After a day spent driving through the beautiful and dramatic Sicilian countryside on a tour of Erice and Segesta, sun in the forecast meant we wanted to find a beach to relax at outside of the city of Palermo for our second day in Sicily. Andrew asked our tour guide what beaches she would recommend. She said without hesitation that Cefalú was her favourite. She mentioned a wading beach, a beautiful church, and a temple. We were sold.
The next day we took the 9:55 am TrenItalia train from Palermo to Cefalú to get some sun. The train station was an easy walk from our Airbnb and the train was prompt. The ride was about 45 minutes, and I think it cost around €5 roundtrip.
As we pulled away from Palermo, the coastline began to transform from urban high-rises to increasingly bright-roofed beach homes dotted along the coast. The turquoise water sparkled, and we passed more and more resorts as we got closer to Cefalú. It was looking like we made the right choice for a beach day!
The train drops you off a short walk from the beach, up the hill from the coast. As you walk down towards the sea, the streets become narrower and traffic all but stops.
Laundry hangs from balconies, shopkeepers stand in the street and adorable cafes beckon you to sit in the shade of one of their umbrellas.
We couldn’t resist. Needing some caffeine for our day of adventuring ahead, we chose a cafe in the Piazza del Duomo with a beautiful view of the Cefalú Cathedral. Built in 1311, this cathedral is unique because of its Sicilian-Arabesque design.
Since it was getting quite warm, we each ordered a “Caffe Freddo” from Caffe di Ruggero. Wow! It was delicious. So delicious we may have been super lame and went back for more after our hike.. it was espresso with tiny ice chips and cream on top. Divine for a warm spring day.
After properly caffeinating, we set out through the rest of town to the ocean.
The town with the Rock of Cefalú beyond. Doesn’t look so tall from this angle, huh?
It wasn’t quite warm enough for the beach, but we did our best to get some sun. We weren’t the only ones – many other sunbathers had also headed for Spiaggia Cefalú. We spent an hour relaxing on the sand and then visited Tivitti, which was right on the beach, for lunch.
After lunch, we decided to head up to the Rock of Cefalú and check out the views and the Temple of Diana.
A little ways into the walk, we were thankful to have our sneakers on and full water bottles! It wasn’t terribly difficult, but it can be uneven terrain and hot in the sun.
Totally worth it for the views over the town and turquoise waters!
Inland, you could see rolling hills in all directions.
Crazy parasailers glided above.
Manning the camera and trying to stay cool!
We made it to the top!
The sea views were even more beautiful over the back of the Rock.
Afraid of heights…
…not afraid of heights.
It took us about 45 minutes to get up to the top and another 45 or so down, where we stopped at the site of the ancient Temple of Diana.
Cefalú is beautiful.
If you visit Palermo, a day trip to Cefalú is a must. Bring your sneakers and get up there to take in the beautiful views and marvel at the ruins of the Sicans dating back to 800 BC. We had a lovely day enjoying the beach town, then making the trek to the top to marvel at the natural and historical beauty of Sicily.