In Palermo, there is something for every student. Thanks to the Byzantine, Greek, Arab and Norman empires – and not forgetting Garibaldi – the capital of Sicily has a colourful past and an even more vibrant present. Explore the historic centre under the Mediterranean sun, use street food to navigate you through its cobbled lanes and party into the night at Vucciria until the market opens the next morning. Thanks to the disobedient drivers, loud shouting and dramatic gesticulation nothing quite compares to this city, and we have compiled an insider’s guide to prove it.
Il Cattedrale di Palermo
Visit Palermo’s Cathedral for free, or nab yourself a student discount on the roof-top tour where you there is an amazing 360° view of the entire city. Prepare yourself for a spiral staircase, and perhaps think twice before going up here if you have vertigo.
Palermo's Opera House is a stunning building inside and out. A week before some of the shows start running, tickets to the final dress rehearsal are released at a very reduced price for students. You can get tickets through the ESN, or enquire directly at the theatre.
La Spiaggia di Mondello
Mondello is the city’s most popular local beach and is just a short bus ride away from the city centre. Catch the bus from via Roma, but make sure to buy tickets from a newsagents or tobacconist beforehand and validate it when you get on board. Vendors patrol the beach selling beer & snacks so don’t worry about packing lunch.
Mount Pellegrino and the Grotto of Saint Rosalia
Climb 606m of Mount Pellegrino for stunning views of the city and coast. If you can wake up early enough, it’s the perfect place to watch the sun rise. Whilst you’re up there, make sure to visit the Grotto of Saint Rosalia, a church built into the mountain face in which the bones of the patron saint - Saint Rosalia - are buried.
Of course you are. La Cala is one of Palermo’s best neighbourhoods, sitting right by the harbour and Foro d’Italico – by which a beach bar opens up during the summer – and boasting countless cafés, restaurants, galleries, independent shops, palazzi and more. For a more modern edge, try Politeama. This new side of town has cosmopolitan bars, designer boutiques and is conveniently located on the way to the beach at Mondello. Colourful and characterful Ballarò has a famous market to explore on the weekend, but it is not the ideal place to stay. It can become dangerous at night, and as a tourist, you may be at risk of running into trouble.
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Palermo has a foot-friendly city centre!
There’s a (fairly) reliable bus service, so be sure to check timetables when you arrive. For getting around the island, we recommend trains or buses but prepare yourself for southern-italian style delays.
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Get in touch with one of our ambassadors who have spent an extended period of time in this place. They have great advice!
Barcelona is mostly a fairly flat city, where it’s always sunny, so getting around by bike is a very good option. Barcelona has its own version of Boris bikes called Bicing. Also apps like Yego where you can rent mopeds all over the city for around 20 cents a minute.
It is also a good option to buy a T-10 card. With this card you will have 10 trips on all public transport, otherwise it’s €2.20 per ride. The metro runs 5am to midnight Sunday to Thursday, till 2am on Friday and 24 hours on Saturday.
Avoid Uber if you can. It’s a very small city, so its very easy to walk places. FreeNow is a reliable taxi service around the city.