Last updated on February 6, 2024 by Stefano Ferro, founder of MEL365, following extensive travelling in Sicily

Where to stay in Cefalù, Sicily – Best areas and accommodations

Are you still wondering where to stay in Cefalù? Well, this is certainly not a small city and I still remember my first time there with the dilemma of choosing the right area and a good hotel too.

My favourite place to stay in Cefalu is the Old Town mainly because is so charming and romantic, with so many restaurants and bars for a beautiful dinner and a few late drinks.

But the Historical Centre has also its own drawbacks and the Lungomare may actually work better, or maybe Le Calette. As you see, plenty of choices, not to mention the wide range of hotels.

This is why I decided to organise this guide, with all the pros and cons of each area and a few suggested hotels to enjoy your nights.

But let’s dig into it.

The beautiful Cefalu
The beautiful Porto Vecchio Beach in the Old Town of Cefalù

Where to stay in Cefalù – Key points comparison

Below is a table that compares the 4 best areas to stay in Cefalù. Click on the name to check all the pros and cons besides a description of the neighbourhood or just keep reading for the full guide.

Swipe left or right on a mobile to see the entire table.

AreaBest ForProsConsCharacterBeach (1-5)Couples
(1-5)
Families
(1-5)
Restaurants (1-5)
Old TownHistory lovers, romantic staysHistoric charm, central, scenic viewsLimited parking, pricier, noisyHistoric, Romantic4545
LungomareBeach enthusiasts, nightlife seekersBeach access, vibrant scene, parking easeFar from Old Town, noisyModern, Beachy5454
Next to the StationBudget travellers, short staysClose to station, affordable, convenientLacks charm, far from attractionsModern and Practical 2333
Le CaletteLuxury seekers, romantic getawaysStunning views, serene beaches, luxury staysHigher cost, less central, no nightlifeScenic, Serene5544
Best areas to stay in Cefalu

My 3 best hotels in Cefalù

My suggested walk along the coast from the Church of Saint Mary Hodegetria
My suggested walk along the coast from the Church of Saint Mary Hodegetria

Old Town and the Norman Cathedral

  • Best place for couples, families, and those without a car

Pros

  • Steeped in medieval history with cobblestone streets and ancient sites
  • Walkable access to the Norman Cathedral, museums and historic sights
  • Central location near shops, restaurants and nightlife
  • Stunning views of the sea and cityscape from elevated points
  • Numerous boutique hotels and apartment rentals with charm

Cons

  • Limited parking
  • Hotels book up early and are typically more expensive
  • Some steep lanes
  • Access to the main Cefalu beach is 15-20 minutes away
  • It may be noisy at night

The Old Town of Cefalù is one of the most scenic and characteristic historical centres to stay in the entire Sicily. Wandering these sketchy medieval alleys today feels like taking a magical trip back 1000 years. Every turn through the cobbled streets unravels stories of the past, echoing the footsteps of the Norman conquerors, Arab traders, and Byzantine artists who have all left their mark here.

At the heart of the Old Town lies the impressive Norman Cathedral with its gold mosaics dedicated to a powerful patron saint, Santissimo Salvatore della Trasfigurazione.

Don’t miss the freaky sphinx statue guards posted by the crypts. Why sphinxes? Either the sculptor got bored chiselling saints or they wanted to freak out early visitors already scared of disturbing skeletons hidden below.

Next have a walk to the epic Bastione di Capo Marchiafava, the fortress right in front of the Mediterranean Sea, built to fend off fierce Arab pirates back in the day. From there, you can have a beautiful 20-minute walk along the coast, through the rocks (the council organised a concrete easy-to-follow path).

This was one of the highlights of my last trip to Cefalu. I was surprised by how this short walk between rocks was almost empty, in total contrast to the busy streets of the Historical Centre. The main reason, I guess, is that it’s so easy to miss it. There are no particular signs.

