small traveling italian red green and white logo
Traveling Italian

Posted On April 1, 2023 By Louis

The Cefalu Travel Guide 2023

About Cefalu

Cefalu is an incredibly beautiful town on the northern coast of Sicily between the Tyrrhenian Sea and the Madonie mountains. It houses some of the best beaches, picturesque streets, and deep history.

Its population is only around 13,200 people however during the summer seasons and public holidays can greatly inflate, especially as it's very close to Palermo Airport an international airport.

The top things that Cefalu is known for are:

Food - Albicocca di Scillato, which is a type of apricot grown near Cefalu, blooms and matures at the start of May. It is a small sensitive fruit with an intense flavour mostly hand-picked and sold at nearby markets as is not strong enough to handle transportation. The jams are incredible. Wines, olive oil, and cheese are also locally grown around the area and there are some great Cefalu markets.

Historical Attractions - It has many sites to explore such as the Cefalu Castle which is on top of the town, The Cathedral of Cefalu which has two soaring towers, Osterio Magno a complex from the 13th century, and the Temple of Diana an ancient temple built around the 4th or 5th century.

Beaches - Wind down and head to one of Cefalu's many beaches. Some popular ones are Cefalu Beach which is a clear blue sandy beach and one of the best beaches in Sicily, Kalura Beach which is pebbly, Lungomare Beach, and the Spiaggia del Porto Vecchio.

Shopping & Hotels - Cefalu has many small local businesses that sell clothing, lingerie, food, soaps and much more. There are also some incredible places to stay ranging from small bed and breakfasts to luxury hotels in Cefalu.

Languages spoken in Cefalu

People in Cefalu mostly speak Italian so make sure to learn a few words & sentences before you go however many vendors also speak English around the beaches and in the centre of town.

cefalu beach through a hallway with a lady sitting on a step

How to get around Cefalu

There are a variety of ways to get to and around Cefalu and also depends on where you are coming from.

Aeroplane - This is usually the fastest way to get to Cefalu from another country. The closest Airport is Palermo Airport PMO. You can travel from the UK direct to Palermo for just £28! This takes just under 3 hours or you can travel from Australia using that takes around 25 hours using Emirates Airways. Palermo Airport it is around 98 kilometres away and takes around 1 hour and 10 minutes to drive/ take a taxi to Cefalu.

Train - This is definitely a fast way to get around Sicily and get to Cefalu. The nearest train station is called Stazione FS/ Cefalu Station and is operated by TRENITALIA. The station is just a 9-minute walk to the beach. If you are flying into Palermo, you can get the train to Cefalu in under 2 hours from just €12.60 one way and trains depart from 9 am - 7 pm. You can also get a train straight from Rome to Cefalu town.

Car - Driving a car is the most economical mode of transport to get to and get around in Cefalu and takes around 1 hour from Palermo Airport. If you are driving into Cefalu from mainland Italy note you will have to take a ferry into Messina (31 minutes) from Villa San Giovanni Port and then it takes just under 2 hours. Always remember that you drive on the right-hand side of the road with the driver on the left-hand side of the car. Manual cars are the preferred and cheapest option and usually half the price of an automatic rental car. Parking can be a struggle though, especially in the town during peak season. Make sure to use a reputable rental car agency if not using your own. Save now and book a rental car.

Taxi - Taxi can be a great way to get around to and around Cefalu however can be the most expensive option, however, it means you don't have to wait for a train, or pick up a rental car and find and pay for parking. It is the preferred option especially if flying in from overseas and have had a long trip. A reputable taxi company in Cefalu is Taxi Services Cefalu. I would also advise getting a local taxi if travelling from Palermo Airport. This should be around €150 one way for one person and more value when travelling in a group. You can also potentially taxi share with Coop Radio Taxi which could save some money.

Parking in Cefalu

As a tourist parking can be very daunting going to a new country, making sure you park in the right place and don't get fined. Here is parking in Cefalu simplified. Please note if you want to park most of the time you will have to pay for it. Sometimes you can pay by card but always carry cash just in case.

Parking in Cefalu is very tricky, especially during the summer season. You can park on the street however that is very limited and need to be careful which is resident parking. White lines mean free parking unless the sign says parking for residents. The sign will be blue with a white P inside of it. Blue lines mean ticketed parking. With parking on the street always look for a parking meter or you can go to the local tobacconist to purchase a ticket. Always display the ticket clearly on the dashboard and do not be late even by a minute as there are parking wardens all the time. Depending on where you go there are also pricing differences in certain months, such as it becomes a lot more per hour in summer seasons.

The best way to pay for parking in Italy is with the EasyPark app. It's available in most places, and you can use it to pay directly from your phone, so you don't have to find a ticket machine or newsagent. You can also use it to pay for a few hours, or to stop the timer and pay less if you come back early.

Here's a tip: When you download the app, use a random Italian phone number, because your local number won't register. EasyPark charges a small fee for parking, but the convenience is worth it.

The most common and accessible are the local car parks in town. 1 is the Harbour that has free parking. 2nd is the Cefalu Historical Parking Centre (Centre of Cefalu town) starting from €2 per hour - €22 for 24 hours. 3rd is Cefalu Beach Parking (right next to the beach), and is the largest however is uncovered. Prices from €3 for 2 hours to €18 for 24 hours

The safest and best place to park is the accommodation car parks if you are staying there. Some will include parking for free or charge you a small fee.

