Sicily, Italy

Palermo is the capital of Sicily, overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea to the north. On Ferryhopper, you can take a look at available ferry routes from/to the port of Palermo, our travel tips for your vacation, and book your ferry tickets hassle-free!

Read our suggestions for your dreamy holidays in Palermo and find useful information about its port:

Orange balcony in Palermo in Italy

A cute little balcony in the center of Palermo

Palermo ferry port

The port of Palermo is the largest in Sicily and one of the most important in the Mediterranean, thanks to its position. Located near the city center, it was fundamental for trade since the Phoenician era.

Today, the port of Palermo is connected to various national airports in Sardinia, Lazio, Campania, Tuscany, and Liguria. It's also a starting point for reaching other places in Sicily and Tunisia.

The port area offers various services, such as parking lots, shuttle buses, restaurants, shops, and a luggage room. Being close to the city center, you can visit some of the main attractions of Palermo. You can easily reach the Duomo, the Norman Palace and the historic markets of Vucciria and Ballarò by bus and on foot!

Useful info: about 38 km from Palermo is the port of Termini Imerese. This port is mainly commercial but is also used for ferry connections with Genoa, Naples and Civitavecchia.

Ferries from Palermo port: schedules and tickets

The port of Palermo is connected all year round with several cities in Italy (Civitavecchia, Cagliari, Livorno, Naples, Genoa, and Salerno) and Tunis. During the summer, it also connects with the Sicilian port of Milazzo, the beautiful Aeolian Islands and Ustica.

The ferry routes are operated by the companies GNV (Grandi Navi Veloci), Grimaldi LinesTirrenia, Siremar, and Liberty Lines, both with ferries and hydrofoils.

Here is some more information on the routes from Palermo to the ports of Italy:

  • Palermo - Civitavecchia ferry: the ferry route from Palermo to Civitavecchia includes 1 weekly connection (on Sundays) lasting about 14 hours.
  • Palermo - Cagliari ferry: the crossing from Palermo to Cagliari usually runs once a week (on Sundays) with a duration of approximately 12 hours.
  • Palermo - Livorno ferry: the Palermo - Livorno ferry route operates with 3 crossings per week, lasting between 19.5 and 21.5 hours, depending on the type of vessel.
  • Palermo - Naples ferry: there are up to 4 daily crossings from Palermo to Naples. The trip takes between 8.5 and 12 hours, depending on the ferry operator.
  • Palermo - Genoa ferry: the route from Palermo to the port of Genoa includes 1 daily connection with crossings of about 20.5 hours. In summer, you can also travel from Termini Imerese to Genoa 3 times a week.
  • Palermo - Salerno ferry: the route from Palermo to the port of Salerno usually includes 2 weekly connections. Crossings can take about 9 to 11 hours.
  • Palermo - Milazzo ferry: the Palermo - Milazzo connection is a seasonal route operating during the summer. The route runs once a day from April to October and the crossings last about 5 hours.

Ferries from Palermo to the Aeolian Islands and Ustica

During the summer, there are also ferry routes connecting the port of Palermo to the Aeolian Islands and Ustica.

The Aeolian archipelago is located in front of the Messina coast and is made up of 7 islands of volcanic origin: Alicudi, Filicudi, Lipari, Panarea, Salina, Stromboli, and Vulcano.

Ferry routes usually operate once a day and crossings can last from 2 to 6 hours.

The connections between Palermo and the Aeolian Islands are the following:

As for the connections from Palermo to the island of Ustica, there are usually up to 6 daily crossings, with an increase in sailings in August. The Palermo - Ustica ferry crossing takes about 1.5-3 hours.

Ferries from Palermo to Tunisia

As for the ferry connections to Tunisia, the Palermo - Tunis connection is operated twice a week by the ferries of GNV and Grimaldi Lines. The crossings take about 10-14 hours, depending on the ferry operator.

Take a look at our Map of ferries with all the connections available from the port of Palermo and start planning your holidays right away!

