How To Spend 5 Days in North West Sicily
Where was your last PL (Pre-Lockdown) trip to? We managed to spend a glorious 5 days in North West Sicily back in February. Sicily is a place we’ve both always wanted to visit. We based ourselves on the outskirts of a sleepy town called Cerda.
The largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, Sicily has a wide range of places to see and things to do. From beaches to volcanos to charming little towns, there really is something for everyone.
In terms of out of season travel, February ended up being a great time to visit Sicily. There were no crowds, parking was easy to find, and the weather was much warmer than we had left behind us back in the UK.
Psst! Why not pin this post for later?
We’d definitely recommend taking a winter break for 5 days in North West Sicily.
We reckon Sicily would be a great place to visit during half-term! In fact, there’s another half-term approaching in October. Rumour has it there is a great deal to be had on flights…
Visiting Sicily After Coronavirus
The Sicilian Tourism Board will reportedly be offering to pay for 50% of the cost of flights to Sicily this Autumn, in a bid to boost the island’s tourism income following the Covid-19 pandemic. They may also offer a three-nights-for-price-of-two deal on accommodation in Sicily.
For information about who they are allowing in, any quarantine measures, and general health notices, take a look at this page of their website. Keep an eye on their homepage too for when they release details of any upcoming travel deals to encourage visitors to Sicily.
Where To Stay in North West Sicily
The Airbnb We Stayed In
We were invited to stay at Villa Delle Rose, a huge private villa situated on a hill overlooking the little town of Cerda. We loved waking up there every morning and taking in the sea views with our espressos!
Perfect for families looking for some space of their own, but with easy access to the town and nearby seaside towns, book your own stay at Villa Delle Rose here.
As an Airbnb Associate, we earn a commission when you book through this link, at no extra cost to you. We were invited to stay at Villa Delle Rose by the owners in exchange for including their villa in this blog post.
Hotels in Palermo
If you’re looking to be closer to the city, why not book yourself into one of these hotels in Palermo, the capital of Sicily?
Grand Hotel Wagner 5*: full of old-world charm, this prestigious hotel is set in the heart of Palermo, near the Politeama Theatre, the pedestrian area and many top-class shops and restaurants.
B&B Hotel Palermo Quattro Canti 3*: Great reviews, fantastic location and can we just take a second to take in the rooftop terrace? When can we go back?
Hotel Columbia 2*: This clean, simple budget option still offers plenty of Sicilian charm and hospitality. Centrally located, the hotel is just 5 minutes’ walk from Palermo Cathedral and Teatro Massimo Opera House.
Hotels in Cefalu
If the beach life is what you’re after, then you just have to stay in Cefalu. We loved it so much, we went back twice during our 5 day trip to Sicily!
Hotel Kalura 4*: What more could you need for a relaxing Sicilian break? Beachfront, with its own private beach and terrace. This beautifully decorated hotel would be perfect for couples.
Ossun Bay Hotel Boutique 3*: The photos of this place just instantly take us back to Sicily. They give us all the Mediterranean feels! With views from the balconies overlooking traditional orange rooftops and looking out to sea, we could sit here with a bottle of wine quite happily.
Madonie Holidays Apartments 3*: If you’re after more of a self-catering experience for your holiday to Sicily, then take a look at these centrally-located holiday apartments in Cefalu. Hidden down one of the many winding streets of the town, enjoy waking up and people watching from your balcony.
Driving In Sicily
Before we crack on though, we wanted to share our tips for driving in Sicily.
If you’re used to driving in Europe, then you’ll be fine. If, however, your home country has nice new, wide streets, prepare for a bit of a culture shock.
Sicilian streets, even in towns and cities are small, winding, and busy. People will park up in the strangest of places. Plus, there are often bizarre one-way systems that seem to make little sense.
So, our top tips are:
- If you’re going to hire a car, get the smallest sized car you can manage to fit your luggage and family in.
- Drive on the right!
- You will see a lot of Sicilians driving pretty quickly, especially on the toll roads and motorways. We also saw a lot of random drifting in between lanes. In this case, don’t do as the locals do. Stick to the limit, and give yourself plenty of space between the next car. If another car is up your rear, move to the side if possible and safe to do so.
- We found it easy to park in the places we visited when we went to Sicily in February, as it was low season. Look for blue edged car parking spaces in towns, and pay for a ticket at the nearest parking meter.
Travelling To Sicily
Sicily is served by 4 international airports, but you are most likely to fly into either Palermo or Catania. If you’re going to be visiting North West Sicily, you will fly into Palermo as we did. The airport is a little bit outside of the city itself.
To check out flights into Palermo, click here.
For flights to Catania, click here.
5 Days in North West Sicily Itinerary
We actually ended up visiting Cefalu twice because we loved it so much, and we spent some time working at the Airbnb. This itinerary is a little bit of what we did, combined with other popular places to go in the area.
Day 1: Cefalu
This beachside town was remarkably sleepy when we visited in February, which made us love it even more.
Cefalu is mostly known for its cathedral, a 12th-century fortress-like structure with elaborate mosaics and soaring towers. We spent a good few hours in a cafe in the square looking up at the cathedral, feeling very Sicilian indeed with arancini and local wine.
The town also has a huge hill called the Rocca towering up from behind the cathedral. You can hike to the top and enjoy breathtaking views over the town and sea. It’s supposed to be amazing at sunset, but take lots of water with you!
Day 2: Cerda
We’ve included Cerda as it’s where we based ourselves out of during our minibreak in Sicily, and it’s easy to get to from Palermo.
A traditional Sicilian town, we found the restaurants and bars here a LOT cheaper than in the more touristy spots we visited during our 5 days.
Founded in 1526, there is a lot of history in the town and surrounding areas, plus some beautiful scenery to boot. We loved poking around the little streets and local eateries, enjoying the slower pace of life here.
Day 3: Caccamo
We were recommended this place by the owner of the Airbnb we were staying at, and a quick Google Image search convinced us to drive over for the day.
The town is dominated by an impressive castle, jutting out of a rocky outcrop over a sheer drop into the most picturesque valley we have ever seen.
We aren’t kidding, we stood and stared out at the view for quite some time, especially as it got later in the day and the sun started dipping below the hills.
You can visit the castle, or do what we did and spend hours wandering the fairytale streets and alleys of the town before grabbing a bite to eat in a local trattoria.
Day 4: Termini Imerese
Head out of the rolling hills for your forth day, and down to the coast again.
Termini Imerese, or just ‘Termini’, has a lot of ancient history to soak up, if that’s your thing. If not, it’s actually a spa town, so you can literally soak it up instead.
Legend has it that Hercules used the healing waters himself to get in shape, so you might have your own zero-to-hero moment!
Day 5: Palermo
On your last day, and depending on when your flight is, head into the city of Palermo on your way back to the airport.
This bustling city has a lot to offer, from its 12th-century cathedral to its designer shops. It’s a good place to visit if you and your family have different interests!
We recommend strolling through the various street markets, before finding a cafe in one of the many squares in the city to grab an espresso and people watch. Take a leaf out of the Sicilian’s book and just sit and watch the world go by.
The Best Places to Visit in North West Sicily
And there you have it! Hopefully, you feel thoroughly prepared for your holiday to North West Sicily. We’ve covered everything, from getting to Sicily, to the best places to visit, to driving.
We adored Sicily and would love to spend some more time there when we get the chance. We didn’t even manage to get over to the East side of the island – where Mt. Etna is! See what we mean by there is lots to see?
Have you been to Sicily? Where would you recommend visiting?