Your holiday in Sicily begins at an airport...

Usually. You can also get here by car, of course, by taking a ferry from the mainland.

But the tips in this section are for people whose holiday in Sicily begins at these airports:

Please ask!

Sicily's three airports

Map of Sicily's three airports

Catania Airport (marker 1 to the right of the map) and Palermo Airport (marker 2) are served by scheduled flights all year. Catania Airport, Sicily's largest, also becomes a destination for many charter flights in the summer.

Trapani Airport (marker 3) owes its existence largely to low cost airlines. The attractions of winter holidays in Sicily are still a bit of an insider secret, so there are not many connections to Trapani Airport in winter.

The following sections provide detailed information on all three airports in Sicily. They cover airport facilities, and also give tips for your onward journey into Sicily by coach, train or hire car.

Catania Airport

Karte der Ausflüge mit der Trenitalia
  • Access to A18 (Messina) and A19 (Palermo) motorways
  • Return journey
  1. Airport ground entrance
  2. Exit after baggage reclaim
  3. Hertz car rental counter
  4. Coach terminal - tickets
  5. Bar with a large conservatory
  1. Car hire OLD - counter
  2. Car hire OLD - entrance/exit
  3. Car hire OLD - car park
  4. Car hire NEW - entrance
  5. Car hire NEW - exit
  6. Car hire NEW - counter
  7. Car hire NEW - car park

Catania is a large industrial city and home to the island's largest airport, used by business travellers and holiday makers in Sicily. There are three ways to reach your ultimate holiday destination from Catania Airport.

Catania Airport  -  Onward travel by Coach

Coach travel is the fastest way to cover long distances in Sicily if you want to avoid driving yourself. This page provides an overview of the coach companies currently in operation. Marker 4 on the map above shows the location of the coach station at Catania Airport as well as the ticket counters for the various coach companies.

Catania Airport  -  Onward travel by Train (Trenitalia)

Travelling around Sicily by train is a great way to see the beautiful countryside and coastal views, but it is much slower than coach travel. Train travel is particularly advisable for holidays based in the smaller satellite towns outside larger cities, notably Catania and Palermo. The small town of Santa Flavia, outside Palermo, is a classic example of such holiday destinations which are well-served by the rail network in Sicily.

To reach Santa Flavia (and many other small towns), take the coach (see previous section) to Palermo Stazione Centrale (Palermo central coach and railway station) and from there continue your journey by Trenitalia.

To reach Catania Main Station use the "Alibus" (Linea 457) coach of the local AMT company.

Catania Airport  -  Onward travel by Rental Car

A car is by far the most flexible means of transport for holidays in Sicily. In the inland areas of Sicily this will enable you to explore a great many hidden gems. Coaches and trains go to many of these places but they do not offer a regular service; they only run a few days a week on many lines.

No wonder Catania Airport offers a vast range of hire cars! No wonder, also, that it can be terribly confusing. Here are our top tips to cut through the chaos:

  • The Hertz rentals desk is inside the arrivals hall (marker 3).
  • If you are not a Hertz client, go to the new car rental building (marker 11 on the map above, but beware! the new building is not yet visible in Google Street View). You will find the other famous car rental companies here.
  • If you do not find your car rental company in the new building, go to the old building (marker 6) where the remaining car rental companies are based.

Be prepared for considerable queueing to pick up your pre-booked car. At busy times you may queue for two hours.

Sicilian car hire companies often give you your documents and keys, then send you off to find the hire car on your own. Check the car for dents or damage yourself, mark them on the rental document if you find any, and return to the rental desk to have the documents countersigned before you leave the car park.

From the rental companies' car park, you exit the airport along the green line. They take you to the A18 and A19 motorways.

Catania Airport  -  Returning your Rental Car

Just after you enter the airport (marker 1) in your rental car, follow the signs indicating "Terminal Arrivi" or just "Arrivi". They will guide you to the arrivals hall on the ground floor of Catania Airport (red line).

You will then have to choose one of three options:

  • If you are a Hertz customer, follow the occasional yellow signs.
  • If you hired your car from the new building, return it via the entrance at marker 9.
  • If you hired your car from the old building, return it via the entrance at marker 7.

Unfortunately, the signs are quite confusing, so it's worth a "test drive" with Google Street View, even though the images of this Google service are a little out of date: the directions are reliable nevertheless.

If you are unsure, you can drive a "lap of honour" around the whole airport to be sure you are choosing the right entrance. So plan a little extra time to return your car. Do not forget to return your rental car with a full tank.

Please ask!

