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Car Rental in Palermo

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Eugene, Oregon
posts: 10
Car Rental in Palermo

I am arriving Sat. Oct 15, 8am, from the Civitavecchia ferry and will be with my wife and 2 year old son, and our baggage. We are wanting to rent an auto to drive to Erice where we will be based for 5 days in a flat. My question is, is it easy to rent a car right as you get off the ferry? Who should we rent from? Traveling with a toddler, we are trying to make it as easy as possible to transition in to the vehicle. If we choose to stay in Palermo for the first day/night, would it be better to rent the auto the next morning rather than try to park it for the night? If it is not possible to rent at the car at the ferry dock, where should we go? Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Here & There
Destination Expert
for Sicily, Taormina
posts: 67,160
1. Re: Car Rental in Palermo

Ciao Calafuria1960,

It would be better to avoid driving in Palermo all together, so you might hire a pre-arranged transfer to take you directly from the port to Palermo's airport, and then hire the car at the airport. The airport is located west of the city in the direction of Erice.

Palermo is notorious for gridlock traffic, ZTL, aggressive and unruly driving, no lanes, double parked cars and trucks, difficulty parking, disrespectful drivers, poor signage, one-way road system…

Is It Palermo, or Pamplona?


A few of the many threads discussing driving in Palermo…

My Itinerary for October.:


8 day self drive tour in Sicily:




AutoEurope is a broker dealing with all suppliers. The UK site offers the lowest fares.

Be sure to ask about the supplier – Avoid Maggiore, Autoeuropa (not AutoEurope), Sicily by Car, Locauto....

You might also check Italy Auto Rental, another reliable broker.


If you were to spend the first night in Palermo, stay around Politeama (a few blocks up from the port), and take the Prestia e Commande' bus to the airport in the morning. There’s less traffic on Sundays in Palermo, but car supplies close on Sundays, and in fact close Saturday afternoons as well, except at the airport.


At Palermo airport…

Avis is open every day from 8.00-23.59

Europcar is open every day from 8.00-23.59

Hertz is open every day from 7.30-23.59

Thrifty is open every day from 8.00-23.30


Edited: 4:40 pm, July 30, 2011
Here & There
Destination Expert
for Sicily, Taormina
posts: 67,160
2. Re: Car Rental in Palermo

There has been a few changes....

If you were to decide to hire the car in Palermo on the Sunday, Avis is located at the port and would be open on Sunday mornings from 9.00-12.00.

Europcar is located at the Notarbartolo Rrs C/o Stazione Ferroviaria and would be open on Sunday mornings from 8.30-13.00.

Some suppliers might even have a few Saturday afternoon hours.


Eugene, Oregon
posts: 10
3. Re: Car Rental in Palermo


Thank you sincerely for all the helpful information. Have you thought about writing your own guidebook for Sicily? You seem to know way more stuff than my Lonely Planet guide!

When you mentioned above hiring a "pre-arranged transfer to take you directly from the port to the airport" were you referring to a taxi or a bus? Is the airport bus fairly easy to pick up close to the ferry docks?

Thank you again,


Here & There
Destination Expert
for Sicily, Taormina
posts: 67,160
4. Re: Car Rental in Palermo

Grazie Calafuria1960!

You could take the Prestia e Commande' bus from Palermo's port to the airport – There’s a bus stop at the port, Via E. Amari n. 5 (Porto).

Or you could take a taxi at the port – Agree on the rate prior to entering the taxi.


Or you could pre-arrange a transfer so a car and driver would be waiting for you on arrival.



You could even hire a transfer from the port to Trapani and then hire the car in Trapani – The transfer could drive directly to Trapani’s car hires.

In Trapani, Avis is located at Vicolo Rallo 6, and Europcar is located at Stazione Marittima – Trapani’s port.

Click on “Services and Tariffs”.



