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Last Updated on 1 June 2024

Introduction

In this article you will find out what to see in Cefalù. It is a small town in the province of Palermo. It was founded by the Greeks, who called it Kephaloidion (from kefalè, meaning head), and then the Romans changed its name to Chephaloedium. The name comes from the Rocca promontory, which towers above the town and has an unusual head shape. It is one of the most beautiful places in Sicily, a place to visit absolutely. Let’s go now to find out what to see in Cefalù.

Tip from Topsecretsicily: You can also book a guided walking tour of Cefalu.

Things to do in Cefalù

The Rock

View from the Rocca of Cefalù

One of the most beautiful places in Cefalù is certainly the Rocca. Here, in fact, you will find the remains of the protohistoric temple of Diana probably built by the Sicans in the 9th century BC, with large megalithic blocks wedged together. It was dedicated to a water divinity, a sort of nymph, with the entrance leading to a huge cistern with a dolmen cover. The Greeks around the 5th century BC modified the temple by building another building on it. In this regard, you can see the original large irregular boulders below (Protohistoric Age) and higher up the much more regular boulders (Greek period). Subsequently the Byzantines further modified this place of worship, building a Byzantine church over it.

Nearby are also the church of Sant’Anna (10th century AD), the remains of ancient Byzantine fortifications and further up, the ruins of a medieval castle (XII century AD). If that weren’t enough, just look down to admire the sea, the hills and Cefalù seen from above, a fantastic panorama. If you go to Cefalù you cannot fail to go and see this little jewel of history and nature.

View from the fortress of Cefalù
Temple of Diana Cefalù
Temple of Diana Cefalù

The historical center and the Cathedral

Cefalù

The village itself is really cute and the advice is to get lost in its small streets of the old town. You can also book a guided walking tour if you wish.

Have you ever wondered how dirty clothes were washed so many centuries ago? Along Via Vittorio Emanuele you will find the medieval wash house (free entry) obtained directly from the rock to exploit a natural watercourse. Wandering around the country you will not be able to miss the Cefalù Cathedral , declared heritage of Unesco, built by the Norman king Roger II around 1100. Seen from the outside it is very charming and impressive, but the interior is also beautiful.

Finally, among the things to see in Cefalù, the Pescara gate, from where you can enjoy a wonderful glimpse of the marina, with the characteristic old houses overlooking the sea. Everything is made even more fascinating at sunset, not to be missed.

Cannolì Bar

Top Secret Tip: Walk on the cliffs at sunset

Cefalù cliff

Towards the end of the village there is a beautiful illuminated path that passes over the cliff, a great place to relax and admire the sunset. At the end of the path, going up towards the road, you will find yourself in front of the town´s lighthouse and you will be able to eat in the excellent restaurant la trinacria overlooking the sea.

The beach in the historic center

Cefalù seafront

The most famous and probably even the most beautiful beach is the one next to the marina, just below the typical houses overlooking the sea. It is a fine golden crescent beach. This is certainly the most suggestive and panoramic and the water is calm and clear.

The picturesque beach of Kalura

Kalura beach - Cefalù
Олег Белый via Google Maps

About 20 minutes walk from the center of Cefalù, there is the small Kalura beach. It is located in a very characteristic small gulf, made up of pebbles and rocks, it looks like a small postcard. You get there after a panoramic path of about 100 steps, a bit tiring but worth it. Bring sea shoes and a mask with you, this is the ideal place to snorkel. The other main beaches listed below are quickly reachable by car.

Mazzoforno beach

If you want to snorkel you can go to the small sandy beach of Mazzoforno, which is located in a beautiful green bay.

The beach of Selinelle and Sant’Ambrogio

Salinelle beach Sicily
Nino Arcoleo via Google Maps

If you love windsurfing you can go to the wide sandy beach of Selinelle and finally, if you are looking for tranquility, the large pebbly beach of Sant’Ambrogio (foreshore and sandy bottoms) is for you.

Typical products and where to eat in Cefalù

Pasta in Taianu Cefalù
Pasta in Taianu – Taverna Tinchitè

The typical dishes in Cefalù are fish dishes, but the most traditional is pasta in Taianu. It is pasta with tomato sauce, lamb and beef, aubergines and pecorino, all cooked in an earthenware pan, the “taianu”.

Do you think that the origin of this recipe is very ancient. In fact, tianu derives from the Arabic taio and indicates the clay that was used to make the terracotta container used by the Arabs for cooking food.

You will find excellent restaurants in Cefalù, however, Tinchitè Tavern, Bastion & Costanza Restaurant and Trinacria Restaurant are recommended.

Topsecretsicily tip: You also have the opportunity to have a dining experience at a local’s home.

Cefalù is part of the province of Palermo. Here you can find some tips on what to eat in Palermo and surroundings , here instead you find the typical Sicilian dishes.

Interactive map – Points of interest in purple

What to see in the surroundings

Cefalù is located in the province of Palermo. Here you will find listed the places to visit in Palermo and surroundings .

Plan your vacation in minutes

📸 Book a guided tour

🛏️ Find accommodation on offer

🛫 Compare flight prices.

🚗 Rent a car at the airport.

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