The Best things to do in Cefalu

There are so many things to do in Cefalu as it's surrounded by the Tyrrhenian Sea and is deep in History. Here are some of the best things to do in Cefalu.

  • Take a boat tour. You can book some great days out on the boat and have your own driver whilst you take in the views
  • Visit the Madonie Mountains and walk up to the Pizzo Carbonara the second-highest peak in Sicily. From the top, you can get some incredible views of Sicily. You can also book a half-day hike in the Madonie National.
  • Visit the water park. Open from June to September is the Acqua Verde a waterpark, brilliant for the kids if on an Italian Holiday and is only 10-15 minutes away from Cefalu centre.
  • Take in some history and visit the Tempio di Diana. It is near the top of the rocky hill overlooking Cefalu town.
  • View some of the other historic sites around town such as The Cathedral of Cefalu (a world heritage site), the Museo Mandralisca, or the Castello della Rocca the Cefalu Castle.
  • Visit the shops, there are many boutique shops where you can find some great clothes and other goods.
  • Take a 20-minute drive to the Santuario Gibilmanna, which is a Christian shrine or take a quad tour to make it more exciting and also go to the Ventimiglia castle a 14th-century 4-tower castle.
  • Go wine tasting. Sicily has some incredible wine regions and some local ones to Cefalu are Corradino Boutique Winery Vino and Val di Suro. Make sure to call ahead to make sure they are open and are doing tastings.
  • If you are in Cefalu for the summer head to the beaches. Cefalu Beach is a sand beach with a clear blue ocean and there are many others. Be careful for those with a pebbly beach by bringing sandals with you or special swimming sandals.
  • Book yourself some restaurants. Cefalu has some incredible Sicilian seafood. Some to try are 22 Cucina Isolana, Cortile Pepe, and Triscele Restaurant a classic Sicilian restaurant set in a cave-like dining room. There are so many more places to go so spend at least a few nights in Cefalu if driving around.

Top 5 Hotels in Cefalu

  • The Cefalu Sea Palace, is one of only a few 5* hotels in Cefalu. It is 10 metres from the beach, has its own private beach with free sun loungers and is only a short walk from the town centre. It also offers free parking for your car which will save you some money.
  • On the right-hand side of Cefalu is the beachfront Le Calette n.5 another 5* hotel with its private beach and water sports. Just 5 minutes drive from town.
  • The Hotel Riva Del Sole is a 4* hotel right on the seaside promenade of Cefalu with views of the ocean in most rooms. Free parking and also discounts at a partner beach.
  • Hotel La Plumeria is a 4* hotel 2 minutes walk from the sea and set in a historic building. Every room has a balcony, free wifi and parking.
  • Alberi Del Paradiso is an elegant 4* hotel set in an ancient manor house 20 minutes walk away from town. It has a free shuttle bus down to its private beach and many of its higher-level rooms have a view of the Tyrrhenian Sea.

How much should you budget for a trip in Cefalu?

While there are several categories to consider based on activities, I recommend allocating a minimum of €260 per day per person for budgeting purposes. To provide a more in-depth breakdown:

Breakfast (sometimes included in accommodation)€20
Tourist Activities€30
Going out€30
Total cost per day€260

Best travel card to use on holiday

I strongly recommend utilizing the Wise card for transferring money during your vacation. It's one of the top international cards available that eliminates the need to visit the post office to convert money into cash. Even before receiving the physical card, you can use Wise with Apple Pay or Google Pay.

Wise's fees are considerably lower than those charged by banks, without any additional markups. They provide the current exchange rate of the day without any inflated rates. It's always wise to carry some cash while traveling, and Wise's fees are reasonable, making it worth comparing with your local debit card.

From my personal experience of over five years, I have saved a significant amount of money compared to my local bank by using Wise. Furthermore, I use Wise to transfer money to hotels and other places abroad, where I save on exchange fees compared to my bank. The Wise app even informs me of how much other banks may charge for the same transaction.

Wise is not a one-time use card, and you can use it repeatedly for every international vacation you take or even for business purposes.

How long should you stay in Cefalu?

I would recommend staying in Cefalu at least for 2-3 days if traveling around northern Sicily but ideally longer if you want to do lots of activities and see all the sights. It also depends on your preferences and whether it might be a family holiday, solo holiday or couple etc.

2-3 days will allow you to go to some historical sites like The Cathedral of Cefalu, and Castello della Rocca, and see Cefalu's main attractions.

If you are more into activities, you can visit Santuario Gibilmanna or walk around Madonie Mountains.
Restaurants are also very big and Cefalu has many of the best restaurants in Sicily so worth exploring and not rushing.

Cefalu is a very popular town to go to, especially in the summer seasons so make sure to book your flights and accommodation early as these get taken up very quickly each year considering there are only a handful of 5* hotels. Prices also do sometimes rise every year so my tip would be to book your summer luxury Italian holiday the year before. I have seen them go up as soon as the Christmas holidays are over.

Make sure to read our blog on Travel Essentials for Europe for more tips when planning a trip.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram