“Let’s do a stopover in Sicily’s village of Cefalù on our way to Taormina,” said my daughter A, as we packed our belongings into the Avis automatic we had rented for the ride. It was time for the four of us, me and my sister N and A and her friend M, to leave Palermo and head east for the relaxing resort portion of our trip.
“It takes about an hour to get to Cefalù. We can have lunch there and explore the town,” said A. Thankfully, A did all the driving while M’s GPS app guided her around many winding roads leading out of the city and in and out of what seemed like endless tunnels. How did we ever travel without GPS and iPhones? N and I sat in the back watching from afar not wanting to be backseat drivers. A was a pro from start to finish, from Palermo to Cefalù to almost four hours later landing our foursome high above in the hills of Taormina.
Driving to Cefalù
Once we arrived in the charming Sicilian village of Cefalù, it was challenging to find parking. Every nook and cranny was spoken for with teeny-tiny Smart cars and Fiats. Finally after riding around the entire area for about 20 minutes we found a huge parking lot near the beach with plenty of available spots. (Note: You can also get from Palermo to Cefalù by train if you just want to go for a day trip.)
Beautiful beaches in Cefalù
We all agreed that the sandy beaches of Cefalù are beautiful with aquamarine waters and picturesque panoramas. Snap, snap, snap, our camera shutters didn’t stop moving. It looked like a great place to stay with cottages and small hotels with views of the water.
A walk down the center of Cefalù
We pretty much followed the Cefalù town walk that Rick Steves provides in his Sicily Guide. “Get to know this old Sicilian fishing village by following this 45-minute self-guided walk from the beach, out to the pier, and through some of Cefalù’s most characteristic alleyways and piazzas. You’ll end at the cathedral on grand Piazza del Duomo,” says Rick.
We started by the beach for what Rick says “offers a classic view of Cefalù” where the ancient walls were built to protect the buildings and streets away from the coast. Snap, snap, snap, our camera shutters started blinking again.
After glancing at the city map, we began our stroll through the historic center along Via Vittorio Emanuele, stopping at each shop to admire the watercolor art, the paintings, the resort-wear, the ceramics, and more souvenirs. With four women who like to shop and who also like to take pictures, it takes a lot longer to do Rick’s guided walk.
There was the archway of Porta Pescara, which Rick says “you’ll find one of the prettiest views of the harbor.” Ooh, ooh, ooh, off went the cameras again and again and again. It was so pretty.
We found the breakwater pier, also known as the old port of Cefalù, where the fishermen used to do their business. Snap, snap, snap, more pictures — ooh, ah, ooh, ah — amazing vistas.
Which restaurant should we choose for lunch?
After so much picture-taking our fingers were ready to hold some forks and our stomachs began to growl for Sicilian food. There were so many restaurants to choose from — it was hard to decide where to have lunch. We checked out each menu. Should we go here or there? Should we go there or here? All sounded so good. “Let’s go to L’Antica Corte,” I said. It had a lovely outdoor seating area off the main street and looked like other tourists were favoring the food too.
We took our seats and ordered antipasto to start followed by pizza for three and pasta for one. It was so good, so good, so good.
With our fill of carbs, we had energy to continue our tour. Off we walked to see the Piazza del Duomo. Rick calls this area “Cefalu’s living room” and “the heart of the city” because it’s “surrounded by palm trees, bars, and restaurants” and always alive with tourists. Snap, snap, snap, off went our cameras in portrait mode.
Three hours to Taormina
Our afternoon in Cefalu was coming to an end. Soon we would get back in our Avis automatic for a three hour ride to Taormina. We all agreed that a gelato was necessary before making the drive. It had been a lovely stopover in the charming village of Cefalù. Now on to Taormina for more Sicilian adventures. See you when we get there.
P.S. In case you missed my first posts about the London part of my trip and my initial Palermo posts, links are below: