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Where to stay first night?

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Washington, DC
posts: 634
reviews: 17
Where to stay first night?

We've just booked almost all of our fights for our 40th anniversary trip to Sicily in May. First, thank you all for your answers to my initial questions about which airlines to take. We finally opted for United/Lufthansa because we could use FF miles for one ticket. We now have an open jaw ticket for DC>Frankfurt>Palermo, then return Rome>Frankfurt>DC.

So, given that we will be arriving at Palermo Airport after an all-night flight but would like to avoid going into Palermo on this trip, can you suggest anywhere we could drive to and stay in the first night? It should be someplace not too far away since we will be jet-lagged and, of course, offer parking. We want to revisit Cefalu. Is that too far or challenging of a drive? Or should we stick closer to Palermo that first night and go to Cefalu the next day?

Thanks, Vagabond, Biondi, et al.

Banff, Canada
Destination Expert
for Banff, Banff National Park
posts: 4,088
reviews: 64
1. Re: Where to stay first night?

We had a similar dilemma and solved it in the end by taking the excellent bus service into Palermo, staying there overnight, picking up our rental car in Palermo and driving on to Cefalu once rested.

Pittsburgh...
posts: 455
reviews: 40
2. Re: Where to stay first night?

A couple of years ago we arrived in Palermo after a trans-Atlantic flight from the US. We picked up a car at the airport and drove to Capo d'Orlando, which is about an hour beyond Cefalu. It was about a 5 hour drive. It was a relatively easy drive...all highway/auto strata...except for several miles where the highway runs through the outskirts of Palermo. So some congestion and "typical Palermo drivers". But we routinely pick up a car and drive after trans-atlantic flights..so we are pretty much used to it. It is a personal thing, and I can understand maybe not wanting to take on such a drive.

The beach community of Mondello might be a good place to make a stop. It is between the airport and Palermo. It is a beautiful beach community...so would give you a great first day in Sicily.

Washington, DC
posts: 634
reviews: 17
3. Re: Where to stay first night?

Thank you both, Bbanff and pghguy.

Banff, on our last trip, we did what you did--took the bus into Palermo, stayed a few days, then rented a car there and drove around the rest of the island. Getting the car out of Palermo was easy enough because it was a Sunday but returning it was a nightmare because it was a weekday. Still, it might work for us if we can return the car at Catania airport, so something to consider.

pghguy, thanks for the suggestion about Mondello. Also, since we want to go to Cefalu, I will check with DH (the driver) to see what he thinks about renting a car at the airport and just driving there directly.

Banff, Canada
Destination Expert
for Banff, Banff National Park
posts: 4,088
reviews: 64
4. Re: Where to stay first night?

Sorry, I should have said -- we picked up the car in Palermo, but returned it at the airport. It worked really well.

Here & There
Destination Expert
for Sicily, Taormina
posts: 64,391
5. Re: Where to stay first night?

Prego JackRussellTerrier and congrats on your 40th anniversary, and also booking your flights using FF miles!

Cefalù would be less than optimal since you’d drive Palermo’s dreaded and challenging ring road. If you’d like to begin in Cefalù, consider a transfer from the airport, and then hire the car in Cefalù. You may find higher rates in Cefalù for the car hire than at the airport, and rental companies are closed on Sundays in Cefalù.

Mondello lacks (good) accommodations.

If you were to spend the night in Palermo, you might take the train or bus to Cefalù, and then hire the car in Cefalù as well.

What day of the week would you arrive and at what time? – That would be a determining factor for hiring the car at the airport and driving directly to Cefalù.

Where else would you visit?

Have you considered Trapani? Interbus runs direct bus service from Palermo’s airport. You could then hire the car in Trapani the following day.

You could also hire the car on arrival at Palermo’s airport - The drive to Trapani is easy and only an hour.

Auguri!

Vagabonda

Washington, DC
posts: 634
reviews: 17
6. Re: Where to stay first night?

Salve, Vagabonda,

Thanks for your response. We will be arriving on a Saturday morning, so I suppose we could take the bus into Palermo, spend the night and then drive out on the next day since it is a Sunday. But now my husband says that since we get in so early (8:50 AM) and it is a Saturday, he is sure that we could drive directly to Cefalu and, if he gets tired, he will pull off and take a nap, especially since he will be driving on the same side of the road as in the States. (One time, we drove from Manchester to St. Andrews, Scotland--in a downpour the whole time, stopping and napping and changing drivers the whole way. It took 10 hours, but we made it.)

As far as where else we would visit, definitely on the list is Syracusa plus Montalbano sites since we are big fans. We are planning on flying back to Rome from Catania, so we won't have to double back to Palermo. That's as far as we have planned; lots more decisions to make and you can bet we will be pestering you!

Here & There
Destination Expert
for Sicily, Taormina
posts: 64,391
7. Re: Where to stay first night?

Ciao JackRussellTerrier – Never pestering!

Perhaps you’d be comfortable with your plan to spend the night in Palermo, and then hire the car and drive from Palermo on Sunday since you’ve done that in the past.

Saturday is a very busy day around Palermo – Your husband’s expectation for less traffic on a Saturday morning isn’t justified. If you plan to drive Palermo’s ring road on a Saturday, plan to drive between 10.00 and noon, or 14.00 and 15.00 when traffic is lighter. Sunday is a better day to drive the ring road - You could spend your first night in Castellammare del Golfo if not Palermo.

tripadvisor.com/…42686504

Vagabonda

Washington, DC
posts: 634
reviews: 17
8. Re: Where to stay first night?

Thanks, Vagabonda, will let him know and then make some decisions!

Here & There
Destination Expert
for Sicily, Taormina
posts: 64,391
9. Re: Where to stay first night?

Prego JackRussellTerrier,

You could certainly do the drive with an early arrival, but just expect a challenge on Palermo's ring road.

By the time you collect your luggage and hire the car, you could time it optimally! :-)

Vagabonda

10. Re: Where to stay first night?

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