Naples and Sicily are two of the most popular places to visit in Italy, but how do you get from this city on the boot to the Mediterranean island? We've done the research to bring you all you need to know about the most popular options to get between these awesome destinations.
There are several ways to go from Naples to Sicily. There are direct flights from Naples to Palermo, Catania, and Trapani-Birgi. Flying is the fastest and most affordable option.
For those seafaring adventurers, there are ferries that go from Naples to Palermo and Milazzo.
If you prefer dry land, you can go from Naples to Villa Sant Giovani and take a much shorter ferry across to Messina and then access cities all across Sicily by car, bus, or train. There is even a train from Naples that goes directly onto the ferry and continues to Palermo or Syracuse!
In this article, we'll take a closer look at how to get to different cities in Sicily from Naples. We'll even see ways to get from airports to downtown and learn more about Europe's only ferry-taking train. Read on to learn all about it!
Flying from Naples to Sicily
While not as romantic as a ferry or a train, flying is the fastest (and least expensive) way to get on your way from the city of pizza to the island of cannoli.
Direct flights between Naples and Palermo are offered by Ryanair, easyJet, and Volotea. Ryanair and easyJet also have direct flights to Catania. Several days a week, you can find Ryanair flights from Naples to Trapani-Birgi.
What all of these flights have in common is that they are operated by discount airlines. This means that the flights are relatively inexpensive. However, pay close attention to the details in your ticket. You can't use the overhead storage with a basic ticket, and if your bag doesn't fit under the seat in front of you, you will be hit with a hefty charge.
If you need to use the overhead luggage area or check a bag, make sure you buy tickets that include these options. These tickets will be more expensive, but they will be much cheaper than getting charged at the airport instead.
Flying to Palermo
Palermo is the capital of Sicily and one of the most popular destinations on the island. If you choose to fly to Palermo, you will land at Palermo Airport, also known as Falcone-Borsellino. The IATA code for this airport is PMO.
How to get to Palermo from Palermo Airport
At 22 miles away, it's a bit of a schlep from Palermo Airport to the city. There are several easy ways to get to Palermo from the airport, including public transportation options.
Trains run from the airport train stop (Punta Raisi) to central Palermo (Palermo Centrale). These trains run every 30 minutes, starting at 05:20 in the morning with the last train at 00:20 am. The journey takes 50 minutes to 1 hour.
You can buy train tickets at the station or ahead of time through Trenitalia. Currently, tickets are priced at €6.50, but that price may vary.
The other stops on the way to Palermo Centrale are:
- Palermo La Malfa
- S. Lorenzo C.
- Stazione Palermo Franzia
- Stazione Palermo Notarbartolo
- Palermo Lolli
- Palermo Palazzo Reale-Orleans
- Stazione Palermo Vespri
- Palermo Guadagna
- Palermo Centrale
You may find that one of the stops before Palermo Centrale is closer to your hotel or other lodgings. The tickets will be the same price regardless of which stop you get out at.
The Palermo Airport Bus is the cheapest option to get between the airport and the city, as long as you buy your tickets ahead of time. The tickets are €6 for one-way and €10 for round-trip when purchased ahead of time through Prestia e Comandè (versus €6.50 and €11 if purchased in-person).
The trip from the airport to the final bus stop takes 45 to 55 minutes, but the bus makes 10 stops in total. These stops are:
- Belgio 2
- Alcide de Gasperi 82
- Croce Rossa 56
- Libertà 106
- Libertà 80
- Libertà - Notarbartolo
- Libertà 42
- Piazza Castelnuovo
- Roma 265
- Palermo Stazione via Fazello
If you are staying near one of these stops, you may find that the bus is an affordable, convenient option to get to your lodgings.
You can find white airport taxis eagerly awaiting passengers outside of the arrivals gate at Palermo airport. The typical fare to get to central Palermo by taxi is €50, but there is also an additional 25% fee from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
There are also taxi-sharing services that let you share a taxi with other passengers for a reduced rate. This service is offered from:
Coop Radio taxi Trincaria: 091-6878
Coop AutoradioTaxi: 091-8481
There are several companies that run car rental counters in the Arrivals area of Palermo Airport. You can find various styles (and price points) of rental cars. You can also book a car ahead of time online.
Flying to Catania
While Palermo is the capital of Sicily, Catania actually has Sicily's largest airport, Catania-Fontanarossa, IATA code CTA. Catania is also the second-most populous city in Sicily and a very popular destination for tourists and travelers.
