Palermo is a brightly coloured town brimming with history and intricate culture. Travellers who journey to this part of Italy often fall under the charming spell of this city, and succumb to the allures of its food as well.

The city of Palermo is the most populated city in Sicily and is located on the North side of the Island of Sicily, across the sea from Naples. The city is rich in history, culture, music, art and (most importantly) FOOD!

Travellers flock to this magnificent city to soak in the Mediterranean warmth and its mouth-watering cuisine. Not to mention its monumental Romanesque, Baroque and Gothic churches, palaces and buildings.

Whether you want to enjoy the natural scenery, shop til’ you drop, or explore the history of the region – you’ll be spoiled for choice with things to do in this city.

However, it’s important to decide where to stay in Palermo to make the most of your visit. The best area to stay in will completely depend on you, your budget and what you want to see and do in Palermo.

Without me as your trusty guide, this could be a tricky task. But never fear! You’ve come to the right place. I’m going to teach you everything you need to know about the areas in Palermo.

By the end of this guide, YOU will be the expert and more than ready to decide which area is best for you.

So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to get scrollin’!

A person walking down a street in Rome, Italy
Let me take you on a tour of Palermo!
Photo: Nic Hilditch-Short

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Where is the Best Place to Stay in Palermo?

Looking for a specific place to stay? These are my top recommendations for places to stay in Palermo.

Hotel Ambasciatori Palermo | Best Hotel in Palermo

Hotel Ambasciatori Palermo Italy

This luxury hotel in Palermo has everything you look for in a perfect hotel: comfort, convenience, and a sweet price tag. With free Wi-Fi and chic, elegant rooms, it’s got all the bases covered for both short and long stays. It’s a stone’s throw from the railway station, making it a breeze to get around, and you’ll be just a quick stroll away from a bunch of shops, cafes, and restaurants.

Bed and Breakfast Alla Vucciria | Best Hostel in Palermo

Bed and Breakfast Alla Vucciria, Palermo Italy

Need to spend some quality time with fellow backpackers? Get your fix by staying at one of the best hostels in Palermo! This accommodation option is located in the heart of the most interesting and popular attractions in the entire city. Each room has a private bathroom and the owner offers a delicious breakfast of warm croissants, fruit and bread each morning.

If you’re looking for accommodation that’s like a home away from home then you’ll find it because the owner works hard to create this atmosphere.

View of the Capo Market | Best Airbnb in Palermo

View of the Capo Market, Palermo Italy

If you’re going to stay in Centro Storico, the best neighbourhood in Palermo to stay in to be close to the action, then you need a pad with some authentic, historic flair. This apartment boasts a central location, private balcony and space for up to four peeps. You’ll get epic views of the Capo Market right from your window. Plus, it’s got free parking, a total win for anyone road-tripping around Sicily!

Palermo Neighborhood Guide – Best Places to Stay in Palermo

FIRST TIME IN PALERMO
Palermo Sicily
FIRST TIME IN PALERMO

Centro Storico

The beating heart of Palermo is the Centro Storico, or the Old Town, which brings the city’s colourful culture and rich history to life. Encounter hidden gems, quaint cobblestone streets, and magnificent architectural marvels in this historical centre.

ON A BUDGET
shutterstock - palermo - Borgo Vecchio
ON A BUDGET

Borgo Vecchio

If you want to find the best places in Palermo to stay outside of the city center, then Borgo Vecchio is a good choice. It’s located between the port area and the high-end neighborhoods.

FOR FAMILIES
palermo - Politeama Liberta
FOR FAMILIES

Politeama – Libertà (Downtown Palermo)

Politeama Libertà is the newest part of Palermo’s city center and a great choice when you’re deciding where to stay with kids. You won’t find many pickpockets in this area as it’s the safest part of the city, which can be a big draw when you’re visiting with your family.

NEAR THE BEACH
palermo - mondello
NEAR THE BEACH

Mondello

If you’re deciding where to stay in Palermo on a budget or just want to be on the beach, then Modello is the best place to stay. This area is on the beach and offers relaxation and calm away from the frenzied tourist parts of the city.

Palermo is the capital of Sicily, arguably one of Italy’s most stunning islands. Palermo has got a whopping 25 neighbourhoods, each with its own unique vibe and charm.

While some areas might be best avoided due to safety concerns, that doesn’t mean you should write off the whole city! Palermo has many safe and tourist-friendly areas, each with its own unique history, fascinating locals, and mouthwatering food.

