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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: Street Food and History Walking Tour

1. 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 Opera dei Pupi (traditional puppet theater), 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.

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

2. 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

3. 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

4. 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

5. Palermo: NO Mafia Walking Tour

Discover the top sights in Palermo from a unique angle on a 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 through the streets of Palermo. Explore Teatro Massimo, the open-air market Il Capo, and Piazza Della Memoria (a memorial dedicated to prosecutors and judges killed by the mafia). Along the Cassaro, come across places with orange stickers on their windows, representing owners that have said no to paying the extortion racket and have subscribed to the ethical consumer campaign pago chi non paga (I pay who does not pay).  After strolling by sights like Piazza Beati Paoli, Palermo Cathedral, and the city hall, finish the tour in the heart of Palermo's old town center. Get tips from your guide on how to continue your visit and where to taste the best Sicilian specialties.

Palermo: Agrigento and the Valley of the Temples Day Tour

6. 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

7. 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.

Palermo: Guided City Walking Tour w/Customizable Itinerary

8. Palermo: Guided City Walking Tour w/Customizable Itinerary

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.

From Palermo: Villa Romana and Valley of the Temples Trip

9. 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.

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.

Available activities

  • Street food, cooking, & more
  • Exploring Palermo
  • Ancient Sicily must-sees
  • Exploring Sicily
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Frequently asked questions about Palermo

What top attractions are a must-see in Palermo?

What are the best day trips and excursions from Palermo?

The best day trips and excursions from Palermo are:

Agrigento

Other Sightseeing Options in Palermo

Want to discover all there is to do in Palermo? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Palermo

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 3,398 reviews

I booked this tour and a half day tour spur of the moment and so glad I did. This was a great day trip from Palermo. The drivers let us know important things/what to do at each stop. I didn’t know much about any of the stops when booking, especially Erice. Erice turned out to be one of my favorite stops from both of the tours I did. Definitely recommend!

This tour may be listed as a street food tour first, but it truly is a balanced blend of the history and the food of Palermo. I really appreciated this mix and it helped my family and myself get oriented with Palermo. 10/10 would recommend!

This was a great half day trip from Palermo. Monreale had great views over the cities and a lovely church. Cefalu was beautiful on the water. It was during the holidays/off season, so my was closed, but it was fun to visit.

it was a pleasant experience, and the guide was kind and provided many interesting details about the history of the city and how some words are formed.

Very knowledgeable! Nice, Funny, good pace of tour