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Published on June 27, 2023 by Cara @ Due Spaghetti
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A view of the town of Cefalù, Sicily, across the water. A blue and white fishing boat is in the foreground.

Cefalù is a delightful seaside village on the northern coast of Sicily, just about an hour east of Palermo, nestled between the Tyrrhenian Sea and the mountainous cliff named la Rocca di Cefalù which towers above.

Cefalù was the final stop on our Sicilian tour, and we could not have found a better place to savor our final moments on the island. Less pretentious than neighboring Taormina, Cefalù has a relaxed, beach town vibe, but it’s not too quiet, either. There’s still plenty to do, starting with its iconic sandy beaches with crystal clear water and dramatic views of the old town underneath the huge Rocca.

While spending the entire time in Cefalù on the beach is tempting, it’s worth taking time to stroll the medieval streets and take in the town’s history. Visit the Cathedral of Cefalù, a 12th-century Norman basilica known for its Byzantine mosaics and twin towers. It is one of nine structures in the UNESCO World Heritage Site known as Arab-Norman Palermo and the Cathedral Churches of Cefalù and Monreale, unique for merging Western, Islamic, and Byzantine cultures.

If you are the active type, you can hike to the top of la Rocca, and if you do, a visit to the Temple of Diana is a must. The megalithic structure was built sometime around or even before the 3rd century BC by the Saracens as a place to worship water.

Or, do as we do – skip the hiking tours and instead explore the shops, bars, gelato spots, and small osterias that dot the streets of the village and grab an aperitivo in the piazza. It won’t be hard to find an excellent meal at any of the local restaurants, but if you’d like a recommendation, we had a memorable seafood dinner Il Covo Del Pirata on Via Vittorio Emanuele. Stop by in the afternoon when they open to make dinner reservations and ask for a table overlooking the water – seafood tastes even better with a view.

People under colorful umbrellas and swimming in the sea just outside of the town of Cefalù, Sicily.