Seeking a quintessentially Italian getaway for 2019? With its stunning beaches, historic old town and undeniably delicious cuisine, you’re sure to enjoy a trip to charming Cefalu this year.
Situated on Sicily’s sleepy northern coast, this gorgeous town offers the perfect mix of sunshine and sand alongside some captivating culture. Quiet and unassuming for most of the year, summer is when this town really comes alive, attracting holidaymakers from all over the world who can’t help but fall in love with its scenic coastlines and enthralling history. Not just known for its looks, Cefalu and offers delectable food and drink too – from delicious local fish dishes to traditional Italian desserts.
What’s more, Cefalu is surrounded by an array of stunning coastal resorts, so there’s plenty more of Sicily to discover. Here you can roam through rolling hills, or take a boat trip alongside Sicily’s sprawling coastlines. Catering to everyone from couples and families to those in search of group getaways, you’ll want to put a Cefalu holiday on your wish list for 2019.
At a glance
- Time Zone: GMT +
- Average flight time: 3h 0m
When to go
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Cefalu is steeped in history, making most of its top attractions real cultural hot spots. The old town is charming in itself, a labyrinthine of streets that lead up from the Piazza del Duomo, a picturesque square, to the Norman cathedral. While the square itself is an excellent meeting spot and a great setting for people-watching, you’ll get an authentic glimpse at Cefalu here too. Take a wander through the streets and you’ll stumble across restaurant terraces where you can linger with a refreshing drink, or pick up an authentic Italian espresso.
The newer side of the town is found in the Porto di Presidiana, the modern harbour. With lines of yachts bobbing in the port and a handful of bars, it’s the ideal setting for a drink or two while you just focus on soaking up the sunshine. Meanwhile, the Corso Ruggero is Cefalu’s main thoroughfare, boasting everything from a range of upscale restaurants and bars to snazzy boutique shops.
If a holiday in Cefalu conjures up images of delicious Italian food and drink, you won’t be let down. Sicily is well-known for its excellent cuisine and Cefalu is no different in this respect. While the old town has plenty in the way of traditional trattorias and excellent high-end restaurants, you can expect to sample some of the best pizza down on the seafront – along with the best views, of course. All the usual favourites are well represented, including seafood pizzas, but it’s the diavolo that packs a real punch. A spicy concoction made with local salami and chilli peppers, you’ll never want to go back to your usual order again!
Those in search of a more traditional meal might like to head to Cefalu’s port. Here, you’ll find freshly-caught fish featuring on the menu, as well as local delicacies like arancini, ragu-filled rice balls. A trip to Cefalu is incomplete without a visit to the gelateria too, where you’ll discover every ice cream flavour imaginable. In fact, ice cream is so popular here that Cefalu even has its own festival, the Sherbeth festival. The annual four-day ice cream feast might sound like heaven to most, but perhaps steer clear of the less traditional flavours; vendors are known to serve up everything from cheese to smoked fish!
Whether you’re spending your Cefalu holidays with your little ones, or you’ve got the entire family in tow, there’s plenty of family-friendly activities to enjoy. With its sheltered beach and calm waters, Lungomare beach is a hit with families looking for a spot to spend the afternoon frolicking the sand.
To really entertain the kids, why not visit Cefalu during the Festival of San Salvatore? Held annually, this event is put on in recognition of the patron saint of the town and draws crowds in from around the area. Expect to see fantastic concerts, live music and parades through the streets, as well as a vibrant fireworks show to round it all off; a perfect occasion for the entire family to enjoy.
Action & Adventure
If you’re seeking something more action-packed than lazing around on the beach and savouring Italian dishes, there are a few activities on offer to get your pulse racing. You’ll find a number of water sports options on some of the local beaches, whether you’re a seasoned pro or you fancy giving something new a whirl. Try snorkelling or diving, or even learn how to parasail if you’re feeling brave. If you’d rather put your faith in someone else, there’s plenty of boat trips departing from Cefalu and its neighbouring regions, giving you a glimpse of some of Sicily’s top beach spots. With designated tours, you can even go further afield and engage in some dolphin watching – keep your eyes peeled!
Cefalu’s beach, Lungomare, is the main attraction here, with its swathe of beautiful golden sand. Backed by a myriad of fisherman’s houses, there’s a rustic feel to it, enhanced by the small huts that line the front and serve up everything from cool drinks to water sports equipment rental. The water is calm and shallow with gently shelving sands, so it’s a hit with families. It’s perfect for little ones to paddle in and play safely, making it the best place to spend long leisurely days at the beach when you’re on holiday in Cefalu. For refreshments, there are a number of bars down at the beachfront too. Sotto Zero is a favoured spot for locals and holidaymakers alike, thanks to its leafy terrace and extensive cocktail menu. Sit back and relax with a drink in hand, while you gaze out onto the glorious Mediterranean.
Those in search of something quieter should head to nearby Caldura beach. It’s less popular than Lungomare, but this pebbled stretch of coast is a great setting for a quiet afternoon. Even better news is that it’s only a leisurely 20-minute walk from Cefalu’s old town.
Nightlife in Cefalu is laid-back and relaxed, with much of the focus on the town’s excellent restaurants and bars. Once a sleepy port down, Cefalu’s evening options have increased somewhat in recent years, and now you’ll find many a chic cocktail bar or quirky café to land yourself in after dark.
Many of the town’s more modern cocktail bars can be found along the seafront, while the traditional spots are located in the old town. For a sense of familiarity, there’s the usual offering of Irish and British bars too, which usually benefit from the odd live music act or evening entertainment. If you fancy something with more of a buzz, head to the clubs that line up along Lungomare beach. Here, you’ll find several bars that stay open until late, giving you an opportunity to really let your hair down during an amazing holiday in Cefalu.
Sicily is a particularly romantic spot for couples, whether you’re thinking of a honeymoon or just a romantic getaway. While Cefalu’s undeniable coastal charm and old town present a romantic setting, there are some great activities to be found in the town for those wanting to spend time together.
Cefalu’s main street is filled with a variety of stores, from the usual high-street stores to unique boutique stores and little shops selling everything from leather goods to locally-made olive oil. It makes for enjoyable afternoon browsing around together. For a truly authentic experience, visit Saturday’s market. You’ll need to get up early and head to the port to see the market stalls, but you’ll be rewarded. The atmosphere is charming and there’s a wide range of food, drink, clothes and souvenirs to purchase as a way to remember your holiday in Cefalu.
There are a number of romantic restaurants in town, including some family-run eateries dotted around. You won’t struggle to find the perfect setting for a candlelit dinner for two. Ristorante Le Chat Noir is a charming trattoria located in an old building with a pleasant courtyard and it offers some excellent Sicilian dishes.
For culture vultures there’s plenty of sights to see in Cefalu. The town is jam-packed with ancient sites and alluring architecture, that will entice the history fans. The Duomo should be first on your list to visit. Built in 1131, there’s a long drawn-out history attached to it, with its two towers making it look more like a fortress than a religious building. Those with strong legs and a wish to see stunning panoramas of the town should venture to La Rocca, a beautiful mountain with ancient ruins that date back to prehistoric times. It is said that after the fall of the Roman empire, the town’s inhabitants moved to the top of the mountain to protect themselves against pirates. Nowadays, it’s a top tourist spot – mainly because of its excellent views over Cefalu.