Spending a week in Palermo, it would have been remiss of us not to venture to one of its most popular spots: Mondello Beach.
Although technically a town in its now right (despite Palermo’s ever expanding suburbs), at just 10 miles from the capital, it’s home to the closest crescent of white sand and turquoise waters local residents can access.
With proximity and convenience however, come great crowds. During summer months, warm spring days, or indeed weekends in general, Mondello beach gets A LOT of visitors; indeed, it can sometimes feel like the entire city has come to join you. We visited on a Monday at the very beginning of July, and the beach was super packed with locals and tourists alike - if you enjoy your personal space, secluded coves, and the absence of screaming teens, this probably isn’t the beach for you!
That said, on those stifling hot summer days in the city, when the mercury shoots up to 30C by 9 a.m., it’s amazing how little of that space in the sand you really need to feel happy. Here’s the essential information on how to get from Palermo to Mondello, plus advice for your day trip.
How to Get to Mondello Beach from Palermo
By Bus | Reaching Mondello beach by bus is pretty straightforward, although during peak summer months, it's not the most pleasant experience.
That said, it's cheap, and it's reliable.
Simply walk from your accommodation to Piazza Sturzo (located behind the Politeama Theater) and wait for the 806 bus. Until recently this was a summer-season only bus, it now runs throughout the year has regular enough departures that you don't need to pay too much attention to the timetable. A single journey will cost €1.40 and the journey can take anything from 20 minutes to 50 minutes depending upon traffic.
Do note that given that Mondello beach in one of the most accessible and popular Palermo day trips, this bus can get get very very crowded, and unless you’ve got sharp elbows at the bus stop, you'll almost certainly have to stand for the duration of the journey in summer season.
Note that as there is a one-way traffic system in Mondello, you will be dropped off right next to the the beach in, but will need to make your way to the road running parallel to find the bus stop to get back to Palermo (we’ve put a pin in the bus stop we used for you on Google Maps). Also, if you are leaving at the same time as everyone else, you may have to be tactical in your selection of bus stop and departure time - a Twitter follower told us they had to wait two hours for a bus back to Palermo with a space on it!
By Car | If you've got a rental car, travelling to Mondello is very straightforward, providing you leave early enough so as to be able to find a parking spot (there's plenty of street parking costing €1 per hour).
Lidos at Mondello Beach
If you think the crowds may get a little too much for you, you’ll be pleased to know that the beach is lined with private lidos. Often the bane of any cheap-skate Italian sun lover (and us), they do at least provide the opportunity for you to lay claim to your own slice of sand for the day.
Prices for sun loungers with an umbrella vary dependent upon rental length of time, number of people and time of year (with June, July and August costing more than September, for example) but as a standard, expect to pay €22 for two people if you arrive in the morning (around €15 if you show up after lunch).
You will however always be able to find a space if you’ve brought your own sarong or towel for the public / free beach areas (Italians are used to being quite close up to each other on beach days!).
Other Things to Know Before Visiting Mondello Beach
| There are beach hawkers here, but they’re not terribly obtrusive - and will deliver ice cold beers to you whilst you sunbathe!
| If you’d prefer to take a break from the sun, and head to a bar or restaurant for a drink or lunch, be assured that there are plenty of options lining the beach, with more found on the street running parallel.
| This is a child-friendly beach.