Sicily

Italy

Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea and attracts travelers from all around the world.

On Ferryhopper, you can find useful information about ferries from Sicily, must-see places, beaches, and local delicacies. Take a look at all ferry routes from Sicily and book your ferry tickets with just a few clicks!

Read our suggestions for your trip and find useful information about its ports:

The rocky cliff Scala dei Turchi, at the coast of Realmonte in Sicily

The famous Scala dei Turchi, in Realmonte

Vacation in Sicily

Sicily is a colorful mosaic that can meet the expectations of any traveler. Thanks to its landforms, hiking and swimming holidays can be easily combined here.

Between nature, art and culture, Sicily offers a variety of natural wonders: pristine beaches, volcanoes and wonderful seaside villages. Well-known for its baroque architecture, traditions and hospitality, Sicily continues to seduce travelers with its diversity.

The crossings for Sicily are frequent and you can also plan a road trip to reach all its ends or travel to the Aeolian and Egadi Islands! Thanks to its mild climate all year round, you can also enjoy the beauty of Sicily out of season.

How to get to Sicily

Sicily is well-connected with other parts of Italy and is easily reachable by ferry, plane or train. 

If you want to travel to Sicily from the south of Italy, all you have to do is reach Villa San Giovanni in the region of Calabria and then take the ferry to Messina.  

There are also ferry connections to Sicily from Naples, Salerno, Civitavecchia, Genoa, Cagliari, Malta, and Tunis. The ferries arrive at the main ports of Sicily, including Palermo, Messina, Catania, Trapani, Porto Empedocre, Milazzo, and the ports of its archipelagos.

Sicily has also 6 international airports that connect it to major cities in Italy and Europe. 

You can find more information about Sicily ferry schedules and tickets here.

Messina port and its fortress, in Sicily

View of the port and city of Messina

What to do in Sicily

Sicily is home to UNESCO World Heritage Sites, baroque cities, nature reserves, and dreamy beaches.

One of the most important places is the island's capital, Palermo, with its historic buildings, old churches and local markets. Discover Catania at the foot of Mount Etna, Syracuse and the charming island of Ortigia on the eastern coast. Don’t leave Sicily without visiting the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento, the Theater of Taormina and its baroque villages.

What makes Sicily stand out is its crystal-clear waters! Dive into the sea of San Vitro Capo in Mondello, admire the Scala dei Turchi or enjoy a daily excursion in the Sicilian archipelago! 

Sicily has also a stunning scenery for outdoor activities. If you like nature and trekking, you can wind along precipitous coastlines, climb Etna and enjoy some of the Mediterranean's most pristine waters.

Exploring Sicily off-season is a unique experience that gives travelers the chance to visit the hinterland, taste local products and (why not?) try skiing in Etna!

Beaches in Sicily

With a 1,500km coastline, Sicily is an ideal location for sea-lovers. The variety of beaches is impressive and picking the most beautiful one is a difficult task.

Here are the best 10 beaches of Sicily:

  1. Mondello (Palermo): this beach is popular among Palermo residents and is only 11km from the city center. It is known for its white sand, emerald waters and bathing facilities. Here you can enjoy water sports or have a drink at sunset.
  2. Scala dei Turchi (Agrigento): a white moonscape-like rock formation. Wind and sea have carved out the limestone over time, forming massive steps. 
  3. Cararossa (Favignana): this cove on Favignana's southern coast is a true paradise. This beach has no easy access but you can also reach it by boat. 
  4. Spiaggia dei Conigli (Lampedusa): considered one of the most beautiful in the world, this beach is located in a marine protected area. 
  5. Calamoche Beach (Syracuse): located in the Nature Reserve of Vendicari, it is one of the most beautiful beaches in Sicily, ideal for snorkeling.
  6. Fontane Bianche (Syracuse): 10km from Syracuse, this white beach is approximately 1km long and takes its name from its numerous freshwater springs.
  7. Isola Bella (Taormina): it is a pebble beach, set at the foot of the town, fronting the homonymous islet. The islet is linked to the mainland by a narrow strip of beach.
  8. Scopello Beach (Trapani): located on the edge of the Zingaro Nature Reserve, it is considered a private beach. Its cliffs are home to tuna fishery and are ideal for diving enthusiasts.
  9. San Vito Lo Capo (Trapani): this 3km long white sand beach is one of the most famous. Its calm Caribbean waters make it a welcoming paradise for all. You can rent an umbrella or a sun lounger or eat at the waterfront restaurants.
  10. Cala Tonnarella dell'Uzzo (Trapani): one of the most beautiful coves in the Zingaro Nature Reserve. The beach is free and has no amenities.
     