My tip. Look for the Church of Saint Mary Hodegetria on Google Maps. From there take the stairs down to the rocks and start there the beautiful hidden walk.

The stunning Porto Vecchio Beach
The stunning Porto Vecchio Beach

As you wander around, you’ll come across the Spiaggia del Porto Vecchio, a quaint beach that offers a serene escape from the bustling town. This has to be one of the most spectacular beaches in Sicily, almost hidden between ancient buildings collapsing in the sea.

The Old Town is also a hub for cultural activities, with impromptu street performances, art exhibitions, and historical tours regularly taking place. Each corner of this area tells a unique story, be it through a hidden chapel, an ancient palazzo, or a secluded piazza.

The historical town centre is also the place where you will find most of the best restaurants and bars of Cefalu, literally every second shop, all providing amazing food, from traditional Sicilian dishes like pasta alla norma and arancini to fresh seafood and sweet cannoli, the meal options are as diverse as they are delicious.

One of my favourite restaurants is the Sicilian Food & Drink, just metres away from the Spiaggia del Porto Vecchio, with a great selection of wine and super-tasting fresh food, all at a bargain price.

As night falls, the Old Town transforms. The warm glow of streetlights creates a magical aura, and the nightlife comes alive. Wine bars, gelaterias, and local pubs offer spaces to relax and socialize.

Cefalù is certainly not a destination for loud nightlife in Sicily but you can still find spots where you can spend the entire night.

Another aspect that makes the Old Town of Cefalù so captivating is its ability to blend the old with the new seamlessly. Amidst the historical buildings, you’ll find modern amenities and comforts, making your stay both authentic and convenient.

Small boutique hotels and B&Bs are nestled in these ancient structures, providing a cozy and intimate lodging experience.

Here are 3 of the best places to stay in the Historical Centre:

Hotel La Plumeria ($$$-$$$$): Charming and cozy with excellent service, superb location, a minute walk from everything, and delicious breakfast.

Sweet Home($): A charming, clean, and comfortable accommodation in Cefalu near Porto Vecchio Beach.Excellent value for money. Great for couples and families.

Miramarina ($$$): Exceptional location with stunning beach views, the 2BR apartment offers spacious, modern, and clean facilities. Ideal for families.

Here below I have listed 5 places to see and things to do in Cefalu Historical Centre that you should not miss.

Site NameTimeDescriptionFun Fact
Norman Cathedral Duomo30 minutes12th century church with glittering Byzantine mosaics and twin sphinx statues by the cryptThe building is said to be funded by a visionary king who collected a special tax from brothels
Bastione di Capo Marchia10 minutesImposing defensive fortress with panoramic viewsConnected by underground tunnels to the Cathedral as an escape route
Spiaggia del Porto Vecchio30 minutesQuiet fishing harbour beach below the citadel wallsSmugglers once operated stealthily at night in the harbour
Tempietto di Santa Maria dell’Oreto20 minutesDelicate 11th century chapel with Arab-Norman archesMysterious bond to a miraculous icon now missing
Osterio Magno + Artisan Shops30 minutesSprawling medieval washhouse, still used todayLengthy renovation uncovered lost frescos and a secret war bunker

So what’s the catch with staying in the Old Town? Well, the main long beach is around 15-20 minutes away and a few of the lanes around can be quite steep especially as you approach the Rocca di Cefalù, overlooking the city.

If you rent a car in Sicily to explore this beautiful island, just be aware that most of the historical centre is ZTL so you cannot access it with the vehicle.

My tip. Park the car as you enter the city. My favourite place is Parking Dafne (1 Euro/hour and 20 Euros/day) or you can try this free parking here for a longer stay.

