I knew little about Palermo besides seeing snaps of my mate sprawled out sun-kissed and beaming on a beach, but I mentally bookmarked it as a place I’d visit (if not just to taste some of that joy.)
Till recently, exploring Europe wasn’t high on my priority list (for…reasons…), but I’m now keener to explore it more thoroughly. Also: no visas and dirt cheap flights is a bit of a no-brainer.
Easter holidays was the perfect time to jet off with a couple of girls to the Sicilian town for a cheeky break – seafood and provincial charm is right up my alley.
Here are my highlights!
A gastronomic village in the heart of Palermo is the description of Palermo Street Food Fest – tastings, workshops, concerts and cooking shows from the world’s best chefs. A €6 ticket gets you a drink and a main meal and is situated (conveniently) close to Da Jolly I Stigghuilari Tanino E Angelo. Not part of the Street Food Fest, but it might as well have been for me the girl who greedily devoured a cheap as chips Palermo street food speciality – juicy grilled intestines with scallion [stigghiola]*
Il Capo street market was another perfect find. A buzzing little alley of food markets fronted by animated street vendors oozing charm and enthusiasm. Great for little knick knacks like spices, sauces and souvenirs to take home. Make sure you stop for some seafood antipasti can be grilled or fried on request – very busy, but a great vibe if you wanna be sat right in the heart of the action. Can’t remember the name of the one we went to, unfortunately.
Our waiter at Enotequa was spirited, attentive and an unofficial sommelier and of course the food was delicious – I believe I opted for a spaghetti rutti di mare arrusti. Moody lighting and very intimate seating. This was a brilliant way to mark our first night in Palermo. Great for a date night, too.
Trattoria Supra, a traditional sicilian restaurant just off il Capo street, is considered one of the best seafood restaurants in Palermo. We dined al fresco to soak up the surroundings – our seafood was prepared in plain sight and cooked to perfection. The impromptu bachata session with our waiter? Cherry on the cake!
Mondello beach is a 40 minute bus ride from the city centre via the 806 bus and all for a mere €1,40 return! A perfect day out for a picnic, dinner and a stroll – stunning.
Capuchin Catacombs – an eerie cellar housing the skeletal remains of former nuns, priests and children of the area from centuries ago. They’re propped up against a wall or encased in a coffin, but it’s easy to feel surrounded. Eerie. Avoid if you have a fear of the deceased and dark spaces. Note: pictures/videos aren’t allowed
Cattedrale di Palermo – dating back to 1825, blending norman, moorish, gothic and neo-classical architecture, Palermo Cathedral is a must-see for history buffs – oh, and stunning. Entrance was 20 Euros, which granted access to the royal tombs, crypt, treasury and roof. It’s also worth checking out the art gallery, too.
Monreale Cathedral – lovely little cathedral off il Capo street. Nip in after your meal or after food shopping.
- Luckily, Ryannair allows one carry-on [measuring 55cm x 40cm x 20cm and weighing 10kg] and a small handbag
note: arrive at the airport early and cut down on bulkiness to prevent it from being taken to the hold (like mine was – surprise, surprise it ended up being slightly damaged)
- British airways Euro traveller – we were unable to check-in online, so be sure to leave at least 2 hours pre-departure for check-in.
Getting there: Ryanair & British Airways Euro traveller
Staying there: 4 nights at Residenza di Maggio B&B
Bookings: N/A (we booked directly)
Transport: Taxi Palermo airport pick-up (pre-arranged)
Spending: £200 was more than enough. Could have been less.
My Essentials: although I didn’t take one, an Italian phrasebook will be handy.
www.visitpalermo.it [Taxi Palermo]
http://amat.pa.it [bus ticket info]
Trattoria Supra – Piazza Porta Carini, 5, 90134 Palermo, Italy
Cattedrale di Palermo – Corso Vittorio Emanuele, 90040 Palermo (€10 adult ticket)
Il Capo street market – Via Cappuccinelle, 90138, Palermo
* stigghiola is usually grilled sheep or goat (not sure which one I ate).