Discover a fantastic mix of Arab-Norman, Byzantine and Baroque history and architecture on this day trip from Cefalu to Monreale and Palermo, Sicily’s capital. Enjoy a scenic coach drive along the Tyrrhenian Sea to Monreale to visit magnificent Monreale Cathedral, one of the finest Norman churches in the world. Follow with a walking tour of Palermo’s highlights such as Mercato di Capo market, La Martorana church and the mysterious Capuchin Catacombs.
After pickup from select Cefalu hotels and locations by coach, relax on the scenic 1-hour drive along the Tyrrhenian coast to Monreale, on the slopes of Monte Caputo overlooking Palermo. Monreale was named for the once numerous citrus orchards that dotted the fertile La Conca d’Oro valley below.Walk with your guide to Monreale Cathedral, considered one of the finest Norman constructions in the world, built as a royal complex in the 12th century. The exterior of the cathedral is rather unassuming, but step inside to be mesmerized by towering arches, glorious golden mosaics and famous artworks. Follow your cathedral tour with some free time to explore the town and enjoy views over the valley.Hop on the coach for a quick drive to Palermo, situated in a wide Tyrrhenian bay at the foot of Monte Pellegrino. Enjoy a walking tour of Sicily’s capital, teeming with impressive art and ruins, Byzantine buildings and Baroque churches. Learn why there are so many Arab-Norman monuments scattered throughout the city, a legacy of both dynasties ruling in Palermo.Visit Piazza Bellini to see La Martorana church, one of Palermo's most famous Norman churches with spectacular Byzantine mosaics inside. Pause for photos outside of Palermo Cathedral, with its elegant Arabic arches and blue-gray dome.After some free time, continue to Teatro Massimo, the opera house, and then saunter through colorful Ballarò Street Market or Mercato di Capo to browse heaving stalls of fresh food and Arabic handicrafts.Then, enjoy some free time for lunch — choose from a variety of local restaurants and cafes to enjoy a traditional Sicilian meal (own expense). In the afternoon, head to the fascinating Capuchin Catacombs of Palermo, built in the 16th century by Palermo’s Capuchin monastery. Originally intended as a burial crypt for monks, the catacombs became a status symbol for Sicilian society. Follow your guide through a spooky web of subterranean passages featuring some 8,000 mummified bodies still dressed in their absolute best. Back above ground, hop in the coach for your return drive to Cefalu. Your tour concludes in the evening when you arrive back at the departure point.