In this Sicilian travel blog, I will give you tips, information and inspirations on the Northern part of Sicily. In this part of Sicily: drive past the dramatic beach and mountain scenery of this Tyrrhenian Coast, you can visit the coastal beach town of Cefalù and explore the area of Milazzo where you can take the boat to the Aeolian Islands too. See below my route and tips and information on my accommodations, restaurants and places to visit in North Sicily!
Drive the Scenic Tyrrhenian Coast
That morning after some beach time in Mondello near Palermo I drove for ±70km to Cefalù. This road is in the beginning not very spectacular, you will pass the greater area of Palermo, but then you come to a very nice part of the coast. I love to drive the scenic route and not the highway, you will see a lot more, but it takes time too. Make your choice of preference, you can change now and then too, that is what I did too.
Tip: To save time you can take the highway E90 instead of the scenic SS113; they can charge you toll at the end. The highways have a lot of tunnels and bridges.
On the SS113 road, you can stop next to the road at some beautiful bays and beaches. The second part on the Tyrrhenian Coast from Cefalù to Milazzo was as just as scenic as the first part. Here around the town of Tindari you can find the Santuario della Madonna del Tindari; housing the black Madonna of Tindari. From this town down you have a spectacular view down on the Riserva Naturale Orientata Laghetti di Marinello; small lakes and a long sandbar surrounded by the sparkling blue Tyrrhenian Sea.
Chill in the Beach Town of Cefalù
Cefalù is a unique tourist attraction with a perfect white beach, nice medieval town with narrow streets, squares with nice shops and restaurants and again the Arab-Norman architectural buildings. The mountain in the back and the Duomo di Cefalù in front makes it a visit worthwhile. Cefalù’s cathedral is another jewel with Byzantine mosaics like the one in Monreale and Cappella Palatina; the latest is still my favourite.
Tip: Bring cloths with you to cover the uncovered parts of your body, I was not let in (only back part) because of that.
The square around the Duomo is full of bars and restaurants and has a great vibe; perfect to stroll the cobbled streets in the afternoon when the sun is not to bright. Time for an aperitive!
Cefalù is a popular holiday destination with accommodations which can vary from large resorts to small B&B’s. The streets are cute and full of nice souvenir shops, ice cream shops and many restaurants. The Spiaggia di Cefalù is full of private beach resorts but also some public areas where you can hire an umbrella and lounge chair (15 EUR per day).
I rented an inflatable SUP board for 10 EUR per hour at Piranha Sup Surf School on the beach. You know me, love being on and in the water; supping is ideal for me when there are no waves for surfing. The scenery is idyllic, with the mountain in the back, the church in front, blue clear waters and passing sailing ship; don’t want to leave!!!
Where to Stay and Eat in Cefalù
Lirma B&B is a very charming Sicilian house with five rooms and a nice garden with flowers. The rooms are clean and the service is perfect. I paid 90 EUR for one night, one person including a very nice extended local breakfast. The B&B is located only 50 from the beach! A real recommendation if you are lucky to have one of the five rooms in this family house.
FoodSicily Market: This place has the best panini’s and Italian delicacies you wish for! I went here couple of times for a good lunch panini and even shopped some pasta to bring back home. This market is located right behind the beach; perfect to get your proviant here.
In Cefalù there are many nice restaurants and places where you can get good food. I experienced no bad meals here in Sicily; all is fresh and reasonably priced. Cefalù is a touristic place and here the prices are higher than in other less touristic places; I sometimes take it easy and eat only a panini or only pasta, depends on my breakfast or lunch.
Milazzo was not on the list to visit at first, but to complete the circle around Sicily I stopped here for one night. After my SUP adventure in Cefalù I got my bags out the B&B and drove via the SS113 and some parts E90 to Milazzo. The distance is about 150km, but there is a big difference in time between the highway (±1,5 hour) and scenic route (±3,5 hours). I changed between the two a couple of times, prefer the SS113, but it is slow and exhausting. After some nice viewpoints I ended up at the Peninsula of Milazzo. Milazzo is the main gateway to the Aeolian Islands; here you can take a tour or hydrofoil to the seven islands of the volcanic archipelago.
In the evening I strolled along the boulevard of Milazzo and the next morning I drove up the Capo Milazzo. It’s a scenic drive along the coast with amazing views where you can see the Aeolian Islands in the back. From here you can walk up and down to the Piscina di Venere or Venus Pool; where you can swim and relax at the natural pools of turquoise waters. The walk to it was stunning already; with olive trees and cactus with the colourful prickly pears (cactusvijgen in Dutch).
On the way back I passed the Castello di Milazzo; an original Greek acropolis but then an Arab-Norman citadel with a lot of history. No time to visit; heading to the lovely Taormina!!
Where to Stay and Eat in Milazzo
I booked last minute the brand new and stylish Upper Rooms Bed & Breakfast near the port of Milazzo; negotiated a rate of 60 EUR including rooftop breakfast. I booked here just one night between Cefalù and Taormina. The rooms are very comfortable, mine was called the Acqua Marina and located on the fifth floor with city view. The shower was very luxurious and the breakfast on the rooftop gave me a perfect holiday feeling. The view over the port was lovely and the service even better; a big recommendation if you can stay here!
Time for some good pizza again, that is why you are in Sicily for right?! The lady from Upper Rooms recommend me to go to Doppio Zero, where they offer the best pizza in town at a modern, popular and busy restaurant.