The Falcone-Borsellino Airport,
simply known as Palermo International Airport (PMO), is located 22 miles
northwest of Palermo, the capital city of the Italian island of Sicily.
If you have not booked a private transfer with us then you have a few options:
Shuttle bus: The Prestia e Commande bus operates daily with the first departure from the airport starting at 6:30 am and runs until 11:15 pm. The bus leaves every 30 minutes and the journey takes about 40 to 55 minutes, depending on where you exit the station. A ticket costs about €6.10 one way to the city center. There are 1-2 trains per hour, 50 minutes, €5.80 one way to Punta Raisi.
Taxi: You will find many taxis waiting for you in the arrivals area. One of the most reliable taxi companies is Radio Taxi Trinacria (you can book in advance online). A taxi can be convenient, but it is a much more expensive means of transportation. The cost of a taxi is about €50 for a one way ride (more after 8:00 pm). We recommend negotiating the price with the dirver prior to entering the car.
Car Rentals: There are several car rental companies at the airport.
Almost all trains pull into Palermo`s Stazione
Centrale on Piazza Giulio Cesare at the foot of Via Roma, at the
southeastern edge of the city center.
Do not get off accidentally at the suburban station Palermo-Stazione Notarbartolo. You`ll have to wait for another train or grab a taxi to get into the city center.
Buses from the train station: The piazza in front of the train station is the main city bus terminus for Palermo.
As a general rule, bus routes starting with a `1` head north from the station; buses starting with a `2` head south (at least eventually; some circle around in the center first).
Buses 101, 102, and 107 head straight up Via Roma into the heart of town and beyond.
Bus 225 handily trundles up Via Roma, then turns right down Via V. Emanuele to the water, then south on Foro Italiaco Umberto I.
Bus 234 heads west on Corso Tukory before bending south.
Useful websites: www.trenitalia.com; www.raileurope.com .
Ferries steam between the port of Palermo and the following ports on a regular basis: Salerno, Genoa, Civitàvecchia, Livorno, Naples, Malta (Valletta), Cagliari (Sardinia) and Tunis. View all current ferries to Palermo here: www.portpalermo.it.How do I get around by taxi?
a taxi, dial tel. +39-091-513-311, +39-091-513-374,
You would mainly only need to use the taxi if you find yourself lost at night in the city. Otherwise, you should avoid having to use a taxi around town. If you can afford it, some visitors rent a taxi for the day to explore Palermo attractions; it will cost about €70 to €100. Most drivers speak only a few words of English, but you can request an English-speaking driver which may or may not be available. For further information on taxi sightseeing, call tel. +39-091-512737.
There are taxi stands at:
-Palermo train stations
-Piazza Verdi (Teatro Massimo)
-Piazza R. Settimo (Teatro Politeama)
Although Palermo is a fair-sized city, most of the interesting sites around the center can easily be reached on foot. We highly recommend walking to see the city!How do I get around Palermo using the bus?
The vast network of
buses will get you to all the main sites in Palermo and its surrounding area,
including Monte Pellegrino, Mondello, and Monreale. Municipal bus service is
run by AMAT, Via Borrelli 16 (tel. 848-800817; www.amat-pa.it).
A ride on a bus costs about €1.30. Tickets are sold at AMAT kiosks and at most tobacco shops and newsagents (tickets expire after 90 minutes). Once on board, put the ticket in the validating machine, or, if that`s not possible, on the top part of your ticket write the date and start time of your journey (month/day/year and time, using a 24 hr. clock). Not having a validated ticket will land you a fine, and ticket checkers are always looking out for unknowing tourists. If you plan on using the bus extensively during the day, a good option is to purchase a 24-hour ticket (about €3.50), which expires at midnight of the day you use it. If you are not venturing beyond the city center, you can use one of the three convenient circular bus lines (Linea Rossa, Linea Gialla, Linea Verde) at a fraction of the cost of a regular bus ticket (around €0.52, valid all day).
The following ticket options/costs are available:
-Daily ticket - €3.50
-2-day ticket - € 5.70
-3-day ticket - €8.00
-4-day ticket - €10.20
-5-day ticket - €12.50
-6-day ticket - €14.60
-7-day ticket - €16.80
A tourist bus called City Sightseeing, also operated by AMAT, begins and ends its circuit at the landmark Teatro Politeama (the Emerico Amari side). It stops at many major monuments, including the Duomo and the Royal Palace. From April to November 4 departures are daily at 9:30 am; from November 5 to March 31, departures are at 10 am. Tickets are sold on board; there are no advance reservations. The cost is around €20 per person, children 11 and under cost around €10. For information, call tel. 091-589429.
Another sightseeing bus, a red double decker, is operated by WorldWide City Sightseeing (www.city-sightseeing.com) and offers a 24-hour hop-on, hop-off service on two different routes around the city. Adults ride for about €20, children 15 and under for around €10; families (2 adults, up to 3 children) ride for about €50; advanced booking is available. Departures are from Via Emerico Amari (Politeama) on the corner of Via Wagner.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.
We do not recommend
driving in Palermo due to major traffic congestion, reckless and aggressive drivers
and lack of parking spaces. If you want to rent a car for side trips however,
rentals can be arranged at the airport desks or at offices within central
If you do have a car, check with your hotel about parking; many hotels have a local parking garage they are partnered with offering special rates to their guests (typically between €12 and €20 per day). Alternatively, you`ll need to find a legal space on the city`s streets or piazzas. For spaces marked by blue lines, you must get a ticket from a machine (usually every day except Sunday; see the hours of operation posted at the machine nearest your vehicle). For spaces with signs stating a maximum parking time but with no ticket machine in evidence, you`ll need to purchase a form called a scheda , available from tobacco shops, and place it on your dashboard, first making sure to scratch off the circles corresponding to the time and date you parked there. If you neglect to do this, or if you park longer than the time allowed, you may be fined.
If you choose to park your car in a garage you`ll find one near the rail station, Garage Stazione Centrale (tel. 091-6168297), which charges about €15 per night (closed Sun). Two other convenient garages are at Via Stabile 10 (tel. 091-321667), charging around €15 per night, and at Piazza Oliva (tel. 091-325444), charging around €20 per night. Piazzale Ungheria, an outdoor municipal car park, charges hourly and up to €30 in a 24-hour period.
Cycling is not that advisable in Palermo because of the limited availability of dedicated bike paths. There are some roads with bike lanes, but these can be a bit risky due to the erratic drivers. Palermo is not a bicycle friendly city in our opinion.What is the city layout of Palermo?
Central Palermo is divided into an Old Center to the
south and a New
City to the north by Via Cavour.
There are two main north-south roads, Via Maqueda/Via R. Settimo, which starts just left of the train station and crosses Via Cavour at the central Piazza Verdi, also called Teatro Massimo after the theater at its center. And roughly parallel to Via Maqueda to the east is Via Roma, a busier and more commercialized boulevard that starts directly across from the train station.
Palermo's Old City: Running east-west through the heart of the Old Center is Corso Vittorio Emanuele, which crosses Via Maqueda at the Quattro Canti, neatly dividing the Old Center into traditional quadrants.
To the southeast of this intersection and stretching to the harbor lies La Kalsa, which 1,000 years ago was the Saracen Emir`s walled quarter for his and other Arab nobles` palaces. These were later replaced with medieval palazzi and baroque oratories, but the neighborhood was badly bombed during World War II and is still partly in ruins. Many of Palermo`s central sights are here.
To the southwest of Quattro Canti lies the residential Alberghiera, home to the vast Ballarò market and more bombed-out zones, and less than salubrious after dark.
The center`s northwest quadrant is Sincaldi, and aside from the Capo market holds relatively little of specific interest to the visitor.
Finally, the northeast Amalfitani district is the smallest of the quarters (La Cala harbor intrudes to fill half of it), home to the Vucciria fish market. It`s so small that the Via Roma division down its middle helps keep the zone less mazelike, a bit brighter, and more commercially oriented. Palermo`s New City: The New City is an easily navigable grid of broad roads.
Its center is Piazza Castelnuovo/Politeama, where Via Maqueda (now called Via R. Settimo) crosses Via E. Amari.
Hotels, bars and restaurants fill the southern half of the New City, centered on such streets as the wide Via Mariano Stabile to the port and the pedestrian-only Via Principe di Belmonte. The section to the north is more urban residential.
of pickpockets and motorcycle-riding
snatch thieves targeting handbags, wallets and mobile phones. It is not
recommended to walk alone at night in the historical center of Palermo and travelers
should be wary of La Kalsa, the neighborhood between Via Roma and the water, at
night. The area is being renewed and gentrified, but is probably still one of
the riskier places to be at night.
Vehicle theft is a major problem in Palermo, so the use of private, secure car parks are preferred.
Avoid going outside the city center, except for Mondello (beach and clubs), Sferracavallo (great restaurants), Monreale.
