Where to Stay in Palermo, Sicily → 3 Best Areas in 2024

Panoramic view of a city with a mix of historic and modern buildings, twin-domed church towers, and mountains in the background under a partly cloudy sky.

Getting ready to visit Palermo, Sicily? How great, you’re about to visit one of the most beautiful cities in Italy! I’ve prepared this guide on where to stay in Palermo where I compared ALL the best areas and top-rated Palermo hotels to help you easily plan your trip!

Stay in Centro Storico if you’re visiting for the first time, as this is the safest and most authentic part of Palermo, with tons of attractions! 

I sorted all the areas according to personal preferences and included hotels for all budgets, so you can just mix and match and find your ideal spot in seconds! 

Just remember to book your stay in advance to secure the best deal for your stay in Palermo!

Quick Picks for Your Stay

Book the best spots in Palermo’s Centro Storico right away:

luxury hotel
A white building with a terrace and umbrellas next to a pool with clear blue water, surrounded by a wooden deck and greenery. The sky is clear and sunny.
mid-range hotel
A balcony with two small tables and chairs, potted plants, and a view of neighboring buildings and greenery under a partly cloudy sky.
budget hotel
A well-lit bedroom with a double bed featuring yellow wooden headboard and footboard, neatly made with brown bedding, and two folded towels. There are framed pictures on the wall and a window with curtains.

Balade Maqueda B&B

Best affordable accommodation in the center

Here’s a map to help you have a mental image of all the areas that I will be talking about in this post:

A colorful map highlighting the best areas to stay in Palermo-Sicily with numbered locations and labels for easy navigation
  1. CENTRO STORICO: for first-timers
  3. MONDELLO: near the beach

1. Centro Storico – where to stay in Palermo for the first time

Scenic view of a city with historic buildings and bell towers, set against a backdrop of mountains under a clear blue sky.

Welcome to the very heart of Palermo! Centro Storico, or the Historical Center, is made up of 4 smaller districts called Il Capo, La Kalsa, Castellammare, and Albergheria/Ballarò. The areas are pretty compact, it takes around 25 minutes to walk from one side to the other. 

Due to their exceptional beauty, proximity to attractions, and plenty of accommodation options, I recommend first-timers to stay in either Kalsa or Castellammare! Below, I share more details about each of these 2 areas.

But before I do that, I need to underline a few important details about staying in Palermo. First of all, the area you choose to stay is far more important than the hotel, so please only pick from the options I’ll give you in this article! 

This is because the public transport in Palermo is horrible, taxis are expensive, there’s no Uber, parking is super hard to find, and traffic jams are so hectic! The fastest, most reliable, and most beautiful way to explore Palermo is on foot! This is why you want to be located inside Centro Storico, where most of the attractions are within walking distance. 

Renting a car in Palermo only makes sense if you plan to explore the surroundings. 

Also, I’ve seen many locals complain about poorly lit streets and garbage on the streets, notably in the areas outside of Centro Storico. Yet another reason to be closer to all the action!

Now let’s see what 2 of the most beautiful areas in Centro Storico have to offer:

1.1. Castellammare – the most charming area in Centro Storico

A statue of a seated, crowned figure is set in an alcove of a building. A large plaque with Latin text is above the statue, and smaller plaques are on either side. There is also a red sign in Italian.

Castellammare, literally “castle by the sea” is an area characterized by a stunning coastal fortress (once the beacon of the neighborhood), a beautiful harbor, and a pleasant beach. Here, you will discover the ancient heart of Palermo, with its white houses facing the sea.

Artisans and traders from all around Italy have lived in Castellammare since the XII century, so you will gaze at the architecture of many beautiful buildings like Palazzo Mazzarino (map).

Located adjacent to Kalsa and bordering Borgo Vecchio, this area has just the best location, offering access to all the historical monuments and attractions!

But in my opinion, the most charming part of Castellammare is the Vucciria outdoor Market just South of Church of Saint Domenico (map), with its old-fashioned vibe where all the locals (and tourists) buy meat and local goods, or grab a drink in the evening. Make sure you check it out!

Nearby, you’ll also find the iconic landmark of the city, the Fontana Pretoria (map), the lovely Palermo Cathedral (map), and the famous Via Maqueda with authentic shops, cafés, and restaurants leading to one of the central squares of the area, Quattro Canti (map)!

Palermo’s patron saint, Saint Rosalia, miraculously ended a plague in the city in 1624 after the residents paraded her remains there. A festival called “Festino” takes place in Palermo’s streets every year on July 14th in her honor!

