Our plan for the day was a trip to Cefalu, an easy 59 minute train journey from Palermo. Tickets cost €11.20 each return by regional train and we opted for the 9.38 a.m. service as the next departure was not for a further two hours.
Our train departed on time and for the final 30 minutes of the journey we enjoyed some scenic coastal views from its windows. If you plan to take this journey do try and sit on the left hand side of the train to take advantage of the sublime views of the emerald green sea and small rocky coves.
On arrival into Cefalu station it was just a 10 minute downhill stroll towards the sea and the historic old town. Cefalu is considered to be one of the most beautiful coastal towns in Sicily and our first impressions confirmed this.
Strolling along the seafront we found rows upon rows of tightly packed sun loungers, shaded by their brightly coloured parasols. Each section of the beach had a different colour scheme denoting individual private beach owners. Unlike the U.K. sun worshippers can pay to reserve their spot in the sun and have use of the various facilities on offer.
It was good to see that at both ends of the beach there were public bathing areas which were understandably much busier with beach goers bringing their own sunshades and windbreaks creating a traditional seaside picture. The clear, turquoise blue sea looked very inviting and made me wish I’d brought a towel along with me.
After watching a line of people gracefully glide past on Stand Up Paddle Boats (SUBs) we continued along to the pretty harbour, with views of the majestic cathedral and of a massive crag known as La Rocca towering behind. I’m led to believe that there are some stunning views from the top in addition to the ruins of the Tenple of Diana. We considered it much too hot for a strenuous hill walk so instead we just admired the view from the waterfront.
A rocky path leads along the shore beneath the city’s sea facing walls and as we continued to the end of the jetty, we were rewarded with some glorious views of the small town and beach facing us. Fishermen were repairing nets strung along the jetty as fishing is still a major local industry alongside tourism. Many of the seafront restaurants were advertising the ‘catch of the day’ and glancing at tables, the seafood looked delicious,
Upon retracing our steps from the jetty, we explored narrow, winding streets flanked by all manner of small shops and restaurants. Despite Cefalu being a tourist town it has managed to retain a tasteful, calm appearance and was just perfect for a gentle stroll. After some window shopping we arrived at Piazza Duomo from where we admired Cefalu’s huge cathedral. A set of stone steps provide access to its main entrance and inside we marvelled at its mosaic adorned interior and large, marble pillars.
We had been walking around in the heat for quite sometime and were ready for a break and where better than sitting at a table at the foot of the cathedral. Here, we rested our feet and indulged in custard filled doughnuts and large cups of cappuccino. Feeling refreshed, we continued on our way getting purposefully lost along the narrow alleyways of the old town before finding our way down the hill back to the seafront.
Our afternoon stroll took us in a westerly direction away from the small harbour. The promenade was lined with sweet scented oleander trees ablaze with colour. Along the fine, golden sand we passed several more private beach areas with their uniform colour schemes and regimentally placed parasols. At the far end of the beach was yet another public bathing area and I couldn’t resist dipping my toes in the clear blue sea, which felt incredibly warm.
We’d walked quite a long way, so we turned around and retraced our steps back to the railway station arriving 10 minutes before our train was due to depart. When the departure time arrived our train was nowhere to be seen and it finally arrived one hour late. This reminded us of train travel at home in the U.K. except that we are now able to obtain ‘delay-repay’ compensation but I don’t believe that this is possible in Italy.
It was quite late by the time we arrived back in Palermo (the station clock had stopped working and was displaying an incorrect time) but it didn’t matter as we’d enjoyed a very pleasant day out in Cefalu and would happily make a return visit there sometime in the future.
If you have enjoyed reading this post you may also be interested in the following: