This is the route we followed during the 11 days of our trip in April 2011:
Itinerary 10 days by car in Sicily
Day 1: Palermo and the palatine chapel
Day 2: Palermo and Monreale
Day 3: Segesta and Erice
Day 4: Mozia, Selinunte and the Scala dei Turchi
Day 5: Agrigento, Enna and Calascibetta
Day 6: Syracuse and Noto
Day 7: Syracuse
Day 8: Taormina
Day 9: Etna Volcano and surroundings
Day 10: Cefalu and Palermo
Day 11: I return home early
We had a few more days to visit Trapani, the Enna region (Caltagirone, Ragusa, etc.) and the Aeolian Islands (Vulcano and Strómboli), although in ten days we saw calmly the most important places in Sicily.
Currently, Vueling has a direct flight from Barcelona to Palermo and from Girona Ryanair It has flights to Trapani. We flew in April 2011 from Reus airport to Palermo with Ryanair, but now this flight is no longer operational. Our first intention was to visit Palermo only from Good Friday to Easter Monday, and we decided on this city because it was one of the cheapest flights we found for those dates (€ 115 per person). In the end, for reasons that are not relevant to explain here, we decided to spend an entire week and changed the outbound flight paying € 25 extra per ticket.
To go from Palermo airport to downtown, you can go by bus or train. Both cost € 5.80. The train leaves every hour and takes 60 minutes to reach the central station. Unfortunately, it was under construction and left us at Notabartolo station. From there we had to look for the shuttle bus that left us at the central station. The bus that goes from the airport to the center leaves every 30 minutes and leaves also at the central station, but being the most popular means there are long lines to get on and you have to wait a good while to get a place in one.
Car rental in Sicily
The most practical way to get around Sicily is with a rental car, since the train does not reach some interior areas. In summer or Easter I recommend that rent the car well in advance because they sell out at Palermo airport (although it seems incredible). Our first intention was to rent the car as soon as I arrived at the airport, but I left it for the last minute and when I wanted to book there were no cars available. Even so, it was lucky, because visiting Palermo with a rental car is crazy if it is not a holiday, since there is nowhere to park and traffic is a bit chaotic. Finally, we visited Palermo two days by public transport and on the third day we picked up the car near the port. We rented the car with Avis. Eight days of rent cost us € 230. We chose the cheapest car and we ended up giving a very beautiful FIAT 500 to tour Sicily in style. As an information, in April 2011 the liter of gasoline (feel piombo) was worth € 1.60.
By the way, if you return the car at the airport, it is better that you fill the warehouse in Palermo city, because once you enter the highway that goes to the airport there is no gas station along the way (note: the gas stations open at 7 in the morning). We filled the warehouse in Piazza Independenzia and arrived at the airport with the full sign. From the center to the airport by car it takes 40 minutes if there is no traffic, and at rush hour it is better to leave in time.
About driving in Sicily, I usually noticed that people drive quite well. I had heard that they are quite suicidal, but it was like driving through Spain. We have traveled the entire island and the highways are in good condition and are almost all free. We only pay on the way from Riposto to Catania (€ 0.70) and from Cefalù to Palermo (€ 0.90).
Accommodation in Sicily
For the first time on a trip I cannot recommend the accommodations I stayed at. We went to Sicily only with the first two nights booked and during Holy Week that was a bad decision. We struggled to find accommodation overnight and we ended up having to stop visiting the interior. If you go to Sicily, I recommend that you look at the accommodation in rural houses with time. The whole island is full of this type of accommodation and make your experience unique.
Palermo. B&B ZC. This B&B is located on a royal estate five minutes from the central station. It is very well located and the room included its own bathroom and breakfast for € 50 a night.