Getting Around Sicily
The best way to get around Sicily is by train, as it allows you to quickly and affordably get from the island's various cities while still enjoying the scenery. Be sure to validate your ticket before boarding to avoid fines. Buses are another affordable transportation method and may be your next best option. They're less expensive than trains; however, they don't get you there as quickly. You can purchase bus tickets in many places, including newsstands, bars and tabacchi shops, but be sure to bring cash to pay for your ticket.
Cars can give you more freedom when traveling throughout Sicily, but you'll have to contend with traffic, confusing tolls, limited traffic zones (where you can be heavily fined if you're driving where you shouldn't be), parking and more. Since Sicily is surrounded by water, you can travel by ferry, as well, though service may be limited in the winter months.
You can fly into Sicily via three airports, including Palermo Falcone-Borsellino Airport (PMO), Trapani Vincenzo Florio Airport (TPS) and Catania Vincenzo Bellini Airport (CTA). There are shuttle services and taxis that will take you to town or you can ride the local bus from Catania airport. Additionally, you can reach Sicily by water from mainland Italy and France, as well as islands like Sardinia and Corsica using ferry services like Corsica Ferries-Sardinia Ferries. You can even reach Sicily by train from the Italian mainland with the entire train boarding a ferry for the water crossing.
High-speed trains operated by Trenitalia connect Palermo, Catania and Messina, while slower regional trains can get you to other cities like Ragusa, Agrigento and Syracuse. It takes about three hours between the main stations in Palermo and Messina and about a 1 1/2 to two hours to travel between Messina and Catania's main stations. Ticket prices vary by route.
Orange buses are for local travel, while blue buses take you between cities like Ragusa, Syracuse, Trapani, Catania and Palermo. Buses can have long wait times and in less urban areas may only run in the morning or not at all on Sundays. The major bus companies include AST, Interbus, Salemi, Lumia and SAIS Autolinee.
You can rent a bike in major cities, but many have no bike lanes, so use caution. Well-reviewed bike rental and tour companies include Social Bike and Baja Bikes, both in Palmero.
Hop a ferry to different cities along the coast, as well as to Malta, Sardinia and even Naples; some even offer overnight accommodations. Fares cost around 80 to 90 euros (about $90 to $100) one-way to the mainland or around 200 euros (about $220) to go to the mainland and then on to a different island like Corsica or Sardinia. To travel between cities on Sicily, it costs between 50 to 70 euros (about $55 to $80). Major ferry companies include Grimaldi Lines, Tirrenia and Grandi Navi Veloci. To reach the Aeolian Islands, you can take Liberty Lines or SNAV.
You can rent a car from agencies like Avis, Hertz and Europcar at Sicily's airports, but beware of tolls, limited traffic zones and one-way streets. You'll also need to obtain an international driving permit before you arrive in Italy.
Taxis, which are white, can be pricey, and there is a surcharge for luggage. Taxis can usually be found at taxi ranks, bus stations and outside popular attractions. Your hotel can also hail a taxi for you.
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