We will be in the Palermo area for eight days in September. We'll rent a car and see a lot of that area including Agrigento and Monreale, plus a couole of days exploring Palermo. My question is whether we should stay in Palermo proper or outside of the city. Also would love personal recommendations for places to stay to supplement my Trip Advisor research.
Driving and parking in Palermo will be a nightmare. Stay somewhere else. I would even suggest that one day in Palermo is all you need. My favorite places near Palermo are Erice, a hill town to the West, that you drive up to on a steep road, with parking at the top, or take the tram up. Incredible place. We stayed at the Hotel Elimo, close to parking and easy walk to all the sites.
My other favorite is to the east of Palermo, was Cefalu. We drove in, stayed at the Villa Gaia, easy parking and easy walk to the old city. Near the beach if that is what you want too.
When you arrive at Palermo, don't rent a car right away. Stay in Palermo a couple of nights while you visit Palermo and Monreale. You can visit both in one day, although 2 days is less rushed. Once you are done visiting the city, where a car is not needed, actually a hassle to have, pick up a rental from a city location and head out of town. I like Scopello, near the Zingaro natural Reserve, West of Palermo. I've used that location to day trip throughout western Sicily (Erice, Segesta, Selinunte, San Vito lo Capo. Agrigento is quite a drive from there, but doable in a day back and forth. This is where I stayed: http://www.pensionetranchina.com/
I love that little village.
Thanks, Roberto. We ended up booking four nights in Palermo so we could explore the city and go to Monreale and environs. We did not plan on getting a car until we left Palermo. Right before I received your message, we actually booked four nights at Pensione Tranchina in Scopello, so I am happy to hear that you loved the place and the town.
You can visit Palermo and Monreale in two days if you want. Monreale is just on top of the hill and in a couple hours you can see everything. I think you could take a day from Palermo and add it somewhere else. There is so much to see in Sicily.
Roberto, I think we are going to take your advice - stay in Palermo three nights, then go elsewhere for a night and then up to Scopello for four nights Zingaro Reserve, Erice, salt flats, and maybe a trip to the islands. We are thinking of getting a car the last morning in Palermo and heading down to Agrigento to see the ruins. We'd like to stay anywhere from Agrigento north for one night. There's a very gorgeous villa right near the ruins, but very pricey. Not sure we really want to stay in Agrigento proper. Maybe a country house somewhere along the way back. Any suggestions?