Bus services within Sicily are provided by a variety of companies. Buses are usually faster if your destination is not on the main (read ‘coastal’) train line, although trains tend to be cheaper on the major routes. In small towns and villages tickets are often sold in bars or on the bus.
There is no substitute for the freedom your own vehicle can give you, especially when getting to places not well served by public transport. The roads are generally good and autostradas connect most major cities. There is a cheap and worthwhile toll road running along the Ionian coast. Drive defensively; the Sicilians are some of the most aggressive drivers in Italy and have a penchant for overtaking on blind corners with a mobile phone in one hand while gesticulating wildly with the other!
The coastal train service is very efficient. Services to towns in the interior, however, can be infrequent and slow, although if you have the time the routes can be very picturesque.
Trenitalia (www.trenitalia.com) is the partially-privatised train system. IC trains are the fastest and most expensive, while the regionale is the slowest. All tickets must be validated via a machine on the platform or in the station before you board the train.
Palermo’s Falcone-Borsellino is the hub airport for regular domestic flights to Pantelleria and Lampedusa. Local carriers Alitalia, Meridiana and Air One offer a good choice of flights. Tickets can be bought at the airport or booked through any travel agent, including Sestante CIT (091 58 63 33; Via della Libertà 12, Palermo).