Cefalu Boutique Villas

near Cefalu, Sicily, Italy Book from Book from £254 per night

A pair of stylish self-catering villas for 2-10 near historic Cefalù; beautiful interiors, vast terraces and only a short walk to a sandy beach
Architects Marco and Viviana know a thing or two about restoring old buildings. After transforming a cluster of crumbling stone cottages into Casa Talia, one of southern Sicily’s best small hotels, they turned their skills to a duo of faded houses just outside Cefalù on the island’s north coast. The results of their efforts are stunning: Seaview Villa is a sleek 4-bedroom abode perched right on the shore, gazing across the bay to the twinkling lights of town; 2-bedroom Olive House is a more rustic affair, hidden among trees 200m inland. Both have airy living areas, oodles of outdoor space, and kitchens kitted out with everything you could need. We’ve yet to visit but we love the look of their pared-back décor, which blends clean lines, reclaimed tiles and soothing shades of white, grey and aquamarine.

Huddled on a headland around an imposing Arab-Norman cathedral, Cefalù itself is 5 minutes away by car, with a pretty little fishing harbour and plenty of restaurants. There's a beach within walking distance of the villas, and others just a short drive away. You’re also within easy reach of the beautifully rugged Madione Regional Park - but only if you can pull yourself away from your stylish home-from-home, of course.

Highs

  • Stunning conversions with a wonderful mix of old and new
  • A fantastic location, just a 5-minute stroll from a sandy beach and a short drive from medieval Cefalù
  • Large terraces with alfresco sofas and tables – plus, in the case of Seaview Villa, direct access to the turquoise water below
  • Flexible accommodation that works for groups of friends, families large and small, and couples wanting space to spread out
  • Full kitchens for easy self-catering, grocery shops nearby and the option to book a visiting chef

Lows

  • A 7-night minimum stay all year round, with Saturday changeovers
  • No swimming pools
  • No restaurants within walking distance in low season
  • Sharp angles and open-sided stairs mean Seaview Villa isn’t suited to roving toddlers – we’d say it’s best for children aged 6+
  • No twin bedrooms

Best time to go

Cefalù is one of Sicily’s most popular resort towns and is packed with visitors in high summer, so if you can, visit in the quieter shoulder seasons (April-June and September-October). The weather will be balmy, and in autumn the sea is still warm enough for swimming. The villas are open all year, so don’t rule out winter stays, either - you’ll get a true taste of local life, and both houses have fireplaces for cosy evenings in.

Our top tips

Look out for Cefalù’s speciality, pasta a taianu - a tasty pan-cooked pasta dish thought to date from the time of Arab rule. It’s traditionally prepared to celebrate the Most Holy Saviour of the Transfiguration in early August, but features on many restaurant menus year-round.

Great for...

Beach
Family
  • Boutique Villas
  • 2 villas for 2-10
  • Self-catering
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Daily Maid Service
  • Towels & Bedlinen
  • Laundry Service
  • Housekeeping every 3 days (daily on request)
Room: Seaview Villa

Rooms

The larger of the 2 houses, Seaview Villa is clean-lined and contemporary, with swathes of polished concrete and smart mid-century modern furniture. Downstairs is an open-plan living area with a fireplace and low-slung sofas, as well as a bathroom; open-sided metal stairs lead up to 4 double bedrooms, all with ensuite shower rooms (and one with a tub) and doors opening onto a wraparound balcony. But the star of the show is the huge terrace, where you’ll find alfresco sofas, a table and loungers looking across the bay, as well as steps down to the water below.

Olive House sits a little way inland, but what it lacks in view it makes up for in rustic charm. It’s more traditional in style than Seaview Villa, with whitewashed beams, gnarled wooden furniture and wall-fuls of ornate Sicilian tiles. It has a master double bedroom with an ensuite shower room and a small dressing area (which can be made up as an additional single bedroom if required), plus a second double bedroom downstairs. There’s also a living area, another bathroom, and a large sun-dappled terrace shaded by olive trees.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Barbecue
  • Central heating
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Coffee maker
  • Dishwasher
  • Fireplace
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Hairdryer
  • Hob or stove
  • Microwave
  • Oven
  • Phone
  • Satellite TV
  • Terrace
  • Toaster
  • Toiletries
  • Washing machine
  • WiFi

Eating

Both villas have kitchen-diners with everything you need for rustling up holiday feasts: fridge, oven, hob, microwave, dishwasher, toaster, coffee maker, crockery and cutlery, pots and pans, and a few basic ingredients (oil, salt etc). They also have barbecues, as well as alfresco tables so you can dine beneath the olive trees or above the waves. There are grocery shops and supermarkets in town, and a visiting chef can be arranged if you’re celebrating something special (or just fancy a night off).

In summer there's a restaurant at the Baia del Capitano hotel, just a couple of minutes' walk from the villas, but otherwise you'll need to head into Cefalù for meals out. The town is brimming with eateries - we’ve heard great things about the refined food and vast wine list at Baglio del Faclo, set on a quiet street away from the tourist throng, and family-run Ristorante Le Chat Noir near the cathedral (don’t be fooled by the French name - the menu is traditional Sicilian). For romantic views and just-caught seafood (sea-urchin soup, grilled tuna with a pistachio crust), head to Ristorante Il Saraceno, whose decked dining area snakes out over the rocks.

