Discovering Palermo: a Mediterranean Gem off the Coast of Sicily

birds eye view of Palermo in Sicily

Palermo is the capital of the Italian island of Sicily, located in the northwest part of the island by the Gulf of Palermo in the Tyrrhenian Sea. It is referred to as the “Kingdom of the sun” and is a cultural melting pot, even being named the Italian Capital of Culture in 2018In the city you can see Byzantine mosaics, baroque churches, Gothic palaces, and frescoed cupolas while being surrounded by the gorgeous and vivacious locals who truly celebrate and appreciate life as well as visitors who come to enjoy all that the island has to offer. Between its culture, lifestyle, gorgeous landscapes and sunny climate, Palermo is true Mediterranean gem just off the coast of Sicily.  

Visiting Palermo 
When one imagines a holiday on a gorgeous island, affordability isn’t exactly one of the top things that often come to mind. But Sicily is actually a surprisingly affordable destination. There are even direct flights into Falcone Borsellino Airport, the Palermo airport, from the UK via budget airlinesIt is most commonly recommended for visitors to rent one of the many lovely villas in Palermo, as the cost is comparable (and sometimes better) to other accommodation stays and offers a more private and authentic Sicilian experience. You can decide whether to stay more centrally located or a bit further out from the main downtown area of Palermo.  

Why visit Palermo 
Sicily itself is different than anywhere else in Italy, let alone in the world and as the capital of this exceptional island, Palermo has a unique energy and something extra special to it. You can spend your time in the city exploring and naturally running into historical sites and plenty to do, or plan ahead to see and experience some of the must-do’s’ in the city. Here are just some of the many activities that you can do while in Palermo: wander along the food markets and sample local life, have a coffee with a view, visit the Palatine Chapel, go to an opera show at Massimo Theatre, indulge in local food and wine, visit the Martorana church, take a bus ride to the seaside at Mondellovisit the Palermo Cathedral, enjoy the view from Piazza Viglienavisit the Palermo Archaeological Museum, and visit Monte Pellegrino.  

The cuisine of Palermo 
The cuisine of Palermo deserves its own highlight here. ‘Slow food’ is seen on many menus of local eateries and the cuisine highlights fresh fruit and vegetables, pistachios, and seafood to name a fewStreet food is also a standout and well-loved attribute of the city, making it easy to get an affordable and delicious meal that is true to the heart of Palermo. The three main markets in Palermo are Cap, Vuccuria and BallarĂ²all located in the centre in the city, where you can wander around, check out some local goods, and taste authentic street food. Street food specialities to keep an eye out for are: sfincionearancina (fried rice ball), cannolo, panino con le panelle (sandwich)and granita (flavoured iced sweet drink)-- all must try foods  

With all its natural beauty, cultural heritage and character, you can bet Palermo is high on my bucket list!

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