Cefalu in Sicily (Cefalù) is a relatively small city, but there are a lot of things to do and see here. Have you watched Cinema Paradiso? If not, you really should before visiting Sicily. It’s a timeless masterpiece depicting the nostalgic and simple Sicilian life after the war. They filmed some of the parts in Cefalù and its nearby scenic towns. Cefalù is a natural and cultural wonder located near Palermo. It is known for its sandy beach and lovely sights. We listed below the best Things to do and see in Cefalú.
Have you visited the town? If you would like to add other best things to do in Cefalu Sicily, please share them on the comment section. Thank you in advance!
Best Things to Do in Cefalu Sicily
1. Beach lounging
Cefalù reminds us of a beautiful poem, profound and magical. Everything rhymes, everything matches. From the headland backdrop together with old medieval homes, docked old fishermen boats — the meeting of the fine sand and the blue sea. The town is not only famous for its historic district but also its charming beaches.
We love relaxing on the Lungomare di Cefalù and joining the various people that chose to unwind here. It is quite busy during the Summer. The crowds are almost squeezing in each other. However, we do not mind at all as the view while resting is just so fascinating. It is as if you are watching a live romance film, but you can only witness the majestic setting. The rest of the story depends on your fancy. There are also bathing businesses that you can use. The charge is roughly 10 euros per bed and umbrella. Most of the time, some bars sell food and drinks. You can undoubtedly beach lounging while dining in by the beach.
2. Historical walk
Significantly, Sicily has larger cities with elaborate architectures. But Cefalù’s historical centre has a unique appeal that entices you to see it frequently. We suggest visiting during Autumn and Winter mornings. With very few tourists, it makes the experience more intimate. Cefalù’s main attraction, without a doubt, is the Cefalù Cathedral with its Arab-Norman style. It is a combination of mosaic ceilings commissioned by King Roger II.
The entrance to the olden city centre is near the beach. The narrow brick lane coupled with the preserved medieval homes and restaurants will welcome you. As you walk through, even the smallest details feel surreal. The huge gate to the ancient Roman baths will take you to another period. Generally, travel guide books have details about these places to immerse you to their stories fully. However, if you do not have one, a quick search online will help you learn their history. You will also notice remarkable small churches that existed for centuries in the area.
3. Photo op everywhere
Cefalù is a popular location for films and TV shows. Hence, blogs and articles featuring Sicily regularly used its images to represent Sicily. Cefalù boasts one of the island’s most quaint panorama that is always ready for any photo opportunity. In case you want a group picture, a selfie, an Instagram update, landscape photography, every corner is worth capturing.
It seems like the sky is lovelier, more precise and brighter in this side of the world. That is to say, it is great to shot with drones or a regular camera. When the waves occasionally hit the beach seascape lined with old houses and their stained, moisten walls. It is the preferred angle of professional photographers. They consequently spotlight this on travel and magazine websites. You can achieve the shot from the other side of the village where the boats were anchored. Want to combine the elements of the sea, mountains, churches and the town? On the beach walk, go further away from the horde to attain the perfect Cefalù photo.
Moreover, a Cefalù Vacation is not complete without soaking in the Tyrrhenian Sea(only feet will do on colder months). Cefalù is our go-to place when we want to wander around with wet hair and laid back clothes after swimming. The ambience is very lively, enjoyed by both locals and newcomers. The water is super warm on sunny days, often even on mid-Spring and mid-Autumn. It can get windy at times with tiny waves, nonetheless, still warm and very delightful to swim. The sea is shallow from the shore then gradually deepening. We recommend it for children but of course with parental supervision all the time. You can choose either between a free public space or paid bathing establishments. Paid ones are well-equipped and monitored by lifeguards in case of emergencies.
Find Cefalù’s hidden beach spots by boating. To explore the unfamiliar side of Cefalù, you may rent a kayak, yacht, or a regular boat. You cannot reach several charming secluded places in Cefalù by land as they are only accessible by water. These are unspoiled coastlines, caves and large rocks. Many agencies in Cefalù specialised in boat rentals. They are mostly locals who know the area and prepared a complete itinerary on where to go and what to do during the boat trips. This is a fun recreation for all ages. Families with children, young adults or a couple desiring a romantic getaway.
6. Diving and Snorkeling
Diving and snorkelling are some of the best things do in Cefalu Sicily. It is great if you are a water sports lover. Anyone can have fun snorkelling using a simple gear near the lidos without complicated equipment, this hobby appeals to young swimmers. Discover marine sanctuaries and rocky reefs far from the foreshores. Swim with the wildlife and encounter different kinds of fish species, small and big, colourful and strange. Diving sites vary from little depth to too far down in the water surface. Amateurs and experienced divers will have a great time exploring the underwater world of the Mediterranean sea. Diving schools provide diving lessons, boat rentals and support for beginners. The instructors are all professionally licensed divers which you can hire to guide you during your journey.
7. Coast hopping
When you think, you have already seen all, think again. There are still other things do in Cefalu Sicily. The main beach can be a little too crowded, though we love its vibrancy. There are other beaches that are less familiar to tourists too. Some are more nature-friendly and can offer you the same bliss. A few will allow you to meet locals more personally. If you are looking for a peaceful escape, by car, you can reach the beach of Sant Ambrogio towards Messina. We also adore the natural scenery at Finale di Pollina beach too. Neighbouring beaches like Caldura beach and Capo Playa beach are more favoured by locals. Ride a scooter to get at any of these locations for a la dolce vita feel. For an adventure to see caves and rocky cliffs, searching for the perfect paradise by boat is the best option for you.
La Rocca or the cliff mountain behind the Cefalù vista is hard to miss. We suggest spending one morning here for hiking quest through the ancient stair trail of Salita Saraceni and pass by other ancient ruins from the Temple of Diana to wall fortresses and a medieval castle on the summit of the hill. Make sure you are ready for an extensive walk which will take about an hour and a half. Do not forget to wear proper shoes and comfortable clothes. Tiring but all worth it when you see spectacular scenery of the Madonie mountain ranges on one side, then the old town of Cefalù and the beach on the other.
9. Food Degustation
Food degustation experience in Cefalù is one for the books. From enjoying a cone of gelato while sightseeing to a sit down break for a lemon granita, a taste of brick-oven pizza and spending a memorable dinner of three to a four-course meal in the heart of the old town. Positive online feedback and long waiting lines are a good signal to try a restaurant. Majority of the places offer authentic Sicilian dishes of fish, meat and fresh vegetable produce with Arabic influence and original Mediterranean flavours partnered with Sicilian wine selections.
10. Cefalù Nightlife
Nightlife in Cefalù involves myriad of people flocking together and strolling back and forth on the beach walk admiring the night skyline or just people-watching. Ladies and gents get to wear their voguish attires, go to restaurants with family or friends, many tourists prefer al fresco dining with plenty of Sicilian cuisine choices. Night scene is more alive on Summer nights where daytime beach bars turned into nightclubs with upbeat music and high-spirited patrons. Parties are arranged by different clubs and not just concentrated near the beach.
11. Other Amazing places nearby
We suggest a one day trip to the mountain village of Castelbuono, 23 kilometres by car from Cefalù. The town has a stupendous 14th-century castle which usually open to viewing on weekdays. Another destination to consider is Gibilmana, 14 kilometres away from Cefalù, with its Santuario di Gibilmanna and naturalistic charm.
We hope that this list of Things to do in Cefalu Sicily can help you during your Sicily short stay. Enjoy!