Should I hire a car in Sicily?

The above question is one we didn’t contemplate too much but maybe should have! Both of us are experienced drivers and have hired a car in various countries, continents and with challenging weather and road conditions.  So how does Sicily fair compared with other countries? Should you hire a car in Sicily? Here are our thoughts.

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Erice – a hilltop wonder not to be missed

Erice is easily accessible from Trapani either via road, walking or by cableway. We decided on the cableway which was 9 euros each return. Erice is a hilltop town or commune located at the top of Mount Erice at around 750 metres above sea level and came recommended to us so with a reasonable cost of the return trip we decided to give it a go and are glad we did. Erice is definitely a hilltop wonder not to be missed!

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Spending a day in Palermo – Sicily

After experiencing the Catania traffic we decided to give Palermo driving a miss, and catch the train from Cefalu.  The train took 50 minutes and was a very reasonable €6.80 pp each way.  Seemed like a no brainer to avoid the chaotic traffic and parking issues and to spend a day in Palermo.  Off we set on the 10.04 train from Cefalu arriving at 10.54am

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A short stay in Taormina

Taormina is a hilltop comune on the East coast of Sicily. It is visible from the peaks of Etna and a popular spot for tourists. This is due to its history, its perfectly preserved mediaeval streets and dramatic views of Etna. We had a recommendation to pay the village a visit and so found ourselves navigating the narrow, winding roads to see for ourselves. A short overnight stay would hopefully allow us to experience the local history and culture.

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Thinking of visiting Mount Etna?

If you find yourself in Sicily then one must do is visiting Mount Etna, the most active volcano in the area.  It has been active for over 2700 years and whilst not a danger at present it has erupted as recently as New Year 2023.  An ever present landmark all around the Catania area it was a place we just had to see as close up as possible. It is recommended the best times to visit are between March and September, especially for hiking. As we write this on 3rd April, it’s minus 3°C and snowing up there.

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Driving Tour around the Sicilian Coastline

We had looked into the idea of property buying in Sicily, particularly the local €1 home renovation schemes. It was easy to imagine us doing that and having somewhere nice and warm to retire to.  We set up some visits to view properties, but after extensive research, we found that we were highly unlikely ever to be able to obtain a visa to live there due to Brexit. We had already booked and paid for our flights, so we decided to go ahead with our trip and see the sights of this magical island. Hiring a car we decided that driving around the Sicilian Coastline anticlockwise was the way to go!

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A September Weekend in Gibraltar

A ladies weekend beckoned to celebrate Joy’s birthday and as Joy’s sister in law lives in Gibraltar we decided to go and spend a long weekend there. I had been to Gibraltar before but only for a day trip so was excited to spend more time there; especially as we had booked a beach chalet and the forecast in September was pretty nice.

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Visiting Athens in February/March

An unusual trip for us was visiting Athens in February.  Not huge fans of the height of the summer experiences where it is uncomfortably hot and crowded, we went to the other extreme and went in February! Not sure quite what to expect weather wise we arrived for our week arriving to a surprisingly comfortable 18 degrees!

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A Week in Cyprus: Exploring Limassol and Beyond

Our trip to Cyprus in July 2022 saw us revisit the pandemic, with mask-wearing in enclosed spaces mandated again. Though not everyone strictly adhered to the rules that had been re-introduced just a week before our visit, a week during which Nigel had his first experience of COVID. Aside from that inconvenience, travel was back to normal with the country having no entry requirements whatsoever. You could enter completely unvaccinated, or even whilst still testing positive for the virus. Nigel was by now testing negative, although a few symptoms remained, this was real-life “learning to live with COVID.”

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A Weekend in Baku, Azerbaijan

A November weekend saw a trip to somewhere which is technically classed as part of Europe (or at least a small part of it is!) – Azerbaijan. The reason for our visit to the capital Baku was not only to add a tick to our list of visited european countries, but also because we were inspired by the BBC Series Race Across the World. Azerbaijan has been an independent country since 1991 when it left the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), it was also formerly part of Iran, North West Iran to be precise, and it is that Persian legacy that is most prominent in modern-day Baku. The city is known as Baku to the rest of the world, however, the locals call it Baki, and pronounce it with a very soft k.

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