Situated on Tyrrhenian Sea, Cefalu is a beautiful mountainside beach town that has lots of charm. It is a popular vacation spot for Italian & European travelers alike, and you should expect crowds in the summer. But it is definitely worth it! Here are my suggestions for what to do with 48 hours in Cefalu
Cefalu is small and very manageable by foot; there is no need for a car here so we turned in our rental car and took the train! The whole train ride up to Cefalu from Taormina we road along the coast and got some lovely views of the beaches on the north and west part of the island. As we continued to move north, the terrain kept changing and the beaches kept shifting. From rocky and volcanic to soft white sand. It was such a cool transition to watch while taking the train up.
Known as the best beaches in Sicily, these did not disappoint. They were sandy beaches with a sand bottom, so it was so easy to swim and tan. They were also very flat and long, so you could wade into the water comfortably. There is also a lovely pier right in the middle of downtown Cefalu so you could run and jump into the deeper water and then swim into the beach. The beaches here were packed and full of an eclectic mix of different umbrellas. And there is a lovely beach boardwalk the runs the length of the central Cefalu beach.
We walked along the beachfront boardwalk and went out to the pier to overlook the city. It was a gorgeous view and you could really get a feel for how huge the mountain behind the city was! This is probably what the city is most known for, and rightfully so. The view from the water is stunning and with a blue sky backdrop and crystal clear ocean water, it is a pretty hard to beat.
Wandering the Old City
We spent the day today wandering through the city and checking out some local shops and sights. Cefalu is a major tourist attraction on the island and there are lots of shops and stores geared towards the needs of the tourist. But to me, it felt more authentic than Taormina. The streets are narrow cobble stone streets and there are little bed and breakfasts scattered throughout the city. These sweet little balconies hang over almost every street with kids playing in them or laundry drying off the side.
We also stopped in the Plaza Duomo in the center of town. With several restaurants and gelateria’s lining the perimeter, this is the main social center in the city. There is live music playing at night with people dancing and singing along. The cathedral serves as the backdrop for the square and is very well preserved. It has Norman style architecture on the front and is from the early 1300s. There are beautiful arched entrances on the front and two tall towers on either side. We also stopped in front of the Church de St. Stefano, which has an adorable bell tower with a rusty old bell at the top and beautiful dual wrap staircases on either side of the entrance.