9 Excellent Day Trips From Palermo Worth Taking During Summer

Best day trips from Palermo, Sicily, to nearby cultural destinations, mostly within a 1-hour distance, charming old towns with Arab-Norman architecture and countless breathtaking beaches.

Sicily, the magical Island of southern Italy, has everything you could ask from both a summer holiday and a cultural trip destination.

Palermo, its capital city, is located on the north-western coast, along the Tyrrhenian Sea and has been an important commercial hub of the Mediterranean since the oldest times. Historically, this region has been a melting pot of cultures and civilizations. Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Normans, and Spaniards, among others, have left something extraordinary behind.

Norman cathedrals, showcasing spectacular Byzantine mosaics and enclosing Arab gardens are today’s Sicily architectural marvels so famous internationally. But that’s not all.

  • The coastal towns feature picturesque beaches, but also cultural centers, typical medieval, cobblestone streets, lined with baroque and renaissance buildings, and significant archaeological sites.
  • Inland, the charm of the rural countryside is going hand in hand with historical castles and mansions, each telling stories of feudal lords. The mountainous areas provide not just breathtaking scenic views, but also a chance to explore outdoor activities like hiking and nature walks.
  • Moreover, a few tiny, remote islands offer unspoiled natural beauty to wildlife enthusiasts, divers, and those seeking some peace and quiet out of the city. Unique, isolated ecosystems, scattered with historical ruins—from ancient Greek temples to World War II relics.

All these locations are pretty close one to each other, allowing short, but meaningful day trips. Especially if you are stationed in Palermo.

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Useful Information :

The region around Palermo is made up of a mix of stunning coastal areas and beaches, serene countryside with olive groves and vineyards, on the rugged backdrop of mountains. Plus, each town around Palermo has its own unique history and cultural identity, from ancient Greek and Roman influences to significant landmarks in the fight against the 20th century Mafia.

That being said, there are endless possibilities for day trips from Palermo.  You can explore ancient ruins, hike through rugged landscapes, soak up the sun on sandy beaches, or indulge in delicious Sicilian cuisine. From the stunning beaches of Cefalù and Mondello to the fascinating archaeological sites of Segesta and Agrigento, it is hard not to find something that defines your Italian summer holiday expectations. Ready?

Map showing the locations for day trips from palermo

Mondello & Natural Reserve of Capo Gallo (11 km / 7 miles)

Mondello Beach with Mount Gallo in the backdrop perfect for a day trip from Palermo

Mondello Beach, Sicily, Copyright © Cooltourismical.com

Evolving in time from a drained swamp to a small fishermen village and eventually into an exclusive beach resort by the beginning of the century, Mondello is among most popular summer getaways and day trips from Palermo. It’s just 11 km and a short bus drive ride from the city center.

What is there to do & see in Mondello?

Mondello Beach Parking in Palermo
Italian ice cream in mondello sicily

Mondello Beach, Sicily, Copyright © Cooltourismical.com

Family-friendly, with its accessible-distance beach, soft sand, and crystal clear, emerald waters, plus historical Liberty villas and an old bathhouse, Mondello is the perfect seaside destination near the city. It attracts crowds of locals and tourists each and every year, from late May to early October, with the risk of getting a bit overcrowded in summer.

Moreover, nestled between Mount Pellegrino and Mount Gallo, Mondello has also a scenic mountainous backdrop.

If you’re planning a day trip to the area, you can take into consideration that the Natural Reserve of Capo Gallo is just an hour’s walk to the left of Mondello.. This reserve  is absolutely amazing for hiking trails and snorkelling in its boat-accessible-only Grotta dell’Olio.

To the right of Mondello Beach lies Monte Pellegrino, mostly known for the 3-4 hour hike leading to the Sanctuary of Santa Rosalia.

Mondello Highlights:
  • Mondello Beach;
  • Antico Stabilimento Balneare di Mondello – historical, Liberty-style bathhouse;
  • Lido Finanza – smaller beach, near Mondello;
  • Semaforo dell’Eremita – an old observatory inhabited by a hermit;
  • Riserva naturale di Capo Gallo
  • Mount Pellegrino – Sanctuario of St. Rosalia.
🚕 How to get there:
  • By bus: take #806 bus to the terminus near via Della Liberta for a 30-minute journey. The bus can be really crowded during summer. Ticket cost: around 2 euro;
  • By taxi: it’s only a 10 minute trip, but the costs can get up to 30 euro per way;
  • By bike: Mondello & The Royal Park of Favorita Tour;
  • Take a boat tour from Palermo.

Monreale (15 km / 9.3 miles)

Monreale Panorama, Source: Roman Babakin | Freepik

Monreale Cathedral, Source: Copperpipe | Freepik

Apart from Mondello, Monreale ranks as one of the most accessible day-trip destinations from Palermo. This small, yet charming city, beautifully terraced along the slopes of Mount Caputo, lies just 15 km away from Palermo. Here, solid, yellow-hued buildings with slender windows shielded by blinds, and their typical fragile balconies, line up the narrow, cobblestone streets. Giant cacti pots pop up here and there, on the sidewalk, adding to its charm.

More than that, the town overlooks “La Conca d’Oro“, a lovely, fertile valley with vibrant splashes of citrus, olive and almond trees, on the outskirts of Palermo. Magical vineyards also occupy a large part of the countryside surrounding Monreale.

What is Monreale known for?

The crown jewel of Monreale is definitely its Cathedral, a blend of Norman, Arab, and Byzantine styles. Stunning golden mosaics cover almost every inch of the interior, most of them depicting scenes from the Old and New Testaments, highlighted by the impressive Christ Pantocrator in the apse. From the Cathedral’s rooftop sidewalk, it is easy to spot impressive views of the Golden Valley and Palermo itself.

The adjacent cloister, part of the original Benedictine Abbey, is equally beautiful, featuring a series of more than 200 delicately carved columns, each of them unique.

The town’s old center is also a must-visit, as it is hiding other historic buildings such as “Ludovico II De Torres” Library. This site houses a collection of 16th-century manuscripts and portraits of illustrious figures of the time.

But if you’re more adventurous, a hike to Castellaccio, at the peak of Mount Caputo, is also recommended. Though now a ruin, the old Arab-Norman fortress offers a breathtaking view, making the journey well worth it.

Monreale Highlights:
  • The Norman Cathedral – 12th century edifice;
  • Biblioteca “Ludovico II De Torres”;
  • Mount Caputo Fortress – not an easy trek, but well worth it.
🚍 Getting from Palermo to Monreale:
  • By bus #398P, from Indipendenza – Palazzo Reale station. Check bus itinerary;
  • Frequency: every 30-40 minutes, and it takes 30 minutes more to reach Monreale;
  • Bus Ticket Cost: around 1.5 euro / way.

Agrigento & the Valley of the Temples (150 km / 93 miles)

Agrigento Palermo day trips - Valley of the Temples

Valley of the Temples, outskirts of Agrigento, Copyright © Cooltourismical.com

Sitting proudly on a hill in southwest Sicily, Agrigento is undoubtedly among the most enchanting places I have ever visited. Here, culture, historical greatness, beauty, art and romanticism have met to leave no place for anything else than wonder. It is one magical day trip destination, at about 2 hours away from Palermo.

Founded as Akragas around 582 BC by Greek colonists from Gela, it rapidly grew into one of the leading cities of Magna Graecia. Over time, its status as a colony waned, but not its historical significance. Today, Agrigento’s most famous and enduring legacy is the Valley of the Temples, a remarkable collection of Greek structures and ruins, just 2 km away from the city center. Among these, the Temple of Concordia stands out, pretty much known for being one of the best-preserved Greek temples in the whole world.

  • Opening hours: Mon.-Sun.: 09:00 am to 08:00pm;
  • 📌 Main gate: Google Maps;
  • 🎟️ Ticket price: €12;  first Sunday of the month – free admission.

What is there to do & see in Agrigento?

Agrigento old street passage and stairs
Agrigento Stories on Ceramic Tiles

Agrigento Old Center, Copyright © Cooltourismical.com

Yes! But when you’re done wandering among the temples and olive groves, go back to the city to spend the afternoon, before returning to Palermo.

