Best of Sicily by public transport

Old May 15th, 2002, 08:27 AM
  #1  
viktor
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Best of Sicily by public transport

Folks,<BR><BR>I've finally decided on my trip to Sicily dates and approximate itinerary (any suggestions are still welcome):<BR> <BR>Taormina 3 days, <BR>Siracusa 1-2 days, <BR>Agriggento 1 day, <BR>Palermo (daytrip to Erice) 3 days. <BR><BR>I will fly in to Catania and fly out from Palermo (to Rome and from there back to NY). Bad thing I don't drive, so I will be using public transport. Need your advise on the best connections between the towns and planning my time.<BR><BR>Any ideas will be warmly appreciated!<BR><BR>Viktor.
 
Old May 15th, 2002, 10:59 AM
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GAC
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Piece of Cake:<BR><BR>1. Catania Airport to Taormina: take the direct bus (which stops briefly in downtown Catania) into Taormina. Departures circa every 2 hrs. Travel time 75 minutes.<BR><BR>2. Taormina to Siracusa: take the bus to downtown Catania, and connect to the bus to Ortigia Island in Siracusa. Departures circa every 2 hrs. Travel time 120 minutes (excluding connection time).<BR><BR>3. Siracusa to Agrigento: take the bus back to downtown Catania, then connect to the bus to downtown Agrigento. Departures nearly hourly. Travel time 3 hrs. 40 min (excluding connection time). You could also take the southern route (bus or train to Gela, connecting to bus to Agrigento), but this takes most of the day, and makes no sense unless you wanted to stop along the way in Ragusa.<BR><BR>4. Agrigento to Palermo: take either the bus or the train direct. Frequent departures. Travel time: about 2 hrs.<BR><BR>5. Daytrip to Erice from Palermo: take the hourly bus to Trapani, and connect to the local bus (10 per day) up the hill to Erice. Travel time: 2 hrs., 20 mins. (excluding connection time)<BR><BR>6. Airport bus to Palermo: departures every 30 minutes from the Central Train Station and from Piazza Castelnuovo. Travel time: 1 hr. from the Station.<BR><BR>Bear in mind that on Sunday, buses are severly reduced (except the Airporter Bus to Palermo, which operates daily). It's a good idea to stay put on Sundays.
 
Old May 15th, 2002, 03:12 PM
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viktor
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GAC, you are awesome! Many thanks!<BR><BR>Still, will I be able to get to Taormina from Catania airport on SUnday I expect to land sometime between 3 and 7 PM, Sunday May 26?
 
Old May 15th, 2002, 08:16 PM
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topper
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topping
 
Old May 16th, 2002, 04:31 AM
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Maddy
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Hi Viktor,<BR><BR>We will also be taking the bus from Catania airport to Taormina when we visit in June so I've looked up some of this info. <BR><BR>Taormina has a good website with lots of practical information including how to arrive. I'm copying the link direct to that page here: http://www.taormina.it/howtoreach.htm<BR><BR>It shows the schedule for the direct bus and says it runs every day. The bus line is SAIS Interbus. You might also check the website for Catania's airport - they have an email link (haven't tried it). You can ask them to confirm if you want to be absolutely sure that it runs on Sunday. Here's the link to the airport: <BR><BR>http://www.cormorano.net/aeroporto.catania/servizi.htm<BR><BR>When you go to this website, click on "trasporti and parcheggi" on the left, and then "Autolinee extraurbane" and you'll see a list of bus companies ...the listing shows SAIS Interbus with a phone #, but no link direct to the company. If your Italian is good enough you can call the bus company direct and get confirmation. <BR><BR>If not, try also sending an email to the Taormina website and ask them to confirm it runs on Sunday. I emailed them with a question and received a response within a couple of days.<BR><BR>Good luck!
 
Old May 16th, 2002, 05:37 AM
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Kathy
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Traveled in Sicily by public transportation for two weeks September 2000. Just a heads up....it always takes a lot longer for the trip than posted be it by bus or train.
 
