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Salerno/Palermo Car Ferry: Daylight and Overnight Crossings Year-round

Salerno/Palermo Car Ferry: Daylight and Overnight Crossings Year-round

Old Jul 20th, 2009, 08:52 AM
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Salerno/Palermo Car Ferry: Daylight and Overnight Crossings Year-round

Most Fodorites have heard about the daily year-round overnight car ferry crossings between Naples and Palermo. Some may even know that there are supplemental daylight crossings between Naples and Palermo on weekends during the month of August.

Many Fodorites don't know that there is a year-round car ferry service between Salerno and Palermo, once per week during daylight hours, and once per week overnight. This crossing is particularly useful for people staying in Salerno or even in Positano, Praiano, Amalfi, Ravello, Maiori, Cetara, Vietri sul Mare, or thereabouts. Each of these towns is reachable by SITA bus and/or by boat from Salerno.


Grimaldi Ferries operates a very modern car ferry between Palermo and Salerno twice per week. Unfortunately, departure times are somewhat inconvenient: currently at 12 noon on Mondays, and at midnight on Fridays. The crossings take approximately 9.5 hours. Fares start at 55 Euros for a reclining seat (all taxes and surcharges included). Cabins cost considerably more. Fares double during the summer peak season. Ferry "Eurostar Sorrento" (in service November 2003) measures 611 feet in length, 84 feet in width, displaces 26,000 tons, and travels at 22.5 knots. There are 93 cabins with private facilities, and 62 reclining seats. Cafeteria, bar, salon, videogames.

The ferry departs from Salerno's industrial port, which is at the westernmost fringe of the city, across the Bay from the train station and not far from the Molo Manfredi/Jolly Hotel. Ships arrive at the Molo Norimberga in Messina, not far from the train station.






For those who don't find the ferry schedules convenient, there is always the train from Salerno to Sicily. By day, there are two Intercity (IC) direct trains, currently departing Salerno at 10:19 and 14:19, and arriving in Palermo 8.5 hours later. These trains split in half at Messina, with half of the convoy heading south to Taormina, Catania and Siracusa, and the other half west to Palermo. These are all-reserved, non-smoking and air-conditioned trains. The trains usually have one first class and four second class railcars to each of Palermo and Siracusa. There is no restaurant car, so travellers should bring there own food and beverages. Currently, the regular second class fare to Palermo is 42.50 Euros (discountable to 34.40 Euros with the advance-purchase "AMICA" fare).

HINT: The first class "AMICA" fare (47.60 Euros) is only slightly more than the regular second class fare, and is much easier to get than second class "AMICA".

Then there is the night train, currently departing Salerno at 23:26, and arriving in Palermo the next morning at 8:50. This train is also all-reserved, non-smoking and air conditioned. A second class seat costs 37.50 Euros, or 30.40 Euros with the "AMICA" fare. Also available, at additional cost, are C4 quad couchettes, single, twin and triple sleeping compartments, and the luxurious "Excelsior" class sleepers with private facilities.

OPINION: The overnight car ferry is definitely more comfortable than the overnight train, although it costs more, and there is only one crossing per week in each direction. The daylight car ferry also costs more than the train, but is more enjoyable and gets into Palermo in time for a good night's sleep.

DON'T CONFUSE the Grimaldi ferry to Palermo with the much more frequent Caronte ferry to Messina.

www.salernocity.com (boat service along Amalfi Coast)
www.metrodelmare.com (boat service between Bay of Naples and Bay of Salerno)

www.carontetourist.it (ferry between Salerno and Messina)
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Old Jul 20th, 2009, 09:02 AM
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I made an awful mistake in my posting above:

The Grimaldi ferries out of Salerno arrive in PALERMO at Molo Vittorio Veneto. The reference to arrival in MESSINA is for the Caronte Tourist ferry line out of Salerno.

I alerted readers not to confuse these two services, and didn't heed my own advice!!!

BTW, here are the websites for the car ferries out of Naples:

www.tirrenia.it (to Palermo)
www.snav.it (to Palermo)
www.tttlines.it (to Catania)
www.siremar.it (to Aeolian Islands/Milazzo)
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