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 la Rocca di Cefalù, a mountainous cliff that towers above it.
Cefalù was the final stop on our Sicilian tour and we could not have found a better place to relax and 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. There’s still plenty to do, starting with its iconic sandy beaches with crystal clear water with dramatic views of the old town sitting underneath the huge Rocca.
While it’s tempting to spend the entire time in Cefalù on the beach, it’s worth strolling the medieval streets and taking in the town’s history. Take time to visit the Cathedral of Cefalù, a 12th-century Norman basilica known for its Byzantine mosaics and twin towers. The Cathedral is one of nine structures included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site known as Arab-Norman Palermo and the Cathedral Churches of Cefalù and Monreale unique for their merging of Western, Islamic and Byzantine cultures.
If you are the active type, you can hike to the top of la Rocca, visiting the Temple of Diana on your way, a megalithic structure built in sometime around or even before the 3rd century BC by the Saracens as a place to worship water. Or, you can do as we do – skip the hiking tours and instead explore the shops, bars, gelato spots, and small osterias that dot the streets and the piazzas of the village. We had a memorable seafood dinner at Il Covo Del Pirata on Via Vittorio Emanuele. Stop in early to make dinner reservations and ask for a table overlooking the water.