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Palermo

Culture & History

Our most recommended Palermo Culture & History

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.

Palermo: NO Mafia Walking Tour

2. Palermo: NO Mafia Walking Tour

Explore Teatro Massimo, the open-air market "Il Capo", Piazza Della Memoria (Memorial dedicated to prosecutors and judges killed by the Mafia), Piazza Beati Paoli, the Cathedral, the City Hall, and Piazza Magione. Every stop will be a pause for reflection, a chance to mull over the realities of the Mafia and consider the civic movement against Mafioso power. Along the tour, you will meet shopkeepers who have said NO to paying the Pizzo, who have subscribed to the ethical consumer campaign ‘Pago chi non Paga’ (I pay who does not pay). 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 ‘Cibo da Strada Palermitano’ (street food of Palermo). Learn about 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), "Panelle" (chickpea fritters), "Anelletti al Forno" (baked ring-shaped pasta), "Involtini di Melanzane" (eggplant rolls), "Sarde a Beccafico" (sardine rolls) and the famous Cannoli.

Palermo: Street Food and History Walking Tour

3. 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.

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

4. 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.

Palermo: Agrigento and the Valley of the Temples Day Tour

5. 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: Private City Tour with a Local Guide

6. Palermo: Private City Tour with a Local Guide

Transform the way you travel and make it as much about the people you meet as the places you see. Get a welcome to Palermo from a local guide eager to share all the tips to help you make the most of your stay. Meet at your hotel or accommodation and get familiar with the neighborhood. Learn insider tips, such as the best places to eat, buy groceries and the easiest ways to get around. Alternatively, arrange to meet at a central landmark or intersection to start your walking tour. Hear about the top things to do, customized to your interests. By the end, you will feel more comfortable navigating the city with all the information you need.

Palermo: Street Food and Local Market Tasting Tour

7. Palermo: Street Food and Local Market Tasting Tour

Be part of the first ever street food tour in Sicily and explore the main markets and squares of Palermo city center with a licensed guide. Escape the usual tourist traps and discover venues loved by the locals for a fully immersive experience in small groups of no more than 12 people. Venture down secret alleyways to chat to street food vendors and colorful characters. Enter the oldest working class bar downtown and share a drink with Palermitans. Take the best tips from your local guide, and receive a unique food passport souvenir to take away.                      

Palermo: Teatro Massimo Opera House Guided Tour

8. Palermo: Teatro Massimo Opera House Guided Tour

Get to know Palermo's famous opera house on this 30 minute guided tour. Explore the stunning auditorium and other rooms of the third largest opera house in Europe. Start your tour in the foyer. Admire the sculptures and bronze-decorated candelabra in this opulent place. Next, move to the auditorium and enjoy the golden stuccoes, wooden decorations, and features in velvet and glass. Visit the stage and see what happens to enable the staging of an opera. Admire the gorgeous royal box, as well as other areas like the Coat of Arms and Pompeian Rooms. Learn fascinating facts about the opera house, and enjoy breathtaking views of Palermo from the building's top.

From Palermo: Erice, Salt Pans, and Segesta Day Trip

9. From Palermo: Erice, Salt Pans, and Segesta Day Trip

Discover the history of Sicily from the Greeks to the Middle Ages with this day trip to Erice, the salt pans of Trapani, and Segesta. After pickup from selected locations in Palermo, drive to western Sicily to reach Erice. The ancient Elymian people founded this medieval town, once an important religious site associated with the goddess Venus. Continue to Trapani where the ancient tradition of harvesting salt from the sea is still practiced. In the afternoon, head to Segesta, another city founded by the Elymians. Visit the 5th-century Doric temple built on a hilltop just outside the ancient city. Admire the astonishing views, before returning to Palermo.

Mount Etna and Taormina Full-Day Excursion from Palermo

10. Mount Etna and Taormina Full-Day Excursion from Palermo

Europe’s highest active volcano is studied extensively by scientists and is popular with trekkers and nature lovers as well. Visit Mount Etna and the clifftop village of Taormina on this 11-hour excursion from Palermo. From Crateri Silvestri you’ll take the funicular with a local mountain guide all the way up to 2,500 meters above sea level. From this point you’ll experience unforgettable panoramic views. Just south of Taormina is the nature reserve of Isola Bella, and further south you’ll see the popular seaside resort of Giardini Naxos. Visit the village of Taormina, a 45-minute drive from Mount Etna. Perched on a cliff overlooking the Ionian Sea, the village features an ancient Greek theater, many old churches, antique shops, lively bars and fine restaurants.

Frequently asked questions about Palermo Culture & History

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What people are saying about Palermo

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 238 reviews

We were delighted by this tour. Francesco is fully fluent in English, and his knowledge of Palermo was incredible. We feel like we got the best gems on this tour, and just enough info for us. Turns out, he’s a high school history teacher! He showed us things we would have never seen without him: a 500 year old monastery garden and bakery, neighborhood churches, special touches everywhere. He’s incredibly professional and a great communicator. We asked him near the end how long he’s been doing this and we shocked that we were his first tour. He was impressive, I’d book him again in a heartbeat.

Fabrizio is a very nice and polite guy! We can highly recommend this tour. He showed us around in palermo old town and we visited the street market to taste some food. He knows a lot about palermo and their history. Dont miss it while you are in sicily!

A very effective way of visiting places outside of Palermo if you don’t have your own transport. One comment, the guide could have provided a bit more information during the trip.

Absolutely brilliant and inciteful tour. Our tour guide was excellent so passionate and informative.

Very good basic tour, informative and shows your a lot.