Palermo Airport Car Hire
There is so much to see in Sicily; towering mountains, ancient Roman ruins, scenic gorges, not to mention the most active volcano in Europe. With the slow rail network, irregular bus service and crowded tourist coaches, the best way by far to explore the island is to rent a car.
Twelve car hire companies have desks in the arrivals hall of Palermo Airport and, with the wide variety of vehicles on offer, there will be something to suit you. You can wait until you get to the airport to organise your car hire but, to make sure the type of vehicle you want is available and to get the best deal, booking in advance online is the safest option.
Car hire comparison websites give you a wide choice of vehicles and at wildly varying prices. However, before you dive in and book that "bargain", check the small print. There can be hidden extras which make the price somewhat less attractive.
Some companies increase their profits by selling you a full tank of fuel at a premium price and tell you to return the car empty, which is very difficult, so you will be paying for fuel that you don't use. Look for a "full to full" fuel policy.
Insurance is another item to look at closely. Basic cover is included but you might have to leave a large deposit if you don't buy their expensive full cover. You can take out extra cover when you book at a lower price. A better alternative is to take out your own rental car excess policy which is very cost-effective and gives you peace of mind.
Documentation for Car Hire
On arriving at the rental desk, if you booked in advance, the agent will ask for your booking reference, the credit card you secured the booking with, your passport and driving licence. Since the UK did away with the paper counterpart of the licence British drivers will need a code with which your driving record can be checked. Details are on the government website here.
It's worth taking some time to thoroughly check the car inside and out for any damage. Make a note on the rental form of anything and take photos so you have evidence that damage was pre-existing.
Give yourself time to get used to the controls and make yourself comfortable.
Must See Places in Sicily
Top of the must-see list in Sicily is Mount Etna, at 3,295 metres one of the highest volcanoes in Europe and certainly the most active.
The historic city of Taormina sits on the east coast in the shadow of Mount Etna. Winding streets with medieval buildings take you back in time. The focal point is the Greco-Roman amphitheatre with vistas over the azure sea.
The most historical site in Sicily is Valle dei Templi (The Valley of the Temples) in Agrigento on the central south coast. The eight temples of the gods sit among the almond trees in the scenic valley.
You can get off the beaten track and visit Cava Grande del Cassibile, a ten-kilometre canyon in a nature park close to the town of Avola. The winding Cassibile river forms lakes where you can swim in the chilly waters. It is a tough climb down to the bottom of the canyon and an even harder climb back up, but the beauty of the area makes it worth the effort.
No visit to Sicily would be complete without going to the city of Syracuse. Steeped in history and renowned as the home of Archimedes, Syracuse has the power to enrapture your soul.
The island of Sicily has something to offer at every turn so forget the sat nav and just explore.