First up is Palermo’s Old Town, Centro Storico, a cultural treasure trove located in the heart of the city. With easy access to all of the major landmarks and a melting pot of cultures, staying here means you’ll have the city’s main attractions right at your fingertips. It’s the best option for first-timers in Palermo.

old town square in palermo
The city just OOZES old-world charm

Next, consider Mondello—an oasis of relaxation just a stone’s throw from the hustle and bustle of central Palermo. Perfect for you beach bums looking to unwind without straying too far from the action. Then there’s Borgo Vecchio, where old-world charm meets vibrant nightlife. This area offers the best of both worlds, with easy access to central Palermo and a distinctly different vibe to discover.

Last but not least, if you’re willing to splash out a bit, Politeama Libertà is the place to be. Sure, it might be a bit pricier, but the elegant restaurants and upscale shopping malls make it worth every penny. It’s not the most budget-friendly option, but if you’re after the best hotels in the city, this is where you’ll find them.

Palermo’s Four Best Neighborhoods to Stay in

If you’re ready to start booking your Palermo accommodation, then here are Palermo’s best neighbourhoods…

1. Centro Storico – Where to Stay in Palermo for Your First Time

The beating heart of Palermo is the Centro Storico, or the Old Town, which brings the city’s colourful culture and rich history to life. Encounter hidden gems, quaint cobblestone streets, and magnificent architectural marvels in this historical centre.

La Kalsa is one of Centro Storico’s most iconic districts; it’s a large neighbourhood that perfectly captures Palermo’s rich history. La Kalsa offers a fascinating combination of cultures and influences, making it one of the city’s coolest places to stay. Palermo’s gorgeous alleyways are studded with historic churches, medieval houses, and tiny antique shops, offering a glimpse into its renowned history.

The district has been revitalized by recent restorations, which have turned it into a vibrant community full of excellent clubs, restaurants, and bars. Large pedestrian zones make it fun to stroll around on foot, letting tourists take in the neighbourhood’s distinct ambience.

old town Palermo Sicily
The beautiful square in Old Town

Monte di Pietà is another notable district in the very centre of Centro Storico. This is where all the history of the city seems to congregate in a stunning display of major monuments and buildings that will take you right back to medieval times and beyond.

The accessibility and safety of Centro Storico are what make it unique. It’s one of the safest areas in the city despite its vibrant atmosphere and rich history. It’s the ideal starting location for your Palermo getaway, with easy access to all of the city’s main attractions in the historic centre and some of its best hotels. Whether you’re a history buff looking to learn about Palermo’s past or a foodie craving authentic Sicilian cuisine, Centro Storico has something for everyone.

Hotel Mediterraneo Palermo | Best Mid-Range Hotel in Centro Storico

Hotel Mediterraneo Palermo

This hotel is your go-to spot for an epic trip, right in the heart of Palermo’s liveliest area. With restaurants and bars just a stone’s throw away, you’ll be in the thick of the action. Plus, the elegant rooms come stocked with everything you need for a comfy stay, whether you’re here for a weekend or a longer getaway.

Bed and Breakfast D’Angelo | Best Budget Hotel in Centro Storico

Bed and Breakfast D’Angelo Palermo Italy

This hotel in Palermo is smack bang in the heart of Centro Storico, putting you right in the middle of all the historic goodness and major attractions. You’ll be waking up to breakfast included and crashing in rooms that suit every traveller—whether you’re flying solo or are travelling with the gang. It’s bright, it’s clean, and it’s the ultimate base camp for your Palermo adventures!

Hotel Ambasciatori Palermo | Best Luxury Hotel in Centro Storico

Hotel Ambasciatori Palermo Italy

This grand hotel in Palermo has everything you look for in a perfect hotel: comfort, convenience, and a sweet price tag. With free Wi-Fi and chic, elegant rooms, it’s got all the bases covered for both short and long stays. It’s a stone’s throw from the railway station, making it a breeze to get around, and you’ll be just a quick stroll away from a bunch of shops, cafes, and restaurants.

View of the Capo Market | Best Airbnb in Centro Storico

View of the Capo Market, Palermo Italy

If you’re going to stay in Centro Storico, the best neighbourhood in Palermo to stay in to be close to the action, then you need a pad with some authentic, historic flair. This apartment boasts a central location, private balcony and space for up to four peeps. You’ll get epic views of the Capo Market right from your window. Plus, it’s got free parking, a total win for anyone road-tripping around Sicily!

