Where to stay in Sicily without a car: 8 Best areas

In this article, we will look at Where to stay in Sicily without a car? I will share with you what I believe are the best areas to stay in Sicily without a car (including map), where I stayed in Sicily, and the best hotels in Sicily for all budgets.

It is possible to get around Sicily without a car. Sicily has a reasonably well-developed public transportation system that includes buses, trains, and ferries, making it feasible to explore the island using these modes of transportation.

You can use buses and trains to travel between cities and some popular tourist destinations. The primary train operator in Sicily is Trenitalia. Several companies operate bus services on the island, including AST, SAIS, and Etna Trasporti. 

You can check schedules and purchase tickets online or at train stations. Palermo and Catania, the largest cities, have extensive public transportation systems. 

Within cities and towns, you can use local buses or trams to get around. Palermo, for example, has an extensive bus network operated by AMAT.

Taxis are available in most urban areas and can be convenient for short trips within a city or for reaching places not easily accessible by public transportation.

In tourist-heavy areas, you might find tour operators offering guided tours or shuttle services to popular attractions.

Some towns and cities in Sicily are pedestrian-friendly and great for exploring on foot or by bicycle. Renting a bike or taking leisurely walks can be enjoyable ways to discover these areas.

If you plan to visit islands off the coast of Sicily, such as the Aeolian Islands or Pantelleria, you’ll likely rely on boats and ferries for transportation. Companies like SNAV, Grimaldi Lines, and Tirrenia operate ferry services to and from Sicily.

The fastest way to reach Sicily is by taking a flight to one of its major airports, Catania-Fontanarossa Airport on the eastern coast of Sicily, Palermo Airport on the northwestern coast of Sicily, and Trapani Airport on the western coast of Sicily.

You can take a ferry to Sicily. Some of the major ferry ports in Sicily include Palermo, Messina, and Catania. Ferries operate from Italian and Mediterranean cities, such as Naples, Genoa, and Malta. Be sure to check the ferry schedules and book your tickets in advance, especially during peak travel seasons.

Where to stay in Sicily without a car?

The best areas to stay in Sicily without a car are Catania, Palermo, Taormina, Cefalú, Syracuse, Agrigento, Ragusa, and Trapani. When staying in these locations, you can use a combination of public transportation, taxis, and organized tours to visit nearby attractions. 

In general, Palermo is the capital city and offers a rich history, stunning architecture, and vibrant street markets. Catania is another major city in Sicily, known for its lively atmosphere and proximity to Mount Etna. You can take day trips to explore the volcano and enjoy the city’s baroque architecture.

Taormina is a charming hilltop town on the eastern coast with stunning views and historic attractions. Siracusa (Syracuse) is a historic city on the southeast coast with a charming old town (Ortigia).

Agrigento is famous for the Valley of the Temples, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Cefalù is a coastal town known for its picturesque streets, beautiful beaches, and the stunning Cefalù Cathedral.  

Ragusa is a town in the southeastern part of Sicily, known for its baroque architecture. Trapani is a port city on the west coast of Sicily, with good ferry connections to the nearby Egadi Islands. 

During my trip to Sicily, I stayed 3 nights in Catania at Habitat and took day trips to Taormina and Mount Etna. I spent another 3 nights in Palermo at Hotel Politeama, and was able to explore many things on foot and by bus.

Map of the best areas and neighborhoods in Sicily without a car:

Map of the best areas to stay in Sicily without a car
Map of the best areas to stay in Sicily without a car

Let’s get into the details of the best areas to stay in Sicily, especially for travelers without a car. I’ll explain to you how to reach each area, how to get around, as well as the best things to do and some suggestions of the best places to stay in each area for every budget.

All hotels in Sicily have been carefully selected by me, with guest review scores of at least 8.0 or higher at the time I chose them. If you don’t like my suggestions (perhaps they don’t suit your budget or preferences), you can click the “MORE HOTEL DEALS” button where you can choose your own hotel.

8 Best areas to stay in Sicily without a car:

1. Catania

Catania is one of the best areas to stay in Sicily without a car. It’s a historic city located on the east coast of the island of Sicily in Italy. It is the second-largest city in Sicily after Palermo and serves as the capital of the Catania metropolitan area. 

Catania is an important transport hub, with a major airport (Catania-Fontanarossa Airport) and a seaport. The city has a public transportation system that includes buses and a metro line. It is also well-connected by road to other parts of Sicily.

You can take Alibus (operated by AMTS) from Catania International Airport to the city center passing through major areas such as the central station, via Etnea, Stesicoro square,and Corso Italia. There is also a bus that takes you from Catania city center to Mount Etna.

Catania serves as a gateway for tourists exploring eastern Sicily, including visits to Mount Etna, the historic town of Taormina, and the nearby seaside resorts along the Ionian Sea.

The city is situated at the foot of Mount Etna, one of the most active volcanoes in Europe. Etna’s eruptions have had a significant impact on Catania’s history and architecture, both through destruction and the creation of fertile volcanic soil.

Catania has a rich and complex history dating back to ancient times. It was founded by Greek colonists in the 8th century BC and has since been influenced by various cultures, including the Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Normans, and Spanish.

You can explore The historic city center, with attractions such as the Via dei Crociferi, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Notable landmarks include the Catania Cathedral (Cattedrale di Sant’Agata), the Elephant Fountain (Fontana dell’Elefante), and the Ursino Castle (Castello Ursino).

Sicilian cuisine is renowned for its delicious flavors, and Catania is no exception. Local specialties include arancini (rice balls), pasta alla norma, and granita (a sweet frozen dessert).

Best places to stay in Sicily in Catania without a car:

  • Luxury ($$$): Palace Catania | UNA Esperienze, 4-star hotel, set in a fabulous location in the center of Catania, only a 10-minute walk from Catania Cathedral and Massimo Bellini Opera House. It offers airport shuttle services and very good breakfast.
  • Mid-range ($$): Habitat, 3-star hotel, located in a quiet pedestrian area, a short walk from the major attractions such as Massimo Theatre, while Catania Train Station is a short ride away.
  • Budget ($): Art & Jazz Hotel, 3-star hotel, located within walking distance from Catania Train Station, Historic center, and Ciminiere Exhibition Centre. It has 24-hour front desk and airport shuttle services.

2. Palermo

Palermo is one of the best places to stay in Sicily without a car. It is the capital city and the largest city in Sicily, serving as its cultural, economic, and administrative center. Palermo is located on the northwestern coast of the island and has a rich history dating back to ancient times.

Palermo is easily reached by air, trains, and ferries. Palermo Airport is well-connected to major European cities and Italian cities. You can travel by trains from Milan, Naples, or Catania to Palermo Centrale, which is the main train and bus station.

Due to its strategic location in the Mediterranean, Palermo has a long and complex history influenced by various civilizations, including the Phoenicians, Romans, Arabs, Normans, and Spanish. This rich history is evident in the city’s architecture and cultural heritage.

Palermo is home to a wealth of historical and architectural treasures, including the Palermo Cathedral (Cattedrale di Palermo), the Norman Palace (Palazzo dei Normanni), and the Palatine Chapel (Cappella Palatina), which are all UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Palermo is a great place to sample traditional Sicilian dishes. Street markets like the Ballarò Market and Vucciria Market offer a wide variety of fresh produce and local specialties.

Palermo has a vibrant cultural scene, with numerous theaters, museums, and art galleries. The Teatro Massimo is one of the largest opera houses in Europe and hosts a wide range of performances.

The city is located along the coast, so you can also enjoy beautiful beaches nearby, such as Mondello Beach, which is a popular destination for locals and tourists alike.

