Car Hire Palermo
Palermo Car HireWhether you’ve come for the culture, the architecture or to enjoy Sicily’s stunning coastline, the ultimate Italian retreat is well worth your time.
Explore Sicily and Palermo from the comfort of your Avis hire car.
Plan your journey in PalermoOnce ruled by the Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Normans and Spaniards before becoming part of Italy, the island has a culture that’s remarkably different compared to mainland Italy, which can be experienced in the dynamic city of Palermo.
Bustling neighbourhood markets fill the streets and magnificent sights and sounds draw crowds of people all jostling and haggling to grab the best bargains. The markets are popular venues for social gatherings and often where locals meet up.
While the city isn’t overflowing with famous attractions, Palermo still houses some classic sights well worth a visit. The Teatro Massimo on Piazza Verdi is said to be the largest theatre in Italy. Its biggest claim to fame is its appearance in The Godfather III.
Quattro Canti, which means ‘four corners’, marks the centre of the city’s medieval town. The Baroque architecture on the four junctions is a must-see.
There’s so much to discover in Palermo. Hire an Avis car to explore the city with ease.
Road trips from PalermoPalermo is certainly a thriving city, but it’s not all Sicily has to offer. Take a few short road trips from the capital in your hire car and you’ll discover many of the best sights en route.
Located on the north coast is Cefalù, one of Sicily’s most charming port towns. Just over an hour’s drive from Palermo, Cefalù is less busy than Sicily’s capital city and the pace of life is much more laid-back. The labyrinthine streets serve as a reminder of the island’s Arab rule. Christian shrines dating back to Norman rule remain along the medieval town wall. This town is ideal for trying out the popular southern Italian pastime of ‘vasca’, or laps. In the early evenings, people spend hours walking up and down the roads or hanging outside to catch up and absorb the atmosphere.
The captivating ruins of Segesta are only an hour and 20 minutes away by car from Palermo. The ancient Greek temple of Segesta is one of the best preserved structures from the period. Perched on top of the hill, the temple is surrounded by pristine rolling hills. Views stretch out right down to the Tyrrhenian Sea. Even though the temple was never finished, it’s considered one of the finest examples of a Doric temple.
Italy’s largest island is yours to discover. All you have to do is drive.
Discovering PalermoA great way to get to know the city is to organise a themed route. For example, you could start by looking for monuments and buildings built during the nineteenth century and characterized by the Liberty style. So you can discover the Teatro Massimo, inaugurated in 1897 and dedicated to promoting the opera season and ballet; the Ducrot warehouses - Cantieri Culturali della Zisa, at that time the industrial headquarters of the Ducrot company, a manufacturer of Liberty-style furniture, today a place for exhibitions; the castle Utveggio, the exclusive Grand Hotel; the fountain of the seahorse, by Ignazio Marabitti.
After that, you could hire an Avis vehicle and go to visit the numerous archaeological sites in the area. Worthy of note are certainly:
- the caves of Addaura, where findings from the Palaeolithic era have been found;
- the archaeological area Entella, naturally fortified and defended by walls that should date back to the 6th Century
- the island of Ustica, which was inhabited since prehistoric times and which preserves traces from the 2nd millennium BC to the Roman period
- the Niscemi cave, also from the Paleolithic age
- the area of Solunto, where there are the remains of an ancient Roman Hellenic center
Or you could admire the monuments scattered around the city and made by the 18th century masters of Palermo, such as the oratory of San Filippo Neri, the church of Santa Maria degli Agonizzanti, the Palazzo Comitini (now the seat of the provincial administration), or the Prince of Ramacca palace, not open to the public because it is private.
Finally, why not dedicate yourself to the discovery of the monuments of the Gothic-Renaissance period? In the city there are several palaces and many churches that date back to this period: from the Pretoria fountain to the Archbishop's palace to the church of San Francesco d'Assisi, passing that of San Giorgio dei Genovesi.
Popular festivals and customsThe city of Palermo and its surroundings have been able to preserve their traditions through historical re-enactments and religious events.
Jump into your Avis rental car and drive to Altavilla Milicia, a small ancient village about twenty kilometers from the Sicilian capital. Here, from 6 to 8 September every year, we celebrate the feast of the Madonna di Loreto, one of the most important festivals in western Sicily.
The month of December will be an opportunity to experience the devotional fervor of this period through the feast of St. Nicholas on the 6th of the month; the following day the Virgin Mary is celebrated with a pilgrimage to the church of San Francesco d'Assisi. While the 13th is held as the feast of Saint Lucia, the shortest day of the year.
On Easter Monday you may attend the party of the "outspoken", the celibates of the country, who every year challenge each other to raise an orange tree to the sky, adorned with trinkets and ribbons, using only one arm.
The ancient markets represent another way to discover the traditions of a people by observing their pulsating life. The markets are open every day, from morning until evening. La Vucciria is the oldest and most popular (Piazza Caracciolo), while the Capo and that of Ballarò are the most popular. The market of Borgo Vecchio is also very interesting to visit. If you are interested in antique furniture and antiques, then you should visit the flea market behind the Cathedral in Piazza Peranni, or that of the Giardino Garibaldi, open only on Saturdays and Sundays.
A quote from the tradition of "Puparu" that tells the deeds of the paladins of France with the puppet theaters. An ancient profession, difficult to carry forward in today's technological world, but which still survives in this land. UNESCO has recognized the Pupi theater as a masterpiece of the heritage of humanity.
Driving rules in ItalyWhich side of the road?
In Italy, please drive on the right side of the road.
Country driving laws
- Mobile phones may only be used with a hands-free device
- Dipped headlights must be used in poor daylight visibility when driving on motorways, dual carriageways, and rural roads
- Use the outside lane to overtake on motorways and dual carriageways
- Do not use the horn in a built up area unless in danger
- There are historical areas in which you cannot drive. Look out for “Zona traffico limitato”
All speed signs will be in km/h.
For a standard Avis rental vehicle with no trailers:
- Urban roads: 50 km/h (31 mph)
- Urban highways: 70 km/h (44 mph)
- Secondary extra-urban roads: 90 km/h (56 mph)
- Main extra-urban roads (Expressways): 110 km/h (68 mph)
- Motorways: 130 km/h (80mph)
Be aware of changes to speed limits displayed on road signs due to adverse weather conditions.
Child safety / Seatbelt laws
- It is compulsory for the driver and all passengers to wear a seatbelt
- Children aged under 12 and less than 150cm tall must be seated in an appropriate child restraint for their size
- Children weighing up to 9kg must be seated in a rear-facing child restraint, in the back of the car only
Please note - It is the child’s parent / guardian or vehicle renter’s responsibility to fit the child seat.
This road rules information is for provided for general guidance only. We endeavour to keep the information up to date and accurate, but any reliance you place on this information is at your own risk.