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Pre-Best of Sicily Tour 3 extra days Palermo

Our BOS is finally rescheduled from 2020. 4 of us now going on the April 19, 2022 tour. We will be arriving in Palermo 3 days in advance (FF mile constraints). So we arrive late on Easter Saturday, so we have free days on Easter and Easter Monday. I do have the tour book that I have to read more thoroughly, but I'm asking for ideas on how to best utilize these 2 days. One thought was a day or half-day trip to Cefalu. Looking for unique, personal experiences--- Palermo or day excursions are both ok.

Thanks,
Cindy

Posted by
1864 posts

I have not been and have nothing to add. Posting as a reminder to myself to check back. Hoping to do this tour April 2023.

Posted by
21 posts

We look the Best of Sicily tour in 2018 and thoroughly loved it! We also arrived 3 days earlier and the tour coincided with Easter. Palermo was quiet with many shops including the Ballaro market closed in observance of Easter Sunday and Monday. We visited several sites not included in the tour- Teatro Massimo, Teatro Politiana, Palatine Chapel, Normal Palace, Palermo Cathedral, and Piazza Pretoria (fountain of shame). Palermo is very walkable, just be ready to aggressively/confidently cross the streets. We visited these sites on Easter Saturday, so given the holiday and covid restrictions they may/may not be open when you are there. Hotel Ambasciatori was a great central location and has a beautiful roof-top dining terrace. Enjoy every minute of Sicily!

Posted by
6607 posts

julieryan6’s post above lists sites in Palermo that are must sees! I am surprised that the RS tour does not include them. You may wish you had even more days ahead of the tour. Palermo has so much to offer with multiple cultural influences from earlier conquests of Sicily. With so few days there, there is no need to leave for a day trip. But if you want to, take a train to Cefalu.

Posted by
59 posts

I was in Sicily the last part of Sept & early Oct a few years ago. We stayed at an AirBnB a few blocks south of Teatro Politiana, an area with many small grocery stores, restaurants and neighborhood feel. As 2 woman of a 'certain age' I never felt unsafe walking around, even after dark.

Cefalu is an easy train ride from and back to Palermo. We had lunch, visited the Norman Cathedral (unbelievable mosaics), walked to the water and did some shopping/browsing. My concern for you is that your free time is over a major religious holiday, which Sicilians take very seriously. Public transportation will probably be very limited.

Palermo is very walkable. Besides what has been previously suggested, I would add Parco Piersanti Mattarella (English Garden). It is located on Via della Liberta, north of Teatro Politiana (less than 1 mile walk). It's a beautiful garden with fountains, benches and many locals. Across the street is another garden (less lush) with statutes etc. You can Goggle to see if this would interest you.

I hope you love Sicily!!!

Posted by
237 posts

Many European cities close down for Christmas and probably Easter. My sisters were in Frankfort on Christmas and everything was shut down for family time. Check carefully for openings on those days. Attend an Easter service in a Cathedral. Enjoy the service even though you can’t understand the words. The music should be inspired. Maybe there will be some kind of religious parade one of those days. The street food and gelato was superb in Palermo. Bus service will be much less frequent during the weekend and holiday. Inside Palermo it is very walkable. We really enjoyed the city. This surprised us. I hope you enjoy Sicily as much we have on our 2 trips.

Posted by
1939 posts

Loved this tour so much I took it twice (slightly different itineraries) and one of those tours was over Easter. We arrived in Palermo and took a wonderful street food tour, during which not only did we eat and drink well but were also treated to a local's walking/ talking tour at the same time. Easter week was such a special time to be in Sicily. There were celebrations every night, not to be missed. Since you’ll be in Palermo Easter Sunday, I suggest you ask at the hotel for any special events going on there and attend every one you can. If you stay in the same hotel we stayed in, the views from the rooftop terrace over Palermo are spectacular. We had breakfast and cocktails up there every day. Great tour(s)!

Posted by
52 posts

Hi Cindy,

We loved this tour. We took the RS South Italy tour first then the Best of Sicily three days later in October of 2019. We stayed in Naples to visit Mt. Vesuvius and Herculaneum for our extra day in Naples then flew to Palermo.

Ate a great meal at Sardina PastaBar via Cassari in Palermo. We walked around the port area (Castello al Mare, Piazza San Domenico--just missed a festival - only confetti was left) our arrival day.

Our second day, we visited the Capuchin Crypt, toured the Teatro Massimo, rode a hop-on, hop-off bus to see the city. Had a fabulous lunch at Osteria Pantelleria.

The morning of the tour we visited the Salinas Regional Archeological Museum (Carthaginian artifacts).

We wanted to include a train to Cefalu, but we didn't fit that in.
Enjoy!

Posted by
1036 posts

Since you’ll spend time in Palermo on the tour, go to Cefalù that’s a 1h direct train ride away. This is a town where the elderly men still dress for their evening passeggiata and the cannolis don’t get any better than what you’ll eat there (you may want to buy two).

Posted by
430 posts

We had extra days before our tour and visited the beautiful Palatine Chapel, very interesting Cappuchin Crypt and the Fountain of Shame as well as walking around the city. We felt we had too much time and wished we had done a day trip to Cefalu as a few other tour members had done. With three extra days I would definitely add Cefalu. Do check open times for the places you plan to visit. We were there on All Saints Day and there were music and dancing celebrations so at Easter I am sure you will find cultural activities but it does impact open hours at sites. We had to wait a day to visit the Palatine Chapel. It's a great tour. Enjoy!

Posted by
133 posts

I just wanted to thank the responders who provided tips on what to see with the extra days in Palermo - I am booked on this tour in late February and will now book my flights so that I have an extra 3 days there before the tour starts. Great tips - much appreciated!

Really appreciate all the ideas our tour was canceled twice Sept 2020 and Sept 2021 so I am hoping 3rd time lucky with Sept 2022, we are thinking of adding Malta on at the end of the tour so if anyone has been let us know, can hardly wait to get back on an RS tour, really appreciated how the Company was caring
about it’s clients and it’s employees during the pandemic, us Canadians have always felt welcome by our American neighbours and enjoyed their company immensely

Posted by
12 posts

Highly recommend taking a food tour if available during that holiday period. It was so much fun to learn about the history of the city and see important landmarks while eating a variety of regional fare. Agree that it’s a very walkable city with a multiple of fascinating sights.

Posted by
430 posts

roswynnecuthbert:
We went to Malta after the Sicily tour. Did not go to Gozo. The ancient sites are amazing. Hal Saflieni Hypogeum required pre booking. St John's co-cathedral is beautiful and there's a signed Caravaggio painting in a side room. The archaeology museum has wonderful artifacts from the ruins. The coast is pretty and there are interesting cart tracks worn into the rocky terrain nearby. Marsasloxx has picturesque boats in the harbor. We also visited Mdina and took a ride across from Valetta in a historic boat. We had a car and stayed 3 nights/3.5 days