Old May 16th, 2002, 05:44 AM
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Patrick
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I agree about the inconsistency. We traveled to Sicily, goint to Taormina, Siracusa, Agrigento, then Palermo with a Eurail pass. Most trains were delayed, a couple canceled. When we got to Siracusa and were trying to confirm the trip to Agrigento, we found that the busses weren't running (and no, it wasn't Sunday, and it was in the middle of summer). The guy at our hotel basically told us we couldn't get to Agrigento by train or bus -- in less than a full day. We ended up renting a car for the day and were amazed how quickly we got there. Since that isn't an option for you, I suggest you make sure you are not dependent upon the posted times.
 
Old May 16th, 2002, 07:27 AM
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GAC
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I had a different experience from that of Patrick. I used public transportation in Sicily extensively for 18 days at Eastertime in 2000, and had no major difficulty reaching my destinations at or around the scheduled arrival times. I used both trains and buses. I did miss a bus connection traveling from Palermo to Erice (via Trapani), but still managed to reach Erice in plenty of time. The buses from Palermo to Trapani run every 30 to 60 minutes Monday through Saturday, less frequently on Sundays. True, more time is wasted compared to driving, but you have the distinct advantage of not having to hunt down secure parking facilities, which is often not easy. Viktor, your particular itinerary can certainly be done by public transportation. I don't know why Patrick could not go from Siracusa to Agrigento (via Catania) in about 4 hours: perhaps there was a strike or slowdown on the day of his departure. Bear in mind that there are also (infrequent) trains, so there is often an alternative. The key is to have as many bus and train schedules as possible beforehand. On the Catania Airport to Taormina run on Sunday afternoon, my schedule from 2000 shows a departure at 18:30, arriving Taormina bus terminal at 19:50. Unfortunately, this schedule does not show any other buses on Sunday afternoons. However, there may well be other buses, but you'd need to check the sources mentioned by Maddy. Also ask your hotel in Taormina. You may end up having to telephone the bus company, as Maddy correctly suggests. If the bus connection is simply not convenient, you can always take the Catania city bus from the airport to the train station (leaving every 20 minutes or so), and a train from there to the Taormina train station, where you can get a taxi. When searching train schedules on www.trenitalia.com, remember to enter a Sunday date, since schedules are often a bit different on Sundays. The bus would be a better choice, if the schedules work out for you. Bus drivers usually try to honor posted time (plus or minus a few minutes), but remember that this is Sicily and not Germany: precision is not a forte!
 
Old May 16th, 2002, 07:36 AM
  #9  
GAC
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I just looked up the Taormina.it site mentioned by Maddy (Catania Airport to Taormina). You should bear in mind that there is no indication of how old this bus schedule information is. Also, this could well be the Monday through Saturday schedule (even though the web site says it's daily). I would definitely recommend verifying the schedules with the bus company (Interbus), the tourist board, the Taormina website, or possibly the hotel.
 
Old May 16th, 2002, 08:02 AM
  #10  
viktor
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Thanks all for the info!<BR><BR>I've just run into another option which looks like a good replacement for public trans - GUIDED ONE-DAY BUS TOURS! Thus one can travel without checking out from the hotel and not being dependent on regular schedules. I've found found a travel co in Taormina - Sunshine Travel that runs such tours. This would be a very nice and easy option to visit places like Agrigento and Siracuse while staying in Taormina. Below are a couple of links.<BR><BR>Any ideas?<BR><BR>Viktor.<BR><BR>http://www.taorminatours.com<BR>http://www.sicilyholidays.it<BR><BR>
 
Old May 16th, 2002, 11:28 AM
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GAC
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The guided day tours are indeed an option worth considering. I know that from Taormina, you can take day trips to Palermo, Agrigento-Villa del Casale (Piazza Armerina), Siracusa, the Aeolian Islands, and Mt. Etna. You could see much of the island (at least on a very superficial basis) from Taormina itself. These day tours operate only once or twice a week, so you really need to plan in advance. They are also subject to cancellation for lack of passengers. It's a lot of bus travel for one day (and they are not exactly inexpensive), but may well be worth it to avoid having to pack your bags every two or three days. The downside is that you lose the ability to enjoy these other destinations in the evenings and at sunrise.
 
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