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Palermo tours and excursions

Palermo tours

Bus tours

Sightseeing passes are available for hop-on, hop-off bus tours of the city. Tickets are valid for unlimited use across both routes for 24 hours. Starting from the Teatro Politeama, tours take in the Teatro Massimo, Santa Maria della Catena, San Giovanni degli Eremiti, the Palazzo Reale and Cappella Palatina, the Cattedrale and the Duomo di Monreale. Tickets can be purchased on the bus and multi-lingual commentary is available.

Tel: +39 91 589 429.
Website: http://www.palermo.city-sightseeing.it

Walking tours

Sicilia & D'intorni offers various guided cultural tours lasting half a day (morning or afternoon), which focus on Arab, Norman, baroque and 17th-centrury Palermo. They also run tours of Castle of Caccamo.

Tel: +39 91 812 1312.
Website: http://www.siciliaedintorni.it

Palermo excursions

Monreale

Perched high up in the valley is the village of Monreale. People flock here to see the Duomo (built under William II after the Norman conquest of Sicily), whose beautiful gold mosaics depict scenes from the Bible. From the imposing Christ Pantocrator, which dominates the apse area, to the narratives of the Creation in the nave, or the scenes from the life of Christ adorning the walls of the aisles and the transept, the mosaics cover every single square inch of the inside of the cathedral.

Website: http://www.monrealeduomo.it

Cefalù

A town with steep streets, beaches and a towering Norman cathedral built at the request of Roger II, Cefalù is dwarfed by a huge rock face, La Rocca. Easily reached by train or coach, it is located 75km (46 miles) from Palermo. Many of the restaurants and shops run along Corso Ruggero, the main street. The Museo Mandralisca is home to Antonello da Messina's Portrait of an Unknown Man. For views over the town and sea, hike up to the Tempio di Diana, a 5th-century temple.

Website: http://www.cefalu.it

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Featured Hotels

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Hotel Principe di Villafranca

It may have just 34 rooms, but this stylish hotel makes up for size with an intimate restaurant and bar, and a cosy reading room with an intriguing collection of books. Located in the city centre, close to some top fashion boutiques, it is conveniently place for shopaholics. Expect a refined atmosphere and elegant furnishings.

Grand Hotel Etes des Palmes

The sumptuous rooms of this historical, city centre hotel are decorated with antique furniture and fine fabrics. Founded in 1874, and renovated by one of the great masters of the art nouveau style, Ernesto Basile, in 1907, this has been the haunt of Italian socialites, writers, musicians and film stars for more than a century.

Hotel Garibaldi

In the heart of Palermo's shopping area, Hotel Garibaldi is a decent, moderately priced stay. Recently renovated, all rooms are now modern with funky fabrics and contemporary photographic prints bringing them to life. Wi-Fi, LCD TVs and tea and coffee making facilities are among the home comforts.

Centrale Palace Hotel

In the historic centre, near the Quattro Canti, this luxury hotel has 103 rooms and 11 suites, all tastefully decorated. Breakfast is served in a grand restaurant. There is a roof terrace for evening drinks and a grand red Sicilian marble staircase for those who like to make an entrance.

Grand Hotel Villa Igiea

At Acquasanta, 3km (2 miles) north of the city, this 5-star hotel, restored by renowned 19th century architect Ernesto Basile at the end of the 19th century, is housed in a sumptuous art nouveau building. Seriously stylish accommodation, it offers original frescoes, decoration and furniture.

Grand Hotel Wagner

The luxury Grand Hotel Wagner is full of old-world charm. Recently restored, this early-20th century building boasts antique furniture, chandeliers, rare marble, rich carpets and old paintings. Rooms are exquisitely decorated and there's a laid-back piano bar and a fourth-floor terrace with stunning city views.