The beautiful Cefalù, in Sicily, seems to live in a dimension of its own. Here the lively and modern rhythm of one of Sicily’s leading seaside resorts coexists with a history of absolute value.
It is not a coincidence, therefore, that the Arab-Norman town has joined the Italian Touring Club’s association of the “Most Beautiful Villages in Italy”.
Cefalù – with its charm of a medieval seaside village set on the edge of a cliff – has long since crossed Italian borders and it has been consecrated as an international tourist destination. The crystal clear sea is an irresistible attraction but the town has much, much more to offer!
The most beautiful beaches in Cefalù
As Cefalù is one of Sicily’s most popular summer destinations, you absolutely must know the best beaches where you can take a dip.
- Cefalù Lido is among the most beautiful but also the most visited beaches. It is a kilometre and a half long coastline with golden sand and crystal clear water; also perfect for families with children.
- Pollina beach is perfect for those who are looking for a more animated sea holiday. It is a very popular location, especially with young people: 11 kilometres of coastline, easily accessible from the town centre.
- For all lovers of sea sports, our advice is to go to the Capo Playa beach, where strong winds create the perfect environment for surfing and sailing.
- Sant’Ambrogio Beach instead is one of those little-known and little-visited coves. A true oasis of peace and tranquillity.
- Settefrati Beach is a bay surrounded by green nature and several rock formations; here you will find the most beautiful, clean and bright sea.
Not only sea: 4 things to do in Cefalù
The historic centre of the town is not very large, so it is easy to get around on foot.
1. The Cathedral of Cefalù
The Cathedral of Cefalù, also known as the Cathedral of the Transfiguration, is the town’s best-known and most representative monument. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2015.
Its origins are a mixture of history and legend: what is certain is that King Roger II of Sicily commissioned its construction in 1131. Arab, Norman and Byzantine cultures are mixed in the cathedral’s decorations.
Under the three-arched atrium joining the two large bell towers there is the entrance door leading to the three-nave interior, embellished with marble columns and mosaics on a gold background by Byzantine masters from Constantinople. Among these, the masterpiece of the Christ Pantocrator stands above the apse.
Next to the Cathedral there is the oldest medieval cloister in Sicily (entrance fee €3)! Its special feature is its capitelli, finely decorated with biblical or historical episodes.
Phone: +39 3500081587 | +39 0921926366
Opening hours: 8am – 13pm | 3.30pm – 18pm
to buy a ticket go to the official website.
2. The Fortress of Cefalù
The Fortress is located at the highest point in the town, which is why not everyone will like the struggle to reach it, but it is well worth it! The ascent to the Fortress begins by taking the Salita Saraceni and it lasts about 40 minutes.
Halfway there is the Temple of Diana, a megalithic building from the 9th century B.C., and the remains of the medieval walls that overlook the town:here you can admire one of the most striking views of Cefalù.
At the end of the path you will reach the remains of the Castle. At the top of the Rocca you can enjoy a 360 degree view of the Sicilian coast. Simply stunning.
Please note: the ascent to the Fortress has an altitude difference of approximately 240 metres. It is not a particularly demanding climb, but it is recommended to avoid the hottest hours of the day and to wear suitable shoes.
Opening hours: November to March 9am – 4pm | April to October 9am – 7pm
Tickets: 4€ full, 2€ reduced
3. The medieval wash-house
Strolling along the town’s main street, Via Vittorio Emanuele, hidden under one of the houses overlooking the harbour bay there is a medieval public wash-house. The waters of the Cefalino River flow into the washhouse, which consists of 3 small basins and 22 outlets from which water flows.
In ancient times it was used by women to do their washing: the basins closest to the sea were for the first wash, the central ones were for the first rinse, and those closest to the spring were for the final rinse.
4. Strolling along the seafront
To appreciate Cefalù as a whole, you have to admire it from afar. TravelingItaly therefore recommends you to stroll along the Lungomare Giuseppe Giardina, perhaps even stopping to appreciate the typical food: tasting an arancino or refreshing yourself with a granita.
What to see nearby
- Geraci Siculo (1 hour and 10 minutes by car)
The heart of the Madonie encloses a small and precious medieval jewel: Geraci Siculo. It is listed among the “Most Beautiful Villages in Italy”, an association of the Italian Touring Club.
- Gole di Tiberio (49 minutes by car)
The Tiberio Gorge is a UNESCO-recognised Geopark site of outstanding geomorphological and landscape interest. It is possible to discover it through different routes, both on foot and by water.
- Madonie Park (1 hour and 15 minutes by car)
The Madonie Park is a protected natural area established in 1989. The park is home to a great variety of flora and fauna, but in particular a large proportion of those found only in Sicily.
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