Air, sea or land?
There are ways to get to Sicily from mainland Italy or from Malta without flying. These include long-distance buses from other regions in central (mainly Rome) and southern Italy, trains or ferries. However, flying to one of the Sicily airports is probably the fastest, and arguably the most convenient way to arrive at your final destination.
There are four airports in Sicily, two serving the east coast (Catania and Comiso airports) and the other two (Palermo and Trapani airports) – the west coast. Palermo Falcone – Borsellino and Catania Fontanarossa are the biggest airports operating actively all the year round. Both become very busy in summer months. Trapani Birgi – Vincenzo Florio and especially Comiso Pio La Torre airport mostly serve low-cost airlines and seasonal flights.
Busy itinerary? Fly anywhere!
If you are planning to explore the island and change your location at least two or three times it does not make much difference which airport to arrive. You can even consider to arrive at one airport and depart from the other. This is usually convenient and optimizes timing in case you want to move around and see more. Typically Palermo and Catania would be the preferred options, but not necessarily. For traveling in summer it is worth checking Trapani and Comiso airports as well before finalizing arrangements.
Having a clear idea of what kind of a vacation you are planning to have, and what is your itinerary will make the choice of the airports easier. It is also possible to build an itinerary around your arrival and departure points, especially if your plans are not overwhelming.
Still, east or west – what is best?
Roughly speaking, Palermo airport is an optimal arrival point to reach destinations along the west coast between San Vito lo Capo and Cefalu. Corleone and the Madonie mountains would be on the same list, just a bit away from the coastline. Trapani airport is closer than any other one to Castellammare del Golfo, the Egadi islands including Favignana, Marsala, Erice, Segesta, Mazzara del Valo and Selinunte. The southern coast from Agrigento to Trapani itself is also within easy reach.
Catania airport serves best final destinations like Taormina, the Aeolian islands, Messina, Giardini Naxos, Acireale its coast, Etna, Siracuse and Noto, Caltanissetta. Comiso is optimal for Ragusa, Scicli, Modica and Licata, while Piazza Armerina and Caltagirone are similar travel distance from both Catania and Comiso airports. Agrigento, Tindari and Enna are equally convenient from Catania and Palermo airports with Agrigento and Tindari taking some 2 -2,5h drive. These are probably the farthest among popular locations on mainland Sicily. Agrigento is similar 2 – 2.5 h drive distance from Trapani and Comiso as well.
All Sicily airports will have car hire, public transportation options and taxi service. If you think of a taxi, it is a good idea to book a private transfer before you arrive. Whatever option you prefer, we recommend you verify the working hours and schedules on relevant airport websites. Latest updated information is especially important for arrivals at Comiso and Trapani.