Visit some of Sicily’s most intriguing historical sites, admire religious mosaics and enjoy lazy days on the beach at this coastal town in the north of the island.
With beaches, piazzas, medieval buildings and a magnificent cathedral, the coastal town of Cefalu has something for everyone. Relax on the sand, explore cobbled streets and discover ancient history all below a colossal rock crowned by the ruins of a fort.
If you are into history and architecture, a visit to Cefalu will not disappoint. Embark on a self-guided tour of the Duomo di Cefalu, one of the finest Arab-Norman structures on the island. The grand church was built by Roger II during the 12th century and its twin pyramid towers still stand high above the old town’s medieval buildings. Step inside to admire its beautiful Byzantine mosaics and then take a stroll through the cloister.
A short walk from here in the direction of the harbor will take you to the Museo Mandralisca. The collection includes archeological artifacts and works of art amassed by the 19th-century philanthropist and avid collector Baron Mandralisca. A highlight is the 15th-century Portrait of an Unknown Man, considered to be one of the most important artworks of the Renaissance. Mandralisca is said to have found the piece on the island of Lipari where it was being used as a makeshift cupboard door.
The giant rock known as La Rocca dominates Cefalu’s skyline. Walk up the rocky crag to see an ancient Greek temple and the ruins of an old fort.
Once you come back down to the town, you will find the Spiaggia di Cefalu is the perfect place to cool off. The long stretch of white sand arches out in front of the town and is overlooked by several bars that rent out umbrellas and deck chairs. Soak up the hot sun and swim in the crystal clear water.
Cefalu is a 1-hour train ride from Palermo and the train station is right in the center of town. Come for a day trip and visit the sights, or stay longer to fully explore its ancient and medieval history, culture and scenery.