In the heart of Agrigento itself lies a medieval old town, a maze of narrow streets weaving up and down the hill,, dominated by the Cathedral of San Gerlando. The art around the city is at its best: statues coming out of the walls, majolica tiles telling stories, and small, skilfully decorated artisan shops.

Agrigento Sicily Train Station

Agrigento Train Station, Copyright © Cooltourismical.com

Plus, what makes Agrigento an even more perfect day trip destination from Palermo is its closeness to natural wonders, like the Scala dei Turchi, a striking white marl cliff eroded into a series of steps towards the sea, and the Torre Salsa Nature Reserve, a sanctuary for wildlife and unspoiled beaches.

Be careful! In summer, the Valley of the Temples can become really hot spot. You will definitely need sunglasses, hats, and sunscreen!

Agrigento Highlights:
  • Valley of the Temples Skip the Line – 2-hour guided tour;
  • Kolymbethra Garden – colorful citruses and centuries-old olive trees;
  • Scala dei Turchi – natural rock formation along the coast, known for its white limestone cliffs and staircase-like shape;
  • Archaeological Museum “Pietro Griffo” – almost 6000 artefacts, on the site of an ancient agora.
  • Via Atenea – main street of Agrigento perfect for shopping and dining.
🚆🚍 How to get there:
  • By train: 2-hour distance from Palermo Centrale to Agrigento;
  • By bus: no: 2/ from Agrigento station to Valley of the temples and get off at Temple of Giunone entrance; Ticket cost: around 1.50 euro.
  • Skip the bus and train by joining a guided day tour from Palermo.

Cinisi & Terrasini (25 km / 15.5 miles)


Palazzo dei Benedettini, Cinisi, Photo by: Mustafizur Rahman | Unsplash

At a first sight, Terrasini and Cinisi are two typical small Sicillian towns, 25 km away from Palermo.

But both share some amazing cultural attractions and a dramatic coastline characterized by white sand beaches, rocky cliffs and clear waters. Perfect place for a summer day trip from Palermo! Nestled among olive groves and citrus orchards, they lie on the northwest coast of Sicily, Italy, close to the Gulf of Castellammare.  The coastline has breathtaking views and is a popular spot for photography, swimming, and sunbathing. Even hiking in some parts.

Grouping these two destinations into a single day trip from Palermo is quite easy as they are separated by a merely 3.5 km distance.

What is there to see?

Terrasini beach

Terrasini Beach, Photo by: Ignacio Brosa | Unsplash

Terrasini is pretty well-known for its amazing beaches, with Praiola and Cala Rossa being foreign tourists’ top picks. Not far, Lungomare Terrasini promenade is a great spot for hiking and enjoying the sea views.

For those into sightseeing, the Torre Alba, an ancient coastal defence tower, is located right near Cala Rossa. And moving towards the center there are two other main attractions you should not miss. One is the Cathedral of Terrasini, a splendid baroque church, that dominates the Piazza del Duomo di Terrasini, a lively hub for nightlife with various clubs, pubs and restaurants. And the other is the pretty Palazzo D’Aumale. The 19th-century palace houses two museums – one focusing on natural history and the other on ancient carriages.

Meanwhile, at 3.5 km away from Terrasini there is Cinisi, the more quieter and less touristy town, but locally famous for Magaggiari Beach and its role in the anti-mafia movement. Casa Memoria Felicia e Peppino Impastato is a significant site in Cinisi, dedicated to the memory of Peppino Impastato, a local anti-Mafia activist who was murdered in 1978.

Apart from that, I do recommend paying a visit to Presepe Semovente di Cinisi, the miniatures museum.

Day Trip Highlights:
  • Beaches: Praiola, Cala Rossa, Magaggiari;
  • Lungomare Terrasini: promenade, hiking along the coastline;
  • Cathedral of Terrasini – baroque church;
  • Palazzo D’Aumale – museum;
  • Casa Memoria Felicia e Peppino Impastato;
  • Presepe Semovente di Cinisi – miniatures museum;
  • 3Divino – local drinks & lounge bar.
🚆🚍 How to get there:
  • By car: 30-minute distance by car, on A29 motorway, or taxi or taxi – €60 – €75 / way;
  • By bus: 30 minutes, from Via Roma 171, Palermo to Via Ruggero Settimo Patriota, Terrasini; Ticket cost: around €3.5.
  • By train: 1-2 hours, from Palermo Palazzo Reale-Orleans to Cinisi-Terrasini train station; the inconvenience is that you would have to make a change  in Piraineto; Ticket cost: around €5.
  • There is no public transport from Palermo’s airport to Terrasini!

