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Where to Stay in Palermo

Where to Stay in Palermo

Palermo is a city of contrasts, with a rich history and culture, stunning natural scenery, and lively nightlife. It is the capital of Sicily and the most populous city on the island, jam-packed with historical landmarks, including the Palazzo dei Normanni, the Cappella Palatina, and the Teatro Massimo. A mouthwatering dining scene awaits too, enjoyed everywhere from bustling markets and street vendors to fine dining restaurants.  

There are many places to stay in Palermo, from luxury hotels in the city center to more affordable options in the outskirts. The best place to stay will depend on your budget and what you plan to do in the city. Sightseers would do well to stay in the heart of Palermo where the top attractions are just steps away and there are many hotels and restaurants. This guide provides a more in-depth look at Palermo’s neighborhoods to help you make the very best decision for your trip.


Best Neighborhood for First-Time Visitors & Sightseers in Palermo: Centro Storico/Historic Center

The Centro Storico, or historic center of Palermo, is a great place to stay for first-time visitors. It’s the heart of the city, home to many of its most famous attractions, including the Palermo Cathedral, the Diocesiano Museum, and Piazza Pretoria. Plus, it’s a great place to wander around and get lost in the city’s ancient streets and alleyways. This area is very well-connected to public transport, with the Palermo Central Train Station just to the south and the airport bus connecting Palermo Airport to Central Station. That makes it easy to get around the city and see all that it has to offer. If you’re looking for a central base, Centro Storico is arguably the best option with a wide range of accommodation options to choose from, but there are some downsides. It tends to be pricier than other areas and it can be quite crowded, especially during the tourist season, May through September.


Mondello Beach, Palermo

Best Neighborhood in Palermo for the Beaches: Mondello

The Mondella area is an upscale residential community and former fishing village north of the Borgo Vecchio neighborhood. While it’s a bit further from the city center, about six miles, it’s the best place to stay for those who primarily want to enjoy a beach getaway. It’s home to the most beautiful and largest sandy beach, edging crystal-clear blue waters for swimming. Stretching for a mile between two cliffs, Monte del Gallo and Monte Pellegrino, it’s a local favorite with a laid-back vibe and much quieter than Palmero’s center. There are also some fabulous sea-view restaurants and bars. As it is farther from the city’s top sights and attractions in Centro Storico, that means accommodation tends to be cheaper too. There are plenty of good hotels and Airbnb rentals at value prices, but the downside is that it’s best to have a car for getting around although taking public transport is possible too.


Best Neighborhood in Palermo for Families: Politeama Liberta

Politeama Libertà is the newest area of the city center – it’s one of the safest communities in Palermo and it’s also more tranquil, yet it’s within walking distance of the Old Town’s top attractions, making it one of the best places for families to stay. Plus, with fewer crowds pick pocketers are very rare. It also offers some of the best shopping in the city with a long list of venues catering to just about every price range from affordable Zara to designer stores selling high fashion brands like Prada. As it’s one of the most upscale areas in Palermo, there are posh bars and restaurants, ideal for taking advantage of the nightlife without having to worry about a long walk back to your accommodation. This is also a convenient place if you want easy access to the airport with shared taxis and shuttle buses that can be taken right from the main square, Piazza Castelnuovo.


Best Neighborhood in Palermo for Shopping: New City

In an over 2,700-year-old city, new is a relative term but the New City was mostly laid out in the 19th century after the city walls were demolished to provide room for a network of new streets. This area starts north of Teatro Massimo, and it doesn’t have the centuries-old monuments that you’ll find in the historical center but it does offer plenty of charms and it’s ideal for those who want to do a lot of shopping. Along Viale della Liberta, you’ll find many independent boutiques alongside well-known brands. It also has a trendy vibe with many enticing bars and eateries with a sophisticated atmosphere. Plus there are quite a few luxury hotels for those who want to enjoy a more upscale stay but don’t mind being farther from the city center. Depending on the particular location, it will take you 15 to 30 minutes on foot to get there.

Castellamare, Palermo

Best Neighborhood for Nightlife in Palermo: Castellamare

Castellamare, which translates to Castle by the Sea, refers to the Arab fortress that once guarded Palermo’s fort area. While only some ruined walls and a gate remain, the neighborhood thrives as one of the best places to stay for those who want to be close to buzzing nightlife and more. It becomes even livelier after the sun goes down with many fabulous bars and taverns. It’s east of the historical center and south of New City, making it easy to reach on foot or by public transport. When you need to reach the airport, it’s just a short walk to the airport shuttle at Palermo Centrale too. Plus, the historic Vucciria market is here with traditional fruit and produce as well as countless stalls selling just about everything imaginable. You can find some reasonably priced accommodations here too as it’s a bit further away from the Old Town, off the well-beaten tourist path.

La Kalsa, Palermo

Best Neighborhood for a Budget-Friendly Stay in Palermo: La Kalsa

La Kalsa is a large Sicilian Arabic quarter set along the coast near the port east of Via Maqueda and north of the botanical gardens. A city within a city, it was one of Europe’s first planned Arab communities. The atmosphere is still a bit Arab and some of the local fare even originated on the African Mediterranean coast. It has an authentic vibe and is especially picturesque with medieval buildings, lovely churches, and antique stores. It’s home to the beautiful Garibaldi Park and Palazzo di San Bartolomeo. A vibrant mix of cultures, this is Palermo’s largest neighborhood. Once considered unsafe, it was transformed a couple of decades ago, becoming a cool, hotspot with affordable accommodation. It’s the best place to stay in Palermo for those seeking a budget-friendly trip and it also offers some magnificent views of the Mediterranean. You’ll find many value-priced hotels and charming B&Bs along with a few luxury options.