18 Things to Do in Palermo, Sicily

If you’re looking for a city that has it all, look no further than Palermo. This vibrant Italian city is bursting with culture, history, and delicious food. And with so much to see and do, you’ll never be bored. From admiring the breathtaking architecture to exploring the city’s many parks, here are 18 things to do in Palermo that you won’t want to miss.

 

1. Visit the Palermo Cathedral

The Palermo Cathedral is a beautiful example of Sicilian baroque architecture, and it is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city. The cathedral was built in the 12th century on the site of an earlier Norman church, and it has been remodeled several times since then.

The exterior of the cathedral is decorated with elaborate carvings and statues, and the interior is just as impressive, with a giant nave and intricately painted ceiling. Visitors can also climb to the top of the bell tower for a breathtaking view of the city. With its mix of Norman, Moorish, and baroque elements, the Palermo Cathedral is a must-see for anyone visiting Sicily.

Address: Via Vittorio Emanuele, 90134 Palermo PA, Italy

For pictures, booking, and more information, click here.

Visit the Palermo Cathedral
Visit the Palermo Cathedral

 

2. See the Norman Palace

The Norman Palace in Palermo, Sicily is a must-see for anyone interested in medieval history or architecture. The palace was built in the 11th century by the Normans, who had recently conquered Sicily from the Arabs.

It was the seat of Norman power on the island, and it remained an important royal residence for centuries. Today, the palace is open to the public, and visitors can explore its many rooms and courtyards.

The Norman Palace is a unique and fascinating example of medieval architecture, and it offers a glimpse into the rich history of Sicily.

Address: Piazza del Parlamento, 1, 90129 Palermo PA, Italy

For pictures, booking, and more information, click here.

See the Norman Palace
See the Norman Palace

 

3. Admire the Architecture of the Teatro Massimo

The Teatro Massimo is the largest opera house in Italy and one of the most impressive examples of neo-classical architecture in Europe. Completed in 1897, the theatre was designed by Giovan Battista Filippo Basile in a style that incorporates elements of both Renaissance and Baroque design.

The theatre’s impressive exterior is adorned with statues, friezes, and Corinthian columns, while the interior features an ornate auditorium with frescoed ceilings and gilded plasterwork. The Teatro Massimo is home to the Orchestra Sinfonica Siciliana and the Palermo Opera House, and it hosts a variety of operas, ballets, and concerts throughout the year.

Address: Piazza Verdi, 90138 Palermo PA, Italy

For pictures, booking, and more information, click here.

Admire the Architecture of the Teatro Massimo

 

4. Stroll Through the Giardino Inglese

The Giardino Inglese, or English Garden, is one of the most beautiful and tranquil spots in Palermo, Sicily. The garden was founded in 1816 by the British consul, Sir William Hayward Pickering.

Sir William was an accomplished botanist, and he filled the garden with a wide variety of plants and trees from all over the world. Today, the garden is a peaceful oasis in the heart of the city. It is a perfect place to stroll on a warm Sicilian afternoon.

The Giardino Inglese is also home to a number of interesting sculptures, including a bust of Sir William Pickering himself. If you are looking for a little bit of peace and beauty in Palermo, be sure to visit the Giardino Inglese.

Address: Via della Libertà, 90143 Palermo PA, Italy

For pictures, booking, and more information, click here.

Stroll Through the Giardino Inglese
Stroll Through the Giardino Inglese

 

5. Take a Walk Through Monte Pellegrino Park

Nestled at the base of Monte Pellegrino, Palermo’s most iconic mountain is a small but lively park that is well worth a visit. The park is home to a variety of local plants and animals, and its winding paths offer breathtaking views of the city below.

Visitors can also take in the sights and sounds of Monte Pellegrino Park from one of its many vantage points, including the famous Terrazza degli Uccelli (Bird’s Terrace). Whether you’re looking for a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of city life or an invigorating hike with panoramic views, Monte Pellegrino Park is sure to please you.

For pictures, booking, and more information, click here.

Take a Walk Through Monte Pellegrino Park
Take a Walk Through Monte Pellegrino Park

 

6. Visit the Capuchin Catacombs

The Capuchin Catacombs of Palermo are one of the most unique and fascinating attractions in Sicily. Dating back to the 16th century, these catacombs were originally used as a burial ground for monks of the Capuchin order.