Corleone & Ficuzza (60 km / 37 miles)


Corleone Sign, Photo by: EyeEm | Freepik

Of course, we all know Corleone thanks to its star turn in “The Godfather” series!

This charming little town in Sicily, Italy, shot to fame through the adventures of the fictional Corleone family in Mario Puzo’s thrilling novel and the iconic trilogy directed by Francis Ford Coppola. The story vividly portrays the lives and operations of a powerful Mafia family within the Cosa Nostra organization.

However, Corleone is so much more. As a gateway to the natural beauty of the Sicilian countryside, the town has more stunning landscapes covered in olive trees and wineries than you can imagine and features breathtaking sights like the amazing Cascate delle Due Rocche. Yet, it’s also true that Corleone has historical ties to the Mafia. This connection has been both a source of intrigue and a burden for the town, shaping how it’s perceived globally.

What is there to see?

Taking a day trip to Corleone from Palermo is ideal if you’re into anti-mafia tourism and want to learn about the more intriguing aspects of Sicilian history and culture. It simply means going beyond “The Godfather”, especially with the real stories of anti-Mafia resistance at the CIDMA, a Documentation Center for Mafia and Anti-Mafia related subjects. There is also a very interesting museums called the God Father’s House, an old aristocratic residence surrounded by mystery, with beautiful views over the city.

Corleone day trips from Palermo can be easily combined with a visit to Ficuzza. This is a a smaller community of Corleone, but home to the historic Royal Hunting Lodge, built by King Ferdinand III of Sicily in the 18th century. The beautiful forested park surrounding the area, Rocca Busambra Park, is a must-see.

Day Trip Highlights:
  • CIDMA;
  • God Father’s House;
  • Anti-mafia Museum;
  • Associazione Laboratorio della Legalità;
  • Royal Hunting Lodge in Ficuzza;
  • Rocca Busambra Park.
🚍 How to get there:
  • By car: 1 hour, A19 motorway towards Catania, follow signs to Corleone;
  • By bus: Autolinee Gallo bus, twice daily, 8 euro return ticket, 1.5 – 2 hours;
  • No trains available;
  • Organized tours: Mafia Origins, Beyond Godfather

Cefalu (70 km / 43.5 miles)

Cefalu beach

Cefalu, Source: EyeEm | Freepik

Cefalù is a real gem just an hour east of Palermo. It charms both history buffs and beach goers altogether. That’s why it’s an easy top pick for a summer trip. This town, once a Greek colony, has experienced a rich journey through Roman, Arab, Norman, and Spanish eras, just like Palermo. And keeps as evidence these amazing beaches margined by strong, tall houses, integrating the defence walls of a once true fortress.

The most enchanting part of Cefalù nestles at the base of the imposing Rocca di Cefalù, a dramatic cliff. Beyond the quaint cobblestone streets and secret courtyards, there are a fortress in ruins, an archaeological museum and a lovely Cathedral.

Duomo di Cefalu, Source: EyeEm | Freepik

Streets of Cefalu, Source: Sean Pavone | Freepik

There’s also a particularly special spot in the old harbor that takes you back in time, straight to medieval times. Porta Pescara, a gate from the 16th century, once used as an access way to the city, now opens up to stunning seaside views, a tiny beach and a port still used by local fishermen to bring in their boats at night.

Last, but not least, another noteworthy spot is the Lavatoio Medievale, a medieval washhouse, built over an ancient one, ingeniously using a natural spring to flow through several basins for washing clothes.

Really worth a day trip!