Things to See and Do in Centro Storico:

palermo - Monte di Pieta
  1. Spend a day admiring architectural marvels like the Palermo Cathedral and the Brancifote Palazzo.
  2. Visit the 2 absolute must-sees in the Sicilian capital – the Norman Palace complex and the royal Palatine Chapel with a knowledgeable local.
  3. Visit Norman Palace, a grand 9th-century royal palace with a neo-classical facade and historic chapel.
  4. Spend a day weaving yourself down tiny streets to find antique shops and unexpected boutiques.
  5. Learn about the Mafia and the civil anti-mafia movement on a guided walking tour through the historic centre of the city.
  6. See a show and experience the perfect acoustics at the beautiful Massimo Theater.
  7. Check out the famous Il Capo market, where the locals go for all the best and freshest produce in town.
  8. Wander through the old town and stop to taste a selection of street foods as you learn about local gastronomy and the city’s history.
  9. Learn about Sicily’s history of architecture at the Palazzo Conte Federico Museum.
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2. Borgo Vecchio – Best Area to Stay in Palermo On a Budget

If you want to find the best places in Palermo to stay outside the city centre, Borgo Vecchio is a good choice. Located between upscale residential neighbourhoods and the bustling port, this lively neighbourhood strikes the perfect balance—a vibrant buzz without the city centre chaos.

If you’re looking for lively nightlife, Borgo Vecchio has it all. Its bustling streets are lined with vibrant clubs that welcome all types of tourists, delicious restaurants, and lively bars. Borgo Vecchio offers something for everyone, whether you’re feeling like spending a relaxing evening sipping cocktails or a night of partying till dawn.

shutterstock - palermo - Borgo Vecchio

But what sets Borgo Vecchio apart is its proximity to the city centre. While you’ll enjoy the buzz of this dynamic neighbourhood, you’re still just a stone’s throw away from the historic streets and cultural treasures of central Palermo. In fact, Borgo Vecchio feels more like an extension of the centre rather than a separate area, making it the ideal base for exploring all that Palermo has to offer.

Hotel Vecchio Borgo | Best Mid-Range Hotel in Borgo Vecchio

Hotel Vecchio Borgo, Palermo Italy

This hotel is all about luxury and comfort, offering spacious rooms with stunning views of Palermo from the private balcony and terrace. Nestled between the historic old town and the bustling harbour, its central location couldn’t be better. The bathroom in particular is epic – it’s spacious and complete with a small jacuzzi-styled shower which is pure bliss after a day of exploring.

Castelnuovo B&B Palermo | Best Budget Hotel in Borgo Vecchio

Castelnuovo B and B Palermo

This elegant hostel in Palermo, nestled near the Borgo Vecchio neighbourhood, offers easy access to the city centre. Housed in a historic Art Nouveau building, the rooms are cosy and comfortable, making this one of the best Italian hostels, no matter what type of traveller you are!

Casa Costanza | Best Airbnb in Borgo Vecchio

Casa Costanza, Palermo Italy

Want your own apartment in Borgo Vecchio? This is the perfect pick whether you’re staying in Palermo for a quick overnighter or a longer getaway. With a family room for up to 3 people, it’s decked out with quirky furnishings, a private balcony and all the essentials you need for a comfy stay. Plus, it’s in the heart of Borgo Vecchio and even comes with free parking, making it a breeze to explore the area.

Things to See and Do in Borgo Vecchio:

woman walking down a classic narrow italian street in palermo
Time for an Aperol Spritz me thinks
  1. Experience 5 hand-picked Sicilian wines on a wine-tasting tour in a cosy wine bar.
  2. Go to a show at the iconic Teatro Politeama Garibaldi.
  3. Stroll down to Molo trapezoidale promenade by the coast.
  4. Spend an afternoon at Villa Malfitano, a historical villa with stunning grounds.
  5. Discover the highlights of Palermo on an open-top bus tour.
  6. Spend some time shopping as the locals do at the Ballaro Market.

3. Politeama – Libertà (Downtown Palermo) – Best Neighborhood in Palermo for Families to Stay In

Politeama Libertà is in downtown Palermo and is a great choice when you’re deciding where to stay with kids. It’s not only the safest part of the city, meaning you can enjoy peace of mind while exploring with your kids, but it’s also conveniently close to all the major attractions of Old Town. No need to fuss with public transport when everything’s within walking distance!

palermo - Politeama Liberta at nighttime with lights illuminating a historical building

Luxurious residences, hip bars, boutique shops, and fine dining establishments (even Michelin-guided restaurants too!) thrive in this affluent neighbourhood. It also has some of the best luxury hotels in the city, guaranteeing an incredibly lavish stay.