Palermo Airport

Karte der Ausflüge mit der Trenitalia
  • Pedestrian access to the car rental desks
  • Access to the A29 motorway
  • Return journey
  1. Exit after baggage reclaim
  2. Train to Palermo (Trinacria Express)
  3. Stairway to departure hall
  1. Arrivals hall entrance/exit, airport shuttle bus
  2. Coach terminals
  3. Forecourt
  4. Car hire - counter
  5. Car hire - car park
  6. Car hire - entrance/exit

The airport serving Sicily's capital, Palermo, is the second largest on the island. It is used by business travellers and holiday-makers alike. From Palermo Airport you can take Trenitalia, a coach or a rental car to reach your holiday destination.

Palermo Airport  -  Onward travel by Train (Trenitalia)

The railway station is directly under the arrivals hall of the airport. From here, the "Trinacria Express" (marker 2 at the top of the map) runs to Palermo Central Station. You can travel on from there to most holiday destinations using local trains. This is a convenient way to stay mobile while on holiday in Sicily without renting a car.

Palermo Airport  -  Onward travel by Coach

A selection of coach companies can take you from Palermo Airport to Palermo Central Station (Marker 5 shows the airport coach stop). Palermo Stazione Centrale is a railway hub and, alongside it, the large coach station has connections criss-crossing the whole of Sicily. This page provides an overview of the coach services available.

Palermo Airport  -  Onward travel by Rental Car

A shuttle bus takes you to the offices of the car rental companies, which are on the edge of Palermo Airport.

If you want to stretch your legs after your flight, you can follow the blue line on the map above instead. You need to go up to the arrivals hall, on the first floor above the departure hall (marker 3). Then walk from the stairs/escalators through the length of the depature hall (which is not very big) until you reach the western exit. When you step outside you will be on a forecourt with a ramp (marker 6) and the road leading to the car rental companies is signposted (marker 7).

Sicilian car hire companies often give you your documents and keys, then send you off to find the hire car on your own. Check the car for dents or damage yourself, mark them on the rental document if you find any, and return to the rental desk to have the documents countersigned before you leave the car park.

From the car rental companies' car park, you exit the airport in your rental car along the green line, which will lead you to the A29 motorway.

Palermo Airport  -  Returning your Rental Car

In contrast to Catania airport, the road signs at Palermo Airport are easy to understand, making it simple to return your hire car. Just follow the signs to the entrance of the rental companies' car park (red line on the map above). Do not forget to return your rental car with a full tank.

Please ask!

Trapani Airport

Karte der Ausflüge mit Fernbussen vom Hauptbahnhof Palermo aus
  • Access to the motorways A29Dir
  • Return journey to the airport
  1. Exit after baggage claim
  2. Car hire - counter
  3. Exit from the Arrivals hall
  1. Coach terminal
  2. Car hire - car park
  3. Car hire - entrance
  4. Car hire - exit

Trapani-Birgi Airport was originally a military airport, and it still looks like one. With the advent of low cost airlines, the civilian part has grown steadily in recent years. Connections from Northern Europe are dominated by Ryanair. Ryanair has brought about a marked increase in tourism in Trapani and throughout Western Sicily.

Trapani Airport  -  Onward travel by Coach

If you want to avoid driving in Sicily but need to cover large distances quickly, coach travel is the best option. This page provides an overview of the companies offering coach services from Trapani Airport. The coach stops at Trapani Airport are at marker 4 on the map above.

Trapani Airport  -  Onward travel by Train (Trenitalia)

For shorter journeys, locals prefer train travel with Trenitalia. The railway maps are easy to understand and you never get stuck in traffic jams! The networks around large cities such as Catania and Palermo are served with frequent trains.

Trapani Airport  -  Onward travel by Rental Car

Rental cars are the most flexible means of transport for a holiday in Sicily, and Trapani Airport offers a large selection of companies. You will see the offices of the various car hire companies as soon as you come out of baggage reclaim into the great hall (marker 2 on the map above). After you collect your documents and keys, find your car in the car park at marker 5.

Sicilian car hire companies often give you your documents and keys, then send you off to find the hire car on your own. Check the car for dents or damage yourself, mark them on the rental document if you find any, and return to the rental desk to have the documents countersigned before you leave the car park.

From the car park, follow the green line to reach the A29dir motorway and other roads..

Trapani Airport  -  Returning your Rental Car

Trapani Airport is small and easy to navigate, so returning a rental car is very easy. When you arrive at the airport, follow the signs to the entrance of the car rental-car park (marker 6 and red line). Do not forget to return your rental car with a full tank.

Please ask!

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