Travel to Palermo
Flying to Palermo
Ryanair and easyJet operate direct flights to Palermo from the UK. There are no direct flights from the USA; Alitalia offers connecting flights via Rome. Prices rise between June and September with cheaper flights available from November to February.
From London - 2 hours 55 minutes; New York - 11 hours 30 minutes (including stopover); Toronto - 11 hours 45 minutes (including stopover); Los Angeles - 15 hours (including stopover); Sydney - 25 hours (including stopovers).
Travel by road
As with much of Italy, driving in Palermo is not for the faint-hearted, but for travellers wanting to see more remote sights, hiring a car is the best option.
Traffic in Palermo drives on the right and the minimum driving age is 18 years. Driving licences should be carried at all times. Speed limits are 50kph (31mph) in built-up areas, 90kph (56mph) on secondary roads, 110 kph (68 mph) on main roads and 130 kph (81 mph) on autostrades (motorways). It’s also worth noting that petrol is expensive in Sicily.
The AA or RAC in Britain and the AAA in America have reciprocal agreements with the Automobile Club d'Italia (ACI) (tel: +39 06 491 116; www.aci.it), who provide a useful advisory service as well as dealing with breakdowns.
Emergency breakdown services
ACI (tel: +39 803 116).
Palermo, in the northwest of the island, is connected to Catania via Enna by the A19. The A20 follows the northern coast of Sicily to the east via Cefalu and Capo d'Orlando, while the A29 goes west towards Trapani.
SAIS Autolinee (tel: +39 091 616 6028; www.saisautolinee.it) has modern, comfortable coaches that serve most of the major cities and towns in Sicily, including Cefalu, Messina, Enna, Caltanissetta, Catania and Siracusa.
Time to city
From Cefalu - 1 hour; Trapani - 1 hour 40 minutes; Catania - 2 hours 50 minutes; Messina - 2 hours 20 minutes.
Travel by Rail
Palermo Centrale, located at Piazza Giulio Cesare, is the main railway station in Palermo.
Trenitalia (tel: +39 06 6847 5475; www.trenitalia.com) operates all services across mainland Italy and Sicily. Night trains run to Palermo from Rome and Naples with the train boarding a ferry at Messina to cross the straits from the mainland. There are regular departures to Palermo from all major towns on the island, including Cefalu, Messina, Catania, Siracusa, Enna, Caltanissetta, Agrigento and Trapani.
From Rome - 11 to 12 hours; Cefalu - 45 minutes; Messina - 3 hours; Catania - 3 hours.
Travel by boat
There are a number of ferry services that go from mainland Italy to Palermo. They all dock at Molo Piave, located at Calata Marinai d’Italia.
Grandi Navi Veloci (tel: +39 010 209 4591; www.gnv.it) and SNAV (tel: +39 081 428 5555; www.snav.it/en) run ferry services from the mainland to Palermo, including daily sailings from Genoa, Rome (Civitavecchia) and Naples.
Tirrenia (tel: +39 829 123; www.tirrenia.it) also run daily services from Naples.