Driving in Sicily

What are the roads like and how hard is it to drive from Palermo to Sciacca. We would be a large group so we would have to rent a van.

Posted by Carol
Martinez, CA, USA
716 posts

We recently returned from 28 days in Sicily and spent 3 nights in Sciacca. We got our car at the airport and first drove to Trapani and spent 4 nights there. I checked google maps on how to get from the airport to Sciacca and they have you going on an inland highway and taking about 1.25 hrs. We drove all over Sicily and found the roads to be very good and the driving to be easy. Easy, that is, until you get into the historic centers as we did. We had a GPS but once in the towns it didn't always give us the correct directions. We often had to ask people for help and the people of Sicily were very kind and helpful. Don't know how large your group is but in Sciacca we stayed near the port at B&B Porta di Mare, a small B&B. There is a free public parking lot a short walking distance from the hotel. It was in the middle of a hill so to get from the upper part of Via Porta di Mare to the lower part by foot we had to go down 100 steps, else walk around by the street. We really enjoyed staying there and if you're interested you can check it on booking.com. Also, a great restaurant is Al Faro, below Via Porta di Mare on Via Al Porto. Delicious food reasonably priced! Enjoy your stay!

Posted by Zoe
Toledo, Ohio, US
4413 posts

Check into renting two cars instead of a van - easier to handle, probably less expensive.

Posted by Rosalyn
1312 posts

We were in Sicily in May last year, and drove everywhere. The roads are fine except for signage. You have to get used to the idea that your gps may say, "turn onto SS 146," and there is no sign saying SS 146. It's especially confusing when there are two roads, close to each other, branching off from the one you're on. A gps will correct you, if you err. There is also the phenomenon, common in other European countries, too, of road signs giving you the ultimate destination of the road, which may not even be the in direction you want; but your gps is telling you to take it. After you take what you fear may be a wrong path, the names of smaller towns start to appear on the signs. You'll notice I've mentioned a gps three times, already. I consider it an indispensible, but not omniscient tool. Several times, ours led us onto what might charitably be called a paved cow path. If that happens to you, get off as soon as you think the route is a bad one. To avoid more of that, we developed a strategy of using the autostrada whenever possible; then following the gps directions when we got close to our destination. Have a good map for backup.

Posted by Zoe
Toledo, Ohio, US
4413 posts

Right about knowing your street's general direction, for example, if you want to go from Palermo to Erice, you go in the direction of Trapani. As you get closer to Erice, a small town, you will see signs for it. Useful to know I you get lost: "tutti le direzione" means "all the directions". People will be more than willing to help with directions.

Posted by Andre L.
Tilburg, Netherlands
2338 posts

The island has a good networks of autostrada (freeways) and also a good networks of controlled access 1+1 lane highways. The only headaches might come when driving within small historical areas. But, then, you can park your car at the fringe of this areas and usually continue on foot. A van might be difficult to maneuver and especially park, all over Italy indeed. Go for two smaller cars. It will probably cost you less money as well.