The island at the foot of mainland Italy, Sicily seems like a world on its own, a million miles away from the rest of the country. From the top of Mount Etna to the streets of Palermo and Messina, the Sicilian experience is one to be embraced. World Heritage Sites, picturesque hill towns and amazing beaches are all common sights on the island. When visiting Sicily, you’re likely to come across a vast array of architectural styles from different centuries, complementing each other. The island’s cuisine is to die for too, using fresh ingredients such as lemons, seafood and wheat to create dishes to make the mouth water. Given its location in the Mediterranean, the climate is pretty welcoming too with hot summers and mild winters.
To act on the side of caution, a small city car is the best thing to drive here for negotiating sharp turns near the mountains and for going through the centres of Palermo, Catania and Messina.
Driving in Sicily Palermo
Road Driving Side
Urban Speed Limit
Rural Speed Limit
Motorway Speed Limit
Important things to note
Sicily has four motorways – the A18, A19, A20 and A29. The A20 from Messina to Palermo is a toll road which you have to pay to use.
There are a handful of minor routes which aren’t in tip-top condition, but tend to be safe enough to drive on due to the dry climate.
The main point of access by road from Sicily to the mainland is Messina, where you can catch a ferry ride without much hassle.
Highlights & Hotspots
The first place anyone coming to Sicily should visit is Mount Etna. The volcano is arguably the island’s most impressive sight, but should be approached with caution as it is still active. When it’s safe, walking to its summit will provide you with unrivalled views of Sicily.
One of the most notable examples of Roman architecture on the island is the Villa Romana del Casale, built in the 4th century. The Villa is known for housing the world’s largest collection of mosaics from the Empire.
As a change of pace, the best part of the island for nature walks is the Zingaro Reserve, which is on the west coast of Sicily. Walking here will reward you with great views of the beaches, the sea and the dwarf palm, a native plant.
In Palermo, the capital of Sicily, you can visit the Teatro Massimo, the largest opera house in Italy. Performances from world-class singers are the norm here, while the same can be said of the Teatro Massimo Bellini in Catania.
Sicily has three major airports; Catania-Fontanarossa Airport, Palermo International Airport and
Trapani-Birgi Airport. The first two are the most popular, being near major cities, although Comiso-Ragusa Airport has recently been opened for civilian use.
Palermo International is around 10 miles northeast of the city centre. Catania-Fontanarossa is two miles south of central Catania. Trapani-Birgi is eight miles south-southwest of Trapani.