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Discover how easy and cheap it is to get around Palermo. A practical guide on public transport in the kaleidoscopic pearl of the Golden Hollow.

The charming and magnetic Palermo, the capital of Sicily on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, is a kaleidoscope of cultures, histories, and traditions: this is why it was declared the Italian capital of culture in 2018. It is a lively and multicultural city, rich in magnificent monuments, characterized by various architectural and decorative styles. Here ancient civilizations, that have developed over the millennia, have helped to shape the identity and character of the inhabitants of this area massively.

Let yourself be captivated by the fairy-tale atmosphere of its old town. It's a marvelous open-air museum, embellished by the prestigious patrician dwellings, located in historic neighborhoods, luxurious detached houses, and lush gardens.

You will be mesmerized by the fortresses, royal residences, ancient churches built in Baroque, Arab-Norman, Byzantine, medieval, Gothic, and Renaissance styles, and by the elegant and majestic Politeama theatre.

It is nestled, like a precious gem, in a splendid bay between the foothills of Pellegrino Mountain and Saffron Cape, on the northwestern coast of this island, in the so-called Golden Hollow.

How to get to Palermo from the airport to the city centre

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Reaching the enchanting town centre from the Falcone-Borsellino international airport, located in Punta Raisi, 35 km from the city, is very simple thanks to the extensive and efficient public transport network: you can choose between bus, train, or taxi.

1. How to get to Palermo by train from the airport: Trinacria Express

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If you choose the train as a means of transport, there is a route, operated by Trinacria Express, that leaves directly from the Punta Raisi airport railway station.

Trinacria express train stops at: Palermo Centrale, Vespri, Palazzo Reale-Orleans, Palermo Notarbartolo, Francia, San Lorenzo Colli, Cardillo ZEN, Tommaso Natale, Isola delle Femmine, Capaci, Carini Torre, Carini, Piraineto, Punta Raisi.

The service offers two trains per hour, and the journey to Palermo Central station takes an hour, depending on which stop you prefer. 

You can purchase one-way tickets from the railway station ticket machines or on the website at the cost of 5.90 Є.

Here for timetables e more information about tickets. 

2. Bus from/to Falcone and Borsellino International airport - Punta Raisi

Firstly the bus line, managed by Prestia and Comandè company, connects the airport with the inner city. It departs every half hour and it is a comfortable and inexpensive alternative to private means of transport.

It has free Wi-Fi, wide space for your luggage, and air conditioning. In addition, the fare for an adult one-way ticket is 6.30 Є, 11 Є for a return one, and you can also buy them online if you want to save some money.

The journey time from the airport to the center is about 50 minutes. One of its stops, Piazza Ruggiero Settimo/ Via Emerico Amari, near to harbour and the hotels of the Northern area, is a good starting point to begin your tour through the city. Here you can admire lots of monuments and tourist attractions, such as the well-known and neoclassical Politeama Theatre, which dominates central Castelnuovo Square.

Instead, the bus stop in Via Roma will allow you to visit artistic masterpieces of the historic centre, just like the Cathedral, the Norman Palace, the Palatine Chapel, and historical buildings.

Getting around Palermo by bus: which ticket do you need?

The urban transport service concerning bus lines, operated by the AMAT company, offers 90 lines and two free shuttles to get to the historic centre quickly.

Free Historic Centre, which connects the Kalsa district, the Cathedral area, and Via Cavour, leaves from Porta Felice every 11 minutes

Free Express connects the Basile parking lot to Piazza Indipendenza

On the AMAT website, you can find up-to-date information about all available sections, the stops of the different lines, and their timetables.

We recommend the most advantageous routes for visiting the downtown for tourist purposes.

1) Line 101 connects the Stadium to the Central Station. If you are interested in shopping or just if you want to go for a stroll, looking at shop windows, public transport in Palermo is an advantageous and inexpensive alternative for getting around the city like a local. Bus line 101 will allow you to reach Viale della Libertà and the adjacent Via Ruggero Settimo, where you can find a wide range of opportunities, from high-fashion boutiques to typical historical shops, or franchise stores.