Palermo hosts several festivals throughout the year. The Feast of Santa Rosalia, known as “Festa di Santa Rosalia,” is one of the most famous and includes a grand procession.

Best places to stay in Sicily in Palermo without a car:

  • Luxury ($$$): Grand Hotel Wagner, 5-star hotel, located in the heart of Palermo, within walking distance from the city center, Politeama Theatre, shops and restaurants. Great breakfast with lots of choices.
  • Mid-range ($$): Hotel Politeama, great 4-star hotel located on Piazza Ruggero Settimo street, close to the seaport and the bus station with connection to the airport and Mondello Beach.
  • Budget ($): Hotel Posta , 3-star beachfront hotel with private beach, located in the historic center of Palermo, a short walk from Massimo Theatre and Teatro Politeama.

3. Taormina

Taormina is a beautiful town located on the east coast of Sicily, around an hour bus/train ride from Catania. It’s a popular tourist destination known for its stunning views of the Ionian Sea and Mount Etna, rich history, and charming atmosphere. 

The bus station is located a 10 mins walk from Taormina historic center. The Taormina-Giardini station is a 10 mins bus ride to the bus station. The nearest airport to Taormina is Catania Fontanarossa Airport. From there, you can reach Taormina by car, bus, or train.

Taormina’s location makes it a great starting point for day trips to other parts of Sicily, including visits to Mount Etna, the nearby town of Giardini Naxos, or the historic city of Catania.

One of the most famous landmarks in Taormina is the ancient Greek-Roman theater, which offers not only a glimpse into the past but also stunning panoramic views. The theater is still used for concerts and events today.

The main street in Taormina, Corso Umberto, is a picturesque promenade filled with shops, cafes, restaurants, and boutiques. It’s a great place to stroll and soak in the local atmosphere.

You can go swimming or snorkeling at Isola Bella, a small island, often referred to as the “Pearl of the Ionian Sea,” just off the coast of Taormina. It is known for its natural beauty and clear waters.

Taormina hosts The Taormina Film Fest, a well-known event that attracts celebrities and movie enthusiasts.

The town has been a source of inspiration for many artists and writers over the years. Its beauty and charm have been captured in numerous works of art and literature.

Best places to stay in Sicily in Taormina without a car:

  • Luxury ($$$): Grand Hotel San Pietro, 5-star hotel, located within 15 mins walk from Taormina’s historical center and the hotel offers free shuttle service to/from Taormina center. It has an Outdoor swimming pool and airport shuttle services.
  • Mid-range ($$): Splendid Hotel Taormina, 4-star hotel, located in a former monastery, within easy walk from Town center, Corso Umberto main street, closet to the Greek Theatre with views of the Etna Volcano and the 13th century Duomo Cathedral.
  • Budget ($): Hotel Bel Soggiorno, great 3-star hotel located in a residential part of Taormina, offers views of Mount Etna and the Mediterranean, 10 mins walk from town center.

4. Cefalú

Cefalù is a beautiful coastal town located on the northern coast of Sicily, a 50 minute train ride from Palermo. It has a train station located a short walk away from the beaches and the historic center.

Cefalù is renowned for its picturesque setting. The town is nestled between the Tyrrhenian Sea and the rugged Madonie Mountains, offering breathtaking views and a mild Mediterranean climate.

One of the iconic landmarks in Cefalù is the towering limestone mountain called “La Rocca.” Visitors can hike up to the top for panoramic views of the town and the surrounding landscape.

The town is famous for its magnificent cathedral, known as the Cefalù Cathedral or Duomo di Cefalù. This Norman-style cathedral, built in the 12th century, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and features intricate mosaics and stunning architecture.

Cefalù’s historic center is a labyrinth of narrow medieval streets, charming squares, and colorful buildings. It’s a delightful place to explore on foot, and you can discover hidden shops, restaurants, and cafes.

