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Getting around Sicily and essential travel information

Shutterstock _292383359_Getting There2Explore our quick guide to getting to the island of Sicily from both mainland Italy and other international destinations.

Ferries from mainland Italy

Ferries to Sicily from the Italian mainland run regularly with a variety of providers including the companies GNV and Tirrenia, Genoa, Livorno and Citavecchia in the northern half of Italy, run boats to Palermo and the north coast whilst further south, Naples and Salerno link the mainland with Trapani, the north coast, Messina and Catania. Further south still, Reggio Calabria, right in the toe of Italy’s boot, runs a service to make the short hop across the channel to Messina.

Major airports and airlines

There are currently four airports in operation on Sicily, connecting the island with the Italian mainland as well as the rest of the world. The largest are Palermo Punta Raisi in the north and Catania Fontanarossa in the east, both of which are well served by budget and flag carrier airlines. Smaller Trapani Vincenzo Florio serves the west of the island, and newcomer Comiso takes care of the south; these two airports have more of a focus on flights to Sicily from the continent. Palermo airport is situated around 30 kilometres to the west of the capital whilst Catania airport is 4-5 kilometres south of this east coast city. Trapani airport can be found nestled midway between Trapani and Marsala – around 16 kilometres from each. Comiso is 14-15 kilometres from the baroque town of Ragusa. Key airlines to Sicily include: Easyjet, Ryanair and Norwegian. Book flights early with Cheapflights.co.uk to enjoy great airfares and direct flights from almost every European country.

Getting around in Sicily

Sometimes one Sicilian destination just isn’t enough. Read on for a brief guide to public transport in Sicily.

Buses in Sicily

If you are hoping to explore Sicily by bus then rest assured there are plenty of bus and coach companies to choose from. Two of the big names are Interbus and AST – they have routes that run all over the island. A list of alternative companies and the regions they serve can be found here. See airport websites for information on transport links.

Train services in Sicily

Travelling to Sicily by train makes for a great way to enjoy the scenery in comfort and at a very affordable price. There is an efficient network linking the key cities and destinations of interest. However, the high-speed vehicles of the Italian mainland are not in operation here – as a result, expect journey times to take longer. More in-depth train information and timetables can be found at Trenitalia.

Car rental in Sicily

For a holiday with a little more freedom, many travellers hire a car to explore Sicily. Motorways and roads are vastly improved from past conditions, but be aware that signposting can be frustratingly sparse so ensure you tackle the roads armed with a map. Additionally, be aware that drivers in the big cities can be fast and a little unnerving at times for those that aren’t used to the driving habit – keep a cool head, the chaos is mostly controlled. For great rates, we recommend Rentalcars.com for your car hire needs.

Getting to the islands of Sicily

The beautiful minor islands of Sicily are popular tourist attractions and consequently, are easy to reach from various points on Sicily’s coastline. Both hydrofoils (passengers only) and ferries run regularly throughout the year – booking is not necessary out of peak season but in the summer months, we advise to buy tickets in advance for peace of mind. To catch a hydrofoil to the Aeolian Islands, head to Milazzo where the journey will take between 45 minutes and 3 hours, dependent on the island. Hydrofoils also run from Palermo and Messina (journey times roughly 2.5 to 5 hours and 2.5 to 3 hours respectively) throughout the peak summer months. It is also possible to catch a hydrofoil to this Aeolians from mainland Italy. The journey takes 2 to 5 hours and runs all year round from Reggio Calabria, or 4.5 to 6.5 hours from Naples during the summer months. For passengers with cars, the Aeolian Islands ferry runs from Milazzo in Sicily and Naples in Italy. To catch a hydrofoil to the Egadian Islands, crossings run throughout the day from Trapani and Marsala. The Egadian Island ferry route runs from Trapani. Ferries and hydrofoils to the minor Sicilian islands, including Ustica, Pantelleria, Lampedusa and Linosa, are available through Siremar and Ustica Lines. For additional travel information for Sicily, contact us for further assistance or explore our travel guide section.

The Sicily4U team wishes you a pleasant journey!