2) Line 102 connects Notarbartolo Station and Boiardo Square to the Central Station

3) Line 104 connects Via Duca of Verdura, the Politeama, and the Basile car park

4) Line 806 goes to the Mondello maritime area

If you are looking for enticing proposals and ideas for fun-filled evenings, you can reach easily the best buzzing nightlife areas of Palermo with lines 101, 102, and 104.

The daily lines timetable runs from 5:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., whereas the night lines timetable runs from 11:00 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. The cost of a single ticket is 1.40 Є and it is valid for 90 minutes from the moment of ticket validation, while a daily ticket costs 3.50 Є. It is also possible to purchase a carnet of 20 tickets for 23.50 Є. Alternatively, there is also the Multiday option, which is available for several days.

Here for timetables e more information about tickets. 

How to get around Palermo by tram: what ticket do you need?

The tram service, which includes 4 lines, arrives at a frequency of 5, 10, and 12 minutes, and it is provided by the AMAT company. Furthermore, the tickets, valid for 90 minutes, you have bought for the bus can be used for the tram as well at the cost of  1.40 Є for a single journey, whereas the price of a daily ticket is 3.50 Є and you have to pay 23.50 Є for a carnet of 20 tickets. It is also possible to purchase the Multiday option.

Getting around Palermo by subway

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Among public transport services, the Palermo Subway was activated in May 1990 for the section from Palermo Centrale to Giachery on the occasion of the World Cup to facilitate the flow of fans to the well-known Stadium of Favorita. It is a service provided by Trenitalia and it is divided into three lines, Line A, Line B, and Line C. At the moment, it does not provide extensive access to all of Palermo's tourist areas, even though it could be a valid alternative to travel if you want to follow itineraries of particular interest.

Line A

Line A stops at 15 stations:

Palermo Centrale - Guadagna/Vespri - Palazzo Reale Orleans Lolli - Palermo Notarbartolo - Francia - San Lorenzo Colli - Palermo la Malfa - Cardillo Zen - Tommaso Natale - Isola delle Femmine - Carini T. Ciachea - Carini - Piraineto - Punta Raisi

The most suitable and suggested stops for travelers and tourists are:

• Palazzo Reale Orleans to visit the Palazzo dei Normanni, Piazza Indipendenza, one of the central squares, the majestic and astonishing cathedral dating back to 1184

• Lolli to go to the Politeama, an elegant neoclassical theatre

• Notarbartolo to get to the shopping and urban boutique area (Via Libertà, Via Sciuti, Via Ruggero Settimo)

• San Lorenzo Colli to visit Villa Adriana and the lush Park of the Favorita

• Tommaso Natale to reach the charming coastline of Mondello, a place famous for its nightlife, and the appealing village of Sferracavallo

• Isola delle Femmine to travel to this fascinating destination, characterized by picturesque coves, and clubs, in the bay of Carini.

• The ticket for a single journey costs 1.50 Є and it is valid for 90 minutes. The price of a carnet of 10 urban routes is 11.70 Є, whereas the price of a weekly season ticket is 10.80 Є. Moreover, a monthly subscription ticket costs 31.50 Є. The timetable for Line A is from 5:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. to get to the airport and 12:25 p.m. to proceed to Central Station.

Line B

Line B stops at 4 stations: Notarbartolo - Imperatore Federico - Fiera Giachery

Getting off at the Imperatore Federico stop, you can give yourself a moment of relaxation and recreation in the oriented nature reserve of the city's lush green lung.

The timetable for Line B is from 6:00 a.m. to 8:37 p.m. to get to Giachery and 9:09 p.m. to reach Notarbartolo on weekdays only. For tourists who use public transport to travel between the various areas of interest in the city, it is possible to purchase a single ticket, valid for tram, bus, and subway. It costs 5.50 Є and it's valid for the entire day.

Line C

Line C, whose routes vary in frequency from 30 to 60 minutes depending on the time slots, covers 11 stations:

Palermo Centrale - Palermo Brancaccio - Roccella - Ficarazzi - Bagheria - S. Flavia -Porticello - Casteldaccia - Altavilla Milicia - S. Nicola - Trabia - Termini Imerese.

