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Things to do in

Palermo

Sicily’s ancient capital is peppered with UNESCO-listed sites and an interesting mix of architectural styles.

Our most recommended things to do in Palermo

Palermo: Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour 24-hour Ticket

1. Palermo: Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour 24-hour Ticket

Discover Palermo, the chief town of Sicily, on an open-top, hop-on hop-off bus tour! Start from the terminal outside the Politeama Theater, cruise past the Massimo Theatre, and continue towards Piazza Quattro Canti and the nearby Vucciria Market. The tour continues towards the botanical gardens, passing near Palazzo Steri. After a quick glance of the central station, you'll find yourself in the vicinity of the Royal Palace, the Flea Market, and the Cathedral. Then return to the terminal along the ancient via Roma. The second route takes you to the beautiful villas of Palermo. Starting from the terminal outside the Politeama Theatre, admire the gorgeous English Garden and then continue towards Villa Malfitano and the wonderful Zisa Castle. The tour passes near the Mercato del Capo and the Massimo Theatre, towards the port, and then returns to the terminal in Politeama Square.

Segesta, Erice and Salt Pans Full-Day Excursion from Palermo

2. Segesta, Erice and Salt Pans Full-Day Excursion from Palermo

This popular 8-hour itinerary takes you to see the most interesting sites of western Sicily. With your guide you’ll visit and explore Segesta, a Greek archaeological site. Travel to Nubia and the Salt Pans in Trapani, and admire the Sicilian coast and natural landscapes en route. You’ll also stop at Erice, a medieval hilltop town. Enjoy spectacular views throughout the day. All of the sites are relatively near Palermo, meaning that you’ll have plenty of time to explore each of them. This itinerary is also known as the Elimians's Road, named for the Elimians who were among the first inhabitants of this part of Sicily.

From Palermo: Monreale and Cefalù Half-Day Trip

3. From Palermo: Monreale and Cefalù Half-Day Trip

Escape the hustle and bustle of Palermo city center on a half-day tour to Monreale and Cefalù. Marvel at a Norman cathedral on the slopes of Monte Caputo, and learn the Greek and Medieval history of one of Sicily’s most beautiful towns. Following a pick-up from your hotel or the port of Palermo, transfer to Monreale where you will have approximately 1-hour to tour the Duomo. An official audio guide is included to learn the history of the 12th-century building, considered one of the greatest landmarks of medieval ecclesiastical architecture in the south of Italy. Then, drive along the north coast of Sicily, on route to the beautiful town of Cefalù. Sit back and relax on the 1.5-hour journey, and on arrival go to the 12th-century Duomo. See traces of the Middle Ages at the Osterio Magno. Get panoramic views from the Porta Terra. Discover Greek and Arabic pottery in the Mandralisca Museum, and walk down some curving stone steps to a picturesque cluster of 16th-century wash basins at the Lavatoio.

Palermo: NO Mafia Walking Tour

4. Palermo: NO Mafia Walking Tour

Discover the top sights in Palermo from a unique angle on this guided walking tour. Every stop is a chance to pause for reflection on the realities of the Mafia and consider the civic movement against Mafioso power. Meet your guide and begin your mafia-themed adventure thorugh the streets of Palermo. Explore Teatro Massimo, the open-air market "Il Capo", Piazza Della Memoria (Memorial dedicated to prosecutors and judges killed by the Mafia). Stroll by sights like Piazza Beati Paoli, the Cathedral, the City Hall, and Piazza Magione. Meet shopkeepers who avoided paying the Pizzo and who have subscribed to the ethical consumer campaign ‘Pago chi non Paga’ (I pay who does not pay).  Learn about how this campaign is promoted by Addiopizzo to support those that have decided to rebel against the Mafia. End the tour at Antica Focacceria San Francesco, one of the oldest restaurants in Palermo, famous for its tasty street food. Find out how the owners had the courage to speak out against extortion. Lunch is not included but if you decide to stay you can taste some specialties like, "pane con la Milza" (sandwich stuffed with beef spleen and ricotta cheese), "Arancine" (rice balls). Have the option to purchase some "Panelle" (chickpea fritters), "Anelletti al Forno" (baked ring-shaped pasta), "Involtini di Melanzane" (eggplant rolls), "Sarde a Beccafico" (sardine rolls) and or some famous Cannoli.

Palermo: Street Food and History Walking Tour

5. Palermo: Street Food and History Walking Tour

Embark on a walking tour through the center of Palermo and feel like you are visiting an open-air museum. Marvel at a range of different architectural styles and see the Capo street markets that are a true mix of culture, customs, and food traditions. Taste five local food specialties and a drink to wash them down tastefully. Blend a historical and foodie walking tour into one. See and learn about historical landmarks, including Piazza Beati Paoli, the Cathedral, the Quattro Canti, and the Pretoria fountain en route. Walk through the bustling Capo Street Market, offering a wide selection of local meats, seafood, produce & Sicilian bites. Then, taste some local specialties from Palermo. Tuck into some sfincione (dough topped with onion, bread crumbs, tomato, and oregano), panelle (fried chickpea flour), crocché (potato croquettes), arancine (rice croquettes stuffed with meat or butter), and cannolo (crunchy shell with sweet-cheese). Refresh yourself with a drink, to close off your tour in style.

