Located on the northwest coast of Sicily, Palermo is the capital city of this region. It’s a deceptively large city for what is quite a small island off the coast of mainland Italy. While the historic center where most of the main landmarks are covers a tiny section of the city, there are actually 12 neighborhoods and 650,000 residents in Palermo.
Some of the best neighborhoods in Palermo are compact and only a short walk away from other districts. In those cases, finding out where is the best place to stay in Palermo won’t make as much difference. But only if you’re not on a budget, as some neighborhoods in Palermo, Italy are more budget-friendly than others! And there are definitely better places to stay in Palermo if you’re traveling with kids or you’re road-tripping around Sicily and need to park your car.
This guide will cover all types of Palermo accommodation options near the top Palermo attractions from hostels to luxury Palermo hotels in the best Palermo neighborhoods. You’ll also learn how to decide where to stay in Palermo, Italy and where to stay near Palermo airport, the beaches, or all the best foodie places.
We will cover off all types of Palermo accommodation options from Hostels to luxury Palermo hotels as well as how to decide where to stay in Palermo 2023, the best Palermo hotels, best places in Palermo to visit, the best places to stay in Palermo, hotels near Palermo attractions, Palermo neighborhood guide and many more.
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Monte di Pietà (Downtown Palermo) – Where to Stay in Palermo for First Timers
The historic center in Palermo is divided into four almost equal sections. The Quattro Canti monument sits in the middle of downtown Palermo and the two roads (Via Vittorio Emanuele and Via Maqueda) cut through it like a cross. The neighborhood in the top left corner is Monte di Pietà or Il Capo to locals.
This is an excellent location to base yourself for your first time in Palermo because it has a little bit of everything. Palermo is famous for its street food and produce markets, so no trip to the Sicilian capital would be complete without browsing through the offerings at Mercato del Capo. It’s also home to Teatro Massimo, not only the biggest opera house in Italy but one of the biggest in Europe. Palermo Cathedral is also in this neighborhood, so it really is the best place to stay in Palermo, Sicily to be close to the main attractions.
Accommodation in this neighborhood consists of mid-range hotels, beds and breakfasts, and apartments. For that reason, it’s ideal for couples and travelers seeking comfort and convenience.
Where to Stay in Monte di Pietà (Downtown Palermo):
Albergheria (Old Town) – Where to Stay in Palermo to Live Like a Local
In the bottom left corner just off the Quattro Canti is Albergheria. This is the Old Town where you’ll find the many labyrinthine streets, dilapidated buildings, and small cafes. While there are still hostels and hotels in this neighborhood, most are converted palaces and apartment buildings which give it a more local feel.
Palermo is home to several churches, palaces, and cathedrals that make up the Arab-Norman UNESCO World Heritage Site. One of the best examples is the Norman Palace and Palatine Chapel at the edge of this district. You can find respite from the busy city in Villa Bonanno park and eat a refreshing local granita from Caffetteria del Corso which is like a sorbet and a snow cone.
If you’re looking for the friendliest accommodation in Palermo, Sicily, check into the Double H Hostel. And if you want good value for money then book a stay in Palazzo Brunaccini. You can pretend to live like Sicilian royalty for a few days!
Where to Stay in Albergheria (Old Town)
La Kalsa – Where To Stay in Palermo on a Budget
La Kalsa is a puzzler. It’s another neighborhood just off the Quattro Canti and arguably, out of all four of these neighborhoods, it’s the one that encompasses most of the Centro Storico. This is the true historic center of Palermo with the city’s main square and some of the most well-known churches. You’d think a neighborhood in such a central location would be an expensive place to stay, but it’s the exact opposite.
You’ll find the Piazza Pretoria in this neighborhood which is named after the infamous Pretoria fountain (and all its nude statues) that dominates this square. The Norman-Byzantine Church of Santa Maria dell’Ammiraglio and the grand Church of Santa Caterina d’Alessandria are just around the corner too. But the rest of the neighborhood is fairly sleepy during the day and comes alive at night. It attracts a young crowd to its many bars like Extra Hop, Gudà Bar, and Goccio.
Sunshine Hostel is a firm favorite for budget travelers in Sicily. But if you’d prefer to stay in a cheap hotel, Palermo can deliver in this neighborhood too.
Where to Stay in La Kalsa
Castellammare – Where to Stay in Palermo for Foodies
The final city center district in Palermo in the top right corner just off the Quattro Canti is Castellammare. This is where you’ll find Palermo harbor but it’s also where all the lively restaurants on Via Maqueda, a pedestrianized street, are situated. It might seem like too much of a tourist trap to offer great foodie options but you’ll see that lots of locals flock here for dinner too.
Taverna Dei Canti and Maqueda Bistrot are two restaurants that serve delicious dinners and offer huge wine selections for local prices. Afterward, you can wander down the street to Cannolissimo to sample some of Sicily’s world-renowned sweet treats. But if you’re still hankering after gelato, Gelateria La Kala is only a short walk away by the harbor. You can also sample authentic Sicilian street food in this neighborhood at Passami ù coppu.
