The busiest resort town on the coast after Cefalù, Capo d'Orlando was founded – legend tells us – when one of Charlemagne's generals, a chap called Orlando, stood on the capo (headland) and declared it a fine place to build a castle. The ruins of this structure are still visible. In 1299 Frederick II of Aragon was defeated here by the rebellious baron Roger of Lauria, backed up by the joint forces of Catalonia and Anjou. More-recent rebels include the town's shopkeepers and traders, who made a name for themselves in the 1990s with their stand against the Mafia's demands for pizzo (protection money).

Visitors come here for the beaches, both sandy and rocky, that are on either side of town. The best swimming is to the east.