Things to do in Palermo – 20 of the most beautiful places to visit in Palermo

Church of Santa Caterina, Palermo, Sicily, Italy
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Looking for some Things to do in Palermo? Here is a great list of the most beautiful places to visit in Palermo including the cathedral, squares, museums, parks, and more with amazing pictures, important information, and map!

Palermo is the capital of the largest Mediterranean island, Sicily and is known for its rich history and diverse culture as well as gastronomy. It is one of the craziest cities in Europe and is considered the cradle of European mafia. But it is also a place that you should not miss! Read below to find out why!

Streets of Palermo, Sicily, Italy
Streets of Palermo, Sicily, Italy by Julius

Things to do in Palermo

1. Palazzo dei Normanni – the oldest royal residence in Europe

Palazzo dei Normanni serves as home for the regional Parliament of Sicily. Usually, the attractions to this place would include the apartments which have very good interior designs.

This is a very nice place to visit especially for people who would love to have an idea where the high ranking officials take refuge and rest. It is also the oldest royal residence in Europe.

Palazzo dei Normanni, Things to do in Palermo, Sicily, Italy
Palazzo dei Normanni, Things to do in Palermo, Sicily, Italy by freshcreator

2. Cappella Palatina in Palazzo dei Normanni

Cappella Palatina is number one tourist attraction in Palermo. It is considered to be a jewel chapel, because of the presence of gold mosaics inside the chapel.

The flooring of the chapel is also made of marble and the ceiling is designed beautifully as well. Many tourists go to this place to see it glitter and shine.

Cappella Palatina in Palazzo dei Normanni, Things to do in Palermo, Sicily, Italy
Cappella Palatina in Palazzo dei Normanni, Things to do in Palermo, Sicily, Italy by askii

3. Quattro Canti

Quattro Canti is a busy crossroad of two boulevards Vittorio Emanuele and Via Maqueda named the “four corners”. There are 4 almost identical Baroque buildings with the fountain in each corner.

The square is close to Piazza Pretoria.

Quatro Canti square, Things to do in Palermo, Sicily, Italy
Quatro Canti square, Things to do in Palermo, Sicily, Italy by Julius

Where to stay in Palermo

Casa Gio' Spasimo – feel like Sicilians

Palermo is an exceptional city, you will hardly find a similar one anywhere else in Europe. So you should make it exceptionally and stay in one of the best-rated places to stay in Palermo!

Casa Gio' Spasimo, Palermo, Sicily, Italy

Ariva II – stay in the wooden boat

Looking for something even more special? So what about staying onboard the wooden boat with all the comfort you are accustomed to in hotels?

Ariva II Palermo Sicily Italy

4. Piazza Pretoria and its famous fountain

Piazza Pretoria is very famous square in Palermo because it is surrounded by famous buildings and churches. Here is the Fontana Pretoria which is one of the major landmarks of the city.

Bought by the city in the 16th century, this tourist attraction is popular mainly because of the nude sculptures that surround the fountain. All throughout the year, many tourists visit this place to personally see the sculptures around Fontana Pretoria.

Piazza Pretoria, Things to do in Palermo, Sicily, Italy
Piazza Pretoria, Things to do in Palermo, Sicily, Italy by Salvatore Ciambra

5. Teatro Massimo

This opera house has indeed become the iconic landmark of Palermo. Performances held in Teatro Massimo has brought fame to this place and made it popular among tourists.

With its elegant design and wide area to accommodate many people, it is one of the crowded places in Palermo at times when there are performances. It is translated as “The largest theatre” and it is indeed the largest theatre in all of Italy.

Teatro Massimo, Things to do in Palermo, Sicily, Italy
Teatro Massimo, Things to do in Palermo, Sicily, Italy by Harvey Barrison

6. Mercato di Ballaro

Just like many other places, the city of Palermo also boasts having a unique market of their own – Mercato di Ballaro. You can roam around freely in these markets in Palermo without worrying about possible crimes.

They assure that they provide security and safety for tourists. If there are any other concerns out here, it would be the possibility that you might get lost in this very crowded place.

Mercato di Ballaro, Things to do in Palermo, Sicily, Italy
Mercato di Ballaro, Things to do in Palermo, Sicily, Italy by Julius

7. Cattedrale di Palermo

Cattedrale di Palermo is famous because of the good impressions that people have on its designs. Different parts of the cathedral such as its pillars and walls as long as its interior designs are indeed popular among tourists.

