Sicily is an amazing piece of Italy where you can truly relax and fully enjoy your weekend sunbathing on the beach or exploring the local sights.Of course, most likely your guide will show you standard tourist routes, and you won’t be able to see a true soul of the island, which doesn’t live in such refined cities as Taormina or Erice, Catania or Palermo, and not even on Etna volcano.
Real Sicily is hidden away from the hiking trails, lost among the mountain serpentines of the roads and kept in small fishing villages where beaches have never seen tables with prices for traditional ‘two sunbeds and an umbrella’. Therefore, you need to travel by car in order to see the whole beauty of the island. So, check out some special tips for your car trip to Sicily…
Plan Your Route
First of all, draw up your route in advance. Choose the spots for staying, and where to stop for lunch on the way. Don’t forget to note the sights you’re going to visit.
Also, an important part of your trip to Sicily is the choice of the hotel, because not all of them are suitable in case you travel by car. It can be hard to find a parking space in the historical centers of Sicilian cities. Moreover, parking will be quite expensive. Traveling by car, it’s recommended to stop on the outskirts of the city or even in the villages.
Of course, use the car’s navigator. Set all the required GPS-coordinates (addresses of hotels, sights, parking lots in cities, restaurants, etc.) into navigator and easily reach these places without any hassle.
Choose where to rent a car
As it was mentioned above, rental car is the best way of getting around Sicily. The order process is extremely simple and will take you only a few minutes. You only need to select the right car and additional options online, and then fill in a special reservation form. After that you will receive a voucher via e-mail, which should be presented at the car rental desk.
Remember that the majority of the rental companies work only with classic credit cards and don’t accept cash. Plus, you must have an international driver’s license and photo ID. Before booking, carefully read the terms of the rental, check out the car’s body for chips and cracks, focus on the wheels and glass, and make sure whether the detected damages are included into the car rental contract.
You can rent a car at the Catania airport or any Sicilian city. By the way, car rental service on Sicily is usually in high demand, so it’s advisable to book your car in advance.
Follow the Sicilian Road Regulations
On Sicily, the traffic is right-handed. The speed limits are: 50 km/h in the city, 90 km/h outside of the city, and 110 km/h on the highways. Traveling by car on Sicily, you need to turn on headlights in the daytime. It’s forbidden to use a mobile phone without a special hands free device. It’s also prohibited to enter areas where traffic is restricted without special permission. However, if your hotel is situated in such an area, you can safely pass without any permission.
Choose Parking Correctly
Generally, it’s difficult to park a rental car on Sicily. This is because of the intensive traffic and limited space. You should carefully check out road marking before parking, because you can park your car not everywhere.
The white markings indicate that the parking is free, although it’s limited in time. It’s usually hard to find free parking lots there. Don’t forget to purchase a special parking disk, where you need to set the time of your return.
The blue lines in the parking lot mean that the service is payable. In such parking lots, there are usually special machines that accept payment. By the way, from 0.00 till 8.00 you can park your car absolutely for free.
Yellow marking is only for public transport and locals. If you park your car there, then you will have to pick it up in the penalty parking lot after paying a fine.
There are also underground parking lots. They are a little more expensive, but there are lots of places available. There is a parking-man at the entrance who usually accepts payment.
Don’t forget to refuel your car
Keep in mind that most of the gas stations on Sicily are closed at 19.00. Moreover, they also don’t work during the traditional siesta. So, if you are planning a long-distance trip, then consider that 24-hour gas stations are available exceptionally on the highways. If you notice the ‘self-service’ sign, that means you can refuel your car on your own. The price for a liter of petrol on Sicily is about 1.8 Euros, and a diesel fuel will cost you 1.7 Euros per liter.
Well, want your car trip to Sicily to be successful and unforgettable? Then follow these tips, which will help you to avoid any hassles throughout the entire route.