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Driving in Palermo, what to expect ?

Antwerp, Belgium
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Driving in Palermo, what to expect ?

I'm considering to drive in Palermo. Because our base will be Trapani and we can't visit Palermo & Cefalu in one day using public transport.

How is the traffic ? How are Italian drivers in Palermo ?

I never had problems to drive in Paris nor NY, is Palermo worst than those cities ?

PA
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1. Re: Driving in Palermo, what to expect ?

I have driven in both Palermo/Monreale and NY. Wouldn't recommend and don't like driving in either. In my experience where I have driven, Palermo is worse. While grid lock is grid lock no matter where you are, I found that drivers in Palermo (and other cities in Italy) make it a habit to pass you and cut you off to gain the advantage. This is aided by the smaller cars which are more maneuverable. Also, green means go and red means speed up in Palermo.

You mention that you can't visit Palermo & Cefalu in one day using public transport. I wouldn't recommend trying to see both of these in same day by car or public transportation. Also, don't forget the time you would be spending sitting in traffic, looking for parking, and reversing course once you get lost or make a wrong turn if you drive.

My recommendation is to pick one place to see for the day and take public transportation.

Manchester, UK
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2. Re: Driving in Palermo, what to expect ?

I agree with Mike, you have 2 good reasons not to drive.

1. Time, both places deserve definitely at least one day.

2. I wouldn't drive in Palermo because traffic, lack of parkings and all the dangers connected to drive in a city that you don't know.

Get the first bus or train into Palermo (the station is right in the centre) and if you fancy Cefalu' there are trains every hour.

Sal

Here & There
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for Sicily, Taormina
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3. Re: Driving in Palermo, what to expect ?

Really, really reconsider driving in Palermo ntt68 for the reasons cited on this recent thread - 7 nights in Sicily:

tripadvisor.com/…44089404

You would require a day for Palermo and Monreale, and another day for Cefalù.

To maximise your time in Palermo, park at Palermo’s airport.

www.gesap.it/index.php…

Take the frequent and reliable Prestia e Comandè bus service from the airport to Palermo.

http://www.prestiaecomande.it/

Click on “Aereoporto Falcone Borsellino – Palermo”:

www.prestiaecomande.it/…

The Prestia e Comandè service from the airport to Palermo runs later than other public transport from Palermo to any surrounding town. You could then enjoy a very long day in Palermo, including dinner, which is generally considered late in Sicily by tourist’s standards, just beginning around 20.00. Then take the bus back to the airport, collect your car, and drive onward to your hotel in Trapani.

Vagabonda

Chester, United...
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4. Re: Driving in Palermo, what to expect ?

We drove to Palermo but could not park and had to leave without stopping. Driving was awful, worse than Rome, Far East, Africa that we have driven in the past, cars pushing past your, three cars in two lanes, scooters bikes and pedestrians coming straight in front of you, no consideration for other road users. Do not drive in Palermo!

Here & There
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for Sicily, Taormina
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5. Re: Driving in Palermo, what to expect ?

Palermo is exceptionally difficult to drive because of the lack of rules (or following rules), along with the aggressive and disrespectful drivers.

Vagabonda

New York City
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6. Re: Driving in Palermo, what to expect ?

I rented a car from Avis in Palermo, by the port, and had no problem returning to my hotel (Wagner) to pick up luggage and then finding route out of town to the highway (same route actully as the way to Monreale). I think if you know where you are going and have planned your route, you will have no problems. I have been driving all over the island and am impressed with the quality of the highways and - generally - with signage.

What bothers me the most is when I'm driving at 120 kph in the fast lane and someone rushes up behind me blinking his and tries to pass me before I can get into the slower lane. These people must be doing 100mph.

I drove around in Catania yesterday. The MSC Orchestra was in port, and I wanted catch a glimpse of her and Teatro Massimo Bellini. The drive up to Nicolosi and then Rifugio Sapienza, and thence aroun to Zafferano Etnea is beautiful - so many turnouts when you can stop and look and take pictures.

Edited: 1:08 pm, October 06, 2012
Here & There
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for Sicily, Taormina
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7. Re: Driving in Palermo, what to expect ?

The autostrade are excellent – Overall, driving in Sicily is not difficult.

If you were to drive in Palermo, you could mitigate the challenges by driving on Sundays when the city is quieter, and by driving Palermo’s ring road between 10.00 - 12.00, and 14.00 - 5.00.

Driving Catania is truly taking a risk as tourists are robbed in their own cars!

Lot of questions on Catania:

tripadvisor.com/…40030754

The loop-drive on Etna is delightful!!

Vagabonda

Antwerp, Belgium
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8. Re: Driving in Palermo, what to expect ?

Thanks all.

I plan to drive in Palermo on a Sunday, let's hope it will be quieter. Driving in Palermo is part of my Sicilian experience, don't want to miss it, hope I wont' regret afterwards. I'm considering now to visit Cefalu & Palermo in 2 days, it will depend on the weather (late october/begin november)

palermo
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9. Re: Driving in Palermo, what to expect ?

On a sunday will be surely much quieter. Just remember that a main avenue in the center (via Libertà/via Maqueda) is closed to traffic on sundays, from Politeama to Quattro Canti.

As 360traveller said, check a map before and plan your route accordingly.

Here & There
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for Sicily, Taormina
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10. Re: Driving in Palermo, what to expect ?

Well driving in Palermo will surely be part of your Sicilian experience, and hopefully an experience you won’t regret ntt68, but Sunday will be quieter in Palermo, and pose far less issues for you than driving during the week.

It would be wise to allocate a day each for Palermo and Cefalù.

Enjoy!

Vagabonda

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