Five Palermo Essentials

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The end of the year is upon us, and it has us reviewing the destinations that we visited and loved this year. We’re bringing you the absolute must-dos from those very spots. This time, the focus is on… Sicily’s Palermo.

Go Fancy with:

Rooftop drinks at Il Bar in Piazza San Domenico

No matter what your everyday life looks life, every holiday deserves a moment where you feel utterly decadent. Il Bar in Piazza San Domenico offers up exactly that opportunity. While you’ll ascend to the rooftop via a really rather uninspiring department store, as soon as you step outside you’ll be confronted with something altogether more upscale. There are the close-up views of the canary-yellow detailing on the Church of Saint Domenico, and then the views of the city beyond; and there are white sofas that you’ll want to be draped across in your finest attire with a cocktail held aloft. This is a spot best enjoyed with a group of your very closest friends.

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Make Like a Local and:

Grab a pastry and a coffee from Bar Rosanero

Every morning I spent in Palermo, I’d go for a morning run and go past locals bobbing in and out of this pasticceria. Despite the location near to the city’s botanical gardens, this is a spot dominated by locals and not tourists (which always feel like a very good sign). The Italian way to enjoy breakfast is to order a coffee and a pastry and to stand at the bar to eat it. The ordering process here is undeniably chaotic, but get stuck into the battle to do so and opt for the pistachio-stuffed croissants if you know what’s good for you. A pastry and a coffee here costs in at just £2.59, making it a very cost-effective way to start your day.

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Soak Up The Atmosphere at:

Botteghe Colletti

When the sun goes down, Via Alessandro Paternostro becomes one of the buzziest streets in Palermo. Petite bars and restaurants open their doors, and locals and tourists alike mingle on the seats that spill out of them. One of the best bars on this strip is Botteghe Colletti—its music and warm decor is almost enough to keep you inside, but you really should sit outside and soak up the atmosphere.

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Brave the Hubbub at:

Mercato il Capo

Palermo is home to a number of food markets, which are a charming assault on the senses. They’re noisy, slightly smelly and teeming with life—Mercato il Capo is the finest of said markets. If you’re not staying somewhere where you’re able to cook up fresh produce, there are plenty of pre-cooked options for you to enjoy. Sicily is famed for its arancini and panelle (chickpea patties) and both can and should be devoured here.

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Enjoy an early morning run

Palermo can get very, very hot but in the early morning hours, it’s mild enough to be explored at pace. I am, somewhat horrifyingly, the sort of traveller who likes to run to get acquainted with a destination, but not all cities lend themselves to that. Palermo does. There are enough early morning workers around to make you feel safe and there’s something fascinating to see on every corner—the sort of details you’re unlikely to spot as the crowds draw out later on in the day.