Reader Questions: A Day in Palermo

I kicked off my new Reader Question series last week by offering up some of my favorite “stopping points” for travelers passing through Calabria from Campania. Today, we are heading over to Italy’s biggest island for a set of questions about its capital city.

Interestingly enough, I received two questions in the last week or so about traveling to and around Sicily’s anarchic capital.

Indu from Portland wrote:

Hi Cherrye,
I love your blog, my family would love to visit Palermo this summer and I need your help to find out how to fly into Palermo easily from Portland, Oregon, USA? Any help would be appreciated.

While Dennis is Washington asked …

My family and two others (total of 6 adults and 7 kids ages 8 -16) will be docking in Palermo on June 21st. We will be on the Disney cruise line and in Palermo from 8:30 to 18:00. We are trying to determine the best way to spend the day to get the most out of Palermo. Can you please pass along ideas and any services that you might offer.

Thank you for your questions, guys. I am happy to help … and I’m glad these two sets of questions go together for this week’s Reader Question.

First of all … getting to Palermo.

I feel your pain, Indu. Trying to go from Portland to Palermo is almost as rough as my trip is from Houston to Lamezia. It involves at least two flights and sometimes long, untimely layovers.

If you have time, you can plan to spend a few days in the Eternal City before heading south or if you are just traveling through, consider staying with Paola at Roma AXA 27 B&B … the bed and breakfast my husband and I always stay in when we pass through Rome.

If I, like Dennis, had only one free day in Palermo … gulp! … I’d choose one or two big things to see, grab a quick lunch and spend some time walking through the labyrinth-like streets of this eclectic city. If your group can’t all agree, then consider splitting up into a couple of smaller groups, then meeting up for a quick lunch or an afternoon coffee or aperitivo.

You can read about my Top 10 favorite things in Palermo here or read the Palermo City Guide I wrote for Wanderlust Women Travel. However, to sum it up, here are the top three things I think your group would enjoy.

– Shopping in the Markets … the energy in the 700-year-old Vucceria Market is intoxicating and (without knowing where else your cruise is stopping) visiting a market in Sicily is a true Italian experience.

– Visiting the Catacombs … the kids aren’t the only ones who will be entranced by Palermo’s catacombs. They might not be as high on most people’s list as the Duomo or the Palazzo dei Normanni, but they are pretty darn impressive and you and your family won’t forget this experience anytime soon.

– Walking along Via Vittorio Emanuele … the #1 way to see the best of Palermo in a few hours is by walking along Via Vittorio Emanuele. You’ll pass by many of the main sites and have a chance to stop for milza, arancini or cannoli along the way.

Speaking of eating, I’d skip the big southern Italian lunch and opt instead for a quick bite at Palermo’s famous Antica Focacceria San Francesco (Via Alessandro Paternostro, 58).

If you’d prefer a guided tour, then let me know and I’ll put you in contact with some of my travel guides friends over on the island!

Thank you so much for your questions, Indu and Dennis. I hope you and your families have a great time in Palermo. If you need any help with your itinerary, be sure to let me know.

Do you have a southern Italy-related travel question you want answered? If so, let me know and your question could be featured here at My Bella Vita. If you’d like help planning your trip, then consider a custom itinerary or travel consult to ensure you have the trip of your lifetime!

6 Responses
  1. saretta

    Palermo is a crazy chaotic town, but invigorating! Didn’t know about the catacombs, thanks!

    Prego! They were my favorite!

  2. alex barbiere

    On there a good article on top 10 palermo sightseeing
    that could give your readers more info about it .

    Oooh, just pulled this out of Spam. Great link, thanks for adding it here.

  3. Goddess

    i have 3 days to spend in Palermo the second week in June. Any suggestions for hotel, good nightlife and what to see. Is the weather ok.
    Thank you so much. I enjoy your posts.

    Hey there. Check out some of the links above and even the one(s) in the comments. You’ll find lots of good information there. Have fun in Palermo.

  4. We will be on a 12 Day Globus Bus Tour called the Italy Mozzaic in August. Towards the end of the 12 Day Tour, after a 2 night stay in Sorriento, we plan to break away from the Tour and travel to Paestum(50 miles south) to see the Neptune Greek Temple. This Temple is said to be as good as any in Sicily. However how would you reccomend getting there from Sorriento? We cannot locate any Train Schedule that shows Service to that area. Should we risk the danger of renting a car? My wife’s grandparents are from Abruzzo and she also wants to travel up to that area (for 2 nights) after we visit Paestum, but again, possibly due to the 2009 earthquake, I cannot find any Train Service to that Region which was struck 2 years ago. Maybe the car rental is our only choice but I hate the thought of then driving into Rome to drop off the car when we fly home September 2nd. Thanks for any input you may provide.

    If it was me, I’d check train schedules from Salerno or rent a car and drop it off before I get into Rome (near the airport). Have fun!

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