Where is the ferry port in Palermo

The port of Palermo is located near the city center (Piazza Pretoria) and is easily accessible by public transport. Also, it is only 25 km from Punta Raisi Airport and only a 14-minute ride from the central railway station.

How to get to Palermo port

You can easily reach the port of Palermo by car, train or bus.

If you travel by car from Messina or Catania, you’ll just need to take the “Porto” exit. Reaching Palermo from the Trapani area is easy if you take the exit at the junction Via Belgio leading to the entrance to the port.

In about 10 minutes, you can reach the port thanks to a direct bus that leaves from Piazza Cairoli.

Tip: if you intend to arrive at the port by car and leave it in the area, the best solution is the Molo Santa Lucia parking lot. It is located inside the port area and it is guarded 24/7.

The Foro Italico promenade leading to the port of Palermo, Italy

View of the port of Palermo from the Foro Italico waterfront

Vacation in Palermo

As the bustling capital of Sicily, Palermo draws countless visitors, offering an array of attractions for the perfect holiday experience: rich history, art, nature, leisure, and entertainment. Yet, what truly sets Palermo apart is its authenticity and diversity.

Palermo is also synonymous with art, and as you wander the city’s streets, you'll understand why. Amidst palaces, churches and historic buildings, a tapestry of architectural styles unfolds. Byzantine mosaics harmonize with Arabesque domes, creating an enchanting ambiance at every turn.

If you are looking for deep dives in crystal-clear waters, you will appreciate the beautiful beaches of the coast. Alternatively, nature enthusiasts will find solace in the hiking trails of Monte Pellegrino, offering breathtaking vistas and tranquil escapes.

And let's not forget the city's gastronomic tradition! Palermo’s street food is among the most famous in the world!

Tip: with its multitude of attractions, it’s definitely worth spending at least 4-5 days in Palermo to fully enjoy the city atmosphere and explore the surroundings.

How to get to Palermo

Palermo is a well-connected city to the rest of Italy and is easily accessible by car, train, bus, plane, and ferry

If you are already in Sicily, you can drive to Palermo by taking the various highways connecting the city to the region's most important centers. There are also several regional bus services, but the journey may take longer than expected due to delays.

On the other hand, if you are in northern or southern Italy, you can take the ferry to Palermo and enjoy the crossing in total relaxation. Even though crossings can take long, traveling by ferry allows you to embark your vehicle and go on an adventurous road trip with your car.

In the absence of a direct route, you can always opt for the train, which includes a ferry crossing in the Strait of Messina. However, keep in mind that the journey could be long, especially because there are several intermediate stops between Messina and Palermo.

Alternatively, you can reach Palermo by plane. Direct flights to Palermo depart from many cities in Italy and Europe. The city airport is connected to the central station by the Trinacria-Express underground service and a shuttle bus.

Historic buildings in the center of Palermo, Italy

Magnificent buildings in the center of Palermo

What to do in Palermo

Palermo is one of those cities that immediately captivates anyone who visits it.

It has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2015 and its artistic beauties and rich cuisine will surely win you over! Once in Palermo, the first thing to do is to visit its historic center. Here you can admire Arab-Norman buildings, opulent chapels, palaces, and Baroque churches.

Among the must-sees are the colorful markets of Ballarò, Capo and Vucciria, bustling daily with their enticing aromas and intense spice scents. Indulge your taste buds with iconic Sicilian treats like arancine, panelle and sfincione!

Palermo is also full of captivating museums and renowned theaters. However, Sicilian art has no borders, encompassing enchanting squares, botanical gardens, nature reserves, and scenic landscapes offering tranquility and breathtaking views.

And just 11 km from the city center, you will have the opportunity to reach Mondello beach, one of the most beautiful in Italy. We also recommend you visit Palermo's surroundings and discover the villages of Cefalù, Monreale and Bagheria.

