Mondello, Sicily – What’s It Like?

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Mondello is one of the popular beach resorts in Sicily thanks to its proximity to Palermo, divine white sands and turquoise sea.

It’s one of the closest beaches to Sicily’s capital and has always been a getaway for the city’s residents.

Here’s a quick guide to what you can expect from a trip to Mondello.

Where is it?

Mondello is on the north coast of Sicily, just to the west of Palermo.

It’s part of Palermo’s suburban area and is the easiest city beach to reach by public transport (especially for visitors).

Map of beach resorts in Sicily.

What’s the vibe like? 

Mondello is a seasonal resort set amongst gorgeous scenery, with Monte Pellegrino to its right at the Capo Gallo Nature Reserve to its left.

Its big sandy beach, which wouldn’t look out of place in the Balearics, is flanked by tall pines.

Mondello’s major landmark is its pale yellow art nouveau pavilion which sits in the middle of the water at the end of a small pier.

It’s a mishmash of a slightly tacky seaside town, thumping youth playground, and swanky upmarket suburb depending on which part of the beach you’re at.

The backstreets to the east are packed with art nouveau villas and shady gardens. This part of Mondello was originally marshland which was drained to make way for a French Riviera-style beach resort for Palermo’s elite during the Belle Époque period.

The beach is lined with white wooden fencing and pastel-coloured changing huts.

At the western end lies Mondello Paese, an old fishing village. This is where you’ll find most of the restaurants and cafes as well as the parking, but it feels a bit run down and boisterous around Piazza Mondello

Many locals visit Mondello for the day, setting up at one of the lidos, so there aren’t as many hotels and businesses catering to long stays as you might imagine. In the low season, you can expect it to be very quiet as most of the businesses are geared towards summer tourism.

Some of the lidos are relaxed and family-friendly, others (particularly at the western end around L’Ombelico del Mondo) are geared towards Palermo’s youth and focus on music and watersports.

Expect the summer months to be overcrowded.

Mondello beach under a shady pine.

Mondello's famous pavillion.

Ceramic pot painted with 'Mondello' in bright colours.

Mondello beach through the trees.

Backstreets in the fishing village part of Mondello.

Poster for Aperol Spritz at Renato Bar.

Sun behind a tall date palm in Mondello.

Fishing harbour in Mondello.

Snack signs along Mondello's white fencing.

What to see and do

There’s a watersports operator next to the hexagonal bar at L’Ombelico del Mondo and another at the beach’s eastern end, both geared towards SUP, windsurfing, kite surf, and wing foil.

Some of the lidos offer gentler pursuits such as pedalos and kayaks.

Nearby Capo Gallo is a nature reserve with a rocky coastline perfect for snorkelling and diving however there isn’t a dive club in Mondello itself. Saracen Diving Center in Capaci is the nearest.

Mondello has a small harbour with working fishing boats but you’ll also find boats available for full or half-day rental.

If you’re based in Palermo you might also want to check out excursion boats to Mondello from the port.

Beyond the sea and the beach, you’ll need a car for further activities (such as exploring Monte Pellegrino and its hiking trails and sanctuary).

Antico Stabilimento Balneare is the proper name for the pavilion – it means ‘Old Bathing House’. Dating back to 1913, these days it’s home to a bar and restaurant called Alle Terrezze on the pavilion which makes a memorable spot for a sundowner or a fancy dinner.

It’s worth taking a wander around Mondello’s backstreets to check out its beautiful Liberty villas, preferably with a gelato in hand from Latte Pa.

There’s a children’s playground with rides near to L’Ombelico.

Sign for stand up paddle and wing foil school.

Paddleboards stacked up against a poster.

What’s the beach like?

Mondello is blessed with 2km of fine sand and translucent seas. Some of the sand has a pinkish tinge to it.

Most of the beach is occupied by lidos – a type of Italian beach club. They tend to be family-friendly and relatively basic, but you’ll get sun loungers and access to showers and toilets in your ticket price. 