The beach of Cala Tonnarella dell'Uzzo, in Trapani, Sicily

The turquoise waters of Cala Tonnarella dell'Uzzo, in Trapani

Sightseeing in Sicily 

Sicily is among the most beautiful and fascinating regions in Italy that will surprise you with its archaeological sites, picturesque cities and breathtaking views.

Here are some cultural and natural attractions that we recommend you don`t miss:

The best cultural attractions in Sicily

  • Palermo, a capital known for its baroque churches, art nouveau palaces and street food 
  • The village of Cefalù, among the most beautiful in Italy 
  • Ragusa and its historic center with more than 50 churches and baroque palaces
  • The Valley of the Temples in Agrigento, a great archaelogical site dating back to the classical era 
  • The Greek Theater of Syracuse, located within the archaeological park of Neapolis 
  • Noto with its famous cathedral from the early 18th century
  • The medieval village of Erice, perched on the slopes of Mount San Giuliano 
  • The island of Ortigia, where the oldest part of Syracuse stands 
  • The town of Scicli, known from the novel Inspector Montalbano
  • The Selinunte Archaeological Park, the largest in Europe 
  • The Theater of Taormina with its breathtaking panorama of Mount Etna and the Ionian Sea 

The ancient Greek Theatre of Taormina

The best natural attractions in Sicily

  • Etna Park (Catania) with a total area of ​​almost 59,000 hectares
  • The Alcantara Gorges (Taormina), a rocky gorge carved by the lava of Mount Etna 
  • Zingaro Reserve (Trapani) with 10km of hiking trails, coves, caves, and rare flora
  • The rocks of Aci Trezza (Catania), also known as the rocks of the Cyclops
  • Vendikali Nature Reserve (Syracuse), an oasis with archaeological and architectural sites
  • Nebrodi Park (Siracusa), a 70km long nature reserve
  • Marsala Lagoon and its salt pans, a magical location to try kiteboarding

The moonscape of Etna Park, in Catania, Sicily

The extraordinary landscape of Etna Park

Nightlife in Sicily

Aside from its natural wonders, Sicily has a vibrant nightlife.

Taormina is a popular summer destination for travelers who want to combine beach life and nightlife. Catania and Marina di Ragusa are also considered among the most lively cities in the Mediterranean. The waterfront is transformed into a disco, frequented by a large number of young people.

Marsala is also well-known for its attractive historic center. On the other hand, Palermo, as a year-round destination, offers a wide range of options: from dinners at the market Ballarò to fancy cocktails at Viale della Liberta.

In the Mondello area, just 11km from Palermo, you can enjoy a thriving nightlife, especially during summer. The seaside town of Cefalù is known for its promenade, which is enlivened by many bars, clubs and beach parties.

Panarea, the smallest of the Aeolian Islands, is a popular destination for young people, offering 24-hour entertainment between boat parties and trendy clubs.

Food in Sicily

Sicily's gastronomic heritage is among the richest in the Mediterranean. Food holds a special place in Sicily and is steeped in tradition.

Most of ingredients are produced locally and have a unique taste. If you have a sweet tooth, Sicily is the place to be, as its sweet pastries are well-known for their simple, lemon-like flavor!

Here are the delicacies we suggest you to try during your vacation:

  • The arancino (deep-fried rice balls)
  • The pasta alla Norma (spaghetti with eggplant, basil, ricotta, and tomato)
  • Pane e panelle (chickpea fritters on a sesame roll)
  • Spaghetti with sardines
  • The eggplant caponata (sweet and sour vegetable salad)
  • The fish couscous
  • Palermo's sfincione (spongy, oily pizza topped with onions and cheese)
  • The granita 
  • Cannoli (crisp pastry shells filled with sweet ricotta)
  • The cassata (sponge cake flavored with chocolate, citrus fruits, marzipan, and a sweet ricotta cream)
  • Brioche with ice cream
  • Il passito of Pantelleria (distinct style of sweet white wine)

Fun fact: the Italian Mint and Printing Institute decided to imprint the cannolo and the passito, two of Sicily's most well-known symbols, on the €5 coins of the 2021 numismatic collection!

