Top 5 reasons to visit Cefalù in Sicily


There are some places in the world that everyone loves. Cefalù (pronounced ‘chefaloo’) is one of those places. People just fall in love with it. After having toured around Sicily, many return to Cefalù the following year with their extended family or friends. Some even end up buying holiday villas in Cefalù there before retiring there. So what is it that makes it so special?

1. Coastal location

Cefalù is not only picturesque but it is easy to get to and perfect for beach lovers. It is just an hour away from Palermo airport on the sunny north coast of Sicily. It sits on a beautiful stretch of coastline and the town itself has an incredible, long, sandy beach. From any beachside restaurant, terrace or even as your stroll through parts of the cobbled historic centre, you can admire panoramic views out to the Aeolian islands and the Bay of Palermo.

2. Landscape

The surrounding landscape is mountainous so ideal for those who love an active lifestyle and nature. The dramatic backdrop to Cefalu and its beach is the magnificent Madonie mountains regional park, the setting for some of the best holiday villas in the area. Vineyards, olive groves and cactus plants all grow on the slopes while other parts are more open and wild, attracting many outdoor pursuits such as hill walking and horse riding.

3. History and culture

A picture postcard medieval town with narrow streets, squares and terracotta rooftops, it is little wonder that Cefalù is regularly featured as a film location, most notably in Giuseppe Tornatore’s film Cinema Paradiso. At the heart of the historic centre lies a handsome Arab-Norman cathedral. Now a UNESCO World heritage site, the cathedral dates back to the 12 th century and boasts elaborate Byzantine mosaics, so be sure to go inside. A fascinating array of archaeological artefacts is on display at the Madralisca Museum while a puppet theatre and medieval wash house are among the many historical highlights to discover. Whether you choose to sip a cappuccino on the cathedral square or climb the craggy mountain of la Rocca which towers above the town, crowned with a medieval fortress, the history of Cefalù surrounds you.

4. Food and wine

Cefalù is a paradise for foodies. If cooking is your thing, then head to the market or historic centre to buy fresh seafood as well as delicious seasonal vegetables and fruit. Hire a private chef at your villa for a celebration meal or choose to eat out at Cefalù’s excellent restaurants which range from traditional to more modern, coastal and rural specialities. Be sure to visit a winery or local enoteca to taste a range of delicious local Sicilian wine.

5. Friendly locals

Sicilians are known for being warm and welcoming so visitors quickly feel at home in Cefalù. It is working town where people live all year round, yet the pace of life is relaxed. There is always time for a coffee, a chat, a good meal and pleasant stroll with friends. Everyone is welcome and included. Do not be surprised if the owner of your holiday villa gives you a bottle of their own olive oil or wine on arrival, just to be kind. Sicilians prioritise family life so if you have children, they will be welcomed with open arms in hotels and restaurants.

Massimo Provenza is Director and Owner of Massimo Villa Collection. Massimo Villa Collection a villa rental company specialising in villa holidays to Sicily, Puglia, Tuscany and Formentera.

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Comments (5)

  1. Diana Presley says:

    Just look at the first picture of that first beach. They certainly know how to do beaches with style. The colours just shout “Sea and summer.” Back here in Britain our beaches are a mess, we throw up windbreaks all over the place.

    • Joseph says:

      That’s a bit harsh, Diana!!! I’m guessing you didn’t read about Paul’s recent trip to Northumberland on this site. There are lots of beautiful beaches in the UK, without a windbreaker in sight…

  2. Pete says:

    I don’t think that I’ve ever seen an Arab-Norman Cathedral. There can’t be too many of those about. It’s not surprising that it is a UNESCO world heritage site. Definitely on my list for a visit as I would be fascinated to see how the two very different styles exist side by side.

  3. Brian says:

    There’s no bigger fan of Italian food than me and I am especially keen on seafood. So I’m guessing that Sicily offers similar sorts of cuisine to the mainland and hopefully as it is an island even more seafood dishes. As in my ignorance I can’t name a single Sicilian wine I ought to get myself a Sicilian wine education at one of the vineyards.

  4. Helen Johnson says:

    I certainly wouldn’t say not to a holiday villa in Cefalù. I can see the appeal of retiring there too but I imagine all this Brexit nonsense will confuse things somewhat for those buying property there or looking to stay long term. I had to Google what an enoteca is, so basically a wine shop? What really appeals is the sense of atmosphere, the kind locals and friendly nature there, it sounds like a genuinely warm and welcoming place.

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