In high season it’s best to book a lido ticket in advance online otherwise you might well be waiting in the heat in a long queue. None of the lidos get stellar reviews but it’s still a more pleasant way to experience the beach, especially in high season. Not all are open to visitors, some are members-only.

There are one or two small free sections of beach where you’re welcome to lay your towel, but these get very busy and generally aren’t as clean as the lido sections. There are no parasols or sun loungers available in the free sections.

Most lidos have a snack bar, plus you’ll find gelato and street food snacks along the main road, but for more substantial meals head to the village part of town.

The eastern end of the beach is quieter and the western end, towards the harbour, is livelier.

There are hawkers along the beach, mostly selling towels and refreshments.

Mondello beach by the pavilion.

Yellow parasols on Mondello beach.\ Close-up of the sand on Mondello beach.

Sea meets sand.

How to get there and around

Mondello is a 25-minute drive from Palermo International Airport – not a bad way to fill in time the day before or after a flight if you have a rental car.

During the summer there’s a regular direct bus (number 806) from Palermo to Mondello. It leaves from Piazza Crispi which is in the area north of Politiamo. If you don’t want to walk up the road there are many connecting buses (such as the 101)  from the direction of Palermo Centrale train station.

A ticket is around €1.40. It’s best to buy your ticket before you get on in case you can’t pay the driver (although this was an option when I boarded the 806 at Piazza Crispi). There should be a kiosk or a conductor nearby to pay by cash or card.  To save myself from having to find where to buy my return ticket, I bought an all-day ticket which was €3.40.

It takes around 35 minutes to reach Mondello.

A word of warning: everyone wants to come back to Palermo at the same time at the end of the day so the buses get very busy. If you want any chance of even getting on the bus, I advise walking up to one of the stops near the start/end of the route.

Check the return times when you arrive so you’re not caught out by the buses finishing earlier than you might expect.

Interior of the 806 bus.

All-day bus ticket.

806 bus.

Parking and bus ticket kiosk.

The main square in the fishing village is Piazza Mondello. This is the cafe/restaurant hub and is also where you’ll find a kiosk selling bus and parking tickets. There are plenty of small car parks at this end of town (but don’t leave it too late in the day in high season or at weekends).

Palermo’s bike-sharing scheme is called BiciPA and you’ll find some bikes in Mondello near the pavilion. You’ll need the app to access them.

Accessibility:

There is a road running alongside the beach but half of it is pedestrianised, the traffic runs one block back. There’s no parking right next to the beach, the nearest is probably Parking Service Mondello.

No steps are required to reach the beach.

Bus timetable on a post.

Palermo's sharing bikes.

Prices

Prices in Mondello are geared towards the local market but also reflect its popularity. You’ll find plenty of cheap snacks and drinks along the beach, but for meals, it’s not as cheap as eating in Palermo and there’s much less choice. 

Lido prices vary between €10 and €35 for a pair of sun loungers. It’s worth noting that even if you pay extra for the first line your view may well be blocked by pedalos or a volleyball net or, for some reason, a fence.

Sign for snacks including prices (from €2).

Sign for €2 coffee and €5 spritzes.

Where to stay

Most people visit Mondello just for the day rather than making it their base. Whilst the bus connection is good (especially for Sicily), having to take it every day to see the sights in Palermo would get exhausting.

However, if you prefer the beach to city sights or if you have a rental car but don’t want to drive into Palermo then it’s a good option.

The Splendid Hotel La Torre is a large 4-star resort hotel at the far end of Mondello with sea-view balcony rooms and a saltwater pool.

Unico Boutique Hotel d’Arte has modern rooms, an infinity pool and hot tubs.

Curtigghiu Mondello is a stylish apartment with a BBQ just up the street from Piazza Mondello – you can rent the whole place or by the room.

Or why not stay at one of Mondello’s villas – several of them rent out private rooms. Villa Massetta Luxury Suites has a pool and is on the beachfront road.

Read more:

Where to Stay in Sicily: Ultimate Beach Resort Guide

10 Most Beautiful Beaches in Sicily

Aerial view of Mondello: © Aleksandar Todorovic / Adobe Stock

All other images © The Mediterranean Traveller