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  • Writer's pictureThe Sicilian Wanderer

Discover Sicily by rental car: the best roads for your holidays!

Discover Sicily by rental car: the best roads for your holidays!

Sicily, a captivating island brimming with hidden treasures, offers breathtaking landscapes and historical and cultural sites waiting to be discovered. The ideal way to explore this magnificent island is by renting a car and driving along its scenic routes. In this article, we'll provide detailed information on how to rent a car and reach the island's main tourist destinations, along with useful tips to make your driving experience as enjoyable as possible. Sicily is served by three main airports: Catania-Fontanarossa, Palermo-Falcone e Borsellino, and Trapani-Birgi. At each of these airports, you'll find various car rental agencies to choose from, including Hertz, Europcar, Avis, Sixt, and Budget. Remember to book in advance to get the best rates and ensure the availability of your desired car.

Here are some of the most scenic routes to reach some of Sicily's main tourist destinations:

  • From Catania to Taormina: Take the SS114 highway, known as the "Road of the Two Seas." You'll pass through towns like Acireale and Giardini Naxos, enjoying spectacular views of the Ionian coast.

  • From Palermo to Cefalù: Follow the SS113 highway, also known as the "Road of the Gods." Along the way, you can admire breathtaking views of the Tyrrhenian coast and the hills of the Sicilian hinterland.

  • From Trapani to San Vito Lo Capo: Take the SS187 highway, which will lead you through the picturesque town of Custonaci and the Zingaro Nature Reserve, ending at the beautiful beach of San Vito Lo Capo.

  • From Catania to Siracusa: Take the A18 motorway and then the SS114 highway. This route will take you through the Anapo Valley and the charming town of Avola before reaching Siracusa, one of Sicily's most enchanting cities.

  • From Palermo to Agrigento: Take the A29 motorway and then the SS189 highway. Along the way, you can admire the Temple of Segesta and the picturesque town of Sciacca before arriving in Agrigento, famous for its Valley of the Temples.

If you're considering renting a car to tour Sicily, let me tell you, you're in for an unforgettable experience! But know that, unlike the ball-in-hand driving of our basketball champions, driving in Sicily requires a bit of courage and a dash of madness. Brace yourself for the traffic chaos in Palermo and Catania, where it seems every driver is in a race against time to get ahead of others. But don't worry, I'll give you all the tips to avoid the busiest roads and reach the main tourist destinations in peace.

trafic palermo

When exploring the picturesque landscapes and historical wonders of Sicily by car, it's essential to be prepared for the driving conditions in its bustling cities. Palermo and Catania, two of the island's largest urban centers, are particularly notorious for their challenging traffic situations.

Palermo: As the capital of Sicily, Palermo is a vibrant city with a rich history and culture. However, its narrow streets, combined with a high volume of vehicles and scooters, can make driving here a bit of an adventure. The city's layout, influenced by its diverse past, includes a maze of lanes and alleys that can be confusing for first-time visitors.

Catania: Located at the foot of Mount Etna, Catania is another Sicilian city where driving can be a test of one's patience. The city's bustling atmosphere, combined with its intricate road network, often leads to traffic congestion, especially during peak hours.

Tips for Navigating Palermo and Catania:

  • Avoid Peak Hours: If possible, try to avoid driving during rush hours, typically from 8-10 am and 5-7 pm. Traffic is usually lighter in the mid-afternoon.

  • Use Public Transport: Both cities have public transportation systems, including buses and trams. If you're visiting major tourist spots, consider parking your car outside the city center and using public transport to get around.

  • Parking: Finding parking in the city centers can be challenging. Look for designated parking areas or garages. In some areas, parking might be free during siesta hours (usually between 1 pm and 4 pm).

  • GPS and Maps: Always have a reliable GPS system or a map. Many modern GPS systems and apps like Google Maps or Waze provide real-time traffic updates, which can be invaluable.

  • Stay Calm and Patient: Remember, driving in these cities requires patience. Stay calm, be aware of your surroundings, and take your time.

  • Consider Guided Tours: If you're more interested in sightseeing than navigating traffic, consider joining guided tours. Many companies offer day trips to the main attractions, allowing you to relax and enjoy the experience without the stress of driving.


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