However, in the 18th century, the catacombs were opened to the public, and soon became a popular destination for tourists and locals alike. Today, the Capuchin Catacombs are home to more than 8,000 mummies, many of which are preserved in lifelike poses.

Visitors can explore the different chambers of the catacombs, viewing the mummies up close and learning about their fascinating history. The Capuchin Catacombs are truly a must-see attraction for anyone visiting Sicily.

Address: Piazza Cappuccini, 1, 90129 Palermo PA, Italy

Capuchin Catacombs
Capuchin Catacombs

 

7. Explore the Palermo Archaeological Museum

The Palermo Archaeological Museum is one of the largest and most important museums in Sicily. Located in the heart of the city, it houses an extensive collection of artifacts from the ancient Greek, Roman, and Byzantine periods.

The museum’s highlight is the “Sala dei Greci,” a stunning gallery that features statues, vases, and other objects from the 7th century BC to the 3rd century AD. Other highlights include the “Sala degli Argenti,” which contains a lavish display of silverware from the 9th to 11th centuries, and the “Sala dei Bronzi,” which features a collection of bronze statuary from the 5th century BC to the 3rd century AD.

Address: Piazza Olivella, 90133 Palermo PA, Italy

For pictures, booking, and more information, click here.

Explore the Palermo Archaeological Museum
Explore the Palermo Archaeological Museum

 

8. See the Mosaics at the Cappella Palatina

The Cappella Palatina, located in the royal palace of Palermo, Sicily, is home to some of the most impressive mosaics in the world. Dating back to the 12th century, these intricately detailed works of art depict scenes from the Bible, as well as the life of King Roger II, who commissioned the chapel.

The mosaics cover every inch of the chapel’s walls and ceiling, and their bright colors and gold leaf accents are truly breathtaking. Visitors to the Cappella Palatina can’t help but be awestruck by the sheer size and scale of these incredible works of art.

Address: Piazza del Parlamento, 1, 90134 Palermo PA, Italy

For pictures, booking, and more information, click here.

See the Mosaics at the Cappella Palatina
See the Mosaics at the Cappella Palatina

 

9. Visit the Church of San Giovanni degli Eremiti

The Church of San Giovanni degli Eremiti is one of the most beautiful and unique churches in Palermo, Sicily. The church was built in the 12th century by the Normans, and it is located in the center of the city.

The church is built in the Norman Romanesque style, and it has a red brick facade with arches and columns. The interior of the church is just as beautiful, with a stunning nave and aisles that are decorated with frescoes.

The Church of San Giovanni degli Eremiti is also home to a number of important artworks, including a statue of the Virgin Mary and a painting of Saint John the Baptist. If you are visiting Palermo, Sicily, be sure to add the Church of San Giovanni degli Eremiti to your list of must-see attractions.

Address: Via dei Benedettini, 16, 90134 Palermo PA, Italy

For pictures, booking, and more information, click here.

Visit the Church of San Giovanni degli Eremiti
Visit the Church of San Giovanni degli Eremiti

 

10. Check out the Market at Ballarò

If you’re looking for an authentic Italian market experience, look no further than the Market at Ballarò in Palermo, Sicily. This lively market is a true reflection of Sicilian culture, with vendors selling everything from fresh produce to handcrafted goods.

The market is especially busy in the mornings when locals come to stock up on supplies for the day. But even if you visit in the afternoon, you’ll find plenty of shoppers and stalls to explore. And be sure to try some of the delicious street food! From freshly made pizzas to hearty stews, there’s something for everyone at the Market at Ballarò.

Check out the Market at Ballarò
Check out the Market at Ballarò

 

11. Stop by the Fountain of Shame

When visiting Palermo, add the Fountain of Shame to your list of must-see sights! This unique fountain was built in the 18th century to shame those who engaged in public displays of affection.

The fountain features two large stone faces with their tongues locked together in a passionate kiss. Legend has it that if you drink from the fountain, you will be cursed with eternal love. Whether or not you believe the legend, the Fountain of Shame is definitely worth a visit! It’s a fun and quirky way to learn about Palermo’s history and culture.

Address: Piazza Pretoria, 90133 Palermo PA, Italy

For pictures, booking, and more information, click here.

Stop by the Fountain of Shame
Stop by the Fountain of Shame

 

12. Wander Through the Botanical Gardens

The Palermo Botanical Gardens are one of the most beautiful places in Sicily. The gardens date back to the 16th century, and they are home to a wide variety of plant life.

