Neighborhoods to avoid in Palermo

For your next stay in the capital of Sicily, are you wondering if there are neighborhoods to avoid in Palermo?

And it is true that Palermo has a reputation for being dangerous. But is it dangerous for tourists? This reputation due to the presence of the Mafia is perhaps not justified.

So find out below if there are any dangerous areas for tourists in Palermo.

And, to help you choose among the best neighborhoods to stay and avoid sensitive neighborhoods, here is a short guide and a map of the different neighborhoods in Palermo.

The sources for this article are diverse: Media, blogs, forums, local press, rankings and web statistics. This article is only a summary of information and data on the different neighborhoods of Palermo

Dangerous Palermo?

Palermo is not one of the safest European cities as Prague, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Budapest, Madrid ou Lisbon.

On the Numbeo ranking of the 131 most criminal cities in Europe, in 2023 Palermo is located in the medium high. In 49th position, Palermo would be more criminal than Berlin, Sofia ou Amsterdam but remains less dangerous than Rome, London, Athens ou Paris.

Palermo Numbeo crime map
Print screen of the site map

Additionally, the crime index is given for the entire city of Palermo. However, insecurity in Palermo is only concentrated in certain places in the city.

So, apart from a few neighborhoods to avoid, Palermo is not a more dangerous city which Los Angeles, Cancun ou Marseille en France.

Is Palermo safe for tourists?

YES provided that tourists are careful.

Unlike Rio de Janeiro or to Mexico, tourists can visit the center of Palermo without risk. Indeed, violent crimes and misdemeanors are generally settling of scores relating to illegal trafficking and do not concern tourists.

Except of course, as in all tourist towns, for petty crime: theft of jewelry, pickpockets, cell phone theft, scams ...

Palermo neighborhood map

Palermo has 8 main districts which are themselves divided into smaller districts. There are 25 of them (see on Wikipedia).

To help you locate the neighborhoods to avoid in Palermo, here is a map that allows you to locate them:

Neighborhoods to avoid in Palermo

Without being dangerous areas where tourists would risk their lives, there are still some places in Palermo that are not recommended for tourists, especially at night.

The ZEN district in the north of Palermo

According to the media, this neighborhood made up of ZEN 1 and ZEN 2 zones is the most sensitive in Palermo.

La Zona Espansione North is qualified as a mafia and ill-fated district but it is perhaps quite simply a poor district where social misery reigns.

Anyway, it is in any case an area to be avoided for tourists looking to get closer to the historic sites of the Sicilian capital.

Brancaccio district to avoid in the center of Palermo

Only 5 kilometers from the historic center, this district which has the reputation of being dangerous is also under the control of the Mafiosi.

Area to avoid south of Palermo: Villagrazia Falsomiele

On the outskirts of Palermo, an area should also be avoided for tourists: It would be located between around Via Falsomiele and Via Villagrazia.

Area to avoid in the center of Palermo: Ballaro

As I could read from the newspaper articles Le Monde ou Paris Match , this district would be under the influence of the African mafia.

But do not deprive yourself of going for a walk there during the day. You will enjoy its atmosphere, its huge market and its architecture, especially its old churches. But perhaps to be avoided at night?

Best neighborhoods to stay in Palermo

Palermo has many picturesque and safe neighborhoods to choose from. Each neighborhood has its own atmosphere, character and interest. It is impossible to recommend them all to you.

But, I will tell you the 3 most popular areas for tourists:

  • the most exclusive areas of Palermo,
  • the most touristic district of Palermo,
  • the nicest area of ​​Palermo.

What neighborhood for a chic stay in Palermo?

The most upscale and wealthy areas of Palermo are located around the Politeama Liberta district.

This area is located north of the historic center of Palermo. It includes the most elegant streets of the city with their luxury boutiques, the Politeama Theater, the English Garden and the best restaurants in Palermo.

It is in this district that the most beautiful hotels and palaces (Plaza Opera hotel, Politeama hotel, Grand Hotel Et des Palmes, Hotel Federico II Central Palace).

Best area in Palermo to visit

Which district to visit Palermo?

If you want to be as close as possible to the most visited sites in Palermo, you will have to choose the historic center district. This is called the old town of Palermo.

Best area in Palermo for the beach away from areas to avoid

Which neighborhood to enjoy the beach in Palermo?

For those who prefer to take advantage of their stay for sightseeing but also to enjoy the beach, the neighborhood Mondello is the best !

Quieter than the historic center from which it is a little out of the way, this beautiful seaside district is a privileged place in Palermo. In terms of entertainment, it is not left out with its restaurants, bars and clubs.

Choosing the Mondello district also means enjoying the beauty of its monuments such as the Sanctuary of Santa Rosalia.

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