Sicily Map and Travel Guide
Find Your way Around Sicily with our Map and Attractions Guide
Map of Sicily
Sicily map showing train lines © James Martin
Transportation: Getting To and From Sicily by Train
You can get to Sicily without leaving your train, as long as you're coming from mainland Italy; your train is loaded onto a barge for the short trip across the straits of Messina. Getting from Naples to Siracusa takes about 9-10 hours on the train. It will take more time that you think to travel in Sicily on the train, as trains, even along the main lines from Palermo to Siracusa, are notably slow.
Within Sicily, either the SAIS Aurolinee bus or the railroad gets you from Catania to Palermo in 2 hours and 24 minutes, for example. It's just a little longer from Messina to Palermo by rail. Take the train down the coast from Messina to Siracusa by train takes 2 hours 42 minutes. Messina to Agrigento takes 4 hours and 35 minutes on the train. Click the links to see the current cost of these journeys.
Sicily by Car
The best way to see Sicily (especially if you don't have a lot of time) is to travel by car. Cars can be rented at airports and downtown locations in major cities. There is a 14% tax added when you rent at the airport. The three largest rental services in Sicily are Hertz, Avis, and Maggiore. All have presences at Aeroporto Fontanarossa in Catania.
The aurostrade (toll roads) are well maintained in Sicily. You will probably want to avoid driving in large cities, but the regional roads are good and scenic views present themselves often.
Sicily by Train
Although the Main lines connecting Messina, Taormina, Siracusa, and Palermo are relatively brisk, the secondary lines, shown on the map as thin lines, are generally quite slow. The Messina-Palermo run is quite scenic. I recommend a stop in Cefalu (pictures). I have never minded the slowness. It gives you time to see the landscape. You can also take the train to Agrigento to see the temples (pictures).
Bus services between the smaller cities is available from a number of carriers offering air-conditioned buses at prices slightly higher than the train. The main bus company is AST, which provides buses between most major cities.
Sicily and Surrounding Islands by Ferry
Ferries service Sicily extensively. You can get to Sicily from Genoa, Naples, Cagliani Sardinia, Malta and Tunisia via ferry, as well as the Sicilian Island groups of Egadi, Lipari, and Eolie, and islands of Pantelleria, Lampadusa, and Linosa. See Ferries to Sicily for Sicily Ferry information.
Sicily Travel Essentials
For more on Sicily see: Sicily Travel Essentials
To purchase books and guidebooks about the island of Sicily, see: Books About Sicily.
Malta is a fascinating place to consider as a destination near Sicily, with extraordinary archaeology you won't see anywhere else. See The Prehistoric Archaeology of Malta to see what I mean.
Sicily Travel Highlights - A Quick Tour of Travel Ideas
- The archeological sites at Selinunte, Agrigento (Agrigento Valley of the Temples Pictures), Segesta, and Erice (pictures of Erice).
- One of Sicily's top destinations since the Grand Tour: Taormina.
- One of my favorite destinations in Sicily is the Val di Noto, to get more specific, the city I like most is Ragusa. See our Ragusa Pictures.
- Beaches at Mondello, outside Palermo, and near tourist favorite Taormina.
- A visit to see the Spectacular fireworks from Etna (Dormant periods at Mt Etna are extremely rare.)
- Circumnavigate Mt. Etna on the Circumetnea railroad.
- Island hopping on the Aeolian Islands (Isole Eolia).
- Flower Lovers see the Infiorata de Noto at the end of May, one of many Italian Infiorata festivals.
Where to Stay in Sicily
Since Sicily really isn't about the cities, a rural stay with a view of the sea or of Mount Etna (or both!) would be my way to travel. HomeAway lists over 1400 vacation properties in Sicily, rural and in cities like Palermo and my favorite, Ragusa. Sicily vacation rentals (book direct).
Sicily is known for its cuisine, so you might want to take a cooking class to learn about it. Select Italy offers a class at the Cucina del Sole cooking school which is the home of chef Eleonora Consoli in Viagrande (just off the slopes of Mt. Etna near Catania) and lasts 3 hours. See: Cucina Siciliana for more (book the tour direct). You may also book one of their Walking Tours of Palermo.
If you are looking for coach tours to interesting places, a good option if you don't have access to a car in Sicily, Viator offers tours to a good many attractions in Sicily (book direct).