Visitors can stroll through the gardens and admire the flowers, trees, and shrubs. There is also a section of the garden that is devoted to cacti and succulents.

In addition to being a beautiful place to relax, the botanical gardens are also a great place to learn about plants. The staff is always happy to answer questions, and there are often educational programs for children.

Address: Via Lincoln, 2, 90133 Palermo PA, Italy

For pictures, booking, and more information, click here.

Wander Through the Botanical Gardens
Wander Through the Botanical Gardens

 

13. See the Church of Santa Maria dell’Ammiraglio

The Church of Santa Maria dell’Ammiraglio, also known as the Martorana, is one of the most beautiful and intriguing churches in Palermo, Sicily. The exterior of the church is covered in intricately carved marble, while the interior is adorned with lavish mosaics.

The mosaics depict scenes from the life of Christ and the saints, and they are truly a sight to behold. The Church of Santa Maria dell’Ammiraglio is a must-see for anyone visiting Palermo.

Address: Piazza Bellini, 3, 90133 Palermo PA, Italy

See the Church of Santa Maria dell'Ammiraglio
See the Church of Santa Maria dell’Ammiraglio

 

14. Take a Tour of the Palazzo Reale

The Palazzo Reale in Palermo is one of the most magnificent buildings in Sicily. Built-in the 13th century, it was the residence of the Kings of Sicily for centuries. Today, it is open to the public as a museum and visitors can explore its many rooms and gardens.

The Palazzo Reale is a beautiful example of Sicilian architecture. Its massive stone walls are adorned with intricate carvings and statues. Inside, the palace is decorated with lavish furnishings and paintings. Visitors can also see the royal apartments, where the kings and queens of Sicily once lived.

The highlight of the tour is the stunning chapel, which is covered in gold leaf and mosaics. A visit to the Palazzo Reale is a truly unforgettable experience. It is a must-see for anyone visiting Palermo.

Address: Piazza del Parlamento, 1, 90129 Palermo PA, Italy

For pictures, booking, and more information, click here.

Take a Tour of the Palazzo Reale
Take a Tour of the Palazzo Reale

 

15. Stop by Piazza Pretoria

Palermo is a beautiful city with a rich history, and there is no better way to experience it than by strolling through the streets and taking in the sights. One of the most iconic landmarks in Palermo is Piazza Pretoria, also known as the Fountain of Shame.

The fountain was built in 1554 by a Tuscan architect, and it features a number of nude statues. For many years, the fountain was hidden away from view, but it was restored to its former glory in the early 21st century.

Today, it is one of the most visited attractions in Palermo. If you’re looking for a unique place to take photos and soak up the atmosphere of this historic city, then be sure to stop by Piazza Pretoria on your next visit to Palermo.

Stop by Piazza Pretoria
Stop by Piazza Pretoria

 

16. Go on a Food Tour of Palermo

Palermo is one of the most vibrant and exciting cities in Sicily. It’s a city that is full of history, culture, and great food. If you’re looking for an authentic Sicilian experience, then you need to go on a food tour of Palermo.

You’ll get to try some of the best dishes that the city has to offer, as well as learn about the history and culture of Palermo. The tour will take you to some of the city’s best restaurants, cafes, and markets, where you’ll be able to sample a variety of Sicilian foods.

You’ll also get to meet some of the local chefs and learn about their cooking techniques. The food tour of Palermo is an experience that you won’t soon forget.

Go on a Food Tour of Palermo
Go on a Food Tour of Palermo

 

In Conclusion

Palermo is an amazing city with a lot to offer visitors. From its rich history and culture to its great food and beautiful scenery, there is something for everyone in Palermo. If you’re planning a trip to Sicily, add Palermo to your itinerary. You won’t regret it!

So what have we had so far?

Simply Guides

Everything you wanted to know about Italy

More guides about Italy

Wed – August 12, 2020
Tuscany is one of the most beautiful regions of Europe thanks to its cities. Here are the cities you shouldn't skip on your vacation
Sun – March 15, 2020
The most worthwhile places that Rome offers you in the shopping sector - and that's not a few at all
Thu – November 25, 2021
The list of the best cafes (and one tea house) in Rome that you should not miss
Thu – July 15, 2021
Food, clothes, art objects, souvenirs, pictures and even animals - in short, the markets of Rome

And that's not all...