Sicilian airports: which airport to land at to go to Sicily?

Sicilian airports: which airport to land at to go to Sicily?

Where to choose to land to go to Sicily and visit the largest island in the Mediterranean? Focus on Sicily's airports!

When preparing a trip to Sicily, the largest island in Italy and in the Mediterranean Sea, the first question that arises is which airport to choose to start your journey in Sicily. The island, which is an extension of Calabria, is home to two of Italy's largest cities: Catania (10th) and Palermo (5th), with 315,576 and 676,118 inhabitants respectively. You will land at one of Sicily's two major airports - Catania-Fontanarossa Airport and Palermo Falcone-Borsellino International Airport - one on the northwest coast and the other on the east coast.

During a trip to Sicily in August 2018, we arrived via Catania airport. Here is our feedback and our advice to better visit the island following the airport in Sicily where you arrive.

Landing at Palermo airport

As Palermo is the largest city in Sicily, there are many direct flights from France to Palermo airport. There are low-cost companies offering unbeatable prices: less than 100 € from Paris for a 2.5 hour flight. Again, it will be cheaper from Toulouse-Blagnac and Marseille-Provence airports. On arrival in Sicily, several solutions are possible to reach the city centre of Palermo: train, bus, taxi. Count 20 minutes of journey for 6 € by bus, 25 minutes for a train connection (from 2,50 €).

Which Sicilian airports are best for visiting the island? Land in Palermo if you are interested in the west and southwest of Sicily. Around Palermo, we found the best sites in Sicily to our taste: the peninsula of San Vito lo Capo. Beware, the sandy beach - rare in Sicily - is too crowded so it is better to go down along the west coast of the peninsula if you don't like to be piled up to ten on a grain of sand. Coming down from the heights, you arrive shortly before the village of Macari, at the public baths of Bue Marino Beach. A free car park allows you to park (a "spot" dreamed of by campers to spend the night), to descend into the sea through steep coves of volcanic rock.

The Zingaro nature reserve is also one of the unmistakable features of the Sicilian west coast. Further west, head to Trapani and board a ferry to spend a day or two on the Aegean Islands - Levanzo, Favignana and Marettimo. During your stay, take the opportunity to visit the town of Marsala and, on the south coast, the famous Agrigento Archaeological Park. Note that the sea on the south coast is subject to different winds, and is therefore cooler - or less warm - than on the Tyrrhenian coast.

Landing at Catania airport

There are several direct or stopover flights from French cities to Catania with a frequency of one or two flights a day. The low-cost companies are Ryanair, Easyjet and Volotea, they sometimes offer tickets for less than 100 € depending on the departure airport and the season. This Sicilian airport is the 6th largest in Italy, 6.2 million travellers pass through it every year. A return flight from Paris to Catania can be found from €150. The airports of Toulouse and Marseille offer very competitive prices, especially out of season. Transferring from Catania Fontanarossa airport to the city centre by bus can be quite confusing as there are plenty of companies: AST, Circumetnea, ETNA Trasporti, Giuntabus, Interbus, SAIS and ALIBUS shuttles. But it will be much cheaper than the taxi.

Which airport in Sicily to choose? If you want to start by visiting Taormina and its ancient ruins, hiking on Etna, seeing Syracuse and the beautiful beaches of southeastern Sicily (the coves ofOgnina, Fontane Blanche or Marina di Avola), or go exploring the Tyrrhenian coast (Milazzo and Capo d'Orlando, the Aeolian Islands), it is obviously at the airport of Catania that you have to land. If you rent a car, note that it is faster to drive on the north of the island thanks to the highways, but there are none in the south. Therefore, allow more time if you are heading to Syracuse. The editors advise you to favour a restricted area if your stay is rather short: Sicily is a very large island, very populated - especially in summer - and an overly ambitious itinerary risks making you miss many interesting sites.

Landing at Trapani airport

Located equidistant between Marsala and Trapani, and 1h30 drive from Palermo, the airport of Trapani has been booming in recent years due to the installation of low-cost airlines such as Ryanair. The third largest airport in Sicily in terms of number of passengers is an alternative to Palermo airport. If you choose to land at Trapani airport and want to reach Palermo, you will have to take a shuttle (11€).

As for the airport of Palermo, this airport of Sicily is to be preferred on you want to visit all the eastern half of Sicily, or even the south if you organize to take your return flight to Catania airport.

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