Features include:

  • Barbecue
  • Chef on request
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Coffee maker
  • Dishwasher
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Hob or stove
  • Microwave
  • Oven
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Toaster
Eating: Olive House
Activity:

Activities

  • Head to the lovely beach of Baia dei 7 Frati, just a 5-minute stroll from the villas. You’ll find other beaches at Capo Playa and Costa Calura, both a short drive away, and in town
  • Meander around honey-stoned Cefalù, admiring its Arab-Norman architecture, bobbing fishing boats and striking twin-towered cathedral
  • If you can muster the energy, tackle the steep steps (Salita Saraceni) which wind up to the top of La Rocca, the imposing crag that towers above Cefalù. You’ll pass through 3 banks of city walls before emerging to stunning views
  • For beautiful vistas without the exertion, head to Bastione Capo Marchiafava, a 17th-century fortification off Via Bordonaro
  • Drive up into the rugged green hills of the Madione Regional Park, home to time-forgotten villages (Castelbuono, Geraci and Petralia Soprana are particularly pretty), signed hiking trails, and farms selling homemade cheese
  • Further afield, Palermo, Mount Etna and elegant Taormina are all within day-tripping distance

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Boat trips
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Sailing
  • Shopping / markets
  • Snorkelling
  • Swimming
  • Wine tasting

Kids

Both villas work well for families, with plenty of space inside and out, a sandy beach nearby, and no charge for extra beds and baby cots. They also have washing machines, plus microwaves for heating up baby food.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

Seaview Villa can sleep up to 10 people in 4 bedrooms (though note all are doubles), with 2 rollaway beds set up in the living room. Olive House can accommodate 4-6 people, with 2 double bedrooms, a dressing room which can be made up as an additional single room on request, and a rollaway bed in the living room. Baby cots are available, too.

Baby equipment:

  • Baby cots

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Safe, sandy beaches
  • Il Parco Avventura Madonie, near the Madione Regional Park (woodland adventure playground with rope ladders and slides)
  • Castle at Caccamo (in the hills between Cefalù and Palermo)
  • Ice-cream parlours in Cefalù

Families Should Know:

Seaview Villa has open-sided staircases and sharp corners, so it’s not ideal for toddlers

Distances:

  • Shop: 5 minutes’ drive (Cefalù)
  • Doctor: 5 minutes’ drive (Cefalù)
  • Airport: 1.5 hours’ drive (Palermo)
Kid Friendly: Seaview Villa

Location

The villas are located on the northern Sicilian coast, 5km from the town of Cefalù and just over an hour from the island’s capital, Palermo.

By Air:
The closest airport is Palermo Falcone-Borsellino (107km away), which is served by flights from all over Europe – click on the links below for a list. Alternatively, you can fly into Catania Fontanarossa (185km away) on the east coast, or Trapani-Birgi (188km away) in the west.

From the Airport
Transfers can be arranged, but most guests hire a car to make the most of the area – see our car-rental recommendations. Both villas have private off-street parking.

By Train:
There are regular trains from Palermo and other coastal towns to Cefalù station. From there, you can take a taxi to the villas.

Detailed directions will be provided when you confirm a booking through i-escape.com.

More on getting to Sicily and getting around

Airports:

  • Palermo Falcone-Borsellino 107.0 km PMO
  • Catania Fontanarossa 185.0 km CTA

Other:

  • Beach 0.5 km
  • Shops 5.0 km
  • Restaurant 0.2 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 6 independent reviews from i-escape guests

10/10
Room
6/10
Food
10/10
Service
9/10
Value
9/10
Overall

The Olive House is absolutely delightful. Beautiful simple decor, lovely light, tranquil garden and seating areas. The kids had an amazing time swimming and snorkeling off the rocks a 5 minute walk from the house. Overall a very restful week and we were very well looked after by the caretaker who lives on site. Nothing was too much trouble.

9/10,

This is a stunning villa - the views over Cefalù from the balcony, especially at sunset and sunrise were beautiful. The rooms were lovely and light (although darker curtains or shutters might have meant the children didn’t get up quite so early). The villa was really well set out, stylish and immaculate and Ratan who looks after the house was available whenever we needed him to help but the villa was also very well equipped. It was lovely to have some food and drinks already stocked in the fridge when we arrived too. A particularly nice surprise was the addition of an outdoor jacuzzi/hot tub which we weren’t expecting (the water wasn’t actually hot when we were there which was perfect as the weather was hot). We did take the steps down to the sea on a couple of occasions but it was more suited to adults down there than children due to the lack of sand and rocky nature of the water. All in all the villa was very impressive and made our holiday.

10/10,

Beautiful, shabby chic decor. Kind and responsive on-site manager. But note the Olive House has no sea views.

7/10,

Exceeded all expectations and the owners/ designers have clearly thought of everything that their guests could want. Would highly recommend!

10/10,

We spent one week at Cefalu. It was just a perfect moment. The house was the most beautiful we've ever seen. The view was incredible and the decoration of the house is a dream.

9/10,

We stayed one week in Marcos smaller Villa and enjoyed every minute. The house is decorated with so much love to detail, it is big enough for 4, the fridge was filled with everything you need (from wine to eggs..) and Ratan was the best housekeeper - always there to help. The house is only a five minute walk to a nice sandy beach. You def. need a car. Cefalu is a wonderful small and relaxed village. We liked it very much and would return.

10/10,

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