The Sicilian sweets cannolo and cassata

Cannolo and cassata, the absolute protagonists of the Sicilian gastronomy

Tips

Here are 6 tips that we hope will be helpful to you before your trip to Sicily: 

  1. In Sicily, prices tend to be higher in July and August, so we recommend that you book your tickets and accommodation well in advance.
  2. The Caronte & Tourist Ferry, which connects Sicily and Calabria, serves the best Sicilian arancini. Not to be missed!
  3. The best way to get around Sicily is by car.
  4. Although the weather in Sicily is usually mild, spring and summer nights can be quite cool. We suggest that you pack an extra jacket just in case!
  5. Hand-painted ceramics, vases, pistachios, and tuna roe are just a few of the best souvenirs to buy in Sicily.
  6. Most Sicilian beaches are rocky, so don’t forget your training shoes!

Useful information about Sicily

Sicily is a region that provides a wide range of services and options, depending on the type of vacation you are looking for.

If your dream vacation combines long days at the beach and intense nights, head to western Sicily, in Trapani. Palermo on the other hand is a crossroad of cultures that will surprise you with its rich cultural heritage, while provides all the modern facilities of a capital. Starting from Palermo you can also easily travel east to Cefalu, Bagheria and Nebrodi Park.

Taormina will astound you if you are looking for a luxurious vacation! For a more affordable accommodation you can choose the small towns of Giardini Naxos and Letojanni instead. If you are looking for a more authentic experience away from the crowds, you can visit the picturesque towns of Gera, Licata, Agrigento, and Sciacca!

Throughout the year, Sicily hosts a variety of events and festivals that are worth seeing. Except for the famous carnival of Acireale and the Cous Cous festival of San Vito Lo Capo, Noto's Infiorata (flower decorations in the main streets of Noto), Cefalù's Bread Festival and the Feast of Sant’Agata in Catania stand out.

Important phone numbers for your stay in Sicily

Here are some useful contacts to keep handy when you travel to Sicily:

  • Palermo Port Authority: +390916277111
  • Messina Port Authority: +390906013211
  • Trapani Port Authority: +390916277111
  • Catania Port Authority: +39095535888
  • SAIS bus operator: +390917041211
  • Palermo tourist Information Center: +39091583847
  • Hospital of Palermo: +390916661111
  • Hospital "Cannizzaro" of Catania: +390957261111
  • University Polyclinic "G. Martino" of Messina: +390902212672
  • European emergency number: 112

Transportation in Sicily

The best way to explore Sicily is by car. If you do not get your own vehicle, you can always rent one at one of the various rental locations.

The freeway network covers part of Sicily. All major cities are connected by 4 highways: the A18 (Messina - Catania), the A19 (Palermo - Catania), the A20 (Palermo - Messina), and the A29 (Palermo - Mazala del Vallo). 

If you don't want to drive, you can choose between the SAIS, Etna Trasporti and Interbus bus routes that connect the major cities. Trains are not the most convenient mode of transportation, so they should only be used as a last resort.

In the city center, you can move around by taxi. If you decide to catch one, we recommend that you confirm the price in advance to avoid unpleasant surprises

Ports in Sicily

Sicily's main ports are close to major cities and popular tourist destinations.

Palermo and Trapani are the most important ports in northwestern Sicily. In terms of size and passenger traffic, Palermo has one of the largest ports in the Mediterranean. The Sicilian capital is connected year-round to Naples, Salerno, Livorno, Civitavecchia, and Genoa, while during summer there are ferry connections with the Aeolian Islands and Ustica. Trapani, on the other hand, is the main port for visiting the Egadi Islands, Pantelleria and France.

At the western end of Sicily, there is the port of Marsala, which is connected daily with the nearby Egadi archipelago.

In northeastern Sicily, Messina (with connections to Calabria, Salerno, and the Aeolian Islands) and Milazzo (connected to the Aeolian Islands, Ustica, Palermo and Naples), are the main ports.The port of Catania, on the east coast, is also connected to Naples and Malta.

In the southeast, the port of Pozzallo is one of the most important in Sicily and the largest in the province of Ragusa, located only 90km from Malta. Porto Empedocle is also an important port in southwestern Sicily, connected to the Pelagie Islands (Lampedusa and Linosa).

The port of Palermo, in Sicily

The bustling port of Palermo

Island hopping from Sicily

From the ports of Sicily, you can travel to the Aeolian Islands, Egadi Islands, Pelagie Islands, Ustica, and Pantelleria. 

