Palermo, on the Italian island of Sicily, has an undeniably eastern vibe, with bustling squares surrounded by sandstone architecture, influenced by the Arabs, Normans, Spaniards and Phoenicians, giving it a unique atmosphere and style, with fascinating sights at every turn.
It is hard not to get wrapped up in the energy of the Palermo city centre, where the maze of narrow streets overflow with shops, restaurants and Baroque churches, then suddenly open into flamboyant squares. The old city centre, the Quattro Canti, holds some beautiful historical gems, including the Cappella Palatina, the Norman Cathedral and the Palazzo Reale (Royal Palace), the finest medieval court in Europe.
The Convento dei Cappuccini catacombs make for mesmerizing viewing from a Palermo apartment, but it is best not to go around meal times as the corpse lines catacombs is more than slightly macabre.
However, if you would like a break from the break neck pace of life in Palermo city centre, the magnificent beaches of the Tyrrhenian Sea are waiting just a few miles from your self catering Palermo apartment. The atmosphere on Mondello Beach is quite different; relaxed and peaceful, where time seems to stand still, and you can while away many hours on the soft sand, listening to the water gently lapping the shore. Sferracavallo Beach is even more peaceful, and is backed by some excellent Palermo restaurants.
Climbing Mt Etna, Europe’s most active volcano, is a hugely popular activity from a Palermo apartment, but you must seek the advice of experts before embarking on any trip to Mt Etna as weather conditions can vary, and thus make the trip very dangerous.
Average temperatures in Palermo never drop below 12°C, making it a perfect spot to escape the winter blues. Summer is hot and dry, with average temperatures of 28°C, making the beaches of Palermo an instant attraction.
Palermo International Airport (PMO) is 30km outside of the city centre, but there are regular busses which will take you directly to the front door of your Palermo accommodation rental. Flying London to Palermo takes only a few hours, and you can be settled in your holiday rental villa in Palermo very quickly after leaving the UK, provided by Ryanair.