The capital of Sicily, Palermo is a laid back and relaxed city with beautiful architecture and coastal lines. Popular amongst sun-loving travellers, there are numerous sandy beaches to sit back and relax on; but this is not all Palermo has to offer. A traditional way of life is observed in the city and this is best seen in the architecture, food and shopping opportunities. With family run businesses throughout the city, it’s a surprisingly traditional place, despite its size and population.
Italy’s roads are notoriously bumpy, so a hatchback will give you a more comfortable ride both through towns and the country.
Driving in Palermo
Road Driving Side
Urban Speed Limit
Rural Speed Limit
Motorway Speed Limit
Important things to note
Given the size and population of the city, traffic can be dense at times. Driving styles in Italy were once notoriously aggressive but have calmed considerably in recent years making it a reasonably comfortable location to drive in.
The design of the city means that some of the roads are narrow, twisting and difficult to navigate; first-time drivers should aim to stick to the main roads wherever possible to avoid confusion.
As the city is constantly busy, parking is very limited and can be expensive. Most hotels will offer parking for those staying there and it is recommended drivers take advantage of this.
Highlights & Hotspots
Of course, one of the most popular places to visit in Palermo is the beaches. Aspra Beach is located in a small fishing village where the colourful boats are something of a trademark. With some of the best ice cream on the island, this is the ideal destination for families with children.
There are several outdoor markets throughout the city offering local food and other products. La Vucciria is the most famous of the markets, though for something a little quieter and perhaps less daunting, Mercato di Capo is a great option.
Palermo comes alive at night with limitless entertainment options for people of all interests. Famous theatre productions are often in town along with local productions, while those who like their night entertainment a little wilder will enjoy the numerous bars and nightclubs to be found in the city.
Venice may be best known for puppetry, but the International Marionettes Museum in Palermo is a true hub for the history of the form of performance. With displays teaching the art of puppetry and examples of the most famous puppets on show, it can’t be missed!
Palermo International Airport is based 32km to the west of Palermo city centre and services most Italian and European airports. It is a reasonably large airport and experiences the main traffic of Sicily, so plenty of time should be given for those travelling to the airport.