Best things to do in Palermo besides visiting churches!
May 3, 2019
by Inka Fog
Of course, Italy is known for its beautiful churches and architecture, but for me, visiting buildings all day would get boring after a while. If you agree, continue reading and I will tell you what else you can do in the city of the godfather. I am going to help you to find the best markets, food and places to relax!
1. Mercado delle Pulci
Most of the markets in Palermo are about food and groceries, for tourists and also the locals. If you are looking for antiquities and old books or you just like to rummage through all kinds of things, you should visit the “Mercato Delle Pulci”, which is a nice flea market with different stores, build from corrugated iron around trees. It is not crowded at all because not many tourists find their way to this strange place. It may take some time to buy something because you first need to find the seller, who is probably somewhere playing cards with other locals!
- Opening times:
Monday to Saturday: 8:30-18:00; Sunday: 8:30-13:00
2. Orto Botanico
The botanical garden is an amazing place to relax from all the walking in the city. With many different trees and flowers, it makes a great place to spend some time far from traffic and stress. There is a small entrance fee, but if you like nature it’s totally worth it!
If you still don’t want to return to the city center, you can visit “Villa Giulia”, a public park right next to the garden or go to the ocean, which is also just a few minutes away.
- Opening times: Monday to Sunday: 9:00-19:00
- Price: 10€
3. Giardino Garibaldi
If you don’t want to pay the entrance fee of the botanical garden, you could visit the “Giardino Garibaldi”. A public park, way smaller, but you can see the majestical ficus trees, which reminds of a magical forest!
- Opening times: Monday to Sunday: 8:00-18:00
4. Street art
If you like art, you will be amazed, by all the graffiti and paintings you will find on the streets of Palermo. Don’t always stay on the main streets and pay attention to your surroundings and you will see many different artworks!
If you want to spend less money or just like markets, there are two names you should remember: “Mercato Ballarò” and “Vucciria”. There are some other markets, but these two are really close to the city center.
Instead of going to restaurants every day, you should try Palermo’s street food! On the markets, you can get many different traditional Sicilian dishes from “Stigghiola” to “Pane con la Milza” or you buy groceries like the locals and cook something yourself!
- Opening times:
Monday to Saturday: 7:00-19:00; Sunday: 7:00-13:00
“La Vucciria” is in the old town of Palermo and it has everything from antiquities to street food. The center is a little square with street food and restaurants. It’s definitely worth a visit if you like street art! The walls around the square are full of paintings and graffiti.
At day it’s a market and at night you will meet many young people at the bars, it’s interesting to see and a must-see in Palermo!
6. Teatro dei Pupi
If you go souvenir shopping in Palermo you will see the traditional puppets in almost every store. The shows are in Italian, but even if you don’t understand the conversations it’s a magical experience to see the puppets coming alive. After the theatre, the real world will look much bigger! There are different theatres, but one of them is the “Figli D’Arte Cuticchios”.
- Shows are every Saturday and Sunday at 18:30
- It’s better to call before you go there, to make sure you get a ticket!
- Price: 5-10€
7. Monte Pellegrino
If the weather is nice and you like hiking, you can walk up Mount Pellegrino. It will take you around 1,30h, depending on your walking speed of course. On top, you will have a nice view over Palermo, with hopefully sun and no clouds!
The best and most important thing about Sicily is the food! If you are on a diet, you should see your holidays as a bunch of cheat days. There is so much to try! From the Ricotta based desserts like “Cannolo” and “Cassata” to “Arancini” and “Pani câ meusa”. These are just some examples of all the things you can try:
“Cannoli” is probably the most famous dessert of Sicily. They taste different in every store and you can get them with different kinds of ricotta and toppings.
- Price: 2-3€
Another ricotta based dessert, topical for Sicily. Like the Cannolo you will find many stores selling the little cakes.
Cassatina is the small version of the Cassata, so if you travel in a group, you can also consider sharing one of those!
- Price: 2,50€-4€
Pani câ meusa or Pane con la milza
It probably doesn’t sound that delicious, if you know the translation. It’s a bun with spleen! Spleen tastes quite different from normal meat, but it’s worth a try! You can choose between cheese and lemon, as a topping.
- Price: 3-5€
Not really a traditional Sicilian dish, but absolutely delicious! If you like seafood of course. The best places to get it are the markets. Compared to the street food is pretty expensive, but you’re in Palermo, so food is the last thing to save money on!
- Price: around 10€
I hope this will help you to plan the perfect trip to Palermo. Just a reminder, keep your important belongings close, especially in crowded places there may be pickpockets.
Italians are really proud of their food and it’s okay because of course, the food is amazing!
But you should always remember:
- Don’t cut spaghetti!
- Don’t add cheese to pasta with fish!
- And never ask for ketchup if it’s not for fries!!
Enjoy beautiful Sicily!