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Driving or public transportation in Sicily?

Driving or public transportation in Sicily?

Old Jan 26th, 2005, 01:47 PM
  #1  
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Driving or public transportation in Sicily?

I am planning on a 8 day trip or so to Sicily and am leaning towards an independent trip. I am interested in the comparison between renting a car and driving or relying on public transportation. I have driven in Italy and would do it again, but am interested in knowing if that is reliable (even with a good map!). Or, what method of public transportation is recommended? Thanks in advance!
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Old Jan 26th, 2005, 02:01 PM
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GAC
 
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I you are planning to limit yourself to major cities and resorts, such as Palermo, Agrigento, Taormina and Siracusa, I would NOT rent a car. Train and bus service is more than adequate for this type of itinerary.

By contract, if you also want to stop en-route at more remote destinations such as Segesta, Selinunte, Mozia Island, Piazza Armerina, etc., a rental car would be very useful for a portion of the trip.

If you research my name on this site ("GAC&quot, you will see that I have posted extensively on public transportation options in Sicily.
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Old Jan 26th, 2005, 02:39 PM
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Our first trip to Sicily we had planned stays at Taormina, Siracusa, Agrigento, and Palermo. We were on a rail pass at the time (part of a very long trip). When we got to Siracusa and were checking how to get to Agrigento we ran into problems. It was going to take us about all day to get there by public means. (It may be different now, that's about 10 years ago). We ended up renting a car just from Siracusa to Agrigento and enjoyed driving for those two days, able to get off the main route a little more and explore some other villages. Otherwise we did great with the trains.

I will say getting to Erice from Palermo was a bit rough also, the train didn't match with the bus, and we ended up wandering Trapani for much of the day waiting for connections -- but there are far worse things in life than wandering Trapani!
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Old Jan 26th, 2005, 04:06 PM
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If you want to be independent and see smaller places, etc then I'd get a car. In some places public transpo is easy in some places it is not. It depends HOW independent you want to be. I was there last April and drove from Taormina to Siracusa, to the southern most point called Capopassero, and then all the way to the west coast where I went to the island of Favignana. For covering ground like this you want a car!!
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Old Jan 27th, 2005, 07:06 AM
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GAC
 
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Patrick's posting is indicative of the challenges which many foreigners experience in relying on public transportation in Sicily.

While the train schedules are very easy to consult on the Trenitalia website, the same is unfortunately not true of the buses. Bus transportation in Sicily is much more significant than on the mainland of Italy, because train service on the Island is limited to the coastal areas along the Ionian and Tyrrhenian Seas, with a few other inland routes. Travellers who don't research the bus service, or who don't inquire locally, end up making the mistake of relying exclusively on the often slower trains.

I have spent many, many months researching bus transportation in Sicily, and I have the website addresses to nearly all of the major bus companies servicing cities and towns of interest to foreign travellers.

For example, from Palermo to Trapani, the bus is MUCH MUCH more frequent (every 15-60 minutes) and faster than the infrequent train.

From Siracusa to Agrigento, the fastest service is the bus, with a connection in Catania. A more interesting but slower route is to go southwest through Noto, Modica, Ragusa, Comiso, Gela, Licata, to Agrigento, but this requires a combination of train to Gela or Licata, plus a connecting bus to Agrigento.

Once again, if you aim to limit yourself to major cities, you don't need a car.
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Old Jan 27th, 2005, 07:19 AM
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PJI
 
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I say rent a car. It will allow you so much more freedom to just pop over to other town, etc. I know a car can be a pain in Catania and Palermo, but other than it really is fine. We like to stop when we see an interesting "brown sign" pointing out something of interest, eating at the autogrills, and just being able to do what we please when we please. I guess it depends on where you will be going. If you are planning on stay in one or two big towns then no, but if you want the freedom to explore, get a car
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Old Jan 27th, 2005, 03:45 PM
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Thanks to all for great information. Now I have to decide.......
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Old Jan 27th, 2005, 05:46 PM
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I've been to Sicily twice, in a car both times. I like the freedom a car allows. You can visit tiny towns, or ruins, for an hour or two and then move on. You can stay out in the countryside in agritourismo locations.
My last trip there was 8 days, focusing on the west side of the island, Palermo, and Agrigento.
If you want to get some ideas, or just see photos, check out my travelogue at http://www.wired2theworld.com
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Old Feb 13th, 2005, 10:06 PM
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What car rental agency do you recommend for rental out of Catania and returning there? Any other tips about the driving or getting the rental? My husband does not want to get a car as he had heard from friends renting in southern Italy that you had a huge deposit(around $2000) due to high theft. Please help me convince him that Naples area and Sicily are not the same in regards to car rentals? Thanks!
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