Sicily is a popular tourist destination and its cities are worth visiting. Most tourists go to Taormina, Palermo, and Catania as they are some of the popular cities on the island. However, Noto and Cefalù are also worth visiting.
Both Noto and Cefalù have a lot to offer so it might be hard to choose between these two charming cities. Noto is known for its Baroque-style buildings and the city is also rich in history. Cefalù, on the other hand, is home to some of the most beautiful beaches on the island.
If you are wondering which is better, Noto or Cefalù, you have come to the right place. In this article, we have compared both Cefalù and Noto to help you decide which of these two cities is best to visit in Sicily. Get your luggage ready and read until the end!
Noto is a small town located in the south-eastern side of Sicily and it is known for being the capital of the Baroque style on the island. This small charming town was rebuilt to what it is known today after the 1693 earthquake killed 60,000 people. Noto is also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and while it is a small town, it is a must-visit destination in Sicily.
Catania Airport is the nearest airport you can fly into if you want to visit Noto. This airport is just about a 1.5-hour drive to Noto. If you will be staying in Catania or Siracusa (Syracuse), day trips to Noto are possible.
If you are not planning on renting a car, there are train services in Siracusa that go to Noto every few hours. The travel time is short and only takes about 30 minutes. if you are coming from Catania via public transportation, buses and train connections are both available and the travel can take anywhere between 1.5 to 2.5 hours.
Cefalù is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Sicily because of its location. It is a picturesque town located on the northern coast of the island of Sicily. Being situated on Sicily’s north coast, this coastal resort town is one of the go-to destinations for the best beaches in Sicily.
The nearest airport to Cefalù is Palermo Airport and the drive from the airport to Cefalù is only about an hour and 15 minutes. Most tourists take a day trip to Cefalù from Palermo and if you don’t have a car, you can take the regional trains going to Cefalù train station. You can also book a day tour from Palermo to Cefalù. The travel time from Palermo to Cefalù by train only takes about an hour.
Noto Vs Cefalu Sicily
Noto and Cefalù are two cities with different vibes and atmospheres, and these two cities are located on the opposite side of the island. Understandably, you might want to choose one or the other, especially if you have a limited time on the island. Let’s take a look at these two beautiful cities to help you decide which to visit on your trip to Sicily.
Sights And Attractions
Both Noto and Cefalù have a lot to offer when it comes to sights and attractions, especially historical sites.
As we said earlier, Noto is known for its Baroque style and stunning architecture. The town itself is already a main attraction with its beautiful buildings filled with character and rich history. One of the main attractions in Noto is the Noto Cathedral which was built in the 18th century. You can also hike to Laghetti di Cavagrande, about 30 minutes away from Noto, which is a natural oasis along the Cassibile River. If you are a history lover, taking a tour of Palazzo Castelluccio will bring you back to 1782 as it is a well-preserved and conserved palace.
Like Noto, one of the main attractions in Cefalù is its cathedral. Cefalù Cathedral was built in 1131 by the Normans under the rule of King Roger II. The cathedral is open to the public all during the summer months. For museum lovers, the Museo Mandralisca is a museum that houses several paintings, historical collections, decorative arts, ceramics, and artifacts. This museum is close to Piazza del Duomo which is at the foot of the cathedral.
Hiking is also possible in Cefalù. If you climb La Rocca, you will reach the highest point in the city and you can take in absolutely stunning views of the city. Another tourist attraction in Cefalù is the city’s Medieval Laundry, Laltoio. It is a public laundry that was built in the Middle Ages where people used to gather to wash their clothes. It is a fairly small place and there is not much to see, but it can be interesting to have a glimpse of how laundry was done during the Middle Ages.
Food And Wine
Noto has been largely influenced by different cultures not only historically but also gastronomically. You will find Sicilian cuisine that has been influenced by Arab, Spanish, and Greek flavors. Aside from pasta, Noto is also big on seafood dishes with freshly-caught ingredients. Noto is also known for its street food, with Arancini Balls being one of the most popular. Arancini Balls are fried stuffed rice balls that are filled with savory ingredients. Sweets and pastries such as candied fruits and cakes (Cassata) are famous in Noto. With a variety of flavors and ingredients, you will surely enjoy the different cuisines Noto has to offer.
Being a coastal town, Cefalù is known for its fresh fish dishes. This town is also known for incorporating cheese and eggplants in their dishes like the Cacio all’argentiera and eggplant caponata. Other typical Sicilian dishes you can find in Cefalù are meat, pasta, sweets, and cakes. If you are looking for traditional Sicilian cuisine, Cefalù has a lot to offer.
Aside from amazing food, Cefalù and Noto also have wines to pair with these Sicilian dishes.
Sicily is known for its beautiful sandy beaches and it is a top beach holiday destination in Europe. If you are going to Sicily, you might have a beach or two somewhere in your itinerary.
But, do Cefalù and Noto have beaches?
Cefalù is a coastal town and is home to some of Sicily’s beautiful beaches. You can expect white fine sands and crystal clear waters on the beaches of Cefalù. Some of the best beaches in and near Cefalù are Spiaggia di Cefalù, Kalura Beach, Caldera Beach, and Sant’Ambrogio Beach.
There are no beaches in Noto’s city proper but, if you are not averse to a little bit of driving, there are beautiful beaches in Noto that you can go to. About a 22-minute drive from Noto is the Vendicarri Reserve. This reserve is home to some of the unspoiled beaches in Sicily such as Calamsoche, Elope, and Lido di Noto.
Sicily in general is not that expensive to visit and it can be quite cheaper to visit Sicily than the Amalfi Coast. Having said that, there are towns in Sicily that can be expensive. You don’t have to worry about Cefalù and Noto as they are less expensive than other cities such as Taormina and Palermo.
For accommodation, you can find luxurious hotels in Noto and Cefalù but these hotels can be quite expensive. If you are on a budget, you can also find budget-friendly hotels and restaurants so you can allocate your budget to other experiences in Cefalù or Noto.
Noto and Cefalù are both beautiful cities in Sicily and are worth visiting. Choosing between these two amazing places is hard and the decision is definitely up to your personal preference and travel style. However, we have compared these two cities to make your decision-making easier.
If you are a history lover, both cities are great but Noto has beautiful Baroque architecture. Cefalù, on the other hand, is great for beach lovers. So, have you decided on which city to go to on your next Sicilian trip? Let us know via the contact section on our website!