Venturing in Cefalu with a car is not a great idea - Park instead outside in an organised parking area
Venturing in Cefalu with a car is not a great idea – Park instead outside in an organised parking area

Lungomare – A beach stay in Cefalu

  • Best for a beach stay and/or driving your car to Cefalu

Pros

  • Direct beach access for swimming, watersports and long seaside strolls
  • Panoramic sea views from hotels, cafes and promenade seats
  • Easy parking at most lodgings
  • Vibrant summer beach scene with bars and eateries

Cons

  • Farther walk up to the Old Town attractions (15 mins)
  • Some lodgings show wear and tear
  • Beach clubs pack in loud party crowds on summer nights
  • Limited or no historic charm

If sea, sun and sand top your Cefalù wishlist, then book your pad along the waterfront Lungomare. The seaside puts you just steps from the area’s awesome beaches.

The buzzing Lungomare gives you buckets of beachy atmosphere. Moreover, you can find some unique accommodations with stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea, something very hard to find in the Old Town.

This is an area of the city that is somehow quiet during the winter months but as the summer approaches, it gets busier and busier with a mix of locals and travellers enjoying the sunny days in one of the many beach clubs.

Just be aware that a couple of sunbeds and an umbrella will set you down at around 30-50 Euros for the day. Of course, there are plenty of free areas at the beach which works great for a short and/or budget stay.

Parking is less of a problem and most of the accommodations include it for free, which is a great bonus.

It has to be said that this area is quite modern so it lacks the charm of the old town. It’s definitely practical though, especially if driving around Sicily, and it’s within walking distance (15-20 minutes) from the historical centre.

Here are 3 of the best places along Lungomare:

Hotel Riva Del Sole ($$$-$$$$): A beachfront gem with stunning sea views, offering a mix of modern comforts and authentic Sicilian charm. One of the top 4-star hotels in proximity to the historic centre. Breakfast is buffet style.

Incanto B&B ($$-$$$): Superb location steps from the beach and close to old town. Modern, clean rooms with thoughtful amenities. One of the best hotels with breakfast.

Astro Suite Hotel ($$$): Spacious, well-equipped suites with stunning sea views. Excellent location, minutes from the beach and old town.

Got just 3 hours to spare? Then spend it soaking up Cefalu’s sea and sun with this must-do beach sampler:

StopTimeSplash Zone?
Spiaggia Lungomare Beach90 minutesYes!
Beach Club Break for Spritz30 minutesNah, just drinks
Seaside Promenade Stroll60 minutesOnly your feet!
The beautiful town of Cefalu
The beautiful old town of Cefalu in the foreground and the Lungomare in the background

Next to the station – Stay overnight or short stay

  • Best for budget travellers, short-stay visitors

Pros

  • Proximity to the Train Station
  • Value for money
  • Perfect for a brief stopover or a transit stay.

Cons

  • Lack of Historical Charm
  • Distance from Major Attractions
  • Limited Nightlife and Dining Options

Staying near the Cefalù station is all about practicality. You’re trading the picturesque streets and historical buildings for modern amenities and straightforward access. This area is characterized by contemporary structures, providing a different perspective of Cefalù, one that is more aligned with everyday conveniences rather than tourist attractions.

If you prioritize ease of movement, especially if you are planning to explore beyond Cefalù, this location is ideal. The train station serves as a gateway to the rest of Sicily, offering easy day trips to places like Palermo or the Madonie Mountains.

Staying in this part of Cefalù offers a very different experience from the rest of the town. You won’t be waking up to the sound of waves or church bells, nor will you have the immediate luxury of stepping out into centuries-old streets. But what you lose in ambience, you gain in convenience and budget-friendliness.

For dining, while the options are more limited, there are still some hidden gems where you can enjoy local Sicilian cuisine without the crowds. It’s a great opportunity to explore where the locals eat and get a taste of everyday life in Cefalù.

Here are 2 of the best accommodations near the train station:

Serenety House ($): A well-equipped 2BR holiday home with a clean, cozy ambience and convenient location near the station, Cefalù’s old town and beach. Spacious rooms.

RockSea Central ($$): Centrally located near the station, the beach and the historic centre.