Luxury hotel
Collage of 3 pics for Luxury hotel in Castellammare Palermo: a room with a double bed, decorative wallpaper, and a view of a historic building from a balcony. Room features include a seating area, contemporary décor, and large windows.

I highly recommend this luxurious hotel in the very center of Palermo city, right in front of the Teatro Massimo. The building is historical, elegant, and full of character, and the rooms are spacious. They have a very comfortable bed and a private balcony offering city views!

Other accommodation options in Castellammare

A blue upholstered vintage sofa with wooden carvings sits against a wall with framed artwork, a mirror, a wall-mounted phone, and a decorative vase on the floor beside the sofa.

You will love this hotel with free Wi-Fi, rooms with a private balcony, and amazing views of Palermo

A modern bar setup in a residential space with wooden countertops, four bar stools, pendant lighting, wall art, and shelves with books and decor items.

Great budget hotel with an excellent location within walking distance of everything in Castellammare

A rooftop terrace with a table set for breakfast, featuring pastries and coffee. The terrace has wooden seating, potted plants, and a partial roof, with a cityscape and mountains in the background.

This apartment has an amazing location in Palermo, close to lots of restaurants and cafes

Even more cool hotels in Castellammare:

Castellammare is a charming area to stay in Palermo, and maybe that’s why, during my research, I found so many great accommodation options here! I decided to share them with you and give you just a few more options:

Collage of 3 pics of hotels in Castellammare Palermo: a cozy living room with a dining area, a spacious bedroom with minimalist decor, and a balcony with two chairs overlooking a city street.
  • Luxury: Palazzo del Poeta – Dimora Contemporanea – a charming, beautifully renovated 17th-century former convent, now one of the best luxury hotels in Palermo drawing inspiration from poetry, literature and contemporary design!
  • Mid-range: B&B Bandiera 77 – If you’re looking for great value for money, you just found it! This cozy hotel offers spacious rooms with a balcony and perfect location right in the middle of the old city. It’s one of the best places to stay if you want to be close to everything! Guests particularly love the kind and helpful hosts.
  • Budget: Marilù – This lovely B&B with free Wi-Fi is set in the best area to stay in Castellammare, close to the charming Vucciria market (where you can try delicious street food and buy cool souvenirs)! Here, you’ll get a delicious breakfast, great service, and spacious rooms on a budget!
A narrow street lined with cafes and shops; people sit at outdoor tables on the left, and a person pushes a cart with goods on the right. A historical building is visible in the background.

Things to do in Castellammare

  • Gaze at Chiesa di S. Domenico (map), Castellammare’s most impressive church
  • Visit Castello a Mare Archeological Park (map)
  • Try the amazing street food of the Vucciria Market
  • Relax over a beer in Taverna Azzurra (map)
  • Walk to the Palermo Cathedral and Teatro Massimo (map) in nearby Monte di Pietà
  • Have great cocktails in “Il Bar” (map) in Piazza S. Domenico!
  • Try some street food at the colorful Ballaro Market (map)

1.2. Kalsa – best area for staying in Palermo on a budget

A large, historic cathedral with an ornate facade, dome, and bell tower. In front are manicured gardens, palm trees, and a statue. The sky is bright blue with scattered clouds.

Al-Khalesa, or La Kalsa, is the Arabic district of Palermo, and it’s basically a city within a city. This old district dates back to the 9th century and is so rich in history, especially Arab. La Kalsa is the first Arab neighborhood to be built in Europe!

From the Phoenicians to the Carthaginians to Greeks and Romans, this city witnessed many different groups of people come and go and remains one of the most authentic places in Italy today, thanks to its rich cultural heritage. 

20 years ago, Kalsa was considered an unsafe neighborhood, but now, it’s quite the opposite! Don’t be afraid to get lost in its charming streets, as you will find something cool on every corner!

Other than its great abundance of history and culture, La Kalsa also hides natural wonders, like breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea. You won’t want to miss the giant Ficus Macrophylla (map) that’s over 200 years old and is considered one of Europe’s oldest trees!

You will love Kalsa even more thanks to its super cheap prices, including accommodation. Kalsa is definitely the best place in Palermo if you want to stay on a budget!

Luxury hotel
Collage of 3 pics of luxury hotel in Kalsa Palermo: a pool overlooking a seaside view on top, a living room with a sofa and table, and a bedroom with a bed and curtains.

This is an amazing luxury hotel in the Palermo Kalsa area. Homey, beautiful, and elegant, it definitely has its own personality! The big air-conditioned rooms have access to a rooftop sea-view terrace and an outdoor pool. Another plus? The staff is extremely nice and helpful!