Buona Fortuna!


posts: 5
reviews: 38
5. Re: Car Rental in Palermo

If you arrive via the ferry, the Sicily-by-car is literally 50 meters from the port. Plug this 'Sicily By Car S.p.a., Via Mariano Stabile, Palermo, Italia' into Google map search and see where it is. They do not open till 8AM. So if your ferry arrives early, go and have an espresso nearby. We rented a car in on Sept 12, 2011 at this location and returned it at the Palermo airport. Very convenient. Earlier I tried to rent from Eurocar, but their location was several km away and would have required a taxi ride. One more advice, if you are going to drive in Italy, you will need a GPS navigator. Bring one, or rent one. Additionally, if you have an iPad or iPhone, buy a prepaid sim from TIM with Internet access package. Use the Google map to orient yourself and find routes. The map on Google is likely to be more updated. This is what we found near Catania.

Here & There
Destination Expert
for Sicily, Taormina
posts: 67,160
6. Re: Car Rental in Palermo

Thanks for your report edatmpaBangkok!

Sicily by Car isn’t one of the more reliable suppliers. Book your vehicle from a broker who deals with internationally known suppliers - Avis is located just in front of Palermo's port.


London, UK
posts: 4
reviews: 21
7. Re: Car Rental in Palermo


Just a word of caution on Sicily-by-Car: we came back from Sicily on Saturday and had the worst experience with this hire company (albeit Palermo Airport location, not the port).

When we got to the Car Hire terminal where all car companies have their kiosks there was a bit of a surreal view: a long (30 or 40 people?) queue to Sicily By Car and absolutely no queue at any of the other companies. It took us 1hr45mins to get our car keys. After a 5 hour journey, with a 2-year old child we were pretty much on a brink of blowing up with car queue rage (is there such a thing?!)...

While waiting, I spoke to other car hire companies: why does Sicily By Car have such a long queue whereas they have pretty much zero customers at their kiosks? They chuckled and said that this mayhem repeats itself every two days: somehow SBC sell their services to chartered planes, so imagine a plane getting in from the States and 40 people on it have a reservation with SBC. Which is exactly what happened on that day.

Never ever ever again will we hire a car from this company.

Edited: 11:22 am, October 03, 2011
Here & There
Destination Expert
for Sicily, Taormina
posts: 67,160
8. Re: Car Rental in Palermo

Thank you for your report eku - Avoid Sicily by Car...


9. Re: Car Rental in Palermo

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Removed on: 7:14 pm, May 10, 2012
posts: 3
reviews: 6
10. Re: Car Rental in Palermo

To anyone hiring a car from Palermo Airport: it is currently a nightmare. Due to them rebuilding the airport those hiring a car need to queue for ages for a tiny shuttle bus to take them to a complex nearby where all ( but one) hire car companies are located. 40 minutes to an hour is an average time. Taxis will take you for 10 euros. It isn't far but dangerous throught the traffic. Advantage Italy ( which says it is connected with Hertz ) however is not part of this set up. You have to ring them to come and collect you - read their very small print - it is not clear from where and you may only work this out when you have gone via the shuttle to the main car hire centre. Be prepared to wait a considerable time and make many phone calls at great expense on your mobile to remind them you still exist. Once they bother to collect you, you discover Advantage is based miles away from the airport in a godforsaken spot in the middle of nowhere. Virtually impossible to find again when you are required to return the car there. Even with a sat nav that has a ' where am I ' function it is very difficult. They then take a massive 1200+ euros against your credit card as a deposit even if you have paid up front in the UK. I did all that through the CSMA with whom I am taking issue. In the event of loss or damage, they screw you and you have to get it back from who you booked in the UK. Their piece de resistance is the fuel scam. They will tell you it's full when in fact it just a little short. You tell them, they say just bring it back the same. When you do, if you have failed to make absolutely, double signed and checked sure that they have noted the shortfall they scam you a penalty of 55+ euros. We filled the car nearby until the pump cut out but it still registered just below which they obviously know. If you don't pay up they don't take you the many miles back to the airport. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES WOULD I RECOMMEND YOU USE THIS COMPANY IN PALERMO OR ANYWHERE ELSE.

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