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Sicily Airports car hire - rent-a-car at Palermo, Trapani or Catania Airport

Sicily, the island at the toe of the Italian boot is one of the most popular holiday destinations in the Mediterranean Sea.

In the past haunted by its fame as a corrupted, mafia-ruled place, Sicily has managed to transform the Cosa Nostra, Sicilian mafia legacy into a sort of a unique tourist attraction, adding up to the other charms the island is blessed with. With a mild climate, many excellent beaches and exquisite cultural and historic heritage, the island of Sicily is capable of catering for varied holidaymakers’ needs and tastes.

See map of Sicily major tourist attractions.

Airports in Sicily - Trapani, Palermo and Catania airports
Three major international airports of Sicily serve numerous Italian and European routes available from both regular and low-cost airlines.

With a well developed road network and easily available car hire at Sicilian airports, there is no reason to limit your Sicily holiday experience to one location on the island.

See detailed map of Sicily motorways and roads (double-click for a higher resolution).

Find below useful information about Palermo, Trepani and Catania Airports and hints on Sicily car hire.

See the map of Sicily airports.

Palermo Airport - cheap flights to Sicily with Ryanair
The airport serving the capital of Sicily is located on the north-western coast of the island, in Punta Raisi, approx. 22 miles from Palermo.

Palermo Airport - PMO receives domestic flights, as well as numerous regular and seasonal connections from major European cities. A strong presence of the low-cost carrier Ryanair at Palermo Airport has increased significantly the inflow of passengers to this Sicilian airport. Ryanair’s cheap flights to Palermo are available from Bergamo, Bologna, London-Stansted, Marseille, Pisa, Traviso and Weeze all year and from Dublin, Moss, Madrid and Seville in the summer season.

Palermo Airport, the second busiest airport of Sicily is officially named Falcone-Borsellini, in honour of two anti-mafia judges, victims of the Sicilian Cosa Nostra. The two judges killed by mafia-planted bombs two months apart in 1992, are considered heroes and symbols of the Italian state’s battle against the mafia.

Car hire Palermo Airport - find cheap car hire in Sicily

Northern coast of Sicily - holiday resorts and beaches
The triangular in shape island of Sicily is quite diverse in terms of scenery, boasting striking contrast at its three corners. Also the character of tourist developments and holiday resorts varies depending on the location.

The green, rocky northern coast of Sicily, overlooking the perfectly turquoise waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea is dotted with numerous bays of fine sand beaches, offering perfect conditions for holidaymakers in need of quiet and relaxed surroundings.

Amongst the best beaches of northern Sicilian coast are Mondello, Cefalu, Isola delle Femmine and Aspra in Palermo area, as well as Capo d’Orlando, Capo Calava and Brolo beach, slightly further, to the eastern tip of the island.

See map of Sicily beaches.

With the exception of the vibrant city of Palermo, the island’s capital, Sicilian northern coast is rather quiet. Although quality hotels can be found in the north of Sicily, as is the case of La Battigia Hotel in Castellammare del Golfo, self catering holiday apartments and cottages are a popular option on the tranquil northern Sicilian coast.

See a quick tour of Palermo:

Rent a car from Palermo Airport
Given the considerable size and the diversity of the island, the holidaymakers in Sicily frequently opt for car hire as the most convenient way of getting to all the places of tourist interest.

At Palermo Airport car hire is available from a range of internationally known rent-a-car brands, as well as from local providers, amongst them: Budget Italy, Targarent, Locauto, Auto Europa, Avis Rent A Car, Hertz, EasyCar, Europcar, Sixt and Holiday Car Rental Sicily.

In order to avoid overpaying for Sicily car hire, especially in the busy summer season, use an internet search engine of car rental, such as Cartrawler Italy and compare prices from many suppliers before booking. Cartrawler will allow you as well to check the current rates for car hire from other Sicilian airports. As you will be able to notice, car hire in Sicily is often cheaper than in Northern Italy.

Palermo Airport distances
Find below the approximate road distances from Palermo Airport to other places of interest in Sicily:

  • Distance from Palermo Airport to Trapani: 51 miles / 84 km
  • Distance from Palermo Airport to Catania: 150 miles / 236 km
  • Distance from Palermo Airport to Messina: 157 miles / 253 km
  • Distance from Palermo Airport to Mount Etna: 158 miles / 255km
  • Distance from Palermo Airport to Syracuse: 178 miles / 287 km
  • Distance from Palermo Airport to Ragusa: 172 miles / 278 km

Low-cost Sicily airport - Trapani
In not a long distance (approx. 52 miles) from Palermo Airport, another international airport operates low-cost flights from Europe to Sicily.

Although Trapani Airport - TPS is the smallest of all the Sicilian airports, it has been registering a constant increase in number of passengers, mostly due to a large choice of cheap routes offered by Ryanair on both domestic and international routes. In the UK, Ryanair’s cheap flights to Trapani in Sicily are available in the summer season with departures from London-Luton and Manchester.

Trapani Airport, officially known as Vincenzo Florio Airport Trapani-Birgi is located 10 miles south of Trapani.

Please note, that Trapani is pronounced with an accent on the first syllable |trápaní|

Car hire Trapani Airport - get cheap car rental in Sicily, Italy

Things to do in Trapani - Sicily
Originally a fisherman village and an important trade port of the island, Trapani does not offer many charms of a typical tourists destination as other popular locations on Sicily.