The timetable for Line C is from 5:30 a.m. to 9:35 p.m. to get to Termini Imerese and 10:38 p.m. if you want to reach Central Station, with a reduced number of journeys on holidays.

Here to find out about timetables and information concerning tickets. 

PMO Tourist Card

We recommend you buy the Palermo Tourist Card to optimize your stay. So you will be able to visit this enchanting city taking advantage of the services offered to tourists at really advantageous prices.
You can purchase a 24-hour card online for 11 Є, a 48-hour card for 16 Є, or a 72-hour card for 22 Є.
So you can get a lot of discounted fares on private transport, such as taxis, CitySightseeing, ApeTour, rental services, free urban transport on all city lines, and on the routes to Mondello, Pellegrino Mountain, and Santa Rosalia.
You will be able to benefit from exclusive discounts on more than 40 shops and on tickets for exhibitions, concerts, and shows. Furthermore, there are reduced entrance fees at museums and cultural institutions, medical assistance thanks to affiliated centres, and various free coupons.
Here to discover more. 

Getting around Palermo by bicycle

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Palermo is a marvelous, welcoming, and human-friendly city where you can go for a ride easily by bike. It is possible to make an excursion and to outline itineraries with different levels of difficulty, paying attention to traffic. The AMAT company has activated a bike-sharing service, the so-called BiciPa. It is possible to take advantage of this additional opportunity by registering to obtain the electronic card you need to collect the vehicle. The first 30 minutes of bicycle use are free of charge. After this time, the cost is 50 Є for every additional half hour, while the daily rate is 5 Є.

To find out more, visit the official page

The transition towards sustainable mobility has been carried out further thanks to the activation of the pedal-assisted, free-flowing bike-sharing service. Its batteries are powered and recharged with energy produced from certified renewable sources. This new modality does not provide for pre-established stations along the route to park vehicles, except in specific areas due to traffic and to preserve urban safety. Thus two-wheel enthusiasts can move with greater freedom to discover the beauties and tourist attractions of the county town. It is a very convenient opportunity to use: you need to download the Dott app, managed by the company EmTransit, on your smartphone and register a user profile.

The vehicles are fitted out with satellite tracking and automatic speed control to travel according to safety rules. On the occasion of the launch, the company is offering new users the chance to take the first 20-minute ride using a discount code. The basic fare, which is the same to hire both bicycles and scooters, is 0.19 Є, plus the cost of 1 Є to unlock the vehicle.

You can choose from various subscription options available on the app:

two round trips 2.99 Є

free monthly unlocking 1.99 Є

day pass covers 10 routes within 24 hours 7.99 Є

weekly subscription includes 25 rides for 14.99 Є

The monthly ticket covers 60 sections for 34.99 Є

Discover Palermo's historic center: what to see and where to go by bicycle

We suggest you visit its characteristic old town center, a precious treasure chest rich in masterpieces and monuments of suggestive allure.

You can start your itinerary from the famous Castelnuovo Square, to admire the magnificent Politeama and Teatro Massimo theatres, the largest opera house in Italy, located in Piazza Giuseppe Verdi. Carry on your tour visiting spectacular religious buildings, which present a skillful blend of various architectural styles. For instance, we recommend the Waldensian Church, the magnificent Baroque Church of San Giuseppe dei Teatini, the monumental Church of Jesus, and San Cataldo, built by Islamic masters following the criteria of Romanesque art. Then you could savour the cosmopolitan atmosphere of the picturesque Albergheria district, where the famous Ballarò market, one of the most iconic in the capital, takes place. Moreover, let yourself be amazed by the Norman Palace, Europe's oldest royal residence, which has hosted the rulers of the Kingdom of Sicily. Inside there is the marvelous three-aisled basilica of the Palatine Chapel, an artistic and architectural masterpiece in Byzantine and Arab-Norman style, decorated with wonderful polychrome mosaics.