From Palermo: Villa Romana and Valley of the Temples Trip

6. From Palermo: Villa Romana and Valley of the Temples Trip

Follow in the footsteps of the Greeks and Romans on a day trip where your transport is taken care of for you. Discover some of the finest Roman mosaics in the world at the Villa Romana del Casale. Learn all about the Valley of the Temples archaeological site with a licensed local guide. Meet your driver in central Palermo and be taken straight to Piazza Armerina, where you will explore the Villa Romana del Casale independently. Marvel at the luxurious 4th-century villa, home to an influential Roman family. Take your time to examine its exquisite mosaic flooring. Continue to Agrigento for a guided tour of the magnificent Valley of Temples, built by the Greeks in the 5th century BC. See the ruins of temples, necropolises, houses, streets, and everything else you'd expect to find in an ancient city. Finally, return to the meeting point in Palermo.

Palermo: Small Group Night Street Food Tour

7. Palermo: Small Group Night Street Food Tour

Meet your local guide at the main opera house and get to know the other travelers. You'll then walk through the streets before having a welcome toast. Enjoy a glass of fresh Sicilian wine and some interesting bites that you won't normally find in touristy places. On this tour, you'll get to know the real Palermo, its food, its people, and its secrets. Learn about the Sicilian lifestyle as you stroll towards the old port of Palermo. Stop at street food stalls in the heart of Vucciria and sample the best bites selected by your guide. You will get to try the famous spleen sandwich and hear some interesting facts about its origins. The small group allows for easy interaction with your guide and the rest of the group. Your guide will then show you hidden spots and discuss several topics during the walk, from history to art to social issues. Feel free to ask your guide whatever you want. The walk ends at the old port of Palermo for one last sweet treat, a Brioche with ice cream. This will the memorable end to the tour and your last chance to get some tips to help you enjoy the rest of your stay as much as possible.

Palermo: Agrigento and the Valley of the Temples Day Tour

8. Palermo: Agrigento and the Valley of the Temples Day Tour

Enjoy a scenic drive into the countryside to Agrigento on this full-day excursion from Palmero, with stops to see ancient temples. Visit local museums and learn about the country's rich history before being transferred back to Palermo. The excursion includes a short stop for a coffee en route to Agrigento, before arriving at the Valley of the Temples. You can further explore the Hera, Concordia and Apollo temples and Hardcastle villa, with a guidebook that will provide more information about the sites. You’ll have free time to decide on a place for lunch, before your driver takes you to the Agrigento Archaeology Museum. After exploring the museum’s collections, you'll be driven back to Palermo.

Palermo: Street Food and Local Market Tasting Tour

9. Palermo: Street Food and Local Market Tasting Tour

Explore the main markets and backstreets of Palermo city center with a local food expert. Escape the usual tourist traps and discover venues loved by the locals for a fully immersive foodie experience. You will easily find arancini around the streets but there is only one place in town that still makes the thousand-year-old recipe, you will find it on this tour. Your guides will have selected various bouquets of traditional street food for you. Enjoy veggie fritters, soft ravazzata with spinach, and a challenging offal sandwich. All tours end with a seasonal dessert. The amount of food will substitute for your lunch. Venture down secret alleyways to chat with street food vendors and colorful characters. Enter the oldest working-class bar downtown and share a drink with Palermitans. The small group tour will allow you to interact with your local guide and collect the best tips to enjoy the city like a local. This is a truly authentic street experience. Local guides discuss many topics besides cuisine in order to make you feel the real street spirit of Palermo.

Sicily: Etna Volcano & Taormina Tour

10. Sicily: Etna Volcano & Taormina Tour

Discover Etna, the highest active volcano in Europe (3.345 mt), and the town of Taormina that sits on the slopes of Mount Tauro on this guided tour. Enjoy plenty of free time to see the Silvestri Craters, Taormina’s Greek-Roman Theater, and more. Meet with staff and the rest of the group at the meeting point in Palermo, then depart to Etna. Upon arrival, enjoy free time to visit the Silvestri Craters and other sites. Try climbing Mount Etna in two different ways: • Ascend to 2,500 meters: From Funivia dell’Etna, ride a cable car up to 2,500 meters (at Montagnola). Upon arrival at 2,500 meters, you can walk around, hike, or enjoy a drink at the bar overlooking the area. This option has an additional cost to pay on the spot, approximately €30 per person. • Ascend to the top from 2,500 meters up to 2,920 meters: From Montagnola at around 2,500 meters, jump on board the UNI-MOG (mini-coach WD4X4) to reach 2,800 meters with a licensed Etna guide. Then, hike to reach 2,920 meters. This option has an additional cost to be paid on the spot of approximately €60 per person. Afterward, depart for Taormina, a scenic town on the slopes of Mount Tauro (204 m). This stop is not guided, so you are free to explore independently at your own pace. Visit the Greek-Roman Theater and admire the views of Etna and Taormina Bay. Later, head back to Palermo to be dropped off.

Frequently asked questions about Palermo

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The best day trips and excursions from Palermo are:

Corleone

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Other Sightseeing Options in Palermo

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What people are saying about Palermo

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 3,163 reviews

The most amazing personal tour of Palermo I could have ever imagined. Learned so much and now have a lifelong friend in my guide Patrizia who also owns the tour company. If you are going to Palermo this this the way to learn the city

It is a great way to see the "real" Palermo while having fun and meeting new like minded people. It was small group, only 8 of us plus our guide Salvo. He was very knowledgeable and fun

Great experience - our tour guide was great! We learned and tasted many different foods - great experience

Perfect morning tasting and seeing the streets of Palermo with a most informative guide!

Our guide Rafa was informed and engaging. We had a great time!