However, due to the cheap and easy access via Ryanair flights, Trapani receives quite a considerable number of visitors, some of them in transit to other Sicily resorts, some of them to stay.

Since a large part of Trapani was destroyed in the Second World War bombings, nowadays the city’s historic heritage seem rather limited, especially when compared to the wealth of cultural and historic sites of the rest of Sicily. However a number of interested gothic and renaissance churches can still be seen in Trapani old quarter.

See map of Trapani Old Town.

Trapani is an excellent base for exploring the western part of Sicily on day trips to some of its major attractions, amongst them, the archaeological site of Selinunte, the historic towns of Mazara del Vallo, Marsala and Erice, as well as the contemporary town of Gibellina.

Just outside of Trapani, in Nubia and in Stagnone, a rather unusual tourist site attracts a great number of Trapani-based tourists: a traditional salt production facilities, also known as salt pans.

Trapani Ferry Port
Trapani is known for being an important ferry port offering links to Italian mainland, Sardinia, Tunisia and smaller islands in a close distance from Sicily. Especially popular are ferry routes from Trapani to Egadi Islands and Pantelleria Island.

See map of Egadi Islands, Sicily.

Holidaymakers with Sicily hire cars can opt for leaving the rental vehicle safely parked in some of the public parking lots of Trapani, or take the car with them on the ferry. In case of some of the largest islands, as for instance Favignana, an own means of transportation will be definitely an asset.

Trapani Airport car hire companies
Amongst the car hire companies supplying rental vehicles at Trapani Airport are Sixt, Alamo, Hertz, Avis, Budget and Europcar, Maggiore, Locauto and Sicily by Car.

Compare prices of car hire at Trepani Airport with Cartrawler Sicily

Catania Airport - the cheapest car hire in Sicily (East Coast)
The largest airport of Sicily, and one of the busiest airports in Italy, is located on the eastern Sicilian coast, near the city of Catania.

The eastern coast of Sicily attracts the majority of tourists on the island, which shows in an extensive choice of airlines and destinations at Catania Airport - CTA. Flights to Catania are available from many European airports, mostly with regular airlines, as the low-cost carriers are based at Palermo and Trapani airports in western Sicily. The limited selection of cheap flights to Catania Airport include routes from London-Gatwick, Milan-Malpensa and Paris-CDG by Ryanair, from Berlin, Cologne/Bonn, Hamburg, Stuttgart and Hannover by Germanwings and Ryanair’s single route from Bergamo. In the UK, it is also possible to fly to Catania Airport from London-Gatwick with British Airways.

Due to the proximity to Mount Etna, on occasions of the most intense volcano activity, flights to Catania Airport are diverted to Palermo.

Proportionally to the intensity of the passenger traffic handled, Catania Airport offers also the largest selection of car hire services in Sicily. Amongst rent-a-car companies at Catania Airport are both global and local car hire companies: Avis Rent A Car, Alamo, Budget,Dollar, Europcar, Sixt Car Hire Sicily, Maggiore, AutoEuropca Sicily By Car, Targarent, Locauto Rent, Italy Car Rent and AS Autonoleggio Catania.

The prices of Catania Airport car hire tend to be slightly more competitive than at other Sicilian airports. The best offers of holiday car hire Sicily, however, are usually available only when booking well ahead of the high season. 

Car hire Catania Airport - cheap car hire Sicily

The official name of Catania Airport is Vincenzo Bellini Airport, although the name Catania-Fontanarossa Airport is also quite common.

East coast of Sicily - discover the Ionian Riviera in a hire car
The east coast of Sicily, on the Ionian Sea is by far the most intriguing and diverse, in terms of tourist attractions, area of the island.

Apart from Sicily’s most popular tourist locations such as Syracuse, Catania and Taormina, the eastern Sicilian coast is home to many unique historic landmarks and, of course, the impressive Mount Etna, Europe’s highest active volcano.

Catania is the second largest city of Sicily and definitely a cultural break during the visit on the island, as many splendid monuments can be found in its historic quarters. After down, Catania bursts with life in plentiful restaurants, bars and discoes.

See map of Catania historic centre.

The beaches of Catania, however, are far from perfect as far as cleanliness standards are concerned. For much nicer beach locations it is worth to travel some 33 miles up north the coast to Taormina, considered one of Sicily’s most beautiful coast areas, dominated by the view of Mount Etna.

Syracuse, in about 40 miles distance from Catania, southbound, is an absolute must for any visitor to Sicily, offering enough tourist attractions to occupy several days of sightseeing. Syracuse is also a great base for daytrips to other places of interest in the southeastern corner of Sicily, amongst them Ragusa and Noto.

UNESCO World Heritage sites on the Eastern Coast of Sicily
Three of the total number of six UNESCO World Heritage Sites are located in the eastern Sicily, amongst them: the baroque towns of Val di Noto, 20 miles southeast of Syracuse, the Greek monuments of Syracuse itself, including the Rocky Necropolis of Pantalica and Mount Etna, 26 miles north-west from Catania.

Video Sicily Unesco treasures:


Sicily Airports car hire - rent-a-car at Palermo, Trapani or Catania Airport
Article: Sicily Airports car hire - rent-a-car at Palermo, Trapani or Catania Airport
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Published: Friday, June 14 2013
Latest revision: Thursday, May 12 2016

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