The currency used in Palermo (and the rest of
Italy) is the euro (€), US dollars are not accepted. There are
several exchange offices and ATMs at the airport, working 24/7, but it would be
better to exchange the money before the trip and have some euros on you since
the rate will be a lot higher on the spot and no currency other than euro is
It is also useful to remind your bank and credit card company that you will be travelling to make sure your cards will work while in Italy. We recommend you record all your credit card numbers, as well as the phone numbers to call if your cards are lost or stolen.
Under the euro system, there are seven notes: 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, and 500 euros. Notes are the same for all countries. There are eight coins: 1 and 2 euros, plus 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 cents.
Rates fluctuate, so before departing consult a currency exchange website such as www.xe.com to check up-to-the-minute rates.
For more information about tipping visit: Tipping in Italy
The best time to visit Sicily is from May to June or September to October. These late spring and early fall months typically offer beautiful temperatures in the 70s. As such, these are the most popular times to visit, as well as the most expensive. If you plan a July or August vacation, you`ll contend with fewer crowds, fewer open businesses and high temperatures that can reach the triple digits. Still, if you can take the heat, you can find deals. Winter temps are typically in the 50`s; you can find greatly reduced hotel rates, however, swimming and beach days are out.I don`t speak Italian. Will many people speak English?
If you don`t speak Italian we suggest learning at least a few Italian words and phrases before you arrive. This will come in handy in more remote parts of Sicily. Even in Palermo and Catania, there aren`t many people who speak English, but enough of the folks in airports, hotels and restaurants understand it well enough to make basic transactions go smoothly. Even if you do speak Italian, you might not understand everything the Sicilians are saying to each other, since they may be speaking the local dialect (actually a distinct language), but they all speak Italian. We suggest you get a good English-Italian guidebook and familiarize yourself with common phrases such as hello, goodbye, excuse me and numbers 1-10.What is the food like?
Food markets are a
fantastic way to sample local life and Palermo
offers several of them that operate daily. The main food markets include
Ballaro, Cap and Vucciria all of which are located in the center of the city
and not far from the main attractions. These markets include street vendors and
shop fronts full of delicious fresh fruits, vegetables, cakes, pastries and
more. Prepare for senses overload with the variety of smells and tastes from
the vendors selling their wares. We also recommend a specialized street food tour while visiting
Palermo. The tour will guide you through the best spots.
Sicilian food comes with the strong flavors of the southern Mediterranean, introduced by the ancient Greeks, and the sophistication of the Arabs who ruled Sicily in the 10th- century. It is based upon a unique blend of influences from the island`s complex history. Below are some of the best foods to eat while in Palermo and all around Sicily that are considered the very best tasting:
-Torta Setteveli: Also known as Seven Veils Cake, that combines layers of dark chocolate and hazelnut, completed with a crispy layer that is rich and delicious.
-Connolo of Sicily: Considered to be on the most popular of all Sicilian pastries, the Connola has a crisp outer pastry shell combined with sweetened ricotta cheese inside of it. One of the oldest recipes for this Sicilian specialty originally came from a convent in Palermo.
-Cassata: Combines ricotta cheese, marzipan and candied fruit. This sweet treat is somewhat of a tradition to locals here, as it was started by Sicilian nuns and was only ever available around the Easter holiday.
- Panelle: A traditional street food that is essentially fritters that are made from chickpea flour. It is often served in sandwiches that have been covered in sesame seeds. When served like this, it is known as Mafalda.
- Crocchè: These are round shaped fried potato croquettes often paired along with the Panelle in the Mafalda sandwich.
-Stigghiola: These are skewered innards (usually of lamb) that are seasoned with parsley and then grilled. After they have cooked, they are cut into pieces and seasoned further with lemon and salt. This is a timeless classic of Sicilian cuisine, pairing the melted fat and the crunch of the roasted meat.
-Arancina: This is also known as a rice ball that is stuffed with tomato sauce, peas and meat or stuffed with ham, béchamel and cheese and then fried.
-Pezzo di Rosticceria: These are brioche doughs that are baked or fried after being stuffed with various toppings.
-Pasta con le Sarde: translated this means `pasta with sardines` and is a combination of flavors, with the base being wild fennel and sardines.
-Sfincione: This is a dish somewhat between pizza crust and bread, seasoned with tomato sauce, onions, caciocavallo cheese, anchovies and oil.
-Frittola: This is created by the process of slaughtering a calf. While the bones are typically used for industrial purposes, the pieces of meat, lard and cartilage are boiled down at a high temperature and then browned in lard.
-Fish: You will find this all over the entire Island. There are all kinds of fish options: tuna, sea urchin, swordfish, grouper, clams, mussels, sea bream, scorpion fish, octopus, snapper and amberjack – just a few of the many options.
-Pizza: Of course this would be on the list! While this can be said for any Italian city, Palermo (along with other southern cities like Rome and Naples) offer the best pizza you will find anywhere in the world.
Nightlife in Palermo offers something
for everyone. From sipping on authentic Italian beverages by the sea, to
dancing in the ruins of an old market until the sun comes up, you can do it
The typical night begins around 8 pm
(to roughly 3 am) with an aperitif, it continues on from there with anything
you desire. Typically, the evening begins with an aperitif around 8 pm and
proceeds to a small bite to eat in a local restaurant. After this, it is a
steady journey from bar to bar, which typically leads to night clubs for
dancing until the music stops around 3 am.
Each area offers a different scene to enjoy. The Vecchio Center (Old Town) is often considered the hub of nightlife in Palermo, and it also houses some of the most iconic historical sights to be seen in the entire city. Among the most popular spots are: Champagneria, Piazzetta della Canna, Piazza Sant`anna and Piazza Rivoluzione. These are the most popular spots for the locals as well. Old Town is a great place for those not seeing any sort of dress codes, but want to have a great night with drinks and music amid a little bit of chaos.
Politeama-Libertà is a popular and elegant area where visitors will find a lot of bars and restaurants, which have a very upscale, feel that doesn`t skimp out on the fun (even though it is much more relaxed than Old Town). This area offers several authentic Italian restaurants, as well as steakhouses, Japanese sushi, Mexican restaurants and sandwich shops. The area offers great quality food (more expensive than most other areas) due to it being less dense with tourists and used more by the locals. An exception to the posh and upscale feel in this area is around Borgo Vecchio Square where you`ll find a younger working class crowd in a rather unruly setting. Cheap drinks can be found here until 5 am nearly every night.
Mondello-Addaura is a great spot to enjoy nightlife by the sea. During particular seasons, Mondello Beach and the Addaura Coast are where the best nightlife action can be found. This area offers a lot of high-end restaurants, clubs and bars overlooking the sea. You can enjoy an unforgettable aperitif as the sun sets.
La Cala is the marina area that has some of the coolest bars in the entire city. It is not as diverse of an area as some of the other nightlife spots, but you can find this horseshoe shaped marina by the park of Foro Italico in the Castellammare district. Much like Mondello, winter sees a lot les action from tourist and locals alike, but there is still a great deal to do. This is a great option if you are looking to sip on wine at sunset when the fishermen return from the sea. There are several bars and restaurants to choose from, and the marina is also home to some great nightclubs as well.
There are plenty of opportunities in Palermo for the avid
shoppers. Check out Via Liverta if you are looking to find designer gear, this
area is lined with Italian and European lables such as Cartier, Dolce and
Gabbana, Hermes, Prada, Furla and Louis Vuitton. Antique and arts lovers should
head to Corso Alberto Amedeo, while the best ceramics can be found down Via
Nicolo Gallo, Via Daita and Via Isidora La Lumia.
Markets: The bustling markets, which have been influenced by the city`s Muslim past, offer the best of the city`s atmosphere. Get to the markets early in the morning to experience the market at its liveliest. Popular markets include Vucciria; Borgo Vecchio, which stays open until the evening; the Piazza Peranni market for antiques; and Ballaro for those who love street food.
Shopping centers: Forum Palermo, Via Filippo Pecoraino, is Palermo`s largest shopping center with 120 shops, restaurants, cafes and a cinema. La Rinascente is home to a number of excellent independent shops.
What to buy: Puppets, painted pottery, and copperware and tinware bought along the ancient Via Calderai all make for great souvenirs.
Note: Value-added tax (VAT) rate is currently 22% in Italy for standard goods. Travelers outside the EU can claim back sales tax on purchases over €155 if they have bought from shops displaying the `tax free` shopping sign.
Hospital : The two main hospitals are Ospedale Civico at Via Carmelo Lazzaro (tel. 091-6661111) and the Policlinico at
Via del Vespro 129 (tel. 091-6551111).
The Children`s Hospital is at Piazza Porta Montalto (tel. 091-6666224).
In the new part of town the closest hospitals are Villa Sofia, Piazza Salerno 1 (tel. 091-6700350), and Ospedale Cervello, at Via Trabucco (tel. 091-6802111).