Sicily Guides

A thirty-minute bus ride from Palermo’s Plaza Politeama brought us to the seaside town of Mondello. Settled between two rocky hills which jut into the sea, and with a beach that has the bluest water this side of the Caribbean, Mondello makes an excellent day trip from the city.

Trapped between Monte Pelligrino and Monte Gallo, Mondello was a fishing village for most of its existence, until its white beach and turquoise water were discovered by the leisure classes of Palermo. Nowadays, it’s almost purely a resort town, and highly congested during summer. When we visited on the last day of September, though, there weren’t too many other people and the water was still warm enough for swimming.

There’s nothing quite like diving into crystal blue water, only to be greeted by a pristine mountain landscape when you emerge. I did this over and over again, diving into the water, then emerging, and whipping my hair about like a modern-day Ursula Andress, while admiring the scenery. On my fifth round, Jürgen was kind enough to point out that I don’t have a luxurious golden mane, and my head-whipping looked like I was having a seizure. And it was making my hairy belly undulate unattractively. Sigh.

Mondello itself isn’t a compelling town, too modern and small. Because the area was susceptible to malaria outbreaks, development had to wait for 19th-century sanitation improvements. But although Mondello lacks the sense of history evident in other Sicilian towns, there are some gorgeous private residences and resorts. The architectural highlight is indisputably the art noveau balneario, built in 1912, which is set in the bay and only accessible from a pier.

We prodded some friends for a restaurant recommendation in Mondello, and there was a disconcerting unanimity from them: “Go to El Calogero”. Packed onto the seaside promenade with every other restaurant in town, El Calogero sticks out for its incredible seafood, long history and great atmosphere. Locals, and those in the know, eschew a table and gobble fresh octopus while standing at the window.

Mondello is on Palermo’s urban bus system, so getting there costs just €1,30 and couldn’t be easier. Look for bus #806 which runs every half hour, and more frequently during summer.

Location on our Sicily Map

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Easy Way to Learn Italian with Larry Aiello

    I remember going to Mondello as a boy, and now whenever I get back there, it is still absolutely beautiful.   It’s a great way to escape the hustle and bustle of Palermo.  This is also a great spot on a Friday or Saturday night as there are some good places to eat and drink around the beach.  Thanks for the post, I liked the pictures.  Larry

  2. Caroline Dewey

    Wow, such outstanding pictures, great eye for angles and all the natural beauty. I enjoyed Mondello from their Webcam at Albaria Club. You see, I am here in the United States and had a family member over there. Of course with 6-hrs difference from the midwest USA and Palermo, I had to stay up very late to view the “Sunrise” over the right side of Mondello, gorgeous soft-wave beach. Often I could see a small boat come in, someone walking a dog in the early hours, jogging the beach, or kids at play “football” as we call “soccer” here in U.S., in the same way we would be throwing a frizbee or beach ball. That was their game, and so unique from what we are accustomed. Thank you for all your posting. Oh, another great feature about the 24-hr webcam was that their image relayed “in real time”; it was not a photo updating every few minutes. It is a true webcam, where you can enjoy the sight of the waves lapping up onto the shore, and the images of the Wind Surf Festival. Remarkable! -Native FortWaynian from Indiana U.S.A.

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