The beautiful Palermo is one of the top destinations to visit whenever someone is flying to Sicily. It’s a great base to explore the western side of the island and the city is full of life and sights. Regardless of the many sightseeing opportunities, the temperatures during summer are more suited towards swimming than sightseeing. So, let’s take a look at some of the best beaches near Palermo for the days when you want to cool down near the water.
Everyone considers Mondello Beach as the official local beach of Palermo. However, it gets extremely crowded during summer and on hot days. With Cefalú being an hour’s drive away, there are plenty of other options that are less crowded and just as beautiful.
We’ve selected different beaches for all kinds of travelers. What’s common about these is the fact that we’ve loved to visit them all! Whether you prefer a sandy beach, a rocky beach, or even a beach bar, we’ve got something for you.
When putting together the list we’ve tried to include only beaches that are within around 1 hour of driving. Only our last pick is longer than this, but that beach is worth the drive. We’ve also included picks that can be reached via public transport. Even if you are not renting a car, you are able to visit most of the beaches we’ve highlighted. So, without further ado, let’s jump into the best beaches near Palermo.
Do note: The order of this list is mostly distance to Palermo and not an actual ranking of the beaches. All of these can be great picks.
1. Mondello Beach
We promised we’ll look further than Mondello Beach but let’s be honest with each other. There’s no looking at Palermo beaches without mentioning Mondello first. It’s simply the most popular pick for any tourists and it’s probably one of the most recommended beaches by travelers favorites like Lonely Planet. So let’s see what the fuss is about, shall we?
Mondello Beach is located around 11 kilometers north of Palermo and it’s easy to reach both by car and public transport. It’s a wonderful stretch of fine golden sand and stunning scenery on each side of the beach. Definitely a picturesque place for swimming.
Combine the beauty of the area and the convenience of reaching this beach and it’s easy to see why it has developed into a local favorite. As tourism started to pick up it was only natural that this beach becomes a tourist hot spot as well.
Today the beach is dotted with lidos and packed with crowds each summer and it’s very easy to recommend a visit to Mondello. Easy to reach and beautiful, so if you don’t mind the crowds during summer we definitely recommend Mondello Beach as the original option for swimming in Palermo.
Although, Mondello Beach is beautiful and it’s a great choice, the beach has not been without controversy these past few years. In theory, there is a free public beach at Mondello, but in reality, Lidos (which are paid) take up almost all the space on the beach.
Yes, a free part exists but it’s small and it’s absolutely packed with people who don’t want to pay for a lido. Many locals find this change towards tourism unacceptable as they are quite fond of Mondello.
Another issue we often see mentioned is the pickpockets. Of course, they are mostly on the free parts of the beach but whenever you visit Mondello you’ll have to keep your things safe. Personally, we have had no problems but it’s worth noting.
Getting to Mondello Beach
Mondello Beach can be reached very easily via public transport. In fact, if you don’t want to go anywhere else during the day we highly recommend that you take the bus even if you have a rental car. It’s just easier and you don’t have to worry about finding parking.
Take bus 806 from the center of Palermo. It will take you directly to Mondello. It runs frequently so this bus is just perfect.
2. Lido Addaura
Lido Addaura is a good choice for those who want to enjoy the Mondello scenery but don’t want to deal with the crowds. It’s actually just south of Mondello Beach and it’s a paid lido on a rocky shoreline.
How rocky you ask? Let’s just say that there is no actual shore in this lido. It’s built entirely on a wooden deck. The entry price gets you sunbeds and a nice view over the sea from the deck.
To access the water you’ll have to walk down a wooden ramp into the rocks. There is a very small shore here where you can get into the crystal clear water and enjoy some swimming.
Of course, being a nice lido there’s also a restaurant and bar available here. You can order meals and drinks during the day. It’s a nice, relaxing way to enjoy the sea near Palermo but it’s definitely not a cheap option.
Entry costs 22 euros during high-season weekdays and 28 euros during weekends. The off-season is a few euros cheaper but it’s still quite expensive.
We recommend Lido Addaura for travelers who want a peaceful beach experience. You can relax in your sunbed, enjoy the superb views, and get into the water near the rocky shore whenever you want. It’s perfect for couples. Family travelers won’t enjoy this lido due to limited access to the water.
You need to make a reservation in order to visit Lido Addaura.
Getting to Lido Addaura
Similarly to Mondello, we recommend taking bus 806, however, this lido has private parking as well. This means you don’t have to worry about parking even if you come in a car.
If you choose to travel by bus, then you should take the bus all the way to Mondello. It’s a short 10-15 mins walk from the stop to the actual lido.
3. Capaci Beaches
The beaches of Capaci are perfect for those who want to enjoy a classic sandy beach experience. It’s a pretty big beach and the water is shallow near the shore. This means it can be a great pick for families with children.
Capaci is a combination of paid lidos and free public places. Although it’s actually on the bigger side when it comes to beaches near Palermo it still gets crowded during the summer. This is especially true for the free sections, but it’s not uncommon to find little to no available spaces even in the paid lidos.
Capaci is still very close to Palermo by car so many people choose this beach as an alternative to Mondello. Not as popular but almost as beautiful.
With the abundance of lidos and beach bars near the beaches of Capaci it’s also easy to get food and drinks during the day here. It’s a fully equipped beach with everything you should need for a great time.
Getting to Capaci Beach
Capaci Beach is around 30 minutes from the center of Palermo by car. The duration can change a bit depending on traffic but around 30 minutes will usually get you there.
Unfortunately, when it comes to public transport the options are lacking. You might think taking the train to Capaci is a good option, but the train station is actually a 30-minute walk away from the beach. Not recommended, especially in the summer heat.
If you are into rocky shores then the public beach of Sferracavallo will be a good pick for you. This rocky beach is easy to access from Palermo even via public transport.
The free beach at Sferracavallo offers nice scenery and beautiful clear water to swim in. Although the shore is full of rocks we’ve managed to find multiple places where we could settle down and enjoy the sun.
Sferracavallo also has a nice lido called Seäson which is perfect for young couples. It’s a mix between a beach and a bar. Of course, even at the lido, the shore is rocky so they’ve built a big wooden deck above the rocks where you can sunbathe, enjoy cocktails, and use the stairs to get into the water. There’s always music playing as well to give you an open-air bar feeling.
Getting to Sferracavallo
Public transport is readily available in Sferracavallo. You need to take the bus 628 or 628P and it will take you to the city. In fact, the bus stop is practically next door to the free beach. Public transport is also a good option if you planning on drinking at the bar.
You can also drive to Sferracavallo, there is free curbside parking inside the town.
Location (free beach): https://goo.gl/maps/QuCEQPqk69zmpKhN9
5. Terrasini and Cinisi
The towns of Terrasini and Cinisi can be considered different towns with different beaches but in reality, they are right next to each other. If you really wanted to you could walk between the two beaches in these two towns that we want to mention. So, for convenience, we’ll handle them a once.
Magaggiari Beach is located in Cinisi and it’s actually right next to the Palermo Airport. It has a big free area, shallow water, and multiple amenities. This beach is absolutely perfect for families.
We loved how shallow the water is near the shore. Many people agree with this as you’ll see tons of families visiting this beach. As an added bonus there are always some planes taking off or landing which is a spectacle in itself.
La Praiola is the public beach of Terrasini and it’s pretty close to Magaggiari. Despite this fact, it’s quite a different experience. Located at the bottom of a cliff wall, you can descend the stairs to reach the beach.
It’s a small patch of sandy beach that is surrounded by cliffs. This makes the experience quite beautiful and unique. If you just showed me a picture of the beach I would say it’s one of the beaches in Puglia!
This hidden beach is without amenities. It’s just you, the other travelers or locals, and the crystal-clear water of Sicily. We recommend this one for couples.
Getting to Terrasini and Cinisi
We recommend visiting this beach by car. It’s around 40 minutes from Palermo in average traffic. Most of the journey is on a free highway so it’s very easy to get here. In the city center of Terrasini and Cinisi, there is paid parking but you can find some residential areas with free roadside parking.
There is a bus between Terrasini and Palermo, it runs about every hour or every two hours depending on the time of the day. The travel time by bus is 40-50 mins. Check the actual schedule on the official bus website here.
Trains are painful as you have to take two different ones plus walk around 30 minutes to the beach.
6. The hidden beaches of Santa Flavia
If you look at the map you can see that Santa Flavia is a unique town in Sicily. It looks as if two different towns are put together. One is a small inland village with no access to water. Meanwhile, the other part is a cute seaside village with some great hidden beaches.
This cute seaside town half is where you’ll want to be if you want to experience the romantic atmosphere of Santa Flavia. We highly recommend these beaches for couples as they are small and not well known.
The town offers multiple access points into the water with Caletta Sant’Elia taking the top spot. Nestled between cliffs it’s a tiny beach where you can get some truly unique photo opportunities. We recommend that you come early as the beach gets crowded due to its size.
Once you’ve taken the perfect photos you can move on to Spiaggia Kafara which is a public beach north of the town. It’s a large pebbly beach that’s perfect for spending the rest of your day.
Getting to Santa Flavia
Although Santa Flavia has a train station it’s for the inland part and not for the seaside part. For this reason, we can’t recommend a visit by public transport. Your best bet is simply driving here.
7. Castellammare del Golfo
Castellammare del Golfo is a beautiful seaside town on the coast of Sicily. The architecture and cute streets are worth a visit in themselves but there are multiple beaches available for a perfect day trip. It’s definitely a great addition to the beaches near Palermo.
Cala Petròlo is the city’s main beach. It’s right next to the historic center and it’s a beautiful beach overlooked by stone walls. There aren’t many amenities available but there’s a shack for snacks and drinks.
This is one more beach that we can wholeheartedly recommend for couples. It’s especially a great choice to do in the middle of your Sicily sightseeing tour. Stop when the sun is the hottest, cool down, then continue. Or stay here for the sunset. It’s up to you.
There’s one more beach next to Castellammare del Golfo and this one offers a classic beach experience. Spiaggia Plaja is a sandy beach with calm water and full amenities. It has both free and paid sections. This beach does get pretty popular during summer but it’s not Mondello Beach levels crowded.
We can recommend Spiaggia Plaja to anyone really, but especially to family travelers. Families will enjoy the open space, the shallow shore, the sand, and the great atmosphere.
Getting to Castellammare del Golfo
We recommend driving to Castellammare del Golfo. There is no readily available bus service and to get here you need to change trains. It’s a 2-hour journey from Palermo meanwhile driving is only around 1 hour. Parking is available on-site, if you want to park near the beach you’ll mostly find paid parking.
8. Spiaggia di Settefrati
Are you looking for the ultimate hidden beach experience? Then Spiaggia di Settefrati is the one you should visit. Finding this beach is a challenge in itself, but the end result is rewarding.
It’s a nice big beach with only a few people at all times. As it’s quite out of the way almost no other travelers bother to visit. They don’t know that they miss out on one of the most relaxed and beautiful beaches near Palermo.
It’s a fully natural beach and there are zero amenities. Bring food and water with you because no parking is available directly next to the beach. So if you had to get anything from the car it would be quite a walk.
We recommend this beach to those who really want to get away from it all. Here you will not really see others.
We’ve marked the location of the car park on the map. From there you’ll need to go the big sweeping turn. There you’ll be able to find a tiny footpath next to the fence that leads you to the beach. Don’t expect anything fancy, in reality, a pretty neglected road awaits with bugs and foliage, but you’ll soon reach the beautiful beach where you can spend all day.
Getting to Spiaggia di Settefrati
A hidden beach would not really be hidden with easy access right? This means only travelers who rented a car should have this beach on their maps. Only paid parking is available and parking spots are limited.
Now onto one of our favorite beaches near Palermo. Cefalú is an awesome town and we would recommend a visit anyway, even if you don’t plan on swimming.
However, with the awesome beach that Cefalú has, we highly recommend you do some sightseeing then put on your swimming clothes and jump into the water. It will be refreshing after walking around the charming streets.
Cefalú offers great scenery for your beach day. You’ll have the houses of the old town overlooking the beach area which is pretty large in itself.
Most of the beach is occupied by lidos unfortunately so if you are looking for the free beach we recommend coming early to secure a spot. It does get crowded during the summer, especially as many people stay directly in Cefalú.
Cefalú is even featured as one of our favorite small towns in Sicily. It’s definitely one of the top beach destinations from Palermo. If you only want to visit one beach, then this should be high on your list.
Getting to Cefalú
What’s also great about Cefalú is the fact that you can reach it by train. An easy 1-hour train ride will get you to the town from the station in Palermo. It’s a cheap and effective way to visit and we recommend the train even if you rented a car.
Visiting by car means you’ll likely have to pay for parking. There is also an extensive Z.L.T which is a limited zone that you can’t enter unless you are a resident. So you’ll be leaving your car outside of the town center anyway.
10. San Vito Lo Capo
Our final recommendation is the furthest away from Palermo but it’s still okay for a beach day. San Vito Lo Capo is definitely one of the most beautiful places near the city.
The actual beach is pretty large and it has fine golden sand. Meanwhile, the water is always clean and inviting here. If you look around yourself you’ll also see that the scenery is hard to beat, making this one kind of a favorite for many tourists.
Not only is the area extremely beautiful, but this beach will also give you that classic beach experience. It’s well-equipped when it comes to amenities and there are even lifeguards during the tourism season.
It also gets crowded during summer so you should come early in the morning.
One thing we didn’t like is the fact that most of the beach is taken by lidos. This means you’ll most likely have to pay for a sunbed or opt for the overcrowded small public spaces. Of course, during the off-season, this is not an issue.
Getting to San Vito Lo Capo
We recommend getting here with your rental car. It’s almost two hours of driving so it’s pretty far but if you spend the whole day it can be worth the trip. You can also check out the town itself before you go home.
NOT RECOMMENDED: Spiaggia di Romagnolo
There’s one more beach near Palermo we must mention, but unfortunately this one we can’t recommend this one. We must mention it because it might be tempting to visit but if you listen to us you’ll skip this one.
Spiaggia di Romagnolo is kind of the local beach in Palermo which makes this even sadder. When you look at Google Maps you will think that this beach is inside Palermo, it’s easy to access, and it must be fun.
Unfortunately, this beach is barely maintained. It’s full of trash, broken glass, and the water quality is low here. As it stands you should visit one of the beaches from our list, instead of this particular beach.