Day Tours to Cefalu:
  • The Cathedral;
  • Archeological Museum;
  • Porta Pescara: ancient gate in the harbour, with a small beach;
  • Lavatoio Medievale: ancient washhouse.
🚆 How to get there:
  • By train: 1-hour journey, from Palermo Centrale, €7 / way;
  • By bus: 1-hour journey, SAIS – stops next to San Raffaele hospital; €6 /way;
  • By car: A20 motorway, which offers beautiful coastal views;
  • Guided tour: Monreale, Cefalu & Castelbuono

Segesta (77 km / 48 miles)

doric temple segesta sicily

Erice Castle, Source: Roman Babakin | Freepik

If you’re in the mood for visiting some beautiful ancient structures, wineries and farmsteads, then take a bus from Palermo to Segesta for a day trip.

Segesta is an ancient city, founded by the Elymians, an indigenous people of Sicily, and later influenced by Greek and Roman cultures. The most remarkable and enduring symbol of Segesta’s past is a Doric temple, dating back to the late 5th century BC. This well-preserved temple, never actually completed, stands in isolation on a hilltop, surrounded by a picturesque countryside landscape of rolling hills and olive groves.

Not far from the temple lies an a 3rd-century BC Greek theatre, carved into the slopes of Mt. Barbaro, with a spectacular view towards the Gulf of Castellamare. To get on the mountain top to the theatre, it’s either a 30-minute steep walk or a much shorter and easier, paid-for private shuttle bus trip (€1.50).

Nearby Landmarks (with private car):
  • Segesta Temple;
  • Segesta Ancient Theatre;
  • Eufemio Castle  – archeological site;
  • Terme Segestane – hot springs near Segesta; natural spa / thermal swimming pool, water 40°C 
  • Agroutourism – L’ Olivo, farmhouse surrounded by olive trees, with a small hotel, swimming pool, restaurant;
  • Agroutourism Antichi Granai, rustic-style accommodation on a hill, with an amazing panorama of the countryside.
🚍 How to get there:
  • By bus: While many choose to visit Segesta on a day trip from Trapani, traveling from Palermo is also a viable option as it’s not too far away. You can easily make a day trip from Palermo to Segesta by bus or car.

The Tarantola bus service, which departs from Via E. Basile in Palermo, provides a direct route to Segesta. And it takes about 1 hour to get to the destination.

  • With a guided tour, that includes other landmarks in the area. For example, Segesta and Erice, a medieval hilltop town.

Adding to Segesta Day Trip Erice & the Salt Pans in Trapani

Erice Castle

Erice Castle, Source: luckystudio | Freepik

trapani salt

Salt in Trapani, Source: mrshing08 | Freepik

Due to the limited amount of detailed information available at the Segesta sites, do consider hiring a guide. And since a visit to Segesta typically doesn’t require a full day, joining a tour that includes other places like Erice and the Salt Pans in Trapani can complete your day trip from Palermo and make better use of your time.

Erice, is a hilltop medieval city founded by the ancient Elymian people. It has everything for a sharming walk: ancient walls, cobblestone streets, the Castle of Venus, in particular, plus stunning views of the Tyrrhenian Sea.

The Salt Pans of Trapani have been used for harvesting salt from sea water since the times of the Phoenicians. Salt production in the area has been an important activity throughout many historical periods, like the Roman era and the Middle Ages. And it’s still done today.

The pans are shallow, pink pools where sea water is let in. The sun heats the water, making it evaporate and leave salt behind. The bright white salt piles, the old windmills used for pumping water, and the different shades of pink of the basins are so beautiful especially at sunset.

Again, if you have your own car, you can visit these places by yourself. However, for those relying on public transport and looking to maximize their day without the hassle of changing multiple buses and train connections (subject to availability in the countryside), opting for a guided tour is the better choice.

Egadi Islands

Egadi Islands Favignana

Favignana, Source: EyeEm | Freepik

Planning a summer day trip from Palermo to the Egadi Islands can be a fantastic way to explore the beauty of Sicily’s lesser-known gems. Within this small archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea, located northwest of Sicily, there are three main, almost wildly beautiful “isolas”.

What to do on Egadi Islands?

Favignana, the largest and most touristy among them, is renowned for its historical role in tuna industry, and its natural beauty. It once housed one of the largest fisheries in the Mediterranean, the Stabilimento Florio delle Tonnare di Favignana e Formica, which now serves as a museum.