Spend a few hours exploring the lush gardens of the Orleans Palace, the headquarters of the Presidency of the Sicilian Region. They can be visited free of charge, they cover an area of three and a half hectares, and they protect a very precious faunal heritage. We suggest you visit other enchanting places, such as Via del Foro Umberto I, a green area on Palermo's seafront that stretches from the Cala to Villa Giulia. Moreover, other tourist attractions not to be missed are the Arab quarter of Piazza della Kalsa, the Botanical Garden, the charming Old Village, and the English Gardens.

The Park of Favorita, nestled between the city and the beach area of Mondello, is one of the largest urban parks in Italy. It was projected as a hunting reserve of Ferdinand III of Bourbon and it has been part of the Oriented Nature Reserve, which also includes Pellegrino Mountain, since 1995. It is a green lung, characterized by lush, flourishing vegetation consisting of endemic species such as the caper, dwarf palm, cliff cornflower, and prickly pear.

In the area facing the slopes of Pellegrino Monte, it is possible to observe, as entering a watercolour painting, typical shrubs of the Mediterranean maquis, such as the holm oak, laurel, strawberry tree, viburnum, and vigorous coniferous forests. Besides, the park preserves refined architectural jewels, such as the famous Chinese Palazzina. It's a sumptuous Bourbon villa designed by architect Venanzio Marvuglia and decorated in an elegant oriental style, where you can relax, stroll and play sports in contact with luxuriant nature. Nearby there is also the eighteenth-century historic Villa Niscemi, whose exotic garden contains numerous species of tropical plants. It is an enchanting place, offering a suggestive view of the city, frequented by cyclists, boy scouts, runners, and trekking enthusiasts.


City sightseeing: how to get around Palermo with tourist buses

You could get the chance to take a spin throughout this beautiful city comfortably, admiring the magnificent monuments, ancient historical palaces, and sumptuous aristocratic residences. So we suggest you try the interesting and engaging tours on the sightseeing bus. They will supply you with an efficient audio-guide system, available in eight languages, to learn and explore historical events, anecdotes, folklore, rich cultural heritage, and local traditions. You can get on and off every time you want throughout the day with a single ticket, taking advantage of these panoramic tours, which will allow you to discover the treasures of Palermo from a very lovely perspective.

Line A: available tours

The service offered is divided into the A-line, which will guide you among the attractions of the marvellous historic center. Some of them are the prestigious and elegant Politeama Garibaldi theatre, built in the neoclassical style, and the historic Massimo theatre. Then you can visit Piazza Quattro Canti and the picturesque Vucciria market, lush botanical gardens, and Palazzo Steri, one of the landmarks of the Sicilian capital, which boasts seven centuries of history. Then, carry on with the magnificent Royal Palace in Arab-Norman style, a Unesco heritage site, and the Cathedral of Santa Rosalia, the patron saint of the city.

Line B: available tours

Line B, instead, will allow you to explore the Art Nouveau area, the aristocratic residences, such as Villa Filippina and Villa Malfitano, the English Garden, and the Palace of Zisa. Moreover, there are also additional itineraries, choosing which you can easily reach the spectacular Cathedral of Monreale. It is a Norman masterpiece embellished with gold mosaics made between the 12th and 13th centuries, typical of Byzantine art. It's located on the cliff of Caputo Mountain, from which you can contemplate the landscape of Golden Hollow. This option also allows you to take advantage of benefits on entrance tickets to museums, and shows, and it takes you to Mondello beach.

Available opportunities: which ticket do you need?

The price of the A+B lines ticket is 20 Є for passengers over 15 years of age, while passengers between 5 and 15 years of age can benefit from a reduction to 10 Є. There is also a ticket option suitable for families, which includes two parents and up to three children between 5 and 15 years of age. If you are interested, its cost is 50 Є, whereas children under 5 years of age are exempt from paying. The combined ticket applicable to Routes A+B and to the route to Monreale is very advantageous and it costs 25 Є for passengers over 15 years of age. The reduced fare of 10 Є applies to passengers between 5 and 15 years of age.


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