Updated: Jan 16
Cefalu, once a fishing village and now a vacation paradise, has a historical past dating to the 1100s which makes it an ideal stopping point for either ending or starting a Sicily trip. Just an hour-and-a-half drive from Palermo's airport, Cefalu sits below the magnificent rock that looms over its cathedral. We decided to stay just outside town at the very comfortable Hotel Kalura,which offers rooms with spectacular sea views, tennis courts, swimming pool and scuba trips.
The azure water in front of the Hotel Kalura draws swimmers, snorkelers and scuba enthusiasts.
Although we were drawn to Cefalu for the sea and swimming, we wanted to explore the town and its cathedral, a UNESCO world heritage site noted for its Arab-Norman construction. Ruggero II, King of Sicily, was crowned in the cathedral in 1130.
The all-inclusive admission ticket to the cathedral includes a climb up the tower (above left) and entrance to the adjoining cloisters.
The view from the cathedral's tower is worth the long climb up the winding stone steps.
The spectacular golden mosaics of an all-powerful Christ (Cristo Pantocratore) are the centerpiece of the cathedral's nave.
Byzantine artwork is featured in the cloisters.
After a day of visiting the cathedral and the Museum Mandralisca in Cefalu, we were happy to head back to the Hotel Kalura. Rather than a sand beach, the hotel features a cement bathing platform with to access the ocean. There is a snack bar as well as free lounge chairs and umbrellas for swimmers and sunbathers alike.
The cement platform offers easy access to the clear waters of the bay.