Palermo Off The Beaten Path Tips by TheWanderingCamel Top 5 Page for this destination
Palermo Off The Beaten Path: 26 reviews and 34 photos
Photo taken from the Casa Santa to Erice cable car
Trapani and Erice lie 100 kilometres to the west of Palermo - an easy day's outing if you have your own car. Trapani lies at the foot of Mt Eryx and if I were planning a visit to both towns, I would head for Trapani (autostrada all the way) and find my way to Casa Santa, at the eastern edge of the town, leave the car in the carpark and and take the cable car to Erice, taking in the fantastic views of Trapani and the islands beyond far below as the cable ascends.
The cable car terminates just a few metres from the main gate of Erice and from there the street leads straight into the centre of the little town. Turning right at the gate will take you around to the castle, and a left turn will bring you to the Chiesa Madre with its seperate bell tower and amazing vaulted ceiling that looks for all the world like a fantasy in marzipan. The town is a mediaeval gem, all cobbled streets and historic buildings. There are more than 60 churches and monasteries within its walls. All that picturesqueness naturally means the town is a magnet for tourists. It's full of shops selling trinkets and pretty knick-knacks, but all you have to do is move away from the main street and square and you'll find quiet cobbled streets that look as though nothing has changed here for a couple of hundred years.
When you've had your fill of Erice, make your way back to the cable car. By the time you've completed the descent, enveloped in total quiet, with that marvellous view spreading out before you all the way, you'll have left all thoughts of tourist crowds behind you. If you've timed it right, you should be just about ready for lunch - why not head right the way across town to Trapani's historic old centre and find a table on the terrace of Ai Lumi, an excellent restaurant on the ground floor of the 16th century Palazzo Mellili? An afternoon spent exploring the narrow streets of Trapani, considered to be the most North African-influenced city in Sicily, will reveal Baroque palaces, grand churches and a terrific fish market. You'll find a wealth of interesting architectual details to catch your eye - wonderful doorways, handsome windows and balconies, domes and cupolas. There are plenty of smart little shops too for the retail tragics amongst us.
A short drive out of Trapani on the coast road to Masala opens out a different world again - the strange, watery world of the salt pans where red-hatted windmills stand sentinel over a shimmering, silent landscape whilst Mt Eryx forms a dramatic background.
Palermo makes a great base for exploring the western part of Sicily. Lots of places are within easy reach for a day trip so whether you have your own transport or are using public transport to get around you could certainly see some more of Sicily before you leave.
If a little bit of Greek Classicism takes your fancy, Segesta's Doric temple and theatre complex is about as good as it gets. Although it was never finished, the temple remains one of the most perfectly preserved in all the ancient world. With its 36 Doric columns, entablature and geisons (gables) all but completely intact and set in a truly idyllic lposition among hills and fields it's beautiful from any angle, but the best views of all is to be had from the road that winds up the hill to the theatre on the other side of the valley. A shuttle bus does the run up to the theatre, which is also in excellent condition.
It's easy to get to Segesta if you have your own transport. Whether you take the autostrada (the A29 to Tapani) or minor roads via Monreale and Alcamo, the scenery along the way on both routes is wonderful. The aurostrada's a bit longer (about 70km), the other route is shorter (50km) but much slower. Doing the trip as a loop you could visit Monreale in the morning and move on to Segesta after lunch - what a nice day that would be.
The isolation of the site makes access by public transport a little difficult, though by no means impossible and, realistically, Segesta would have to be your sole destination that day. There are no direct buses but there are 3 trains a day and the temple's a 20 minute walk from the station. Timetables to and from Segesta may help you decide whether to do it this way or book a day trip. Pack a picnic or eat at the restaurant at the site.
More Reviews (20)
TheWanderingCamel's Related Pages
Palermo Travel Guide
Member Travel Pages
- "Palermo - My Home Town"
- "Palermo, past and present"
- "Palermo, caput mundo di Sicilia..."
- "Sicilian capital on the up"
- "P A L E R M O!!!!!!!"
- "Palermo and Western Sicily - Italy"
- See All...
- Things to Do in Palermo
- Hotels in Palermo
- Transportation in Palermo
- Nightlife in Palermo
- Restaurants in Palermo
- Shopping in Palermo
- Warnings and Dangers in Palermo
- See All...
Explore the World
- Huancaya Hotels
- Fandak el Ain ej Jdida Hotels
- Södra Vi
- Pindasan Hotels
- Hexham Hotels
- Chestnut Hill Meeting House
- Bellingham Off The Beaten Path
- Dorset Off The Beaten Path
- Auckland Off The Beaten Path
- Arona Off The Beaten Path
- San Blas
- Montego Bay Off The Beaten Path
- Exeter Off The Beaten Path
- Churches & Cathedrals
- Ingolstadt Off The Beaten Path
- Mississauga Off The Beaten Path
- Bonita Springs Off The Beaten Path
Badges & Stats in Palermo
- 22 Reviews
- 83 Photos
- 13 Forum posts
- 14 Comments
- See All Stats
- See All Badges (101)
Have you been to Palermo?Share Your Travels
Latest Activity in Palermo
Top 10 Pages
- Top 5 Page for this destination Uzbekistan Intro, 73 reviews, 246 photos
- Turkey Intro, 49 reviews, 221 photos
- Top 5 Page for this destination Croatia Intro, 54 reviews, 190 photos
- Top 5 Page for this destination Libya Intro, 49 reviews, 194 photos
- Top 5 Page for this destination Argentina Intro, 48 reviews, 185 photos
- Top 5 Page for this destination Bukhara Intro, 49 reviews, 165 photos
- Top 5 Page for this destination Samarkand Intro, 50 reviews, 161 photos, 1 travelogue
- Rome Intro, 42 reviews, 164 photos
- Buenos Aires Intro, 46 reviews, 158 photos
- Top 5 Page for this destination Moscow Intro, 83 reviews, 120 photos, 1 travelogue
FriendsSee All Friends (90)
Latest Palermo hotel reviews
- B&B alla Vucciria
- 17 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Dec 12, 2012
- Politeama Palace Hotel
- 36 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: May 2, 2013
- Ai Cartari Bed and Breakfast
- 58 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: May 2, 2013
- Hotel Moderno - Palermo, Sicily
- 20 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: May 8, 2013
- Ai Paladini
- 7 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Oct 24, 2011
- Hotel Posta
- 49 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Apr 14, 2013
- Hotel Sicilia
- 24 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Oct 21, 2012
- San Paolo Palace Hotel Centro Congressi
- 18 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: May 16, 2013
- Hotel Riva del Sole
- 57 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: May 11, 2013
- Hotel Garibaldi
- 199 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: May 18, 2013
- Hotel Joli
- 89 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: May 18, 2013
- A Casa di Amici
- 140 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: May 19, 2013
- Al Borgo Fiorito
- 2 Reviews & Opinions
- Grand Hotel et Des Palmes
- 131 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: May 15, 2013
- Regina Hotel
- 24 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: May 14, 2013
- Vucciria and other markets- 16 Reviews, 26 Photos
- Out of Palermo - Monreale- 17 Reviews, 32 Photos
- Cathedral- 21 Reviews, 40 Photos
- Cattacombe dei Cappuccini- 9 Reviews, 8 Photos
- Palazzo dei Normani- 10 Reviews, 23 Photos
- Other churches- 18 Reviews, 46 Photos
- Theatro Massimo- 8 Reviews, 10 Photos
- Quattro Canti- 6 Reviews, 11 Photos
- Gardens- 5 Reviews, 12 Photos
- General- 9 Reviews, 7 Photos
See All Palermo Things to Do