Day tripping from Palermo? I highly recommend its neighbour Cefalu’: it’s easily accessible (50 mins on the train) and has tons of history and a beautiful beach.
Duomo di Cefalu’
This 900-year-old basilica, overlooked by the Rocca di Cefalu’ and overlooking a pretty piazza, is fortress-like on the outside and rather plain on the inside, except for right above the altar, where you get some fun Baroque white-painted carvings and then a sudden change back to the Byzantine gold mosaics (like in Palermo’s Cappella palatina).
Rocca di Cefalu’ & Tempio di Diana
Standing in Piazza Garibaldi you notice a stairway leading uphill in the direction of a large rocky outcrop. If you climb the stairs and keep following any road with an incline, you’ll find yourself at the entrance to a walk that leads you to the top of the Rocca, where there’s a ruined castle and a 5th-century BC temple. (You’ll need change as the ticket machine doesn’t take notes or cards.)
The castle seems to be just a few fortified walls looking down over the Duomo, and the temple is also a little underwhelming. Besides these, all that’s left of the settlement formed when the Cefalu’ population escaped up the hill to avoid naval invasions are a few bread ovens and wells.
The real attraction of the walk is its views over the rock, town and bay:
We finished off the day next to the lovely clear water. You can just about see the cathedral spires rising over the town, and the crenellated fortifications up on the hill: