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Sicily - Travel and Transport

Sicily - how to get there and how to get about

The island of Sicily, separated from the toe if Italy's 'boot' by the Straits of Messina, makes a fine and varied base for those interested in culture, the bizarre, volcanoes and magnificent beaches – a strange heady mix of temptations for the first time-visitor, and one that is bound to encourage a return visit.

Getting there by plane, ferry or hydrofoil from the UK and Italy

Sicily can be reached from the UK by a number of routes and different modes of transport. One of the most popular of these must be the bargain flights to Trapani offered by budget low-price airline Ryanair. One can also fly to Naples and travel by ferry to Sicily from there; the main ferry operators are Tirrenia (operating a car ferry service sailing from Naples to Palermo), Ustica Lines (operating a hydrofoil service from Naples to Trapani) and SNAV, (operating a hydrofoil service from Naples to Palermo – summer season only).

Car hire in Sicily

Car hire in Sicily varies in cost, but most of the major car hire companies have offices at either of Sicily's two main airports, Palermo (Punta Raisi), (now known as Falcone-Borsellino in memory of the anti-mafia judges Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino, who were assassinated in 1992) and Catania Fontanarossa. Whichever car hire company you choose, it's worth ensuring you have full collision damage waiver insurance. Holiday Autos are good for this. Their current car hire partner in Sicily is Targarent.

If you're planning on doing more than a little travelling, and hiring cars as you go, you may wish to consider your own collision damage waiver (CDW) insurance. Many car hire companies' insurance policies explicity exclude damage to tyres, the car roof, undercarriage and windscreen. Car hire insurance from gives you an annual CDW/LDW policy that you can use instead of taking out the often expensive cover touted at the car hire booths.

Refuelling your hire car as you return to Palermo Airport is easy - IF you know where to go!  As you approach Punta Raisi from Palermo, go PAST the turn off to the airport, and take the next exit to Cinisi.  Follow the slip road round, and take a right tirn at the end.  You'll see and ERG petrol station on the left just a few yards up.  This is the closest patrol station to Palermo Airport.  Be warned though, the last time we tried, the petrol station did not take credit/debit cards, so make sure you have some cash handy.  

Public transport in Sicily

We ourselves have always used a hire car whilst in Sicily, but we understand there is a reasonable public transport system, including buses from the two main airports heading towards Palermo and Catania respectively. Some useful information concerning public transport - and the somewhat unusual ticket system that operates in Sicily - can be found on the Best of Sicily web site.