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Brief Trip Report: 9 days in Sicily in May 2012

Denver, Colorado
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Brief Trip Report: 9 days in Sicily in May 2012

Any place that we stayed I wrote a review about which you can look up, or I'd be happy to answer any questions I could. I traveled with my wife of a few days as we had just gotten married on the Amalfi Coast.

We arrived in Palermo via plane from Naples which was not cheap (280$US/person).

I had booked our rental car online through Auto Europe, but after standing in line forever (be the first one off the bus will help) they kicked me over to Auto Europa, which you're supposed to avoid. At this point, I just wanted a car. It was a very small 2 door and we were very thankful several times on the trip that it was so small.

Off to Castellamare Del Golfo! We had a great map, but found out great maps don't help much when there isn't much signage to assist you. Stayed at the Uliveto House. HIGHLY RECOMMEND!!! If you have any questions, please feel free to ask me. Patrizia and her mother were incredibly warm and hilarious, we had the best time there. Stayed there for 5 or so nights and ate like kings and queens. Highlights were Trapani, Erice, Lo Zingaro (YES!! if you like hiking amongst amazing scenery), Segesta (we went late in the day and had the whole place nearly to ourselves) and Scopello.

Sad to leave, but then off to Agrigento. Stayed at Agriturismo Due Ganee, pretty good and totally fine for a stopover, but difficult to find. Valley of the Temples is a must see, obviously.

Then off to Siracusa and Ortigia...we stayed at the B and B Spiraglio, nice place in Ortigia but it had an odd shower. Ortigia is amazing, especially at night. It's unlike anything else I've ever experienced. Day trips to Noto (amazing, we even caught a rose festival) and my wife, who is a canoli expert, proclaimed they had the best canolis....and day trip to Mt. Etna. Then flew out of Catania en route to Malta for a few days.

We had incredibly positive experiences in Sicily and it exceeded any expectations we had. Driving was fine but you had to be 'on' all the time, especially with the infamous 3rd lane. :) My wife did an amazing job navigating, I never would have been able to find my way around with driving and reading the map. We almost drove into the center of Catania at an extremely busy time of day but aborted just in time, that was the only time I was pretty nervous (and I've driven in the big cities of the US).

We had amazing weather 60-80F the whole time with just a little bit of rain one day but it burned off.

Vagabonda was incredibly helpful, if not for her help (and some others chiming in), our trip wouldn't have been so smooth (which definitely helps with the positive memories). Thank you so much!!!

I've only returned to a destination once for a second time, but Sicily is definitely on the list for another time.

If anyone is planning a trip and has any questions, I'd be happy to answer what I can!

P.S. Auto Europa was fine, charged what the should've. I took pix of the car before and after to document any damage.

Washington, DC
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1. Re: Brief Trip Report: 9 days in Sicily in May 2012

Thanks for your report. We're checking car rentals and can't find information about the cost of a GPS. We're wondering if we should buy a small one here and download maps of Italy .. rather than pay the car rental people. Were the GPS charges high? Would you buy one rather than include it in the rental?

Denver, Colorado
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2. Re: Brief Trip Report: 9 days in Sicily in May 2012

Sally

Not sure I know the answer to that unfortunately. I do know that a GPS would have cost us an additional 25-35$/day so we didn't get one. I also read that sometimes they're not that helpful in Sicily either.

But I don't see why you couldn't buy one here and and download the maps of Italy, we were thinking about it but ran out of time. If you search for 'GPS' in the Sicily forums, you might find your answer.

New York City, New...
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3. Re: Brief Trip Report: 9 days in Sicily in May 2012

It depends who you rent through. I used maggiore in 2009 and the gps rental was 8 euro a day. I am renting through Hertz this time and it is 12 euro a day.

Here & There
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for Sicily, Taormina
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4. Re: Brief Trip Report: 9 days in Sicily in May 2012

Welcome back davep763 and thank you for your delightful trip report and reviews, as well as your very kind comments!

Talete hasn’t been free since last November – Guidebooks can’t possibly stay current with information changing so rapidly.

Talete parking – Siracusa:

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g187886-i343-k4971…

Your report and reviews are very informative for destinations, lodging, and driving - An enjoyable read, and surely will prove helpful to future visitors – Grazie tanti...

Until your return....

Vagabonda :-)

Here & There
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5. Re: Brief Trip Report: 9 days in Sicily in May 2012

Welcome to Sicily SallySueX2!

Yes, the GPS rate varies from supplier to supplier, so you would only definitively have an answer about cost by contacting the supplier.

Some also bring their own GPS – GPS is not always reliable, but many still prefer to have GPS along with a good map like the TCI regional map of Sicily.

trektools.com/Touring_Club_Italiano_Sicily_M…

Vagabonda

Chester, United...
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6. Re: Brief Trip Report: 9 days in Sicily in May 2012

Great report, sounds like fun. Congratulations on recent marriage by the way.

Re GPS, most Smartphones have Google mapping on them which we have found helpful in various places, and I downloaded TomTom Western Europe onto my phone.

However from reading other reports I gather GPS isn't always so helpful. WE have a Michelin road map and I will bring a simple compass so if we get lost maybe head in vaguely the right direction and keep fingers crossed!

Here & There
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7. Re: Brief Trip Report: 9 days in Sicily in May 2012

Unfortunately GPS isn't always reliable and a good map is invaluable!

Vagabonda

Denver, Colorado
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8. Re: Brief Trip Report: 9 days in Sicily in May 2012

We had the Michelin road map too...it was great, but the lack of signs made things interesting sometimes. A compass would be helpful, good idea!

Here & There
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9. Re: Brief Trip Report: 9 days in Sicily in May 2012

Depends about the signage...

Signage is good on the autostrade.

On roundabouts the signage could list the destination, but not the road number, or signage could list the name of a larger town beyond your destination, which may not be listed on the sign at all.

Street names can be posted on buildings, which can be difficult.

Vagabonda

Denver, Colorado
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10. Re: Brief Trip Report: 9 days in Sicily in May 2012

Thanks for clarifying Vagabonda. We found the autostrade to be marked very well, but if you get off in a smaller town it became tricky to figure out what small road we were on (at least compared to the US where it's easy to figure out).

Following town names was much easier than following numbered roads.