Palermo’s downtown provides excellent evenings out in a safe and authentically local atmosphere, with a thriving selection of bars and restaurants. This makes it a great area to stay in if you want an active nightlife while you’re in the city.

Liberty Suites | Best Mid-Range Hotel in Politeama Libertà

Liberty Suites, Palermo Italy

This is one of the coolest places to stay in Palermo. With comfy rooms and private bathrooms, it’s a stone’s throw from the city centre—no need to hassle with public transport. This hotel goes above and beyond with amenities including a concierge, bike rentals, a swimming pool, and even airport shuttle buses on request.

A Casa de Amici Boutique Hotel | Best Hostel in Politeama Libertà

A Casa de Amici Boutique Hotel Palermo Italy

This hostel in Palermo has unusual but charming rooms. It’s a contemporary art museum showcasing paintings, musical instruments and sculptures belonging to the Vitale family. It also offers dormitories and private rooms and is within a short walk from the airport bus stop for easy access in and out of the city.

Mini Loft | Best Airbnb in Politeama Libertà

Mini Loft Palermo Italy

It can be difficult to find budget places to stay in this area, but this apartment fits the bill perfectly. It’s located right in the centre of this part of the city and can hold up to three guests. The flat is located on the 3rd floor in an aristocratic palace and there’s an elevator so you don’t have to face all those stairs. The apartment also includes a private bathroom, living area, TV, and kitchen.

Things to See and Do in Politeama Libertà

Teatro Politeama in palermo
Teatro Politeama in all its glory
  1. Spend a day wandering the streets and popping into every interesting boutique and shop that you come across.
  2. Learn how to make pizza and chocolate gelato under the supervision of a chef during a cooking class.
  3. Catch a show at the Politeama Garibaldi Theater.
  4. Get to know Palermo’s famous opera house on a tour with a knowledgeable local.
  5. Discover Palermo through its markets and major monuments on a guided tour.
  6. Unwind at Parco Piersanti Mattarella, a city garden designed in English style dating from 1851, with water features, sculptures and monuments.
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4. Mondello – Best Place to Stay in Palermo near the Beach

If you’re looking to save some cash or craving a beach getaway, Mondello is the place to be. Nestled along the coast, this charming area offers a peaceful retreat away from the bustling tourist hubs of the city.

Not only does Mondello boast a stunning beach with crystal-clear waters and powdery sand, but it’s also dotted with elegant, historical buildings, adding to its beauty.

palermo - mondello
Now that’s some beautiful blue waters!

Mondello is generally more affordable than the city centre. It does have certain trade-offs, though. It can take a little more work to get about, but you’ll enjoy peace and quiet. To get about the city centre from Mondello, you’ll either need to rent a car or familiarise yourself with Palermo’s public transportation system.

But if you’re looking for a quiet, relaxed getaway, Mondello is the ideal area to stay in while visiting Palermo.

Al Baglio Palermo | Best Mid-Range Hotel in Mondello

Al Baglio Palermo

To have the ocean within arm’s reach, you should definitely consider staying at Al Baglio Palermo. It’s got everything you need, from a fitness centre to airport shuttle buses and a safe to stash your valuables. The rooms are bright and clean, with a minibar and tea and coffee facilities to keep you fueled for all your beachside adventures.

B&B L’Officina di Apollo | Best Bed&Breakfast in Mondello

B and B LOfficina di Apollo, Palermo Italy

This cute bed and breakfast in the heart of Mondello has everything you could dream of for your Palermo stay! Tucked away in a peaceful neighbourhood, you’re guaranteed a solid night’s sleep. It’s just a quick 900-metre stroll to the sea, and if you’re itching to explore more of Palermo, there’s a bus stop right around the corner connecting you to all the must-see spots. The charming rooms are spacious, bright, and cosy, and past guests rave about them.

Casetta Toto | Best Airbnb in Mondello

Casetta Toto, Palermo Italy

If you want to be close to the beach, this charming two-room cottage delivers big time. Just 100 metres from the shoreline, it’s your perfect beachside retreat. With a spacious private bathroom and family rooms for up to 4 guests, this spot offers a comfy, laid-back vibe in the best beach area of Palermo. Ideal for soaking up that seaside lifestyle!

