A city with a long tradition which also extends to its port and maritime life in general, Palermo manages to atract numerous tourists due to its size and importance on the island of Sicily. Coming here is not a question of "if", it's a question of "when".
Palermo is not only the biggest and most important city in Sicily, it’s also the capital of the autonomous region that bears the same name and has been a key location in this part of Italy and the Mediterranean for 2700 years, ever since it was first founded. For sailors traveling to these waters it’s a must-see.
The name comes from the ancient Greeks which named it Panormus, something that translates into “all-port”. Even today, on the north shores of Sicily, you’ll find that the port still plays a crucial role in the development of the whole region, not just for holidaymakers.
Travel & Arrival
Such a great city had to have its own airport, with Palermo International Airport being located just 32 km from the urban center. sailors will find flights from other cities in Italy, including Rome. Among the operators here are Air Berlin, Air Malta, Alitalia, EasyJet, Luxair, Ryanair, Transavia, Tunisair and Wind Jet.
An important transportation node, the city is connected by railway with Rome and Naples, passing on the train ferry over the Messina strait, thus linking Sicily with the Italian peninsula. This is also where the A3 highway meets the E90, in case any of the adventurers out there want to arrive by car.
The port is home to a number of ferry companies that make regular trips to other Italian cities such as Genoa, Naples and Cagliari, but also other destinations such as Malta in the central Mediterranean.
Avant & Apres Sail
There is a lot of culture in Palermo and it shows in the impressive number of museums, art galleries and historical landmarks. Among the most preferred by the holidaymaekrs are the Cathedral, the Quattro Canti, the Museo Archeologico. The Catacombe dei Cappuccini, the Palazzo dei Normanni, the Zisa and the Cuba and the Piazza Pretoria.
Since Sicily is one of those parts of Italy famous for its cuisine, dining out is not only an option while on a trip here, it’s a prerequisite. You’ll find lots of restaurants, but also kiosks out in the streets and squares which sell the panelle (fried chickpea pancakes) and the crocchette (croquette potatoes). Local famed recipes that stir up any tourist’s taste buds are the pasta con le sarde, cassata and the frutta martorana.
Of course, you’ll have to set aside some time and money for shopping, but don’t just go to the malls and expensive fashion boutiques. Try to make it to a market day where you can purchase almost anything from fruit and vegetables to pottery and CDs. visitors often tend to get lost in all that variety, but keeping a cool head and a firm hand on your wallet often does the trick.
Also, a special breed of shops are the “Pizzo free” shops, which are owned by a couple of shopkeepers that refuse to pay racket to the mafia. As you might know, Sicily is famed for being the birthplace of the mafia, but with the support of the locals, these shops have managed to survive.
Though a beautiful place to behold during the day, the city becomes even more alive at night, especially the waterfront which on warm summer nights becomes a tourist magnet. Keep in mind that even if some areas of the city such as La Kalsa or Alberghiera are packed full of bars and pubs, they’re not the safest places to wonder out at night. You can head to plazas such as Piazza Castelnouavo or Piazza Verdi for a wicked good time.
Events & Actions
Among the most famous events in Palermo are the Palermo Estate which is basically a continuous series of concerts, travelling theater shows and live entertainers living up the city’s squares every night during summer, the Teatro di Verdura, the Festino di Santa Rosalia (in July), the Festival di Morgana (November), and for the aficionados, trhe Merit Cup Windsurf World festival in May.
Boasting a rich history and cultural heritage, Palermo, the capital of Sicily, is an ideal starting point for your yacht charter vacation. As you set sail on the crystal clear waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea, you'll have the chance to explore Sicily's rugged coastline, charming fishing villages, and nearby islands.
The climate is perfect for sailing, with mild winters and warm, dry summers. There are several marinas to choose from in and around Palermo, each offering a wide array of services for sailors. The biggest and most modern marina is the Marina Villa Igiea, with berths for more than 300 boats, repair facilities, and refuelling services.
What are some must-visit destinations near Palermo for a two-week yacht charter?Sail to the Egadi Islands to enjoy unspoiled nature, visit the active volcano on Stromboli Island, or anchor at Cefalu and enjoy its beaches. A visit to the Aeolian Islands, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is also highly recommended.
When is the best time to sail in Palermo?The sailing season in Palermo typically runs from April to October, with July and August being the warmest months. However, for less crowded conditions, consider sailing in the shoulder months of May, June, September, and October.
Are there any sailing events in Palermo that we should be aware of?The Middle Sea Race is a world-renowned annual sailing event in Sicily. Starting and ending in Malta, the race runs in October and often includes a leg near Palermo.
What marine life can we expect to see in the waters around Palermo?The Mediterranean waters around Palermo are home to a variety of marine life including dolphins, tuna, swordfish, and occasionally sea turtles.
What are some traditional Sicilian dishes that we should try in Palermo?Don't miss the chance to try local dishes like Pasta alla Norma, Caponata, Arancini, and Cannoli. Sicily is also known for its seafood and fantastic local wines.
What are the mooring facilities like in Palermo?There are several excellent marinas in Palermo such as the Marina Villa Igiea and La Cala Marina. These marinas provide good shelter and are equipped with facilities like water, electricity, fuel, waste collection, Wi-Fi, and more.
What are some onshore attractions in Palermo?While onshore, be sure to visit the Palermo Cathedral, the Palazzo dei Normanni, or the famous Teatro Massimo. For a day of relaxation, the Mondello beach is a popular destination.
What safety measures should we take while sailing in Palermo?Monitor weather forecasts regularly, carry necessary safety gear, ensure your yacht is equipped with navigational aids, and follow local sailing regulations. For longer sails or if heading towards the open sea, make sure to inform the marina or the local coast guard about your plans.