If you plan to visit Palermo in the summer, you should also take advantage of the ferry connections to the Aeolian Islands and Ustica. Don't hesitate! While in Palermo, simply hop on a ferry and embark on a daily excursion to the Aeolian Islands!

Beaches in Palermo

In addition to admiring the architectural beauties of Palermo, you can also relax on the paradisiacal beaches near the city of Palermo.

The Palermo coast is about 150 km long, offering many options for all tastes: sandy shores, cliffs, pristine bays, and equipped beaches.

Here are the 10 best beaches in Palermo and its province:

  • Mondello: located 11 km from the city center and nestled between Monte Gallo and Monte Pellegrino, this long white sand beach is the most popular in Palermo. Here you can swim in emerald waters, relax while enjoying the bathing facilities and do water sports!
  • Cefalù: overlooking the seafront of the village of Cefalù, this urban beach is one of the most beautiful and famous. In addition to the golden sand and its transparent waters, you will be able to enjoy the view of the houses in the town. We recommend that you arrive early in the morning as it tends to get busy in summer.
  • Capo Gallo: located to the north of the Gulf of Mondello, it is mostly a series of smooth rocks, perfect for sunbathing. It is part of a nature reserve and is immersed in an unspoiled landscape. Its green waters are ideal for diving enthusiasts.
  • Capaci: about 20 km from Palermo, this beach is characterized by a long coastline of golden sand. Its waters are always calm, transparent and shallow, and are thus ideal for children.
  • Aciddara: located about 30 minutes from Palermo, it's a scenic place dominated by Mount Catalfano. It is accessible via a path and it is a perfect beach for those in search of tranquility and relaxation (also given the absence of services). It has fine sand and wonderful backdrops making it ideal for snorkeling.
  • Sferracavallo: located at the foot of Monte Gallo, this beach is near the seaside village. The coast alternates equipped parts and free beach areas. Don't miss its famous fish restaurants by the sea!
  • Addaura: more than a beach, it is a succession of coves that extend into the area of ​​the seaside village of Addaura. Ideal for those who love cliffs and nature, this place is perfect for relaxing and diving. Here, you can also find the famous Addaura Caves, a famous site of prehistoric art.
  • Arenella: located 5 km from the center of Palermo, in the Maria Vergine area, it is one of the most popular urban beaches. The beach is characterized by golden sand and turquoise waters. Here you can also admire an old tonnara and visit 2 tourist marinas in the area, equipped with services, bars and restaurants.
  • Piletto: this beach is located on the coast of the Municipality of Lascari and is mainly frequented by the locals. It consists of fine gravel and deep blue waters, and it's a perfect place for those seeking tranquility. You can reach the beach on foot by following a pebbly path.
  • Cala Rossa: among the most suggestive of the Palermo coast, this cove is located in the municipality of Terrasini, not far from Palermo airport. Its peculiarity is the red rocks that emerge from the crystalline sea and create a unique spectacle in the world. The beach is accessible on foot, but you will find parking lots and various hotel facilities in the area.

The crystal-clear waters of Mondello beach in Palermo, Italy

The turquoise waters of Mondello Beach in Palermo

Sightseeing in Palermo

Palermo boasts a thousand-year history, shaped by diverse dominions that have left an indelible mark on its unique architectural landscape.

Among the most beautiful attractions to discover in Palermo, we recommend:

  • The Norman Palace, the oldest royal residence in Europe
  • The Cathedral of Palermo, a mix of shapes and architectural styles
  • The Church of San Giovanni degli Eremiti, with deep red domes and beautiful gardens
  • The Martorana church, famous for its magnificent mosaics
  • The impressive Pretoria Fountain, also known as the "Fountain of Shame"
  • The noisy outdoor markets of Ballarò, Capo and Vucciria, with fresh products and street food stalls
  • I Quattro Canti, an intersection of Vittorio Emanuele and Maqueda, the 2 main streets of Palermo
  • The grandiose Teatro Massimo, the largest opera house in Italy and the third in Europe
  • The Regional Archaeological Museum, home to one of the richest collections in Italy
  • The Regional Art Museum of Sicily, with an important collection of paintings and statues
  • The Kalsa district, one of the oldest in the city
  • Palazzo Gangi, known for being the set of Luchino Visconti's film Il Gattopardo
  • The Foro Italico, the public garden of Palermo and its promenade
  • The Botanical Garden of Palermo, with its giant ficus
  • The Catacombs of the Capuchins, with more than 8,000 mummies of former Palermo citizens

Statues in front of the Cathedral of Palermo, Italy

The imposing Cathedral of Palermo

Nightlife in Palermo

Palermo is a city that offers evening entertainment all year round. The historic center is full of clubs, wine bars and pubs for all tastes, perfect for a visit after a leisurely stroll along the Foro Italico promenade. For a quiet and more cultural evening, you might also consider attending the shows and concerts at the city's beautiful theaters.

If you are looking for livelier nights, Via Paternostro is the perfect spot, as it's also a gathering place for many students. Here, you'll find bars and wine bars at very affordable prices. In addition, among the most characteristic areas to spend a pleasant evening is Piazza Caracciolo, in front of the Vucciria market. The kiosks filled with delights will win you over for a perfect midnight snack!

Especially during the summer, the most popular area of ​​Palermo is Mondello. Its beach clubs are very popular and guarantee entertainment with music, drinks and appetizers.

Food in Palermo

Sicilian cuisine is among the most loved in Italy and the capital of Sicily boasts an excellent gastronomic tradition. The essence of simplicity and centuries-old traditions permeates every dish in Palermo, reflecting the city's rich cultural influences.

Between rotisserie, fresh fish delicacies and desserts in Palermo, it isn't easy to stay on a diet!

Here are some of the most delicious local delicacies to try during your stay in Palermo:

  • arancina (deep-fried rice balls stuffed with ragù and mozzarella)
  • pane e panelle (small fritter made with chickpea flour, pepper and lemon)
  • sfincione (thick Sicilian spongy pizza topped with mozzarella cheese, meat, onions, and peppers)
  • bread with spleen and cheese
  • rascatura (croquette made with chickpea flour, potato and onion)
  • stigghiola (grilled salted guts with parsley and onion)
  • cazzilli (potato croquettes with parsley)
  • pasta c'anciova (salted anchovies, tomato, raisins, pine nuts, and breadcrumbs)
  • anelletti al forno (baked pasta)
  • cannoli (tube-shaped pastries filled with sweet, creamy ricotta filling)
  • cassata (traditional round sponge cake moistened with fruit juices and ricotta cheese)
  • frutta Martorana (traditional marzipan sweets in the form of fruits and vegetables)

Fun fact: Arancina Day is celebrated every year on the 13th of December with locals consuming more than 2 million arancini!

Palermo's arancina with meat sauce, Italy

A delicious arancini with meat sauce 

Villages and cities to visit near Palermo

The area around the city of Palermo is adorned with charming villages that are worth visiting after having discovered the city far and wide.

Among the beauties of the province of Palermo that we advise you not to miss are:

  • The town of Bagheria, with its historic villas, citrus groves and dream coves.
  • The fishing village of Cefalù, with its postcard promenade.
  • The Arab-Norman village of Monreale, famous for its magnificent Cathedral.
  • The perched village of Vicari, also called "the town of the sun" because here the sunset occurs later than in the surrounding municipalities due to its position in the hills.
  • The village of San Mauro Castelverde, with 10 vertical sundials.
  • The hamlet of Borgo Parrini, with very particular houses whose artistic style recalls the buildings of Gaudì.

Tips for Palermo

Here are 5 useful tips that we hope will be useful to you during your stay in Palermo:

  1. If you choose to visit Palermo in the high season, bear in mind that you may find very high temperatures. Especially when it comes to cultural visits, it is advisable to do them in the coolest hours.
  2. Sicily is very big, so if you don't have at least 10-15 days, it could be challenging to visit it all. If you are in Palermo for a few days, it is best to focus on the beauty of the city and its surroundings!
  3. By purchasing the Palermo Card, you can access various services during your stay and even get special discounts in some shops and restaurants!
  4. If you decide to arrive in Palermo by car or rent one, you should keep in mind that finding parking in the city could be a challenge. We, therefore, advise you to choose accommodation offering private parking.
  5. For a real gastronomic experience among the city markets, you could consider participating in one of the many street food tours organized in Palermo's historic center.

Grilled seafood at the Mercato di Ballarò in Palermo Sicily, Italy

A part of the Ballarò market in Palermo

Useful information about Palermo

Palermo is a modern, cosmopolitan city that offers visitors various things to do and see.

In regards to accommodation, the prices are not that high. However, it’s advisable to book well in advance, especially if you travel during the high season. There is a wide range of options, from hotels, B&Bs and apartments to hostels.

To have everything at your fingertips and be close to the various attractions, you should focus on the historic center. In particular, the areas of Piazza Politeama and the Massimo Theater are very convenient for reaching monuments, pubs, restaurants, shops, and the markets of Vucciria and Ballarò on foot. 

Another recommended area is the Kalsa district, near the seafront and with a vibrant atmosphere. If you want to spend a holiday by the sea instead, you should search for accommodation near the famous resorts of Mondello and Cefalù.

As for health care, both in the city and throughout the province, there are various hospitals and emergency medical services.

For a bit of city shopping, you'll find plenty of options between Via Roma and Via Maqueda, while on Via Libertà, you'll encounter the trendiest boutiques. If you're looking for souvenirs and typical products, Corso Vittorio Emanuele and the city markets will satisfy your needs. Don't forget to visit the Pulci Market as well.

Palermo is also famous for its numerous events throughout the year. Among the most notable is the Spring Festival, which is usually held in April.

Important phone numbers for your stay in Palermo

Here are some useful contacts to keep within reach during your trip to Palermo:

  • Municipality of Palermo: +390916171578, +39091326056
  • Palermo Police Station: +390917571411
  • Tourist Information Center: +39091585172
  • Palermo Port Authority: +390916277111
  • Civic Hospital of Palermo: +390916661111
  • European emergency number: 112

Transportation in Palermo

Palermo offers a wide variety of public transport that allows you to visit it at its best and reach its surroundings. If you are staying in the historical center area. However, you can walk around Palermo without problems.

In Palermo, there are 4 tram lines and 3 underground lines (Lines A, B and C). Thanks to the latter, you can also reach the Falcone Borsellino airport with a service active from 04:00 in the morning until 22:00.

As for buses, the AMAT lines cover all city areas and beyond. However, they may not always be on time. For extra-urban travel, you can instead rely on the AST and reach Monreale, the neighboring villages or other places in Sicily.

If you travel by car, however, you should consider that parking in Palermo could be complicated, especially in the downtown areas. In addition to the active ZTL and the presence of numerous blue lines, Palermo is also a bustling city. 

The most convenient way to park your car in Palermo is to leave it in private parking lots (the rates are quite affordable) or stay in accommodation offering parking.

Useful info: for people with disabilities, the Sicilian Medullolesi Spinali Association offers a transport service for sightseeing tours in Palermo and its province. There are also transfers to reach the beaches, the port and the airport!

Traditional Sicilian cart in Italy

Traditional Sicilian cart through the streets of Palermo

Book your Palermo ferry tickets online

On Ferryhopper, you can find all connections from Palermo to beautiful destinations and important ports in Italy and Tunisia. Compare prices, companies and departure times, and book your ferry tickets online with no hidden fees!

Palermo ferry timetable

View the complete ferry schedule from and to Palermo for the upcoming week. Find up-to-date trip information, including departure and arrival dates and times, ferry operators and ticket prices.

Frequent ferry connections

Nearby destinations

Palermo has direct ferry connections to 21 ports :