Cefalù boasts beautiful sandy beaches along its coastline. The clear waters of the Mediterranean Sea make it a popular destination for swimming and sunbathing.

Best places to stay in Sicily in Cefalú without a car:

  • Luxury ($$$): Cefalù Sea Palace, 5-star seafront hotel with a free private beach, a short walk from Cefalù center, close to most things, and a great base for car-free travelers.
  • Mid-range ($$): Artemis Hotel, 4-star hotel, short walk from Cefalù Beach and Central Train Station. It has soundproofed and air conditioned rooms and airport shuttle services.
  • Budget ($): Ossuna Bay Hotel Boutique, 3-star hotel in a perfect location, short distance to the beach, Cefalù Cathedral, Bastione Capo Marchiafava and La Rocca. Also have free private parking, which is great for those with a car.

5. Syracuse

Syracuse, also known as Siracusa in Italian, is a historic city located on the eastern coast of Sicily, one hour bus/train ride from the island capital, Catania. The bus terminal is opposite the train station.

Syracuse is one of the most ancient and important cities in Sicily, with a rich history dating back to ancient Greek times. Founded by Greek colonists from Corinth in 734 BC, it is one of the oldest cities in the Western world. 

The city is renowned for its archaeological sites, including the Ancient Theater of Syracuse, which is one of the largest and best-preserved theaters of its kind in the ancient world. 

The Archaeological Park of Neapolis in Syracuse also contains many well-preserved ancient ruins, such as the Altar of Hieron II and the Roman Amphitheater.

The historic center of Syracuse, known as Ortigia, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is a charming and picturesque area with narrow streets, historic buildings, and a beautiful waterfront. The Piazza del Duomo, with its stunning cathedral, is a focal point of Ortigia.

Syracuse hosts the annual Greek Theater Festival, which features ancient Greek plays performed in the historic theater.

Best places to stay in Sicily in Syracuse without a car:

  • Luxury ($$$): Caportigia Boutique Hotel, 5-star hotel, located in Siracusa, a short walk from Porto Piccolo, offering buffet-style breakfast, bike rental and airport shuttle services.
  • Mid-range ($$): Hotel Mercure Siracusa, 4-star hotel, located right next to Siracusa’s archaeological area and Greek Theatre, offering airport shuttle, also free outdoor or garage parking for travelers with a car.
  • Budget ($): La casa di Aneupe, great 3-star accommodations, 15 mins walk from main tourist area, short ride from Siracusa Train and Bus Station.

6. Agrigento

Agrigento is a historic city located on the southern coast of Sicily, 2 hours by train/bus from Palermo. It is the capital of the province of Agrigento and is renowned for its rich history, archaeological sites, and stunning landscapes.

Agrigento is famous for its Valley of the Temples (Valle dei Templi), a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This archaeological park contains the Temple of Concordia, one of the world’s best-preserved Doric temples.

In addition to the Valley of the Temples, Agrigento boasts numerous other historical and archaeological sites, such as the Temple of Juno, the Temple of Heracles, and the Temple of Olympian Zeus.

Agrigento is a modern city with a historic center that features narrow streets, old buildings, and a charming atmosphere. It offers a mix of cultural attractions, including museums, churches, and local markets.

The city is situated along the Mediterranean Sea. Popular seaside destinations near Agrigento include San Leone and Scala dei Turchi, a stunning white limestone cliff formation.

Best places to stay in Sicily in Agrigento without a car:

  • Luxury ($$$): Oneira Rooms, 4-star good value for money accommodation within walking distance from Agrigento Train Station, offering bike rental and airport shuttle services.
  • Mid-range ($$): Hotel Exclusive, 4-star hotel, centrally located in Agrigento, in front of the train station, offering views of the Mediterranean Sea and  Valley of the Temples.
  • Budget ($): B&B Batarà – “La Terrazza del Centro”, great 3-star accommodation ideally located in Agrigento, easy distance from Agrigento Train Station and Teatro Luigi Pirandello.  

