By Plane

Sicily is served by four airports: Palermo Falcone-Borsellino Airport (tel. 091-7020111; www.gesap.it) at Punta Raisi 31km (19 miles) west of the city, Trapani Vincenzo Florio Airport (tel. 0923-842502; www.airgest.it) at Birgi 15kms (9 miles) from Trapani, Catania Vincenzo Bellini Airport (tel. 095-7239111; www.aeroporto.catania.it), the third largest airport in Italy, at Fontanarossa 7km (4 1/2 miles) from the city center. The newest airport is in the town of Comiso in the region of Ragusa, Comiso Aeroporto (www.aeroportodicomiso.eu/en).

Direct flights from the U.S. to Sicily are non-existant at the time of this writing. However, there are a number of directing flights available through both Rome and Milan, plus a number of the British and Irish airports. We recommend the websites SkyScanner.net and Momondo.com for flight searches.

advertisement

By Car

If you're feeling particularly adventurous and have time it's also possible to drive from London to Palermo (allow at least 3 days for the journey), a distance of 1,822km (1,132 miles). Once across the channel, factor at least 24 hours of driving to the Italian border.

Rather than driving all through Italy, from here you could pick up a ferry from Genoa (Grandi Navi Veloci; www.gnv.it) which sails to Palermo in 20 hours.

By Train

For many visitors, especially backpackers, this is the most convenient way to reach Sicily from the Italian mainland. Depending on where you start your journey, and which category of train, the trip can take anywhere from 12 to 15 hours (Milan or Venice) or 9 to 12 hours (Rome or Naples). All trains from the mainland arrive at the port of Villa San Giovanni or Reggio Calabria, the toe of the Italian peninsula, and from there trains roll onto enormous barges for the 1-hour crossing to Messina. Trains either stop at Messina Centrale or continue on to Palermo, Catania, or Syracuse.

advertisement

For fares and information within Italy, call tel. 892021 or visit www.trenitalia.it, also available in English. Eurai passes don't really make sense for travel to Sicily, since you won't be using them much on the island itself.

By Boat & Ferry

As an island, Sicily is well linked via sea to mainland Italy. The major connection is from Villa San Giovanni in Calabria, the last mainland city approached before the ferry trip over to Messina, in eastern Sicily. Ferries (traghetti) depart frequently from Villa San Giovanni, making the trip of 12km (7 1/2 miles) across the straits. If you don't have a car, you can also make the crossing by hydrofoil (aliscafo) from Reggio Calabria, which is faster but does not allow passengers to stand outside during the trip. If you have time to spare, take the ferry, and watch the crossing from the deck.

advertisement

If you're already in Italy there are many options to choose from. Traghetti Lines (tel. 0565-912191; www.traghettilines.it) shows all the possible boat and ferry connections from mainland Italy, Sardinia, and Malta to Palermo, Catania, Messina, Trapani, and Pozzallo. Service to Palermo from Naples and Civitavecchia (Rome) is offered by SNAV (tel. 081-4285555; www.snav.it) while Ustica Lines (www.usticalines.it) handles service from Naples to the outer-lying islands (Ustica and the Egadi Islands). Grimaldi Lines (tel. 081-496444; www.grimaldi-lines.com) handles service from Livorno and Salerno to Palermo and Catania. Grandi Navi Veloci (tel. 010-2094591; www.gnv.it) sails from Genoa and Livorno Civitaveccia to Palermo. Departure times are always subjected to weather and sea conditions, so always call to ask for confirmation.

By Bus

Europe's major bus carrier, Eurolines (tel. 0870/514-3219 in London; www.eurolines.com) runs buses to Rome in 33 hours, with stops along the way. After that, you can take an Italian bus to Sicily. Buses leave England on Wednesday and Friday, heading for Milan and Rome.

advertisement

If you're in Rome and want to travel overland by bus into Sicily, you can book tickets at Segesta, Piazza della Repubblica (tel. 0935-565111; www.interbus.it). It has two departures daily from Rome's Piazza Tiburtina to Palermo; the trip takes 12 hours. The line also goes to Syracuse in southern Sicily in 11 hours.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.