The best way to get around Sicily without a car is by "pullman", the large passenger buses. They are faster than trains, cleaner and more comfortable, the view is better, and they are competitively priced. The Catania bus depot is little more than a large parking lot across the street from several ticket offices. It's just north of the train station.
The most confusing thing about buying a bus ticket is figuring out which office sells it. Although all towns are covered, there is little overlap from service to service - so if you want to go to Agrigento, you buy the ticket from one office. If you want to go to Palermo, from another. Fortunately all the offices are right next to each other and the cities are clearly marked. A knowledge of Sicilian geography is crucial however and DON'T FORGET TO CHECK RETURN TIMES AND MAKE SURE IT'S NOT SOME KIND OF FESTIVAL DAY. You don't want to get stuck in Piazza Armerina. Although there ARE connections to destinations as far away as Milano, I would recommend taking a flight unless you are really hard up for cash.
Offices are open from about 6 AM, always before the first bus leaves, and you can only buy your tickets on the day you want to travel.
The Catania Stazione is fairly inconveniently located on the coast, a bit away from the city center. it is of course part of the Ferrovie dello Stato . Sicilian train service overall is worse than the rest of Italy, which itself, though improving, is still worse than much of Europe. Be prepared.
The Catania subway stops here as well, which offers transits to the circumetnea railroad station across town.
Exact schedules can be found at www.trenitalia.com but I feel that I should warn you about a few things.
First of all, I would FORGET arriving in Sicily by train. If you're coming from the north, just keep in mind that it's a 10 HOUR ride from Roma Termini. Although the experience of riding on a train that goes onto a ferry (at the Straits of Messina) is interesting, it isn't worth the length of the trip. FLY, then take the train if you want.
The situation isn't much better once you're here. There's a main line to Messina or Siracusa, but to get to Palermo you've got to take a roundabout path through Agrigento which takes 4 hours and much of what you want to see is not easily accessible by rail. It can be done, but it's hard, and I would recommend renting a car or, if you are low on cash, using the buses.
Finally, don't forget to stamp your ticket. Better yet, research how the train system works before you take off.
Do not take Virtu Ferries!
We had the absolute worst luck with Virtu ferries. We were on a two week stay in Malta, and wanted to visit a friend in Catania, Sicily, for a few days. We booked Virtu Ferries who go to Sicily about twice a week. However:
1.They are very expensive.
2. The ship left at an impossible time in the morning, something like 4 or 5 in the morning from Valetta. Quite difficult to be at the harbour at that hour since no buses are going! We slept in a B&B relatively close to the harbour, which was very hard to find, we were lucky to be given the last room, and left in the very early morning walking to the ship and dragging our luggage. Ugh!
3. the ship gets to Sicily in about three hours. It is a very bumpy ride and almost everyone, except for me and my friend, got seasick. Everyone! When my friend got up to go to the bathroom, he returned quickly determined not to use it since there was vomit everywhere.
4. The worst thing: After a few nice days in Sicily, we go to Pozzallo to catch the ship back to Malta when we are suddenly told the ferry won't be going!!! The next one will only leave in a few days. They really just leave you standing like that and don't care. The bad thing was that we had to catch a plane back to Morocco the day after so we REALLY had to get back to Malta. We were in a panic. There was nthing left to do but book a one way flight to Malta, and we were lucky we still got seats! So we got back, but at our own costs, i.e. a night at a hotel in Sicily and the additional plane ride. Virtu Ferries were supposed to at least give us back the money for the ferry ride that did not take place, but no!
We never got an answer from them although we contacted them several times. Completely unreliable, a rip-off and rude, too.
Best to book a flight with Air Malta in the first place!
- Study Abroad
By plane (at Aeroporto di Catania)
After, the sole individual transport is the rented car because the train and the regular lines of bus are not convenient.
To drive in Sicily, you must have in mind the rule is : 'there is no rule'. The signs are made for the decoration not to be respected. For French people, it needs a short period of adaptation. I guess, US people are more puzzled by this way of driving.
