Popular tourist destinations often become more expensive during different times of the year because various services up their prices to make the most from wealthy visitors. This can include car rental services in your target destination.
One explanation of why car hire is so expensive in Sicily, especially more recently, is an unforeseen side effect of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Companies reduced their inventory during the pandemic to offset costs, and now supply is scarce while demand is high, raising prices.
Read on to learn more about why car prices are so high and other driving-related inquiries you may have when visiting a foreign country like Sicily.
Will Rental Car Prices Go Down?
Unfortunately, it is unlikely that rental car prices will go down any time soon. For prices to decrease, a large inventory of cars is needed to meet or exceed the current demand for rental services.
Making and purchasing the cars to do this is a lengthy and expensive process. Meanwhile, everyone who has been in lockdown during the pandemic is eager to be out and about exploring the world as it reopens.
For the cheapest rental car prices, you are going to have to order well in advance. This will also ensure you secure a car instead of waiting.
Is Driving in Sicily Difficult?
Driving in Sicily isn’t necessarily any more difficult than driving anywhere else in the world, but there are several things to keep in mind:
- Drive on the right – if you’ve been on a world trip, you may have visited some countries where they drive on the left, don’t do this to reduce your chances of an accident.
- Manual transmission – even though rental cars can be aimed at tourists, that doesn’t mean companies cater to a foreigner’s every need. Many cars in Sicily have manual transmissions instead of automatic so make sure someone knows how to drive a manual.
- Tread lightly with GPS – Sicily is a picturesque island with many small, historic towns. GPS devices often get your location wrong while traversing these areas, so you may need to check with a physical map that you are where you want to be
Does it Make Sense to Rent a Car in Italy?
Depending on how long you visit Italy, renting a car may not make much sense. However, if you are planning a lot of sightseeing in various parts of the country, a rental car can open the door to cheaper travel expenses and greater freedom as you travel.
Not only can you get exactly where you want to go with a rental car, but you are also offered the opportunity for unplanned, fun side trips.
Many of these involve driving through beautiful countryside full of traditional villas and vineyards that you may miss by sticking with public transport.
Do You Need a Car in Sicily?
Just like with mainland Italy, a rental car is not necessarily required to enjoy Sicily. This is especially true for short stays of two or three days. However, unlike most of the US, Sicily, and the rest of Europe, enjoys a much more robust public transport infrastructure.
You can often reach the highlights of Sicily simply by taking a bus, but chances are once you land yourself in one of the larger cities of Sicily, you will want to take your time and spend the rest of the day in the area without the need for vehicular transport.
Is There an Uber in Sicily?
Yes, Uber has made it known to the world that it has been expanding its services into popular tourist destinations like Sicily, Malta, and Santorini since May 2022. The ride-sharing service even lists some of Sicily’s most prominent cities on its website, including:
Even though Uber is available in Sicily, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it is the best option out there for getting around Sicily without renting a car to drive yourself.
Some people suggest that you should stick with more traditional taxi services, but it depends heavily on how far you are going.
Final Thoughts on Why Is Car Hire So Expensive In Sicily
Because the COVID-19 pandemic forced rental car companies to sell off much of their inventory, renting a car in Sicily can be pretty expensive. Sometimes you can’t justify spending that much money on a short trip, but other times it can be well worth the cost.
If you’re planning to explore on your own terms for a longer period, you should still consider a rental car because it can open the door to new experiences you would not otherwise have access to.
You may even be able to take a ferry back to the mainland and use your rental to explore mainland Italy as well.