Other accommodation options in Kalsa

A neatly made double bed with white linens, black and yellow pillows, and a basket of towels on the foot. Nightstands with lamps are on each side, and a window in the background lets in natural light.

A hotel with an excellent location in Kalsa with big air-conditioned rooms

A vintage living room featuring ornate furniture, red lace curtains, potted plants, a wooden cabinet with a circular mirror, and a small table with a decorative plant.

Great budget accommodation in Kalsa Old Town, just a short walk from public transport and some good bars

Outdoor patio area with a white table and chairs set for a meal, surrounded by potted plants. The space is enclosed by white walls and overlooked by neighboring buildings under a clear blue sky.

Amazing apartment in Kalsa Old Town with free parking and high-speed Wi-Fi, ideal for remote workers!

Things to do in Kalsa

  • Visit the suggestive Santa Maria dello Spasimo Church (map)
  • Walk around the beautiful Giardino Garibaldi (map)
  • Check out the historic Palazzo Chiaramonte (map), home to the Philippine Prisons
  • Marvel at the cute puppets at the International Puppet Museum
  • Gaze at the architecture of the ancient Museo Palazzo Mitro House (map)
  • Visit the Palazzo Butera Art Museum
  • Check out the nearby 9th-century Norman Palace (map)

2. Politeama Libertà and Borgo Vecchio – where to stay with family

A historical square featuring a baroque fountain, surrounded by ornate statues and steps, with domed buildings and Italian flags in the background under a blue sky.

Politeama Libertà is basically the new Downtown area of Palermo, located around 1.5 km (0.9 miles) North of the Centro Storico. Adjacent to Politeama, you’ll find Borgo Vecchio, a historic district that used to be home to sailors and fishermen throughout history. 

You’ll find everything from lively streets, delicious Sicilian food like arancini (fried risotto and cheese-stuffed balls), the iconic sfincione street food pizza, lovely cannoli, and so much more in these 2 neighborhoods!

With fewer crowds, the chances of finding pickpockets (which are common in the Centro Storico) are very rare, which can be a big plus if you’re traveling with kids!

You will notice that Politeama is also one of the most upscale areas of the city, featuring high-end houses.

Other than food, great shopping, and culture, this is also where you can stay in Palermo to enjoy amazing nightlife surrounded by locals, featuring many cool clubs, bars, and restaurants!

And if you want to be close to Palermo’s airport, you’ll be happy to know that you can have easy access to it by shuttle bus or train. The ride takes about 40 minutes! 

Well… what more do I have to say? This area has all you need and beyond! So check out the main hotels, and make sure you book them in advance!

Luxury hotel
Collage of 3 pics of luxury hotel in Politeama Libertà and Borgo Vecchio Palermo: a bathroom with a freestanding tub, an opulent living room with ornate decor, and a stylish bedroom with a large bed.

Looking for a great luxury hotel in Palermo’s new center? Well, this is THE most luxurious place to stay in Palermo city, with fantastic fitness facilities and brilliant staff! Your room will offer you beautiful traditional furniture, access to a super cool bar where you can have the best aperitifs, and a delicious breakfast to start the morning in the right way!

Other accommodation options in Politeama & Borgo Vecchio

A modern bathroom with a black marble wall, a white freestanding bathtub, a small side table with a mirror, and large windows with sheer curtains.

Great hotel to stay in Palermo, offering air-conditioned rooms with a private balcony and a Nespresso coffee machine

A modern bedroom with a blue accent wall features a bed with blue bedding, two hanging lamps, a small desk and chair, a coat rack, and a window with sheer curtains allowing natural light in.

This bed and breakfast has the best value for money and is located right between the Palermo Old Town and the new Palermo

A balcony with a table and chairs overlooking a cityscape. The table is set with plates, cups, and a potted flower, and buildings are visible in the background under a clear blue sky.

Quiet and cozy apartment in the middle of Palermo city, in a central area close to bars and shops

In case you’re looking for a luxury option in the area which doesn’t cost quite as much as the Grand Hotel Et Des Palmes, here is another great choice for an incredible stay!

Hotel Politeama – Situated on one of the most admired streets in Palermo’s historical City Center, this stylish hotel has easy access to public transport that will bring you straight to the beach of Mondello. Other great advantages are the air-conditioned rooms, free Wi-Fi, and free parking!

An exterior view of the Teatro Massimo in Palermo, Italy, showcasing its grand architecture with a statue and palm trees in the foreground under a clear blue sky.

