Riserva dello Zingaro – Photo © Luciana Coletti -*Elle*
The coastline winds its way along for about 200 km from Balestrate to Finale di Pollina. It is characterized by three gulfs:
The Palermitan coastline offers visitors a wide variety of sea views and seaside resorts.
One of the most wonderful aspects of the area is the incredible variety of colors, ranging from the intense blue of the sea, the luscious green of the vegetation and the darker colors of the rocks and cliffs.
In the area around the gulf of Palermo, the coastal system is of great environmental quality, based around the large calcareous masses of Monte Gallo and Monte Pellegrino. The former throws itself towards the sea, forcing the coastal road to make a detour in land, by which it is possible to visit the small seaside suburbs of Sferracavallo, Mondello, Vergine Maria, Arenella and Acquasanta.
In the area of the gulfs of Castellamare and Carini to the northwest of Palermo, the coastline is characterized by easy accessibility to the sea and its sandy beaches. After Balestrate, near Terrasini, there are some calcareous rock formations which, especially at sunset, take on a reddish-pink glow and which give way to numerous coves and sea grottos (Cala rossa). Further on is Capo Rama, a natural reserve.
Once more the coastline returns to its accessible sandiness as numerous rivers, the Jato, the Pinto and the Calatubo, find their way into the sea.
This area is also characterized by a change of countryside.
The bleak mountains (such as the Montagna Longa) give way to open, wide valleys. The Communes found in this area include:
swimming and bathing is extremely easy thanks to the presence of many free, fully-equipped beaches.
As far as the coastline to the North-east of Palermo is concerned, the most striking element is Monte Catalfano (a natural reserve) whose slopes reach right down to the sea. This mountainous coastline is a harsh area, characterized by terraced cultivations and typical Mediterranean scrub. Indeed, in some points, it is possible to find some rare examples of Quercus Soluntina and flowering orchids.
In the area of Cefalu’, right up to the border of the province of Palermo, the coastline contracts, becoming sandy and pebbly by turn, with frequent interruptions of bays, particularly towards Finale di Pollina.
The Communes in this area include:
- Altavilla Milicia
- Santa lavia
- Termini Imerese
- Campofelice di Roccella
Bathing and access to the sea is not always easy due to the relatively high cliffs.
Just off the Palermitan coast, at around 36 miles out tosea, is Ustica a small island of volcanic origins renowned as a “paradise” for scuba divers. Its underwater geography is made up of a scientifically important and complete marine ecosystem which serves as a natural area for the refuge, repopulation and diffusion of a great variety of marine life.
For this reason, in 1986, Ustica and its surrounding sea was made into a Marine Nature Reserve. The sea is not the only ecologically important part of the island, however. Indeed, the island itself is also a Natural Reserve.
The coastal area of the Province of Palermo boasts numerous possibilities for accommodation including hotels and campsites, all of which offer the chance to appreciate the area’s striking landscapes.
Where to stay in Palermo
There are hotels, B&Bs, villas and apartments available, check them out and make a reservation here.