Cattedrale di Palermo, Things to do in Palermo, Sicily, Italy
Cattedrale di Palermo, Things to do in Palermo, Sicily, Italy by Julius

8. La Martorana church

La Martorana is a 12th-century church in Palermo famous for its rich history and beautiful appearance. Many tourists in Palermo is astonished by the beauty of the church despite the fact that it was built a long time ago.

The preservation and restoration efforts for this church worked out perfectly and made it one of the top places to see in Palermo.

La Martorana Church, Things to do in Palermo, Sicily, Italy
La Martorana Church, Things to do in Palermo, Sicily, Italy by Julius

9. San Giovanni degli Eremiti church

San Giovanni degli Eremiti is a Norman church with four red domes confirming Arabic influence and giving it an oriental character. It is located in Via dei Benedettini not far from Palazzo dei Normanni.

San Giovanni degli Eremiti church, Things to do in Palermo, Sicily, Italy
San Giovanni degli Eremiti church, Things to do in Palermo, Sicily, Italy by Allie_Caulfield

10. Capuchin Catacombs of Palermo

Capuchin Catacombs of Palermo is not located in the city centre, but to the west of it. It is Capuchin monastery with extensive catacombs, where are 8,000 seated or lying mummified bodies of monks and other citizens of Palermo and its neighbourhood.

Walking among them is a guarantee of the morbid experience in Palermo. Some bodies are mere skeletons, others are very well preserved.

Capuchin Catacombs of Palermo, Things to do in Palermo, Sicily, Italy
Capuchin Catacombs, Things to do in Palermo, Sicily, Italy by Juan Antonio F. Segal

11. Museo Archeologico Regionale

Museo Archeologico Regionale is the most important museum of the city with Etruscan, Carthaginian, Roman and Greek archaeological finds and art treasures. Among the most interesting findings include those of Greek temples of Segesta and Selinunte.

Museo Archeologico Regionale, Things to do in Palermo, Sicily, Italy
Museo Archeologico Regionale, Things to do in Palermo, Sicily, Italy by Bernhard J. Scheuvens

12. Porta Nuova and Porta Felice

Porta Nuova and Porta Felice are the two gates from the 16th century built on two ends of long street Corso Vittorio Emanuele.

The gates surround the old city.

Porta Nuova, Things to do in Palermo, Sicily, Italy
Porta Nuova, Things to do in Palermo, Sicily, Italy by Leandro Neumann Ciuffo

13. Church of Santa Caterina

Church of Santa Caterina is located on Piazza Pretoria. Its construction began in 1566 and interior decorations are from the 17th and 18th centuries.

Here you can get a closer view of Baroque in Palermo. Impressive colours, huge statues in front of the church, marble paving. It’s my favourite church in Palermo!

Church of Santa Caterina, Things to do in Palermo, Sicily, Italy
Church of Santa Caterina, Things to do in Palermo, Sicily, Italy by Julius

14. Park in Villa Bonanno

Palermo has several parks and places for relax and one of the most beautiful of them is definitely a park at Villa Bonanno. It is located between Palermo Cathedral and Palazzo dei Normanni.

Palms in the Park at Villa Bonanno, Things to do in Palermo, Sicily, Italy
Palms in the Park at Villa Bonanno, Things to do in Palermo, Sicily, Italy by Julius

15. Giardino Garibaldi

On the other side of Via Vittorio Emanuele, you can find another amazing park that is full of old Ficus trees. It is called Giardino Garibaldi or Villa Garibaldi.

Ficus tree in Giardino, Garibaldi, Things to do in Palermo, Sicily, Italy
Ficus tree in Giardino, Garibaldi, Things to do in Palermo, Sicily, Italy by Julius

16. Museo dell’Inquisizione in Palazzo Chiaromonte Steri

Museo dell’Inquisizione has just opened recently and still do not have as much artworks to present as compared to many other museums, but the city of Palermo is proud to have this museum that presents their valuable inquisitions.

The exhibits and displays might be limited, but it is also an important part of the history and development of Palermo.

Palazzo Chiaromonte Steri, Things to do in Palermo, Sicily, Italy
Palazzo Chiaromonte Steri, Things to do in Palermo, Sicily, Italy by Bernhard J. Scheuvens

17. Galleria d’Arte Moderna

The city of Palermo will not be left out in having a gallery that is dedicated to modern day works of art. Be one of those people who have the chance to witness and see the latest art collections of this humble but very proud city. Visit Galleria d’Arte Moderna!

Galleria d'Arte Moderna, Things to do in Palermo, Sicily, Italy
Galleria d’Arte Moderna, Things to do in Palermo, Sicily, Italy by Kalima

18. Oratorio del Rosario di Santa Cita

Built in the 17th century, a small chapel Oratorio del Rosario di Santa Cita is another place you must see in Palermo. It is small, though, but with amazing interior decoration! And once here, do not forget to visit its neighbour Chiesa di Santa Cita.

Oratorio del Rosario di Santa Cita, Things to do in Palermo, Sicily, Italy
Oratorio del Rosario di Santa Cita, Things to do in Palermo, Sicily, Italy by Amrita (public domain)

19. Oratorio di San Lorenzo

If you liked Oratorio del Rosario di Santa Cita then you will also like another religious place – Oratorio del Rosario di Santa Cita. Adjacent to the Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, this chapel is known for its beautiful stucco decoration with statues and panels describing the lives of St. Francis and St. Lawrence.

Oratorio di San Lorenzo, Things to do in Palermo, Sicily, Italy
Oratorio di San Lorenzo, Things to do in Palermo, Sicily, Italy by Amrita (public domain)

20. Church of the Gesù

One of the Palermo’s most important churches is definitely its 16th century baroque Church of the Gesù. It is also called Casa Professa, so you will easily find it in the city center on the street Via Casa Professa. Here you can admire Sicilian Baroque in its best form!

Church of the Gesu, Palermo, Sicily, Italy
Church of the Gesu, Things to do in Palermo, Sicily, Italy by Tango7174

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Julius

I am someone who left his open-spaced cubicle after spending there 8 years of his life. Someone who started to live more outside! :) I am in travel blogging since 2010 and with Traveltipy I am going to conquer the world :)

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9 Responses

  1. Vadim Petrov says:

    We also visited Pa;ermo this year. Nice city anyway. There are some best sights to see.
    Highly recommended. We love Palermo!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4KajJbEAGzQ

  2. Marco says:

    Hi Julius,
    great tips! If I can suggest, should you be in Palermo again, Oratorio di Santa Cita, Oratorio di San Lorenzo, Chiesa del Gesù, Chiesa dell’Immacolata Concezione, Spasimo and Palazzo Conte Federico would make for great adds for your list 🙂

    • Julius says:

      Hi Marco, thank you very much for your tips, I am going to add all of them to the list so that I am more prepared once I am back in Palermo again. They are so beautiful! I love this crazy city! 🙂

      • Marco says:

        Wow you already added them, I’m really glad you like my beloved city so much!
        Then I’ll add Chiesa dell’Immacolata Concezione to the suggestions, and perhaps you can get more ideas from this report I wrote:
        https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Travel-g187890-c224007/Palermo:Sicily:Hidden.Gems.In.Palermo.html

        • Julius says:

          Hi Marco, I’ll add more tips here later!

          • Marco says:

            Great! And apologies, I had forgotten that I had mentioned Chiesa dell’Immacolata Concezione in the first comment, I didn’t mean to force your hand on the tips to put 🙂 I just get excited when I can share information on Palermo’s monument

          • Julius says:

            I love Palermo, so I am always excited when someone talks about this city and especially when he/she is from there! BTW, do you live in Palermo?

          • Marco says:

            Not anymore since 3 years unfortunately, but I’ve lived in Palermo most of my life, and I keep myself constantly updated on what goes on there (especially with the monumental heritage and cultural events, what becomes accessible to visitors and so forth). For example I don’t know if you know it, but in 2018 Palermo is going to host Manifesta (one of the most important events in contemporary art world-wide), it may be a good excuse if you want to come back!

  3. Elena says:

    Thank you for visiting Traveling Bytes! Since you mentioned been in Sicily, my curiosity took over, and I had to check your blog.

    After 3 weeks in Palermo, we are definitely lagging behind: saw just 7 out of 17 places you mentioned. Need to pick up some pace :).

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