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Sicily - rent a car and go independently or take a tour


May 3rd, 2012, 06:27 PM
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Sicily - rent a car and go independently or take a tour

Where to go in late summer/early fall and Sicily sounds like it could be a wonderful choice. Deciding between a tour or an independent trip, renting a car, planning an itinerary etc. Hub doesn't know how comfortable he is with a do it ourselves type of thing. Does anyone have any suggestions or insight into a week or so independently seeing Sicily? Thanks for any thoughts on the matter. Will be flying out of Newark hopefully, where would we fly into to begin the adventure...
susieQ122 is offline  
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May 3rd, 2012, 06:35 PM
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You may want to read my trip report on Sicily. We drove around for 9 days. Click on my name to find it.
Michael is offline  
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May 3rd, 2012, 07:19 PM
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I have been to Sicily several times as my daughter studied in Siracusa (really Ortigia the old city of Siracusa and absolutely magical) while in college.

In the fall of 2010,we decided to rent a car and do a mother-daughter independent driving 10 day trip and loved it. I met her in Rome where we flew to Catania and rented our car. Our itinerary was basically doing the eastern side of the island with Ortigia and then doing the southern route by way of Agrigento,Selinute(sp?) over to Marsala,Trapani,Palermo and Segesta.We then flew out of Palermo back to Rome for a few days.Mt. Etna ,Taormina and Stromboli had been done on other trips.

I would highly recommend getting the DK Eyewitness book,Frommers and Fodors guidebooks out of your library for info. We used the Italian Touring Club map along with a Tom Tom preprogrammed GPS that we bought in Europe.I pre-chose most of our hotels but other than that it was rather loose other than knowing what we wanted to see and do.

Sicilians are some of the nicest people you will ever meet-please no mafia jokes. They will put down their groceries to walk you in the right direction;call their friend to open a restaurant for you and be up front which product is really better to buy.

Food is amazing,countryside is gorgeous and the wine unbelievable! History is all over this island so soak up the experience.
Sicily is like Italy 40 years ago before the tourists ruined it! Definitely go-be happy to supply any info.
dutyfree is offline  
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May 3rd, 2012, 07:48 PM
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I adore Sicily... especially if you can go in the early to mid spring its fantastic because of the blooming flowers. In the summer it is hot but this means you will be able to hit the beach and the explore the islands and Mt. stromboli.

Hiring a car is not necessary but it will give you more freedom because transport in Sicily is surprisingly good... you have a choice of trains, city buses, and really comfortable coach buses between cities.

My absolute favorite places in Sicily are:
1.) Palermo w/ a trip to the Monreale Cathedral (make sure you don't miss the interior room)

2.) Valley of the Temples Agrigento- fantastic site it had almond trees and flowers blooming when I visited in February.

3. Siracusa w/ a beautiful island of Ortigia to explore and an archeological park where the ear of dionysius is one of the attractions.

4. Piazza Armerina- the drive up there through little towns and rolling green hills (by bus in spring) is as incredible as the site itself but it would be easier to schedule by car.

There are also, Aeolian islands, Mt. Etna, Taormina (which is pretty but over touristed, and many other sites for you to tour and explore. No guides are necessary since the people there are a lot friendlier compared to Northern Italy.

I heart Sicily and after your trip I hope you will to.
Todd_Jenkins is offline  
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May 3rd, 2012, 07:53 PM
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I flew out of Newark landed in Rome and then had to switch to Alitalia to fly to Catania Sicily. When you walk out of the Catania airport to the right and across the street is the bus stop and I bought a ticket for Palermo right when I landed... I think there is also a car rental area right there also. There is also an airport in Palermo... but I don't know much about it.
Todd_Jenkins is offline  
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May 3rd, 2012, 10:02 PM
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I found Sicily very easy to see on one's own.

I spent nearly 2 weeks there - which was NOT enough time for my tastes. I rented a car for 3 days and otherwise used public transportation. Can you manage more than a week? There is SO much to see there!

kja is offline  
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May 4th, 2012, 01:44 PM
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My wife and I will leave for Sicily on May 17th flying out of Newark airport. We are flying Alitalia to Rome with a 90 minute layover before our flight into Palermo. Our return flight leaves from Catania airport again to Rome then to Newark. This did not cost anymore to leave from Catania and prevents us from backtracking.
We will not rent a car in Palermo and will use public transportation for the first four days. There are a lot of day trips available from Palermo. We wiil get a car on our 5th day at Palermo airport with a return at Catania airport. Again there was no extra charge to return at a different airport.
We do not plan on driving in Palermo, Catania or Messina. But we wanted the freedom to explore some small village and sights during our stay.
HarryS is offline  
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May 4th, 2012, 02:10 PM
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i jsut came across this website: http://www.lovesicily.com/

you may not be interested in the cooking holidays they offer, but there is a load of good information plus links to hotels and car hire.

there are loads of threads here about Sicily; it's relatively small and there's loads to see. I'm sure that you could do this yourselves and have a great time.
annhig is online now  
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May 10th, 2013, 12:03 PM
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