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Ferries to Sicily


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Went to Sicily in 2016, but not via either of the ports you propose using. We entered at Messina via Villa san Giovanni, which is a simple vehicle ferry a bit like a large Isle of Wight ferry, crossing is around 30 minutes.


We returned via Sardinia and Corsica to Nice.


Although not on your itinerary, I would caution against Nice as a point of arrival or departure just in case it creeps in, as it is basically a small boat harbour that opens direct from the Med. It was windy when we crossed, though nothing extreme, but the ferry was delayed entering the harbour for about 5 hours while we tooled up and down the coast waiting for the wind to drop. When eventually we entered the harbour and moored, the reason for the delay became obvious. Wind obviously creates swell, and the swell was running into the harbour basin. The ferry is a stern loader, and vehicles and foot passengers all have to use the stern ramp for access/egress. With the ferry still gently rolling on the residue of the swell, the loading ramp was swinging and twisting with the ferry, so getting onto terra firma was potentially lethal for the "aged and infirm" among the foot passengers. Any earlier, with higher swell, and it would have been too severe for vehicles of foot passengers to negotiate. So, not a particularly reliable harbour if you are on a schedule.


OTOH, Toulon is a natural harbour and is a major French naval base, so should not be affected by weather.


Don't forget Genoa is the town in which the Morandi bridge collapsed in August this year, and I would imagine the impact on traffic must still be severe. This is the bridge on the A10 that one would usually cross if coming from the north or the west to gain the port area. I'd check that out before booking anything! It will take years to replace it.


Ferries. We travelled from Sicily to Sardinia, and from Corsica to Nice, on Corsica Sardinia ferries. Ferries were OK, but cabin was an inside one to Sardinia (overnight) which was a mistake. Hot, stuffy, and noisy. Daytime crossing from Calvi to Nice. Ships were clean and the lounges fine, but the food on both was not at all good. Tepid, with one small domestic type microwave for the entire restaurant to DIY reheat it. Servery area not heating the dishes awaiting service. If you will travel with the same company, I'd say don't take advantage of the ability to pre-book a meal on board (I had on both!), but turn up on spec and browse for whatever takes your fancy.


You'll enjoy Sicily (at least we did!), though arriving direct into (I assume) Palermo may test your sense of humour a bit! :-D

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Hi Judy,


About 18 months ago we took the motorhome to Sicily. Like you, we didn't want to drive all the way so we went part of the way down and took the Salerno-Palermo ferry, then on the way back we went Palermo-Livorno. Livorno is a good alternative to Genoa.


Both journeys were with Grimaldi Ferries. I think the main thing to understand is that Italian ferry ports are horrendously chaotic and the ferries themselves mainly tailored for truck freight with cars and motorhomes an afterthought. The experience is far removed from the UK ferries we are used to, and you should expect a very basic service. Both ferries were delayed several hours, so expect this to be normal.


That said, it's not too expensive and it saves a lot of driving.


If you would like some recommendations for campsites in Sicily, or places to go, then PM me. We stayed a couple of weeks and thoroughly enjoyed it - we would certainly go again.



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We've travelled twice from Cittavechia to Termine Immerese, overnight. Cittavechia is just short of Rome and TI is just east of Palermo. It seemed a good half way and the ferry time arrival suited us, time to sort ourselves out when we arrived on Sicily

Both times we travelled in early May, both times the ferry was very quiet, we had an external cabin cabin with sea view and shower etc. The ferry leaves around 7pm/8pm and arrives around 10am. Both times we had a good sleep, The food is a bit cafeteria, we did try the inclusive food the first time and chose to buy seperately the second time. Cost about 250€ and well worth the saving driving down the length of Italy into the sun for 3 or 4 days. Both times we crossed the straights and drove back up Italy with the sun at our backs

cheers alan

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silverbike - 2018-12-16 9:18 AM


Thanks everyone!

Yes please Laurence, any advice on campsites etc gratefully received. I will try to remember to check my PMs

One reason I'm trying to find out about the Toulon ferry is to avoid Palermo but we'll have to see how it pans out.

Thanks again

Doesn't look very good! Little choice of date, none on times, as only three departures/week, it seems. 19 hours each way, leaving 19:00.


Have you considered driving down? We just make the journey part of the tour. It obviously takes longer - 19 days in our case, but we visited Obernai, Merano, Venice, and Pompeii en route, so the driving was well broken up.

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