is the largest island of the Mediterannean. There's a richness in history,
tradition and culture. Not only are there numerous dialects changing
from town to town, but with a variety of local identities, traditions,
and cuisine, there is always something new to discover in Sicily. Below
you'll find information covering anything practical to help your stay
in Sicily a happy one.
|»Tourist Information Service|
|»Getting to Sicily|
|»Getting to Sicily from the Airports|
|»Money and banks in Sicily|
|»Communications in Sicily|
|»Emergency Numbers in Sicily|
|»About Visas for Italy|
There are numerous regional Tourist Offices distributed all over Sicily in order to provide all kind of services you may need such as tourist information, money exchange, gift shop, etc. Below are contacts and official links to a selection of local, provincial and regional tourism boards in Sicily and islands.
AAPIT Palermo [Piazza Castlnuovo, 35 90141 Palermo tel 091 583847]
AAPIT Catania [Via Cimarosa, 10 95124 Catania tel 095 7306211]
AAPIT Messina [Via Calabria Isolato, 301 98122 Messina tel 090 640221]
AAPIT Syracuse [Via San Sebastiano, 43 96100 Syracuse tel 0931 481200]
AAPIT Trapani [Via S.Francesco d'Assisi, 27 91100 Trapani tel 0923 545511]
Opening Hours: Normally Monday to Saturday 08.00 - 20.00. The riposo [Italian siesta] Is often taken on Sicily and you'll find that many of the shops will be closed at the hottest time of day.
If you're flying from the UK to Sicily, Ryanair, British Airways and Air Malta all have direct flights from the London to Sicily.
Ryanair flies one a day from London Stanstead to Palermo:
British Airways flies on Tue, Thur, Fri, Sat & Sun direct from London Gatwick to Catania:
Air Malta flies on Mon, Wed & Fri direct from London Gatwick to Catania:
However, if you are flying from other international destinations, we recommend flying from mainland Italy to the island, it's much easier and quicker. You can get a round-trip ticket that lets you fly into Catania and depart from Palermo, or vice-versa.
If you plan to use alternative methods in getting to Sicily, for more information, visit our Getting to and around Sicily section.
There are two main airports in Sicily. Palermo in the north and Catania in the East.
Palermo airport [Falcone e Borsellino]: Palermo to the city centre is approximately 20 Km away. There are three alternatives to getting into the city centre.
By bus: There's a bus that takes you directly into the centre of Palermo and stops in Piazza Ruggero Settimo [Politeama Theatre] and the central station. They run every 30 min, from 06:45 to midnight [it waits for the last flight) and the journey takes approximately 55 minutes. Tickets can be bought on board for 4.65€
By train: There's a train every hour, from 05:40 to 23:40. The journey takes 55 minutes and the final stop is the central station in Palermo. Arrives at the central station after 55 min, with intermediate stops. Tickets can be purchased on board or at the station and cost 6.00€
By taxi: There's no shortage of taxis at Palermo Airport. The journey takes 20 to 40 min depending on the traffic. The overall costs are approximately €30-40, but the taxi is metered anyway.
Catania airport [Fontanarossa]: Catania to the city centre is approximately 5 Km away. There are two alternatives to getting into the city centre.
By bus: The bus every 20 min, from 05:00 am to midnight takes 20 minutes to arrive into the centre of Catania. Tickets can be bought from the ticket office opposite the bus stop for 0.80€
By taxi: Again, like Palermo, there are lots of taxis at Catania airport. The journey takes 15 to 30 min depending on the traffic. Costs are approximately 20€ and the taxis are metered.
A bus service connects both airports with other major towns.
Currency: Italy uses the Euro, abbreviated with the symbol [€]. Banks opening hours are Mon-Fri from 8.30 a.m to 1.30 pm and from 3 pm to 4 pm Only very few banks open on Saturday morning. Outside the official hours you can use one of several exchange offices. If you're in difficulties, it's usually possible to change cash at larger hotels [generally bad rates] or with travel agents, who may initially grumble but will eventually give a rate with the commission built in - useful for small amounts in a hurry.
ATMs: There are many ATM's [Bancomats] and they are the quickest and cheapest way to get money in Italy.
Credit Cards: Credit cards are widely accepted at the major tourist areas but you do still get many restaurants, small shops or bars that only accept cash.
Travelers cheques: Travellers' cheques are no longer the cheapest nor most convenient option and most people use bank cards now. However you can change up travellers checks pretty much everywhere and the usual fee for buying travellers' cheques is one or two percent. Buying cheques in Euros is the best option, since these can be cashed without incurring exchange service charges.
Post Offices: Post Offices are open from 8.30 a.m.- 2.00 p.m. On Saturdays and on the last day of the month they may close at 12.00 noon. Post Offices at airports and main Post Offices in large cities are open 24 hours a day for registered mail and telegram services.
Stamps may be purchased only at tobacco shops and at the Post Office.
Telephone Services: Calls to the Italy: the country code for Italy is +39. Dial +39, then the area code and the subscriber's number. The area code for Palermo is 091; for Catania, 095. When dialing an Italian number from abroad, do not drop the initial 0 from the local area code [as was formerly the procedure]. For example, a call from New York City to Rome would be dialed as 011 + 39 + 06 + phone number.
Internet: There are also Internet cafes in most towns of Sicily.
Sicily is huge island and you should to be careful with your belongings etc but with a bit of vigilance you'll have no problems at all. If you are unlucky enough to be the victim of a crime, you should report the incident as soon as possible at the nearest police station.
The Public Emergency Assistance rendered by the State Police and the Immediate Action Service performed by the Carabinieri can be reached by telephoning 113 and 112 respectively wherever you may be in Italy. These numbers and their services operate on a 24-hour basis.
The above numbers can be used for many emergencies, but use them only in cases of real need such as medical and ambulances or help needed after an accident. If necessary, you can also call 116 to get immediate help.
All visitors entering Italy must have a valid passport.
Nationals of all the following countries, who intend to visit Italy for a period of 90 days or less, do not need to obtain a visa. Nationals of other countries (except those European residents specifically referred to above) must obtain a visa to enter Italy.
Andorres, Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech RepublicC, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, IsraelL, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Poland, Rumania, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Switzerland, United States, Uruguay, Vatican City, Venezuela.
Additional information may be obtained from the Italian
Government Tourist Board.