On the Experience Sicily Facebook page, we’ve been having “office hours.” Today, I answered a lot of questions about traveling in Sicily. One of the more popular topics was driving in the region. Driving is Sicily gives travelers a lot of freedom that is hard to come by with public transportation. If you aren’t inclined to be on a small-group tour with us or hire private drivers, then renting a car is a great option. Personally, I enjoy driving in Sicily a lot (hence this photo of me hugging this Fiat 500 in Termini Imerese in September); however, it’s not for everyone. It is very active driving. No cruise control here! It’s 360 degrees of paying attention every second.
Renting a car at Palermo and Catania airports is convenient. New this year is that an international drivers permit is required by the rental agencies, so be sure to get yours at AAA prior to leaving home. The permit is valid for one year from its issue date.
I recommend driving only during daylight, that way, in the event of having car trouble or getting lost, you’ve got light on your side. Sicilians are very hospitable and will often stop to help. Meanwhile, always travel in the A19 (the autostrada between Catania and Palermo) with a full tank of gas (personal experience tip!)! There is a long stretch where there are no services easily accessible along the roadway.
I could talk for an hour about this topic. But that should answer some of your initial questions. Check out our Facebook page for more topics of discussion.