Cefalù is a beautiful small city on the north coast of the island and only an hour east of Palermo. It’s an easy day trip by train from Palermo and I highly recommend making the trip if your schedule allows. Bring your swimsuit and a good book to read by the ocean. You can easily rent an umbrella chair at multiple locations on the beach for about 15 euro.
It’s exactly what you’d expect from a Sicilian beach town. The beaches are a breathtaking central gathering point for Sicilians, with crystal blue oceans and gentle winds—people just want to be in and near the water all the time. Sicilians have such an intimate connection with the water, the beaches, and the leisure and ease of connecting to the earth. It's almost magnetic.
The topography moves quickly from the sea to extremely tall mountains—in some places mountains cascade directly into the water. There is a path all along the east side of the city behind the buildings where you can walk all along the ocean. There are multiple entry points to the path and it’s clearly carved out and not treacherous. It’s truly a remarkable experience. What I loved most of all was how the richness of the earth led to the richness of the lived experience.
Don’t miss the beautiful cathedral if you visit. Tucked right up against La Rocca (a rocky cliff that looms over Cefalù) it was built by the Norman King and has some of the best preserved mosaics in Sicily.
Lo Scoglio Ubriaco - $$ à la carte
We initially chose this restaurant because of it’s beautiful terrace overlooking the ocean but we were very pleased with the whole experience. We ended up sitting for a couple of hours for a leisurely lunch. My partner Kevin had a lobster pasta that was top 3 things I ate while in Sicily, I had the best spaghetti with clams and mussels I’ve ever had. Dessert, a pistachio semifreddo, was also in the top 5 dishes of our trip. I highly recommend and would 100% go back.
Locanda del Marinaio - $$ à la carteThis restaurant is Michelin rated and it lives up to it. We enjoyed dinner on the patio and every single aspect of the meal was perfect—food, wine, and service. We got caponata (maybe my favorite of the trip), an Amberjack tartare, a seasonal pasta, and a daily special of grilled Amberjack. I’d never had Amberjack before visiting Sicily and it was one of my favorite culinary discoveries on the trip. I highly recommend and would 100% go back.