If you are thinking of coming to Sicily’s capital Palermo with children in tow, then I strongly suggest you base yourself in the nearby beach resort of Mondello. The 806 bus gets you into the centre in just 25 minutes along a nice straight road and it is so much nicer for the children to have the beach on the doorstep, even in winter.
Having made the long journey to Sicily, I decided to book us an Air B&B for a week, to give us a chance to just rest in one place for a while, do some washing, cook our own food and for me to catch up on some work.
We chose Blue House, because of its affordability and proximity to the beach and weren’t disappointed. Just a short walk from the small, ground-floor apartment and we were at a supermarket, a little fairground that had merry-go-round, dodgems and an indoor soft-play, and the beach – a crescent of soft white sand and a sparkling blue sea.
We quickly got into a little routine. I adopted a beachside cafe as my office and would go there to work in the morning, while the kids played with the local kittens in the yard. I’d then go ‘home’ and cook up some gnocchi or pasta for lunch before taking the kids to the little fairground (I bought 15 tickets for €10, which lasted me the week), and then heading down to the beach to play pirates and treasure seekers, or to use the play equipment at the side of the cafe.
I expected Mondello to be pricey, it being the seaside resort of the capital city, but was pleasantly surprised. My morning coffee and cornetto (sweet croissant) was €3, a small ice-cream cone from the gelato van by the fairground was €1 and the soft play was two tickets for 15mins – so €1.30.
Also very close was a piazza of restaurants, but we were enjoying being able to cook our own food after two months on the road, so didn’t try any. I’d like to come back and see what the vibe is like in the summer.