In September 2021, we began what was supposed to be a 4 week circumnavigation of Sicily, starting in Palermo for 5 nights, Cefalu for 3 and Petralia Soprana for 3. When a death in our family abruptly ended that trip, we planned to return. We’ve just come back from that month-long return. Before that, here are a few thoughts on Palermo, Cefalu and Petralia Soprana. We had 5 nights in Palermo, which for us was just right. Palermo is church- and palazzo-heavy, but the Teatro Massimo, duomo, and Salinas archeological museum were all worth visiting. Having seen plenty of catacombs elsewhere, we skipped the Capuchin version here. We liked Palermo’s vibe a lot, and spent a good chunk of time just wandering the streets. I can see where it wouldn’t appeal to some, but being a city grit and grime devotee, I enjoyed it.
Cefalu was charming, and the antithesis of Palermo. We stayed 4 nights, planning to make it a rest stop, but most people I think would give it a half-to-a-whole day. More time gave us the opportunity to really explore the backstreets of the town, make repeat visits to favorite spots, to meet more locals, including an interesting man who makes his living making elaborate wood carvings. Since woodworking is one of my husband’s hobbies, we spent considerable time there, although I was done in about 20 minutes. They were not, so I used the time for a chance to sit down and have a cup of tea. We stayed at a resort above the town, mostly because we had planned to have a car (but a year after our first cancelled attempt, I switched to using a driver. We had a credit at the hotel in Cefalu, so I stuck with it.) Taxis up and down to town were 10 euro each way. Not perfect, but it worked for us.
I added Petralia Soprana to our itinerary after reading about it in Lonely Planet. We were there in October, which meant it was a definitely out-of-season quiet stone village, but a refreshing look at the interior of the island. We visited the Santuario di Gibilmanna and Castelbono for a lunch featuring manna en route. The Nebrodi mountains were beautiful, and our time there was enjoyable.