vary slightly depending on the day, but you can check the options for Palermo to Cefalù on the trenitalia website. Tickets can be purchased online or in person at the station. (And here are some more tips on how to buy train tickets in Italy).

The trains run approximately every hour between the city and the seaside town, so you can be in Cefalu within about 50 minutes.  The train station is uphill from the beach, about a ten minute walk away.

The cathedral in Cefalu, Italy

And it is a short trip that is well worth it.

While Palermo’s buzz of hectic scooters and activity can be invigorating, life in Cefalù is decidedly slower.

As with many small towns in Italy, a cathedral dominates the main square.

Streets of Cefalu, Sicily

A town of about 14,000 – the numbers can swell during summer when Cefalu becomes a major tourist destination.

The best times to visit are in the shoulder seasons of April-May and September-October. The beach crowds are sparse during those months, but the shops and restaurants are open.

Wine and aperitivo in Cefalu Sicily

Once you have wandered through town, stop for a local aperitivo at Tentazioni Meditterranee (Via Carlo Ortolani  di Bordonaro 23).

The shop sells the gourmet products to take away, but there are also tables outside to enjoy Sicilian snacks like mortadella with truffles and cheese dotted with pistachios. And if you look juuuuust right, you will catch a glimpse of the ocean through the small piazza across the street.

Cefalu Sicily near Palermo

If you are staying for dinner or want a more substantial lunch, book a table at Il Normanno (Via Vanni, 8). The cozy restaurant offers a chance to try slow food dishes from the region.

Port of Cefalu

Speaking of staying, I highly recommend considering Cefalù for more than only a day trip from Palermo.

I booked two nights in a small studio just off the water, and had coffee on my own little balcony before the town came to life.

Beach of Cefalu Sicily



  • Reply Dario September 20, 2017 at 9:19 pm

    Incredibly captivating.
    The kind of things that makes me miss Italy.

    • Reply Natalie September 21, 2017 at 3:05 pm

      Yes! It is a country full of these amazing little spots.

  • Reply Greg Speck September 21, 2017 at 8:08 pm

    We spent 10 days in the center of Cefalu. Beautiful and enjoyable. Took some day trips to Castelbuno and other small towns. The beaches are great but can be crowded. The locals climb down the rocks to reach either a sandy beach, or rocky outcropping to sun on. You can find them on any of the roads in town, or while heading out of town. They park in places I would never dream of, but are able to enjoy the beach with out paying. Of course you can hit the beach for free in the center of town. For a seaside resport, I think the prices are very reasonable.

  • Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.