Things to do in Politeama Libertà & Borgo Vecchio

  • Go shopping at Via Libertà (map)
  • Wander around Via Ruggero Settimo, one of Palermo’s main streets
  • Enjoy delicious wine and history on this countryside excursion
  • Catch a show at the Politeama Garibaldi Theater (map)
  • Go on a delicious street food walking tour in the center
  • Walk around Quattro Canti, a beautiful Baroque square
  • Visit Monte Etna, Taormina, and Castelmola on this tour around Sicily!

Subscribe here to get up to 35% off your accommodation for your next trip!

3. Mondello – where to stay in Palermo, Italy, for the beach

A historic building with ornate architecture under a clear blue sky, featuring a walkway leading up to the entrance. Two flags are flying on top of the structure.

Mondello, located North of the Borgo Vecchio area, is an upscale residential neighborhood, once a fishing village, and home to Palermo’s largest and most beautiful sandy beach with crystal waters!

Mondello Beach (map) stretches for 1.5 kilometers (0.9 miles) between the two cliffs of Monte del Gallo and Monte Pellegrino, both of which are amazing natural wonders!

If you are coming to Palermo to enjoy some sun and sand, swim in Sicily’s transparent waters, and enjoy sea view Italian bars and restaurants, this is the place to be!

In fact, it is not by chance that it is one of the local’s favorites, who all come in crowds, especially during the warmer months! As a respectable beach destination, Palermo Mondello has a more relaxed and laid-back vibe than Palermo City Center, which makes it just perfect!

Do note that Mondello gets insanely crowded in August, making it almost impossible to actually enjoy your vacation. 

The reason for this is that a good part of Italy shuts down for holidays in August, and everyone flocks to the beaches of Mondello. There are very few spots on the beach available for free, so you’ll really be competing with the locals trying to get your place under the shade and rent sunbeds. 

I strongly recommend avoiding staying in Mondello in August. It’s best to visit this seaside resort in late spring and autumn!

Due to its location a little further away from the Center (precisely 10 km or 6.2 miles), you’ll find hotels and vacation rentals at cheaper prices, but you will need to rent a car if you want to get around.

Luxury hotel
Collage of 3 pics of luxury hotel in Mondello Palermo: a bedroom with a double bed, a living room with teal sofas, and a dining area. An outdoor shot displays a swimming pool with lounge chairs and a nearby garden area.

You will absolutely love this 4-star boutique hotel located right on Mondello Beach! Here, you can try the tastes of Italy every morning with the delicious continental breakfast, relax in the infinity pool set in the garden, or even in the hydromassage pool on the terrace. And if you have a car to get around Mondello, the hotel has free private parking available!

Other accommodation options in Mondello

A modern living area features a wall-mounted TV, a glass desk with a colorful chair, and a small dining table with two purple chairs and orchids.

This B&B has one of the best locations in Mondello, within walking distance from the iconic Monte Pellegrino

A hotel room with a yellow wooden headboard, bed with folded towels, wall art, a window with sheer curtains, and a desk.

In this hotel, you will find the BEST buffet breakfast in Mondello (if not in the whole of Italy)

Outdoor patio with a white table and chairs, set with a basket of fruit and plates. Potted flowers decorate the space. Mountains are visible in the background.

Looking for luxury for budget prices? This apartment has it, plus it’s located super close to Mondello beach!

Things to do in Mondello

  • Bring the family to Toy Park Beach, with splash pools and water slides!
  • Relax, swim, and splash at Mondello Beach
  • Enjoy Mondello’s famous nightlife
  • Hike up Monte del Gallo (map) for the best panoramic views
  • Discover the macabre Capuchin Catacombs on a day tour
  • Try delicious Sicilian seafood dishes at Le Antiche Mura (map) restaurant
  • Check out the cute Sferracavallo (map) village near Palermo
  • Try to find the caveman paintings in the rocks of Addaura Caves (map)
👑 Luxury price:€160
💵 Mid-range:€100
🛏️ Budget:€60
📍 Best area:Centro Storico
🛎️ Best luxury hotel:Palazzo Sovrana
🧳 Best mid-range hotel:La Maison del Sole
👛 Best budget hotel:Balade Maqueda B&B

BONUS: Areas to avoid in Palermo

A narrow cobblestone street flanked by yellow buildings with balconies, parked cars, potted plants, and drying laundry under a cloudy sky.

Palermo has grown a reputation for not being a super-safe city in Italy or Europe, but it is actually a safe destination for tourists! Of course, it always depends on what you compare it with and what you mean by dangerous.

