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23 Fabulous Things to do in Palermo Italy, Sizzling Sicilian Capital

A single statue of an angel on a piazza in Palermo, in front of city roofs and mountains in the distance.

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There are so many cool things to do in Palermo Italy! Palermo is the largest city in the autonomous region of Sicily, with a population of about 650,000. It sits in the sunshine, surrounded by beaches and nestled in by tall cliffs.

And what a city it is. Palermo is filled with loud and passionate people, gorgeous and unusual religious architecture, some questionable driving, and absolutely fantastic (and often unusual) food.

I recently spent a week in Palermo — much longer than most visitors spend here. And let me tell you, this time was very well spent!

There are many misconceptions about Palermo — especially concerning safety. Despite the fact that travelers often associate Palermo with mafia dangers, Palermo is a safe city to visit, about as safe as any major European city. (You can read more on Palermo safety below.)

I also expected Palermo to be just as brash and loud as Naples — but it wasn’t that way at all. Palermo actually felt fairly low-key as far as Italian cities go — not nearly as wild as Naples or Rome. Go figure!

Palermo is also extremely good value for money. I live in Prague, which has a reputation of a cheap city (though it’s gotten much pricier in recent years). Palermo is significantly cheaper than Prague, especially when it comes to food and accommodation. Big arancine for a euro? That’s lunch!

Palermo may not be as famous as Florence or Rome — but this underrated city is well worth a visit.

This post was published in February 2023.

Things to Do in Palermo Italy

You’ll notice on my list of things to do in Palermo has a lot of churches and a lot of food. Honestly, that’s what Palermo does best!

The Arab-Norman architecture has earned UNESCO World Heritage Designation for a number of churches in the city — all worth visiting.

And the food! From hearty pastas and wild street foods to delectable pastries, Palermo is one of the most delicious cities I’ve ever visited.

What are good things to do in Palermo with kids?

Kids visiting Palermo will love all the pastry shops and playing in the sand at Mondello Beach.

What are the best day trips from Palermo Italy?

My top recommendations for day trips from Palermo are the beach town of Cefalù, the romantic hill town of Erice, and the Greek ruins of Segesta.

Life-changing panzerotti kick off your Palermo food tour!

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