English tourism is an ancient tradition that has its roots in the 1800s thanks to Patrick Brydone. The Scottish soldier and scientist visited Sicily and wrote a wonderful account of his journey in the book “A tour through Sicily and Malta“.
His guide had the merit of stimulating the curiosity of his contemporaries, such as Henry Swinburne and Richard Payne Wright, who attempted to emulate him leaving other precious testimonies of their excursions.
Thanks to the contribution of these pioneers, the island soon became famous as a destination for the Grand Tour and began to receive more and more travelers. Thus the first infrastructures developed and it soon became one of the most evocative and popular tourist destinations on the world scene.
Over the years this relationship has grown stronger thanks to technological innovations that have made traveling easier. The flow of tourists from England is a figure destined to grow in the coming years thanks to air connections and advertising investments. Sicily, which features the record of sites protected by UNESCO, is wonderful and easy to reach thanks to the airports of Palermo, Catania, Comiso and Trapani.
Numerous flights depart daily from Southampton, Bristol, Cambridge, Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester and London to allow to the subjects of her Majesty to enjoy the beauty of the island. Travelers who wish to do so do not need an entry visa but a valid passport or identity card.
From London to Palermo by plane
London is the capital of the United Kingdom and one of the largest economic centers in the world. Every day thousands of people land or depart from one of the city’s six airports: City Airport, Stansted, Gatwick, Heathrow, Luton and Southend.
There are many routes to Sicily, but most of them include a stopover in Rome. Only from London Stansted airport it is possible to reach Palermo with a direct flight. Once landed in Palermo you can reach the main cities of the island thanks to the A19, A20 and A29 motorways, public transport or the ferry.
From London by plane to Catania
Catania is a magnificent city located at the foot of the Etna volcano, famous for its baroque architecture, local markets and street food. The Vincenzo Bellini airport of Fontanarosa, which is about 10 km from the city center, is the first in Sicily and the sixth in Italy for passenger attendance and traffic. As many as 10,000 passengers passed through in 2018, many of them from England. From London airports it is possible to fly to Catania by making a stopover in one of the main Italian cities. Once landed in the city you can reach the main Sicilian destinations by car, public transport or ferry.
Flights to Milan or Rome and connections with Sicily
One method to save on the flight is to land in another Italian airport. Milan is a valid alternative because it is served by the airports of Linate, Malpensa and Orio al Serio which are respectively 7, 48 and 50 Km from the center of the city. It connects the peninsula with direct routes to the English cities of Bristol, Nottingham, Manchester and London.
Once you arrive in the Lombard capital you need to reach Sicily with an internal flight, by car following the A1 and E45 motorway to the Calabrian port of Villa San Giovanni, by public transport or reaching the port of Genoa where you can board the ferry. The second option is the Fiumicino and Ciampino airports which are 32 and 16 Km away from Rome, both connecting the city with Nottingham, Manchester and London. Once you reach the capital, you can always continue south along the A1 and E45 as far as Villa San Giovanni by car, public transport or taking the ferry from the port of Civitavecchia, which is 70 km away from the center of Rome.
Ferries to Sicily
Sicily is an island and therefore easily reachable by sea. The numerous tourist ports of Catania, Palermo, Trapani, San Vito Lo Capo, Marsala, Ragusa, Sciacca, Licata, Gela, Milazzo and Cefalù, just to name a few, are ideal places for visitors who wish to treat themselves to an alternative travel experience.
The ferry is one of the most used means to reach the island and every year thousands of tourists take use it to reach their destinations. Ship connections too are numerous and allow even short one-day excursions.
Ferries to Sicily leave from the ports of Genoa, Naples, Cagliari, Civitavecchia, Livorno, Salerno, Reggio Calabria and Villa San Giovanni. Navigation time varies according to the distance between ports, but generally lasts from 20 to 10 hours.
Aliscafi per Palermo
The hydrofoil is a type of boat that is finding more and more employment in the tourism sector. Thanks to the parts called wings it reduces the impact and the resistance of the water in order to make the navigation faster and more economical. In practice, the hydrofoil reduces navigation times, reaches a speed of 50 knots and halves costs. The Sicilian reference port for this sector is Palermo, from which boats arrive and depart towards Naples, Civitavecchia and Genoa. Hydrofoils are increasingly used also for traveling between islands thanks to the routes that connect the region’s ports to the Egadi, Ustica, Pantelleria and Aeolian islands.
To Sicily by Train
The train is one of the most used means to visit and discover new countries. The Italian railway network allows you to reach Sicily from all over the territory.
Traveling by rail can be a cheap solution to reach Sicily. Once you arrive at Villa San Giovanni in Calabria, however, the train and all its passengers are loaded onto the ferry.
Once landed it is possible to use the regional railway line that connects all the Sicilian cities and ports. Unfortunately, the continuous disservices, the neglect and the lack of adequate funds make the rail transport system rather obsolete. Travel times are likely to expand and if you don’t have patience it is advisable to move around using alternative means and methods.