On the Numbeo ranking of the 158 most criminal cities in Europe, Palermo is considered to have a higher crime rate than Milan but still remains less dangerous than some capitals such as Rome or London.

With that said, the dangers you can encounter in Palermo are limited to theft of jewelry/cell phones, pickpockets, scams, etc.

Don’t imagine shooting between mafia gangs or anything like that (if there is a Mafia, you will never see it!).

However, we still want to avoid all of the above, right?

There are for sure some better neighborhoods to stay in Palermo in total safety and other areas or streets where small crimes are more likely to happen. I created a list below to help you avoid them. 

  • The ZEN district/ Zona Espansione North – Located in the North of Palermo, it’s a very poor district, so chances to be robbed here can be higher. For this reason and because it is quite far from the historic sites of the capital of Sicily, this is definitely not the best area to stay in Palermo.
  • Brancaccio district Set only 5 km (3 miles) from the historic center, this area has the reputation of being dangerous and is also under the control of the Mafiosi.
  • Villagrazia Falsomiele – Located on the Southern outskirts of Palermo, this is not a good area to explore Palermo.
  • Ballaro Palermo – You will find this area in the Center of Palermo and it actually has a great atmosphere during the day, thanks to its huge market, beautiful architecture and old churches… just avoid it at night!

FAQs about where to stay in Palermo, Sicily

A bustling European square with outdoor cafes, people dining, an old building, and a statue in the center; a bicyclist and a colorful three-wheeled vehicle are on the road.

📍What are the best places to stay in Palermo?

The best area to stay in Palermo, Italy, is Centro Storico and its districts like Castellammare and La Kalsa.

🟢 What is the safest part of Palermo?

The areas in Centro Storico (Kalsa, Castellammare) and Downtown Palermo (Politeama Libertà) are considered very safe for tourists. I definitely recommend staying here, as you’ll feel safe and be surrounded with tourists.

💃🏻 Where to stay in Palermo for nightlife?

The best areas to stay in Palermo to enjoy some of the best nightlife in Sicily are Borgo Vecchio, Mondello or Politeama Libertà, all of them offering great restaurants and bars! 

💵 Where to stay in Palermo on a budget?

The best place to stay in Palermo on a budget is La Kalsa, one of the best areas for its central position, perfect for exploring local Palermo attractions.

👪 Are there any family-friendly areas to stay in Palermo?

Yes, Politeama Libertà is great for families! The best hotel to stay in Palermo with the family is Grand Hotel Et Des Palmes if you’re looking for luxury, and Better & Better if you want to stay in Palermo on a budget.

🏖️ Where should I stay in Palermo if I’m looking for a beach experience?

Mondello is one of Italy’s most famous resorts, and it’s located just a short ride from Palermo. It’s the perfect place to stay if you’re looking for a beach vacation!

🚗 Where to stay in Palermo with a car?

Anywhere outside of Centro Storico! The very center of Palermo can get hectic during the rush hour, and you’re unlikely to find parking spots.

🚶 Is Palermo a walkable city?

Yes! Palermo is a very walkable city, it has plenty of vehicle-restricted areas and a lovely infrastructure for pedestrians. In fact, I recommend you explore Palermo on foot alone, and only take the car or public transport if you want to go outside of the city borders.

3️⃣ How many days is enough for Palermo?

At least 3 days! I’d go with up to 5 days if you want to head to the beach along with exploring all the beautiful squares, old streets, markets, and restaurants of Palermo!

Final thoughts on where to stay in Palermo, Italy

Evening view of Palermo Cathedral with illuminated statues and historic architecture under a blue sky.

From the sandy beaches of Mondello to the history of Borgo Vecchio and the mix of cultures of the central La Kalsa, you have a lot to explore here in Palermo! Hopefully, my guide helped you decide where to stay in this historic city!

If you’re still not sure about where to spend your amazing holiday in Palermo, I will give you my favorite options with a central location and great quality:

  • Hotel Politeama – luxurious hotel with a central location in Palermo: definitely one of the best places to stay in Downtown Palermo
  • Zefiro Suites – enjoy excellent service in this mid-range hotel in Palermo located in the Kalsa neighborhood!

Just make sure to book them as in advance as you can if you want to secure yourself a spot!

If you have been to Palermo and want to share your personal experience or simply have some questions, feel free to share them in the comments below! I’ll be very happy to answer!

Have an amazing trip!


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Aerial view of Piazza Pretoria in Palermo, Italy, featuring a large central fountain surrounded by historic buildings and visitors. Text overlay reads, "Where to stay in Palermo, Italy".

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