7. Ragusa

Ragusa is a city located in the southern region of Sicily, known for its rich history, stunning architecture, and beautiful landscapes. The city is renowned for its well-preserved Baroque architecture, which has earned it a place on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Ragusa is well-connected to bus and train. You can find the train and bus stations in the modern part of the city called Ragusa Superiore. 

Ragusa Ibla is the ancient part of the city and is a maze of narrow streets, historic buildings, and charming squares. It’s a popular destination for tourists and offers a glimpse into the city’s rich history.

Ragusa Superiore is the newer part of the city, located on a hill above Ragusa Ibla. It’s home to administrative and modern buildings, as well as some interesting sights.

Ragusa boasts several beautiful churches. The Cathedral of San Giorgio is a prime example of the city’s Baroque architecture, and it offers a stunning view of the city from its steps. 

Ragusa is surrounded by the picturesque Iblean Mountains, which offer opportunities for hiking and exploring the natural beauty of the region.

Ragusa is well-located for exploring other beautiful towns in Sicily, such as Modica and Scicli, which also boast stunning Baroque architecture and are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Best places to stay in Sicily in Ragusa without a car:

  • Luxury ($$$): Relais Antica Badia – San Maurizio 1619, 5-star hotel, located in Ragusa city center, a 20-minute walk from the Ibla and Old Town area.
  • Budget ($): Casa Vacanza B&B Sangiovanni , 3-star accommodation with airport shuttle, short walk from a bus stop offering service to the beaches and around town. 30 minute drive away from Marina di Ragusa.
  • Budget ($): Niria, popular 3-star accommodation, located only 10 minutes walk from the train station, lots of nice restaurants and shops nearby.

8. Trapani

Trapani is a province and a town located on the western coast of Sicily. It is known for its picturesque coastal scenery, historical sites, and its importance as a transportation hub to the nearby Egadi Islands. 

Trapani has an airport (Vincenzo Florio Airport) with connections to several Italian and European cities. It is also well-connected by sea, with ferries and boats offering links to the Egadi Islands and mainland Italy.

The economy of Trapani has traditionally been linked to fishing and agriculture, especially wine production and salt extraction from nearby salt pans. The town is also known for its coral industry.

The salt pans near Trapani and the nearby town of Marsala are a notable attraction. These salt flats have been in operation for centuries and produce high-quality sea salt. The unique landscape with windmills and saltwater pools makes for a striking sight.

Trapani serves as a gateway to the beautiful Egadi Islands, including Favignana, Levanzo, and Marettimo. These islands are known for their clear waters, marine life, and natural beauty, making them popular destinations for tourists.

Best places to stay in Sicily in Trapani without a car:


In conclusion, Catania, Palermo, Taormina, Cefalú, Syracuse, Agrigento, Ragusa, and Trapani are the best places to stay in Sicily without a car. The island has a well-developed public transportation system including bus and train, making it possible to explore many areas without the need for a car. 

You can continue reading other articles about Italy below:

I hope you enjoyed my article and find it both informative and helpful. If you have any questions or would like to share your thoughts, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. Your feedback is invaluable and helps me continue to create more quality content.

About Author: Ocean Cameron

I'm Ocean, founder and main editor of travelhotelexpert.com. I’m a passionate traveler who specializes in uncovering the best hotels and locations in every city, especially for first-timers, all without the need for a car.

Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links. This means that, at absolutely no additional cost to you, I'll earn a small commission if you click through and purchase something I've recommended. I only recommend products that I use myself or firmly believe in. Thank you!

2 thoughts on “Where to stay in Sicily without a car: 8 Best areas”

  1. I really appreciated the advice on places to stay in practical locations when one is travelling by public transport. The background information on the cities was really useful too. I’ve checked some of the hotel suggestions and can tell that they are top recommendations, for all budget levels. Thanks for filling a gap in the travel information sector.


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