Here's some additional information about them:

  • The Aeolian Islands: the Aeolian archipelago is made up of seven volcanic islands located off the coast of Messina (Alicudi, Filicudi, Lipari, Panarea, Salina, Stromboli and Vulcano). You can reach them all year round from the ports of Milazzo and Messina, and in the summer from Palermo. The routes are operated by Liberty Lines and Siremar, and crossing times range from 1 hour to 4 hours. From May, you can also reach the ports of the Aeolian Islands from Naples thanks to the SNAV and Alilauro hydrofoils.
  • The Egadi Islands: a group of islands off the coast of Sicily. Its three ports (Marettimo, Levanzo, and Favignana) are year-round and daily connected to Trapani. Summer routes are more frequent, taking less than an hour. By leaving from the port of Marsala, you can reach Favignana in about half an hour. The routes are operated by Liberty Lines and Siremar, which also provide domestic connections between the islands.
  • The Pelagie Islands: located between the coasts of Sicily and Tunisia, with the only inhabited islands being Lampedusa and Linosa. Ferries leave from Porto Empedocle for both islands, with routes running all year. Siremar and Liberty Lines operate the route, with crossings to Lampedusa taking 9 hours and crossings to Linosa taking 7 hours. Domestic connections between Lampedusa and Linosa are also available.
  • Pantelleria and Ustica: Pantelleria and Ustica are two beautiful islands off the coast of Sicily that do not belong to an archipelago. Liberty Lines and Siremar operate daily routes from Palermo's port to Ustica. There are usually up to two routes per day and the crossing takes up to 3 hours, depending on the operator. Ferries to Pantelleria (also known as the "Black Pearl of the Mediterranean") leave from Trapani. Siremar operates the route and crossings take approximately 8 hours.

The white lighthouse of Punta Spadillo, in Pantelleria, Sicily

The fascinating lighthouse of Punta Spadillo, in Pantelleria

Sicily: ferries, schedules and tickets

Sicily's strategic location facilitates numerous ferry connections, allowing visitors to reach the island from both Italy and abroad.

Most routes to Sicilian ports operate all year round, while there are more frequent departures during summer.

There are several connections to Sicily departing from the north, central and south ports of the Italian peninsula. Malta is also well-connected with the Sicilian ports of Pozzallo and Augusta (in the province of Syracuse). From the port of Tunis you can reach Sicily through year-round connections to Palermo. Moreover, Sicily is connected with seasonal routes to the port of Toulon (France).

Here you can find more information about all the ferry connections:

  • Genoa - Palermo ferry: there are about 4 weekly crossings from Genoa to Palermo, taking about 21 hours to reach the Sicilian port.
  • Naples - Palermo ferry: the Naples - Palermo ferry route runs around 18 connections per week. The total travel time ranges from 9 hours to 12 hours, depending on the ferry company. 
  • Villa San Giovanni - Messina ferry: the Villa San Giovanni - Messina connection has frequent departures during the day and duration of the trip is approximately 1 hour.
  • Valletta (Malta) - Pozzallo ferry: the route from Valletta to the port of Pozzallo has multiple daily connections throughout the week. The duration of the trip is about 2 hours.
  • Valletta (Malta) - Augusta ferry: The route from Valletta to the port of the town of Augusta is seasonal and has 1 departure per day. The trip on the high-speed ferry takes about 3 hours.
  • Tunis - Palermo ferry: there is one weekly crossing (on Saturdays) operated by GNV, taking about 14 hours to reach the Sicilian port. Grimaldi Lines also offers 2 weekly crossings that range from 11 hours to 13 hours.
  • Toulon - Trapani ferry: there is 1 connection per week (on Sundays) operating from April to September by Corsica Ferries. The trip takes about 21 hours and it is better to book a cabin to enjoy a comfortable trip.

The ferry routes are operated by the ferry companies Grimaldi Lines, Tirrenia, GNV (Grandi Navi Veloci), Siremar, Corsica Ferries, Liberty Lines, Caronte&Tourist, Virtuferries, and Ponte Ferries.

Where to book Sicily ferry tickets online

On Ferryhopper, you can book tickets to Sicily and other Mediterranean destinations. Find all the information you need about ferry schedules from the port of Sicily, check our Map of ferries for the available ferry crossings, compare companies and book ferry tickets online at no extra cost

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Nearby destinations

Sicily has direct ferry connections with 57 ports :

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