Catania-Fontanarossa Airport doesn't just help you reach Catania, though. It is also the closest airport to Syracuse, Taormina, Messina, and Ragusa
How to get from Catania-Fontanarossa Airport to Catania
Catania-Fontanarossa is just 4 miles away from Catania itself, meaning you can get from the airport to the city relatively quickly and easily. There are several ways to do so.
Trenitalia operates trains that run between Catania Aeroporto Fontanarosso to Catania Centrale every 45 minutes from 6:00 to 22:40. This trip takes just 10 minutes and only costs €2.10.
White taxis will be lined up outside the arrival gate. The trip to Catania will cost around €25 to 30 and takes 15 to 20 minutes.
There are several car rental companies with counters at Catania-Fontanarosso airport. You can find more information and pre-book a car on the airport website.
Flying to Trapani-Birgi
Trapani and Marsala are located on the Western coast of Sicily. Both are near Palermo but are even closer to Trapani-Birgi Airport.
Ryanair offers direct flights to Trapani-Birgi (Trapani-Masala on the Ryanair website), but flights from Naples are only available during certain seasons and on certain days. Make sure you plan ahead if you want to fly to this airport.
Taking the Ferry from Naples to Sicily
If you are looking for a unique travel experience, a ferry is a great option for you. Enjoy a voyage across the Tyrrhenian Sea as you set sail from Naples to Sicily.
Ferry routes go to Palermo and on the North-Western coast of Sicily and Milazzo on the North-Eastern side.
Ferries from Naples to Palermo
Several operators have ferries that go from Naples to Palermo. These include Tirrenia, Grandi Navi Veloce, and Grimaldi Lines. These trips last between 9 and 12 hours, with most of them scheduled as overnight trips.
These companies also have routes to Palermo Termini Imerese that operate during the daytime.
Ferries from Naples to Milazzo
While you can find ferries to Palermo most days and from several operators, ferries to Milazzo are rarer. Sireman operates some direct ferries from Naples to Milazzo, but usually just one or two a week. This is a 17-hour, overnight route, departing at 22:00 and arriving at 13:00.
Taking the Train from Naples to Sicily
You may think that it is impossible to take a single train from Naples all the way to Sicily because, well, Sicily is an island. But that's where you'd be wrong!
Trenitalia has trains that go from Milan to Palermo or Syracuse (with a stop in Naples), and you never have to make a connection. That's because their InterCity trains roll right onto a ferry in Villa Sant Giovani before taking a quick, 20-minute trip across the sea to Messina, Sicily. While on the ferry, you can step off, stretch your legs, and enjoy the view (as well as a café). This is the only train that takes a ferry in Europe.
From Messina, the path depends on your destination. The InterCity to Syracuse also makes a stop in Catania as well as other cities on the eastern coast. The InterCity to Palermo stops at several cities along the northern coast of Sicily.
If you are going all the way, though, either train ride will take between 9 and 10 hours. During this ride, you can relax and enjoy the Italian countryside, or you can choose to travel at night instead of staying at a hotel.
The night train, called the InterCity Notte, costs a little more than the daytime train but saves you a night in a hotel. The standard class (Comfort) involves a shared cabin for four (mixed and female-only cabins are available). The seats fold out into bunk beds.
You can opt for the Deluxe or Excelsior options instead, which feature more amenities. These include a ready-made bed, washbasin, and table. You also have the option of exclusive use so you don't have to share your cabin.
If you book your ticket through Trenitalia, keep in mind they use the Italian spelling of city names. This means that Naples will be Napoli and Syracuse will be Siracuse. Palermo and Catania are the same.
Train versus Flying
While the train isn't as fast or as affordable as flying, it does offer some advantages. If you go overnight, you can save on a hotel. The train also delivers you right to the city center instead of outside the city. Traveling this way also results in fewer carbon emissions than flying.
And, of course, it's a unique experience. It's not every day you get to ride on a sleeper train, let alone one that boards a ferry!
Naples to Sicily by Car or Bus
Another option is to drive to Sicily. This offers you the most freedom, but it is a long, 8-hour drive. You will also need to take a ferry from Vila Sant Giovani to Messina. This is a good option if you aren't on a tight schedule and want to explore some of the smaller towns and mountains through Campania, Basilicata, and Calabria.
You can also take a bus on a similar journey. Itabus runs buses from Naples to Palermo on Thursdays, Fridays, and Sundays, sometimes with fares as low as €20. This ride takes about 11 hours overnight.
There are plenty of ways to get to Sicily from Naples. Planes, trains, boats, and buses are all options for this exciting journey. The best one for your trip will depend on your schedule, budget, and taste.
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