Things to See and Do in Mondello:

mondello coastline in palermo
You’ll find epic coastlines here
  1. Slap on some suntan lotion and be a beach bum for a day or two.
  2. Sail to the Capo Gallo Nature Reserve, swim and snorkel in the Gulf of Mondello, or sunbathe on the deck on a private boat trip.
  3. Head out to Riserva Naturale Orientata Capo Gallo Sferracavallo nature trail for some beautiful coastal views.
  4. Visit the beautiful L’Ombelico del Mondo beach.
  5. Indulge in some traditional cuisine at Badalamenti Cucina e Bottega.
  6. Explore Belvedere di Monte Pellegrino, a beautiful vista point overlooking Palermo.
  7. Rent a car and head into the city centre to explore before returning to your peaceful oasis.
  8. If you’re visiting in summer, head out at night to enjoy Mondello’s amazing nightlife.
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FAQ about Finding a Place to Stay in Palermo

Here’s what people usually ask us about the areas of Palermo and where to stay.

What To Pack For Palermo

Pants, socks, underwear, soap?! Take it from me, packing for a hostel stay is not always quite as straightforward as it seems. Working out what to bring and what to leave at home is an art I have perfected over many years.

Product
Description
Don’t Let Snorers Keep You Awake!
Don’t Let Snorers Keep You Awake!

Ear Plugs

Snoring dorm-mates can ruin your nights rest and seriously damage the hostel experience. This is why I always travel with a pack of decent ear plugs.

Keep your laundry organized and stink free
Keep your laundry organized and stink free

Hanging Laundry Bag

Trust us, this is an absolute game changer. Super compact, a hanging mesh laundry bag stops your dirty clothes from stinking, you don’t know how much you need one of these… so just get it, thank us later.

Stay Dry With a Micro Towel
Stay Dry With a Micro Towel

Sea To Summit Micro Towel

Hostel towels are scummy and take forever to dry. Microfibre towels dry quickly, are compact, lightweight, and can be used as a blanket or yoga mat if need be.

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Reduce Plastic – Bring a Water Bottle!

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Check out my definitive Hotel Packing list for even more top packing tips!

Are there any areas of Palermo to avoid?

I recommend sticking to the areas I have listed. Sure, Palermo’s got its charm all over, but for safety’s sake, the tourist hotspots are your best bet.

Is Palermo a walkable city?

Absolutely! Palermo is super walkable and totally pedestrian-friendly. Major streets like Via Maqueda or Via Vittorio Emanuele are made for strolling, and the city centre even shuts out cars unless they have the city pass.

What is the coolest neighbourhood in Palermo?

Politeama Libertà is where it’s at. This swanky neighbourhood offers a taste of the city’s more affluent side, complete with high-end shopping and plenty of family-friendly activities. And it’s only a short walk from the Centro Storico, so you’ll still be close to all of the action.

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance for Palermo

Unfortunately, things can go wrong when you least expect it. This is why good travel insurance is essential before you head on your trip to Palermo.

ALWAYS sort out your backpacker insurance before your trip. There’s plenty to choose from in that department, but a good place to start is Safety Wing.

They offer month-to-month payments, no lock-in contracts, and require absolutely no itineraries: that’s the exact kind of insurance long-term travellers and digital nomads need.

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Final Thoughts on the Best Places to Stay in Palermo

So there you have it, I’ve given you the low down on all the best neighbourhoods that Palermo has to offer; now it’s up to you to see which is the best fit for you! Sicily is one of my favourite places in Italy and no trip is complete without visiting the beautiful Palermo.

From the historic charm of Centro Storico to the laid-back vibes of Mondello, each neighbourhood offers its own unique flavour and unforgettable experiences.

Whether you’re ballin’ on a budget backpacking Italy or ready to indulge in some serious Sicilian luxury, this city has got you covered. And if it’s your maiden voyage to Palermo, oh boy, you’re in for a treat!

For those looking to live it up, Hotel Ambasciatori Palermo is your best bet. It is aaaaall about the luxury here! And if you’ve gathered the gang for an Italian escapade, the View of the Capo Market Airbnb is where it’s at. This place oozes historic charm and boasts a killer location too.

So, whether you’re here for the sights, the food, or the unbeatable atmosphere, this charming Sicilian capital will welcome you with open arms. But fair warning: with all the cannoli you’ll be gorging on, you better arrive with an open heart and an empty stomach – trust me, you’re gonna need it!

Have you visited Palermo? Let me know if I missed anything in the comments!

Two women making pasta and italian food in Rome, Italy.
Patiently waiting for my pasta…
Image: Nic Hilditch-Short
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