Plus, the island has some stunning beaches and diverse coastlines, featuring white sandy shores like Marasolo and Ravine, as well as rocky areas like Bue Marino and Cala Rossa, being surrounded by caves and reefs, better explored with a boat trip. Despite being busiest during summer, Favignana truly shines when the weather is warm and sunny.


Marettimo, Source: user21585500 | Freepik

Egadi Islands stone house

Egadi Islands Stone House, Source: user21585500 | Freepik

Next comes Levanzo, the tiniest of the three and with its very own quiet charm. It’s a place with few roads and cars. The island is covered in beautiful rocks and pine forests, with views of clear water bays and lovely beaches like Cala Minnola and Cala Faraglione. Levanzo also has the Grotta del Genovese, with paintings that are 10,000 years old, and nearby waters that hold ancient Roman shipwrecks.

The third one, Marettimo, is the most remote and westernmost of the Egadi Islands near Sicily. A striking rocky ridge emerging from the sea, with wild, pebble beaches. Still, two things make it an extraordinary summer destination away from Palermo. The first one is its untouched natural beauty, with hardly a soul in sight, and magical hiking trails, like the ones leading to the Castle of Punta Troia or Case Romane, each about a 1 to 1.5-hour trek. The other one is the marine life. There are several diving centers on the island.

Egadi Islands Tours

🚆⛵ How to get to Egadi Islands from Palermo:
  • By car, bus or train to Trapani: Catch a bus or train from Palermo to Trapani,  1-2-hour trip.
  • By ferry  (Siremar) or by hydrofoils  (Liberty Lines) from Trapani to the Islands.
  • Private Tours: private small boat tours boat tours from Trapani, or with pickup from Palermo directly. Usually this includes also a lunch on board. Check availability >>

Mount Etna (& Taormina) (230 km / 143 miles)

Etna day trip

Etna, Source: vvoennyy | Freepik

Who wouldn’t want to see the oldest, yet still-active volcano in the world when visiting Sicily? And summer is the perfect time for a getaway. But being stationed in Palermo makes a day trip to Etna (and Taormina) quite a challenge considering the distances involved (Palermo to Etna – 270 KM). I would say the most difficult of all. Plus, it is only feasible if you travel by car.

Since both destinations are on the east coast of Sicily and Palermo is on the west coast, you’ll need an early start. The departure should be around 6:00 am to get there around 9:00 am, when the cable car opens, and avoid crowds. Still, the drive to Mount Etna alone can take about 3 hours.

As Europe’s highest and most active volcano, Mount Etna offers a unique landscape. You can take guided tours to safe viewing spots, hike on some of the trails, or visit the smoking craters.

Remember to check the volcanic activity status and weather conditions before your visit.  The weather on the mountain can change rapidly, so it’s important to be prepared for a range of conditions. Sudden fog, rain, and wind are not unusual. Sometimes, if it is too windy cable cars are not working. Remember to always bring a jacket and hiking shoes with you. July is the hottest month and temperatures are in summer they vary between 15° and 30°C.

You can get with your car up to 1900 meters altitude. From there you have to get the cable car to the bar at 2500 meters or even further to 2900 meters. For the very top, you need to book a tour with a tour operator.

Taormina day trips from Palermo

Taormina Greek Theatre, Source: wirestock | Freepik

After visiting Etna, it’s about an hour’s drive to Taormina. This charming town is known for its ancient Teatro Antico di Taormina, a 12th-century palazzo, stunning views of the Ionian Sea, and picturesque streets.

Keep in mind the return journey to Palermo is about 3 hours. It’s advisable to leave Taormina by late afternoon to avoid driving late at night.

🚘 How to get to Etna:
  • By car (RECOMMENDED): 3-hour trip from Palermo to Etna; Time needed on site: at least 3-4 hours;
  • By transfer services from Palermo to Mt. Etna up to 1900 meters;
  • Etna Costs: Up to 2500 meters – €50, Up to 2900 meters – €80;
  • Before going: you can contact the cable car ticketing office for information on climbing the volcano, weather etc: Funivia Etna Station.

Day trips around the island of Sicily are just one of the many reasons to visit Palermo. But they are also a fantastic way to explore the diverse landscapes and historical sites outside the crowded city. Ready to pack for Sicily?

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