A hire car will give you access to Sicily's best kept secrets during your holiday. Sicily's hidden gems which cannot be reached by public transport include:
To see all Sicily's attractions off the beaten path, a hire car is your best - and sometimes your only - choice.
Sicilian fashion? Dolce & Gabbana?
Sure! But fashion designed and manufactured in Sicily is the real insider tip.
A vast range of hire cars and rental companies operate at Sicily's three airports.
Our airport maps show you exactly where to find the car rental offices, and their car parks, in each airport.
You can usually get the best deal by booking your hire car along with your flight. Out of season, you can always count on good discounts. This is one more reason to spend your next winter vacation in Sicily - or better still, to spend the whole winter in the Sicilian sun!
Officially, Sicily has the same traffic regulations as the rest of Europe. In practice, Sicilians interpret the rules so flexibly that you may get the impression they have no rules at all!
This often flummoxes first-time holiday-makers in Sicily, especially those from northern Europe. The German reporter in this video on the right encountered the notorious motorway slip road in Bagheria during rush hour.
His first impression, "Might is right," is not very surprising. But what is his comment after this initial shock?
"Nothing happens. You get through [the traffic] without any problem."
To cope with the traffic in Sicily you need to know the only rule they apply: "first come first served". This applies to the elderly gentleman in his little white Fiat Panda as much as to the rich man in a BMW.
A lot of people end their holiday in Sicily with a triumphant feeling that they have got to grips with the Sicilians' way of driving and can handle it perfectly well. Sicilians drive to a different rhythm, but there are almost no lethal contests between boy racers, very few tailgaters, and few people hogging the middle lane of the motorway.
One thing in Sicily can be genuinely challenging: the narrow streets. The roads in the historic centre of almost every town in Sicily – part of what attracts us to Sicily for our holidays in the first place – were built in Medieval times to fit the width of a man on a donkey. These can be seen in the video, if you fast forward to 01:00. The locals always stop to bend both wing mirros in before tackling these tiny lanes!
Even major roads in Sicily sometimes run through the middle of town centers. When estimating travel times on these roads, you should add an extra 50% to your estimated travel time as a precaution.
The map above shows how Sicily's three major airports are connected to the motorway network. Some important Sicilian cities appear to be off the grid when you look at a map, including the whole southern half of Sicily! To a large extent this appearance is misleading, for the south does in fact have a fairly dense network of major roads even though it lacks motorways.
In Sicily, the state roads or dual carriageways (strada statale or SS) connect many towns, in both the north and the south of the island. These main roads usually take you through far more beautiful countryside than the motorways/highways, and through many towns and small villages. This means you can stop off for refreshments in any number of picturesque historic town centres and boycot the charms of motorway service stations!
The map above only shows the main state roads: in reality, there is a much denser network which you can examine by zooming in. You can recognize state roads by the abbreviation "SS" (Strada Stadale). Smaller branch lines are denoted by "SP" (Strada Provinciale).