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Sicily (Palermo) Cruise Port Guide

On an Italy cruise, you’ll get the chance to see new destinations and experience everything the island of Sicily has to offer. Sicily is one of Italy’s most romantic destinations. It evokes summertime sun, gorgeous piazzas, and the clinking of glasses in celebration. Palermo itself was declared the Italian Capital of Culture in 2018, bringing new life and excitement to the region. On a Palermo cruise, you’ll tour both city and sea, whether you’re strolling around the Foro Italico or staring up at the architectural marvels of the Piazza Vigliena. You’ll take a dip in the Adriatic Sea at Mondello Beach, and admire the gardens of the 9th century Norman Palace up close.

One unforgettable experience is a tour of the Capuchin Catacombs, where thousands of years of burial practices are revealed for the world to see. Palermo is a hub for opera and music, and a show at the Teatro Massimo is a must for lovers of the arts. You’ll feel a light coastal breeze flowing through the historic city center as you explore, serving as a constant reminder that you’re never far from the ocean. Get swept up in Palermo’s energy and multicultural influence, which makes it unlike any other town in Sicily. 

Cruises to Sicily (Palermo), Italy

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Top Sights & Attractions for Cruises to Sicily (Palermo)

Foro Italico

Foro Italico is a stretch of walking trails and a seaside path designed to make you forget your troubles and relax. On one side, there’s the ocean, and on the other side, the city of Palermo welcomes you. Take a long walk, pack a picnic to eat in the grassy field, and stay to watch a seaside sunset.

Piazza Vigliena

Also known as the Quattro Canti or “four corners,”  this famous piazza in Palermo is emblematic of Palermo’s history of being conquered and overtaken by different groups over the centuries. The piazza is a free attraction, and you can typically find tour guides who will explain what to look for in each of the four corners.

Palermo Regional Archaeological Museum

Archaeology buffs will find plenty to keep them entertained at the Palermo Regional Archaeological Museum, which is home to one of the largest collections of Siciliian artifacts in the world. Walk along the quiet courtyard surrounded by thousands of years of history.

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Top Things to Do in Sicily (Palermo)

See the Norman Palace

Built way back in the 9th century during Norman occupation, the Norman Palace is a must-see historic sight during your time in Palermo. Paintings, sculptures, and the royal gardens are just a few things you’ll see during an afternoon trip back in time.

Swim at Mondello Beach

Located just 30 minutes from Palermo city proper, Mondello Beach makes for a relaxing day trip getaway for the solo traveler or groups of all sizes. Rent a chair or put down a beach towel as you catch some sunny Sicilian rays, then go for a dip in the Adriatic waters.

Tour the Capuchin Catacombs

The Capuchin Catacombs are some of the world’s finest displays of human preservation in recorded history. Tour the catacombs and walk alongside the harrowing mummies that have captured cultural imagination for decades.

Watch a Show at Teatro Massimo

As a cultural capital, Palermo is home to many exciting shows, from opera to dramas and ballets. Teatro Massimo is a sight to behold and an example of some of the best acoustics in the world. Book a guided tour and a trip to the top of the theater, which boasts excellent city views.

Top Food and Drink Spots Near the Sicily (Palermo) Cruise Port

Trattoria al Vecchio Club Rosanero

Address: Vicolo Caldomai 18

If you haven’t had the pleasure of trying authentic Sicilian cuisine yet, there’s no better introduction than Palermo and the laidback Trattoria al Vecchio Club Rosanero. The seafood here is locally sourced and inventively presented. Plus, the atmosphere of this trattoria is mostly football themed, meaning you won’t have to get dressed up to feel at home.

 

Sikulo - Umori & Sapori

Address: Piazza Diodoro Siculo 2

Sikulo is regularly on best-of lists in Palermo for its modern twists on classic Sicilian dishes. Risotto and spaghetti plates are must-try items on the menu. There are also Sicilian pizzas. Wash it all down with a cold birra.

 

Pasticceria Cappello

Address: Via Nicolò Garzilli 19

This famous patisserie has been affectionately declared the home of the best cannoli in Sicily, but we’ll let you decide that for yourself. Close to Norman Palace, it’s a great spot to have an espresso and a pastry. Along with their delectable cannolis, it’s also the birthplace of the setteveli, a seven-layer chocolate and hazelnut creation that’s local to Palermo and copied all over.

 

FUD

Address: Piazza Olivella 4

If you’re tired of pasta and pizza, head to FUD for comfort foods like burgers and fries mixed in with traditional Sicilian treats like arancini. Its modern and sleek design might make you feel like you’re back in the U.S. instead of at a neighborhood burger joint.

Culture & History of Sicily (Palermo) Cruise Port

Like most parts of Sicily, Palermo has a long history of changing hands over the last thousand years of human civilization, starting with groups like the Phoenicians, Byzantines, Normans, Arabs, and eventually the Spanish as well. As a result, Palermo feels well traveled and worldly simply because of how many different types of people have passed through its borders. Arabic influence took shape in the way of spices, food, and cultural touchstones, while Norman occupation encouraged the development of the arts. Today, the Sicilian capital serves as a major world hub for opera. Its population comes in at over a half a million residents, and locals in Palermo are proud of their history.

Sicily (Palermo) Port Facilities & Location

The Palermo cruise port is well equipped with critical amenities like an ATM, phones, a bar, luggage storage, shopping, souvenirs, and more. You’ll find a tourism information desk where you can get maps or ask about rental services if you’re looking to rent a car or take a taxi..

Transportation in Sicily (Palermo)

On cruises to Palermo, Sicily, one of the easiest ways to get around is to take the local buses. A day pass only costs a couple of euros. Many travelers stay close to the city center and walk to the major sights. Taxis add up quickly here, but they are available.

Shopping Near the Sicily (Palermo) Cruise Port

Some duty-free shopping is available at the terminal where cruises to Palermo, Sicily dock. Popular markets open each day, like Vucciria Market, where local artisans and farmers hawk their wares and produce. The markets here are high energy and bustling, so be prepared for crowds. Otherwise, you’ll find Palermo’s boutiques and higher-end shopping in the historic city center. Vintage shops and leather goods provide a peek into Italian fashion and glamor, featuring uniquely Sicilian patterns and objects.

Local Currency & Tipping Customs

The euro is king in Palermo, like the rest of Italy. You’ll want to get some change from the ATM and carry cash for small purchases if you can. In smaller Italian towns, it’s harder for the local establishments to accept credit cards. When leaving a tip, check to see if a servizio, or service charge, has already been added to your restaurant bill. Leave behind a few cents after buying a coffee or pastry in the morning, and round to the nearest euro when taking a taxi.

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Long considered a strategic prize, the Sicilian city of Palermo has changed hands dozens of times throughout its tumultuous history. Spend time here on your Europe cruise and you’ll find remnants of Viking, Arab, Roman, and Phoenician cultures to name just a few. Visit the Temple Valley of Agrigenro, a UNESCO Heritage Site. Take a panoramic city tour to see the highlights, then visit the impressive Catacombs of the Capuchin Friars, where more than 8,000 mummified bodies of monks, noblemen, and citizens are dressed in their original 15th century clothes. The most touching sight is the body of Rosalia Lombardo, almost perfectly preserved though this baby girl died in 1920, at the tender age of two.