Sicily is not an easy island for travellers with disabilities. Narrow cobbled streets, hair-raising traffic, blocked sidewalks, steep curbs and tiny lifts make life very difficult for wheelchair users, and those with sight or hearing difficulties.
Larger hotels in all regions can cater for disabled guests, although many B&Bs and guesthouses cannot due to lack of lifts or steps inside the property. In Palermo, several museums and galleries are wheelchair accessible, while most buses and all trams are wheelchair friendly.
If you have an obvious disability and/or appropriate ID, many museums and galleries offer free admission for yourself and a companion.
Getting There & Around
Under European law, airports are obliged to provide assistance to passengers with reduced mobility, so if you need help en route to Sicily, or on arrival/departure, tell your airline when you book your ticket and they should inform the airport. Facilities are available at both Palermo and Catania airports.
If travelling by rail, ring Trenitalia’s national helpline (199 30 30 60) to arrange assistance with wheelchairs, guides and getting on and off trains. Further information is available online at www.trenitalia.com/en.html; choose the ‘Person with reduced mobility’ link under Information and Contacts. Visit Rete Ferroviaria Italiana’s information page (www.rfi.it/rfi-en/For-persons-with-disability) for details on barrier-free stations and free services for people with disabilities and reduced mobility arriving at Rome's Fiumicino Airport.
Many of the local buses are wheelchair accessible, as is the Palermo Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour.
If you are driving, EU disability parking permits are recognised in Italy, giving you the same parking rights that local drivers with disabilities have.
Accessible Travel Online Resources
Visit Sicily (www.visitsicily.info/en/accessible-sicily) Page dedicated to accessible travel information for the island, including links to a list of accessible beaches and a very useful database of tourist attractions with icons showing their accessibility for different access needs.
Sicily for All (www.sicilyforall.com) Plenty of useful information to help you plan your trip or book accessible accommodation and tours on the island.
Download Lonely Planet’s free accessible travel guides from lptravel.to/AccessibleTravel.
Accessible Travel Agencies
Seable (seable.co.uk) Working in association with the Sicilian charity LIFE (Life Improvement for Everyone), this highly respected UK-based social enterprise offers accessible leisure and activity-based holidays (including scuba diving and windsurfing) for vision-impaired, blind and mobility-impaired holidaymakers.
Sicily Accessible Tours (www.sicilyaccessibletours.com) Accessible tours, accommodation, transport and mobility equipment rental for wheelchair users.