Palermo Travel Tips

palermo travel tips

1- Most restaurants have set opening hours so always check in advance online. From what I noticed, they are usually open from 12-2pm for lunch. The restaurants will then close and reopen from 7pm onwards for dinner. Also, be aware that many restaurants are not open 7 days a week. I saw some that would close for 2 random days during the week.

2- Buy your bus tickets for the bus from Tabacchi shops. You can recognise these shops easily as many of them will have a big letter T hanging outside. Don’t forget to validate your ticket in the machine when you get on the bus. The bus ticket is valid for 90 minutes after you validate it.

3- Skip Mondello Beach if you are only in Sicily for a week. There is barely any beach space as most of it is full of private beach clubs. This means the beach is extremely crowded even if you arrive early in the morning because everyone wants to sit in the free space. The private Lidos also do not look appealing as they are a small space that is fenced off with no view of the sea…or anything at all. I would recommend going to the beach in Cefalù instead. This is a 1-hour train journey from Palermo.

4- Check the opening hours for attractions in advance. Just like with the restaurants, attractions in Palermo all have their own set opening hours and can sometimes close on random days during the week.

5- Try to arrive with smaller notes. I found it quite difficult to get change for anything larger than a  €10 note in many places.

6- Eat in or near the street food markets. There are many restaurants in Palermo but I always found the street food to be better value for money. I noticed a lot of restaurants give small portions and charge a high price.

7- If you want food-related souvenirs, then buy them from the supermarket. It’s cheaper! I bought a large bottle of Limoncello for €6 and saw them being sold in souvenir shops for €20. Modica chocolate was €2 in the supermarket but €3.50 in souvenir shops. The only food thing I didn’t get from the supermarket was salt because I had the opportunity to buy it directly from the salt pans in Trapani.

8- Always check the prices of things before you buy. I noticed that many cafes and market stalls do not display the price of things. In markets, feel free to haggle if you don’t see a price because there is a high chance they will quote you more as a tourist. When it comes to cafes in Italy, most places will actually charge you more if you choose to sit down instead of stand.

9- The roads can be quite intimidating and many drivers are impatient. Be sure to look in all directions. This is going to sound like terrible advice…but sometimes the only way to cross the road in Italy is to just go (even when cars are coming). Most of the time it’s the only way to get cars to actually stop.

10. Book your accommodation in the city centre close to attractions. I say this because the public transport in Palermo is unreliable, to the point where I’ve legit waited at bus stops for 40 minutes for buses that never arrived. Most attractions are located in the city centre so you can walk between most attractions.

…and those are my Palermo travel tips! I hope you found them helpful. If you want to get your tastebuds tingling, then it may be worth reading my guide on food to eat in Sicily.

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