The lovely Cathedral in the Historical Centre
The lovely Cathedral in the Historical Centre

Le Calette – For the best hotels near boutique coves

  • Best for a luxurious stay, romantic getaway, tranquillity and scenic beauty

Pros

  • Breathtaking Views
  • Dreamy Coves and Boutique Beaches
  • Charming and Luxurious Accommodations

Cons

  • Premium Pricing
  • Less Convenient for Frequent Town Visits
  • No Nightlife

Le Calette is a haven for those seeking both natural beauty and luxury. The area’s hotels and accommodations are designed to give you both the lush Sicilian greenery and the stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea.

It’s an idyllic setting that’s hard to match, perfect for those special occasions or simply for when you want to treat yourself to something extraordinary.

The boutique beaches in the area, such as Kalura Beach and Spiaggia Scalette, offer a more intimate and exclusive beach-going experience. These spots are ideal for sunbathing, swimming, snorkelling and enjoying the Sicilian sun in a more private setting.

The crystal-clear waters and the picturesque coves make for perfect photo opportunities and lifelong memories.

One of the area’s hidden gems is the walk next to Torre Caldura. This lovely stroll offers breathtaking views of the sea and is a great way to experience the natural beauty of Cefalù. It’s a peaceful escape from the more touristy areas and a chance to connect with the serene side of Sicily. Have a check to the tiny Caldura Beach.

The architecture in Le Calette is another aspect that sets it apart. The buildings are a blend of traditional Sicilian charm and modern luxury, often featuring panoramic terraces, lush gardens, and pools overlooking the sea.

It has to be said that you will not be in the heart of Cefalu and you will need quite a walk to the Historical Centre, in fact, it’s going to be easier to drive to a city parking area.

Here are 2 of the best hotels in La Calette:

Hotel Kalura ($$$-$$$$): A serene location with stunning sea views, private beach access, and excellent breakfast. Overlooking the coast. Tennis court and scuba diving.

Le Calette Bay ($$$$$): A serene oasis boasting splendid bay views, exceptional staff, and private beach access. Luxurious rooms. Ideal for couples.

Amazing food at my favourite restaurant, the Sicilian Food & Drink
Amazing food at my favourite restaurant, the Sicilian Food & Drink

Unique Stays: Villas and Boutique Hotels in this coastal town

Cefalù Sea Palace

I you are looking for a memorable stay in a 5-star hotel, I may add one of the best hotels in Sicily, then look no further than the Cefalù Sea Palace. This seafront property impresses with its prime location, just a short stroll from the heart of the town and directly adjacent to a private sandy beach.

This hotel in Cefalu offers an array of facilities including a wellness centre, an outdoor pool with hydromassage, and a spa with a sauna and Turkish bath. As part of the service, you will particularly appreciate the complimentary beach amenities like umbrellas and loungers.

The rooms have balconies with gorgeous views of the sea and the Historical Centre. The continental breakfast served with a panoramic view is just the cherry on the cake.

This is a seaside hotel that works so well with both families and couples looking for a romantic retreat.

Cefalù Sea Palace

Le Calette N.5

Nestled in the scenic Sicilian landscape, this villa is part of the La Calette Hotel, with stunning sea and pool views. The culinary offerings are a highlight, with two on-site restaurants serving a variety of fantastic dishes, including local and international cuisine, that cater to diverse dietary needs.

The facilities, including a rejuvenating spa, fitness centre, and an inviting outdoor pool, provide ample opportunities for relaxation and leisure. The hotel’s commitment to sustainability is evident in its various eco-friendly practices, adding to its appeal to environmentally conscious travellers.

Le Calette N.5
Stefano Ferro - MEL365.com Founder and Editor

About the Author

Stefano is a seasoned travel expert and the visionary founder of MEL365.com, a leading travel website with traffic across 6 continents. With a rich background in the travel industry, Stefano spent four pivotal years at Amadeus Travel Distribution System, gaining invaluable insights into travel technologies and distribution.

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