It needs to anticipate the actions of the other drivers (at a crossroad) and to know what is really forbiden (use a one way street in the wrong direction, for example). The speed limits are not respected but, excepted for the highways, the roads are rather bad and the landscape is so beautifull, and everybody applies his own reasonnable limits.
What does the police ? On my opinion, nothing, if I believe what I have seen.
- Road Trip
- Family Travel
Flight in gives wonderful...
Flight in gives wonderful views. Excellent transport centre - direct from the airport to a number of key places. get to Agrigento by bus or train and on to other South coast areas by bus.
Local buses Ok but not always clear which direction to go. Check carefully! I wish I had.
The best way to get to Catania...
The best way to get to Catania by car is to go via the airport Fontanarossa road and leave the car outside the city!
You will be arriving from Via Cristoforo Colombo and should find the parking lot (behind bus parking) at Porta Uzeda just underneath the railway bridge. Take a parking ticket like on the picture at the booth.
There are just too many one-way streets and the circulation is really chaotic to drive safely in Catania.
Catania AirportI arrived at...
I arrived at this airport and found that the easiest way to get around is to rent a car.
Car rental agencies are located outside the terminal just across the street in a small white building. To get to Taormina, where I stayed, just follow A18 motorway sign (it's a toll highway: first get the ticket and pay at the exit) and exit at Taormina. The journey lasts 45min.
There are also buses that connect to the main towns: Catania, Naxos, Taormina, Messina.
For more details: Catania airport
Thank you for taking this Baroque Tour of Catania
Related sites: Italy/Taormina and Messina
Catania has a small airport...
Catania has a small airport and you can fly in via an Alitalia local affiliate from any large Italian city.
Renting a car would be nice if you plan to see outlying areas, but like most Sicilian cities, Catanese streets were laid out pre-automobile. Parking is hard to find, and you will often find shakedown artists who demand a few thousand lira (or a few Euros now, I guess) for 'watching' your car. Cars have been known to disappear.
If you plan to spend much time in the city proper, get a good city map (available at any 'cartoleria' or stationery store) and go on foot. It's actually a lot faster. Traffic jams in Catania can be brutal and Italian drivers are, shall we say, 'unstructured.'
AirportsThe main civil...
The main civil airport of the province of Catania is 'Filippo Eredia' in Catania - Fontanarossa, 6 Km. far from Catania.
From there you can reach daily all the main italian and international cities.
The province of Catania is crossed by these highways:
The highway 114: Siracusa - Messina
The highway 120: Cerda (Pa) - Railway station of Fiumefreddo (Ct)
The highway 121: Palermo - Catania
The highway 124: Siracusa - Crossroad of Gigliotto
The highway 192: Catania - Enna
The highway 194: Ragusa - Catania
The highway 284: Randazzo - Paternò (Ct)
The highway 288: Piazza Armerina - Crossroad of Gerbini
The highway 385: Crossroad of Iazzotto - Caltagirone
The highway 417: Catania - Gela
The highway 514: Ragusa - Catania
The highway 575: Troina (En) - Paternò (Ct)
The province of Catania is crossed by the motorway A19 connecting Palermo to Catania and by the motorway A18 connecting Messina to Catania.
They have two lanes plus an emergency lane in both directions: the motorway A19 is a freeway.
The motorway A19 provides the following service areas:
Caracoli between Termini Imerese junction and industrial area;
Scillato between Buonfornello junction and Scillato junction;
Sacchitello between Enna junction and Mulinello junction;
Gelso Bianco at Motta Sant'Anastasia junction.
The motorway A18 provides the following service areas:
Tremestieri at Tremestieri junction;
S. Teresa di Riva between S. Teresa di Riva junction and Taormina junction;
Calatabiano between Calatabiano junction and Fiumefreddo junction;
Aci S. Antonio at Aci S. Antonio junction.
This blue car has been our...
This blue car has been our TOURCAR . Small but enough for two persons . Going on the peak of ETNA we take the BUS in the background .
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