Palermo is blessed with attractions in its environs that can be explored easily as side trips. Monreale, with its cathedral, is such an important sight that it is considered among greater Palermo's major attractions.

If you don't have time to range far in your explorations, however, you can take an excursion to 600m (1,969-ft.) Monte Pellegrino, towering over the city.

For many Palermitans, a warm summer day means one thing—a trip to Mondello Lido, 12km (7 1/2 miles) west of Palermo, where Belle Epoque Europeans once came to winter. Their Art Nouveau villas face a sandy beach that stretches for about 2km (1 1/4 miles), though there’s little or no elbow room in July and August. Bus no. 806 makes the 30-minute trip from a stop on Via Libertà next to the Giardino Inglese.

Should you wish to do more than lie on a beach, many other sights are within easy reach of Palermo. See the destination guides for Cefalù and Segesta.

Red-Hot Lava & Sparkling Seas: Aeolian Island Escapes

The Aeolian Islands can seem like exotic getaways, even as close as they are to Sicily’s civilized north coast (they’re reached by ferries and hydrofoils from the port of Milazzo). The seven islands share sparkling waters and lava-etched landscapes, and each has its own devotees. Especially popular are Vulcano, a stomping ground for summertime partiers and known for black-sand beaches and thermal baths, and Stromboli, whose volcano sends red-hot lava tumbling down its slopes to meet the sea with a loud hiss.


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