Marina La Cala

Palermo Port La Cala -
The promenade at the bay 

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Palermo's harbour is a promenade and photo backdrop. Since its restoration in 2008, the many yachts and cosy bars and cafés present a well-kept image and make the harbour a hotspot for Parlermitans. We will show you the marina, La Cala, as well as the adjacent ferry port, from which cruise ships depart for nearby excursion destinations.   

This is what you can expect in this article:

  1. ccess to the port via the towers of Porta Felice

  2. Development since the restoration in 2008

  3. Our tip: The Open Air NAUTO at the Nauticum

  4. The Foro Italico

  5. The ferry port

Ciao, I am Adriana.

I'm a host at BnB Dolcevita and I hope you like my article about the port. It is part of our Palermo travel guide.  More about us!

Host Adriana

Access to the port via the towers of Porta Felice  

Are you looking for a beautiful photo motif? Then enter the harbour bay of La Cala to the east via Corso Vittorio Emanuele. As you do so, you will pass the towers of Porta Felice, which line the road to the left and right and are an impressive building of a bygone era. 

Strolling through the beautiful harbour bay of La Cala, Palermo's marina, there is not much left to remind us of the original natural harbour that the Phoenicians opened up for trading purposes some 3,000 years ago. Once one of Italy's most important trading ports, this part of Palermo's harbour has been transformed from an industrial port into a sophisticated marina.

View of Porto Felice from Corso Vittorio Emanuele 

View of Porto Felice from Corso Vittorio Emanuele 

Photo: © Aleksandar Todorovic – stock.adobe.com

Development since the restoration in 2008

Keep to the left and you will already see the first masts. At their moorings in the harbour, the numerous highly polished sailing and motor yachts of the rich and beautiful gently rock, with a few small colourful fishing boats providing a pretty contrast. La Cala was not always so handsome, however. Even during the Renaissance, Palermo's harbour did not have a good reputation. The balconies of the palaces near the harbour were deliberately built facing away from the bay so as not to have to look at the eyesore.

Until its restoration in 2008, this part of Palermo's harbour was not an inviting place, neither for Palermo's inhabitants nor for tourists, due to shipwrecks, sewage pipes and an overall run-down ambience. In the meantime, the picture has changed considerably. Skippers with their own yachts moor at the Molo Sud, a needle-shaped extension of La Cala that juts into the sea, visitors to the city enjoy the sunset at the harbour and a multitude of restaurants and bars have settled around the harbour basin, inviting you to linger and enjoy.

View of Monte Pellegrino from the marina 

View of Monte Pellegrino from the marina 

Photo: © Robin Marx - BnB Dolcevita

Our tip:

Be sure to visit the open-air bar NAUTO at the Nautoscopio. The Nautoscopio is a work of art created shortly after the restoration of the harbour. In the form of a ship's bow pointing towards the sea on a high pier, it symbolises Palermo's close connection with the sea. Secure one of the NAUTO's coveted seats, located directly on the water below the artwork, and enjoy an aperitif on the terrace or with your feet in the sand on lounge furniture with a view of the yachts, ferries and passenger ships arriving and departing.

 

Especially in the evening, when the sun is moving towards the horizon and a little peace and quiet enters the harbour life, this is the perfect place to end the day and reflect on it. The crew of the bEATruck satisfies small and large appetites with a delicious street food offer.
Readings, live concerts, DJ sessions and exhibitions are also regularly scheduled, offering another highlight against this backdrop.

The open air bar NAUTO with the Nautoscopio on the right of the picture

The open air bar NAUTO with the Nautoscopio on the right of the picture

Ph: © Robin Marx - BnB Dolcevita

Opening hours

Open daily from 18:30-01:30

Piazzale capitaneria di porto
90123 Palermo

The Foro Italico

La Cala, translated as "little bay", is the oldest part of Palermo's harbour. It is connected to the newer part, the cruise port, by two piers. You can reach it easily via the waterfront promenade, the Foro Italico. 

A bird's eye view of the Palermo marina

View of the marina and the Foto Italico

Photo: © GLF Media / Shutterstock.com

The promenade is largely made up of the rubble of Palermo's old town from the Second World War. Thrown into the sea, this resulted in a shift of the original coastline. Lawns were laid out on the new land, which is now used as a recreational area. 

Palm Avenue at the Foro Italico 

Palm Avenue at the Foro Italico 

Photo: © Robin Marx - BnB Dolcevita

Between the two harbours is the Castello a Mare (Castle at the Harbour), a fortified castle that used to guard the entrance to Palermo's harbour bay, Kala. 

View of the Castello a Mare at the Palermo marina

The Castello a Mare next to the marina 

Photo: © Robin Marx @ BnB Dolcevita 

Wall remains at Castello a Mare

Wall remains at Castello a Mare

Photo: © Robin Marx @ BnB Dolcevita 

The ferry port

Arriving at the cruise port of Palermo, you can watch the large passenger ships entering and leaving the port. Due to its proximity to the old town, the ferry port is also always the starting point for day tourists. They swarm from there into the centre of Palermo and to the countless sights. The old town can be reached on foot, by romantic horse-drawn carriage or rattling tuk tuks or by public transport in just a few minutes.

 

Also popular are the sightseeing tours with the Hop On Hop Off buses, which have a stop right at the harbour entrance. With the red convertible buses, you can hop on and off at any sight along the route, while listening to the multilingual audio guides along the way. If you are still travelling without a city map or need more information on sights, you will find it in the modern cruise terminal at the tourist information office. 

The ferry port of Palermo connects the Sicilian capital with the Italian mainland, Tunis, Malta, Sardinia and the Lipari Islands, a Unesco World Heritage Site. As a visitor to Palermo, you can also take advantage of ferry trips around the island, small boat excursions or diving tours. Experience the fascinating water world around the island, explore the surrounding countryside or simply relax on board.

View of the ferry port of Palermo

View of the ferry port of Palermo

Photo: © lapas77 – stock.adobe.com

View of Palermo from the roof of the cathedral

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