We are often asked by our villa guests about driving in Sicily – what the roads are like, how driving differs from their own country and whether they would be better rental a car in Sicily Catania or Palermo airport. So here are a couple of tips to bear in mind before making any final decision on your car hire.
Most importantly, if you plan to stay in a holiday villa in the Sicilian countryside, you need to rent a car hire in Sicily. Sicily’s rail and bus network is still relatively unsophisticated and to get to the shops, restaurants and the beach, you will need your own transport. If you know in advance that you prefer not to drive abroad, then consider renting a villa or apartment in one of Sicily’s city centres, such as Modica or Syracuse.
When it comes to size, our advice is not to get a bigger car than you need. If you plan to explore Sicily by car, the chances are that you will visit villages where a smaller car will be easier to negotiate through narrow streets and where there may be limited parking. However, the access road to a few of our more remote villas is relatively steep so do check whether you might need a slightly more powerful car. If you are holidaying with a large family or group, we also recommend getting comparative costs on renting two or three vehicles as renting a people carrier can be costly.
Sicily car hire it means being prepared for heavy traffic in the larger cities such as Palermo and Catania. Drivers tend to be fast and quite aggressive so the best rule of thumb is to do all you can to anticipate what other drivers may do and assume that cars may change lane without prior indication. Away from the main cities, the biggest hurdle is navigation but this can easily be overcome with a good portable GPS or by having a good idea of the planned route before you set off.
Renting your own car will certainly give you more flexibility but if you prefer not to drive during your holiday in Sicily, one option may be to rent a car to get to and from the airport and for local shops and restaurants, and booking a guided tour for exploring further. We organise a large selection of cultural guided tours and excursions, in and around Palermo and Cefalù, to the archaeological sites of Segesta, Selinunte and the Valley of the Temples, and around the baroque towns of the Val di Noto. So delegate the driving to someone else, forget about directions and parking and just sit back and enjoy the view!