With three hundred days of sunshine a year, a mild climate and unspoiled nature, Sicily is the largest Island in the Mediterranean, rich in history, culture and traditions. Now, Sicily as a destination may not be new to you, but, what may be, is a little gem called Cefalù, which offers visitors the best of both worlds. Beach lovers can find their bliss along a sandy beach while history and architecture buffs can find their joy walking Cefalù’s cobbled streets and exploring its ancient buildings. Such a spectacular destination, in fact, that global leaders in All-Inclusive holidays, Club Med, opened a 5-Trident resort in the region. What is it that makes this Sicilian destination so spectacular?
Exploration and wonder awaits
Lonely Planet sums it up best: “You won’t be alone in admiring Cefalù’s honey-hued stone buildings, mosaic-adorned cathedral and dramatic mountain backdrop; during summer, holidaymakers from all over Europe flock here to relax in resort hotels, stroll the narrow cobbled streets and sun themselves on the long sandy beach. The town is perfectly suited to slow, pedestrianised exploration. The little port is lined with fishing boats and populated with fishermen who can be observed maintaining their boats, mending their nets and discussing the day’s catch. The lungomare (seafront promenade) is popular for the passeggiata (evening stroll), as is the main street, Corso Ruggero.”
Small yet pretty, with the cathedral in Piazza Duomo its centerpiece, Cefalù boasts architecture such as the Cefalù Cathedral, and the Mandralisca Museum. Cefalú’s cathedrals form part of the Arab-Norman Palermo and the Cathedral Churches of Cefalú and Monreale UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Cathedral dates back to Norman times and the Mandralisca Museum is the former home of the baron Mandralisca. The museum currently houses art, a magnificent library, archaeological finds, and other valuables of the Mandralisca family.
La Rocca di Cefalù is one of the natural features that defines this charming town. It stands imposingly over the village; put on your hiking shoes and climb it for spectacular views of life below and the Mediterranean. Take some time to catch your breath, admire the stunning views, and capture a few photographs while you’re at the top.
One of the best ways to explore Cefalù is by choosing Club Med Cefalù as your haven. This resort, opened in 2018, is new to the Club Med family and is the first 5-Trident resort in Europe. With this comes all the personalised experiences you’ve come to associate with the brand’s Exclusive Collection such as concierge services, multiple restaurants with different atmospheres, sporting activities, spa, and much more. This is also one of the most popular options on the island for meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE), with many South African companies choosing to host annual strategy sessions and group trips here.
Food – an attraction in its own
Italy is revered for its delicious food, and with Cefalù being a port, you can feast on delicious Sicilian dishes made with fresh local fish. From arancini (fried rice balls) to schiacciata or sfincione, Sicily is a street food lover’s paradise! Choose from a number of restaurants – in the heart of the city or at the coast – for your meals. Be sure to find one meal to enjoy in the Piazza del Duomo where you can people-watch, and gaze at the towers of the cathedral, framed by La Rocca.
Places to explore nearby
Around Cefalù, places of interest include the Sanctuary of Gibilmanna, a hillside pilgrimage destination; the ruins of Greek Himera and the Monti Madonie mountains, where holiday-makers will find skiing in winter and good hiking in spring and autumn. Palermo is an hour away by train, and the volcanic Aeolian Islands can be reached by hydrofoil in the summer. A trip by bus or car to picturesque Castelbuono, in the hills, makes another pleasant excursion – buses operated by SAIS depart from Cefalù railway station and the journey takes 40 minutes. Local tourism agencies organise tours and excursions.
Cefalù is a popular European holiday spot and will quickly (and easily) become a favourite of yours, too! Grab your sunscreen, hat, and a good book and make your way to the beach. Settle yourself on a cosy spot on the golden sand as you take in the blue-green sea ahead of you. Enjoy a swim in the Mediterranean after which you can dry yourself in the hot sun and just relax – glass of Prosecco in hand.
From Johannesburg you are looking at around 12 hours’ flight-time, including at least one stop (this being one of the quickest options). You can book flights with a number of airlines including, but not limited to: South African Airways, British Airways, Qatar Airways, Alitalia, and KLM.
Once you get to Palermo in Italy, if you book directly with Club Med a transfer will await you at the airport to take you to the resort.
South Africans do need to apply for visas to enter Italy; ensure you factor this into your trip planning.