Trenitalia is much slower than road travel for long distances. A large part of the Trenitalia rail network in Sicily has only one track: trains must take turns to travel in both directions along one set of rails! Rail travel in Sicily is ideal for shorter, urban journeys where it has the advantage of avoiding the traffic jams.
For long journeys, Sicilians always use coaches. Coaches stop right outside all three airports and run frequently.
Coach tickets can be purchased either at ticket counters (especially in the airports and major train stations) or directly from the driver.
Replacement buses are laid on by Trenitalia to cover some lines which have been shut down in recent years. These offer good transport options for some routes. We describe trips from the main railway stations of Catania and Palermo in the following chapters.
In the maps below, the red markers indicate the departure points of coach routes and the blue markers show their destinations. Some coach companies make stops along the way, but they are too numerous to indicate on this map.
Links to the various coach companies are included in the key below the map. Follow the links to find information on departure and arrival times. Please note that these times, the stops and the exact route may change at any time without prior notice.
The following map gives an overview of the long-distance connections from the three Sicilian airports to Palermo Central Station (Stazione Centrale), which is the main railway station, and coach and bus station. This is the central hub for a car-free holiday in western Sicily.
The coaches coming from the airports stop at the new Central Bus Station (blue marker 1) or the station square (Piazza Giulio Cesare, blue marker 2).
Catania Centrale is one of Trenitalia's main railway hubs in Sicily and also a very large bus and coach station (red marker 1).
Coaches to all the interesting tourist destinations in eastern Sicily, such as Etna, Messina and Noto, depart from here. We particularly recommend a trip from here to Piazza Armerina (blue marker 6). From the railway station there you can take a shuttle bus to the Villa Romana del Casale, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known worldwide for its spectacular Roman mosaics.
Palermo Stazione Centrale is a huge coach and bus station in central Palermo (red marker 1). Some additional shuttle buses and coaches stop in the railway station forecourt (red marker 2) and at Piazza Marina (red marker 3) which is approx. 1km away.
Please note that the stops are subject to change at any time, because of expansion of the central bus station. Please double check all your travel details before departure.
These three central bus stops offer many routes. The map below shows the most popular destinations.