One of Palermo’s busiest streets, Via Roma, cuts through the middle of Castellammare. And with all the fine dining options and fancy boutique hotels, this is one of the more expensive areas to stay in Palermo.
Where to Stay in Castellammare
Cheapest Backpacking Hostels in Castellammare:
Politeama Libertà – Where to Stay in Palermo With Kids
North of Castellammare along the coast is Politeama Libertà. This is a slightly less bustling and hectic part of the city as you’re further away from most of the main Palermo attractions. In this district, you have all the high street and designer shops as well as some of the quieter bars and restaurants. Plus, Politeama Libertà is a little bit further away from the slightly seedier neighborhoods to the south.
Thanks to its array of Art Nouveau architecture, it’s a beautiful part of the city to wander around without heading anywhere in particular. You can enjoy a run around Piersanti Mattarella park and the grounds around Villa Trabia.
There are plenty of hotels and apartments in this district. And it’s essential to find multi-room accommodation when you’re traveling with kids! Plus, because Politeama Libertà is a little further away from central Palermo, prices are lower than average too.
Where to Stay in Politeama Libertà
Cheapest Backpacking Hostels in Politeama Libertà:
Casa Di Amici Boutique Hostel
Borgo Vecchio – Where to Stay in Palermo With a Car
Though the streets desperately need updating and the local drivers aren’t the friendliest, Sicily is the perfect size for a one or two-week road trip. There are lots of historic UNESCO World Heritage Sites, charming coastal cities, and farms to stock up on local produce. But you don’t need a car to get around Palermo even if you have accessibility needs. You’ll struggle to find parking and, with all the pedestrianized streets, it will take you ages to get anywhere. Public transport and taxis are much better options.
That’s why the best area to stay in Palermo with a car is Borgo Vecchio which is also sometimes called Principe Di Palagonia. This is a large neighborhood on the outskirts of Palermo right next to the E90 highway. The road stretches along Sicily’s northern coastline and it helpfully wraps around Palermo making it easier to drive in and out of the city from Borgo Vecchio. And because it’s a quieter and less densely populated area, you’re far more likely to find parking spaces.
Where to Stay in Borgo Vecchio
Mondello District – Where to Stay in Palermo Near Beach
One of the best reasons to visit Palermo is because it’s a city break and a beach break rolled into one. Mondello is a neighborhood in the top west corner of the city on the coast. You can easily travel there from Palermo city center by bus. But if your plan is to spend as much time as possible sunning yourself and swimming in the Tyrrhenian Sea, then you’d be better off staying close by.
And there are tons of other things to do in Mondello aside from lounging on the beach. If you’re an active person, you’ll love exploring the nearby Capo Gallo and Cave Conza Nature Reserves which have lots of hiking and cycling trails. You’ll also find plenty of restaurants serving seafood and light Mediterranean fare.
Luckily, there are lots of apartments, bed & breakfasts, and budget resorts near the beach so you have lots of options despite this being a smaller, quiet neighborhood. Rooms by the Sea is a reasonably priced hotel with gorgeous views of the sea. And if you have the cash to splash, you could stay in one of the luxury suites at Villa Masetta which has its own pool and beach access for hotel guests only.
Where to Stay in Mondello
Terrasini – Where To Stay Near Palermo Airport
Palermo–Boccadifalco Airport is a very small, domestic airport just outside the center of the city. As a traveler, it’s very unlikely you will fly into this airport. So if you have an early flight out of Palermo or a late flight in, you’ll want to stay near Palermo Falcone & Borsellino Airport. This is the larger, international airport near the Punta Raisi train station.
The beachside neighborhood of Terrasini is the perfect area to stay near the airport because it’s not only beautiful but has tons of accommodation options. Before your flight, you can take a relaxing stroll along Magaggiari or La Praiola beach or grab a bite at one of the many seafood restaurants here.
Where to Stay in Terrasini
Added Extra: Areas to Avoid in Palermo
Most of Palermo’s neighborhoods are safe to explore during the day, with a travel partner, are clean (enough), and are close to lots of the top attractions. But organized and petty crime is still an issue in Palermo. Though the Sicilian mafia has gone underground, they are very much still a presence in this city and the rest of the island.
The ZEN (Zone Espansione North) district is unfortunately one of the poorer neighborhoods in Palermo and the petty crime rates are high. This isn’t somewhere where you want to spend a lot of time at night, especially alone. Luckily, this neighborhood is between Mondello and Politeama Libertà so, even though you might travel through it, there are no main attractions and no reason to spend a lot of time here anyway
Both Brancaccio and Villagrazia have a reputation for having a lot of mafia-related activity, more so than anywhere else in the city. Brancaccio is close to Palermo’s central train station and there are a couple of bed and breakfasts nearby but it’s unlikely you would stumble into any of these neighborhoods by accident as they are a few km away from the Quattro Canti.
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