Sicilian Highways
Tips for Visitors

Driving on Sicilian Highways: tips for visitors exploring the island - all about tolls, service areas, gas stations …

Sicily’s highway network consists of three major segments:

  • East-West along the northern coast from Messina through Palermo (A20) branching out to Trapani and Birgi Airport (A29d) as well as to Mazara del Vallo (A29). 

       Over the major part of its length from Messina A20 is a toll road. Shortly before Termini Imerese A20 merges with A19 and becomes a toll-free highway including its western branches A29 and A29d. 

Signs for Strada Statale (SS) and highway A18

  • North-South (A18) along the eastern coast from Messina to Catania and then down through Syracuse to Rosolini with an extension being built along the southern coast to Gela. The section from Messina to Catania is a toll road. Remaining part of the highway so far is toll free. However visible outlines of future toll booths on its new southern extension suggest that this will not last forever.

       Please note that some southern sections of the road starting from Catania are still not classified as Autostrada what may lead to confusion. For example leaving Catania towards Syracuse blue-background signs point to SS114 instead of expected highway, so unaware travellers may skip the exit! 

Highway signs are green - here direction to Palermo on A19 

  • North-East A19 from the capital city Palermo through Enna to Catania on the east coast. This is the only highway crossing island’s interior. And the good news – it is toll-free!

         Highways’ segments in north-eastern part of the island include numerous tunnels, viaducts and bridges. Definitely driving along requires more attention than on most US highways. On the positive side - landscape is very rewarding and traffic much less intense adding one more exciting dimension to your vacation experience. 

Eastern Sicily is hilly so A19 has long above-the-ground (viaduct) sections

A20 crosses mountainous coastal areas where tunnels are omnipresent.

List of Sicilian Highways and sections between major cities

A18    Messina-Rosolini




Catania- Syracuse



124 miles/200km

62 miles/100km

40 miles/65km

31 Miles/50km


yes (~ 4€)







A19    Palermo-Catania (Pa-Cat)




124 miles/200km

86 miles/138km

53 miles/86km



A20   Palermo - Messina


140 miles /225km

yes (~ 11.3€)


A29    Palermo-Mazara del Vallo


74 miles (119km)



A29dir     Palermo-Trapani

Palermo - Birgi


72 miles /116km

69 miles /111km





  • Numbers do not add-up perfectly because they present distances between major cities along the highway
  • Birgi is an airport next to Trapani

Highway Toll:

On Sicilian highways the toll is collected by the Telepass (electronic payment system similar to EZ-pass in US), automatic Cash/Credit Card payment machines and (in more busy areas) at attended toll-booths. Fees are calculated based on highway’s entrance ticket that you must get when entering the highway!

Entrance: Always look for the gate where you take Ticket (Biglietto)

Exit Gates: Telepass (electronic payment system similar to E-Z Pass) and Cash/Credit card payment gate

Left gate is for cash and credit cards payments, two gates on the right have an attendant so they are the best option!

Few practical notes:

  • For obvious reasons, exclude highway Entry/Exit lanes assigned only for Telepass users! Follow the lanes with the sign “Biglietto”. If you make a mistake, and go through the gate reserved Only for Telepass holder, latter you may be charged fees for the entire length of the highway.
  • The best solution (if available) – use the attended toll-both, hand over the ticket, cash and get change back. Bonus – you may also ask for “extra” information (for example directions etc…). Be aware that even on busy sections of highway, during late evenings and nights, attended service may be not available!
  • Always have cash (coins and bills in10€ notes)! Automatic cash payment machines at toll-booths accept coins and bills (banknotes).  And because in Sicily toll-sections of highways are short, in most cases coins will do the job! 
  • Do not use your American credit card (machine will ask you for PIN#). If necessary, you may use your debit card although this is a kind of “last resort” solution. Shortly – (and this is a general rule) - if you have to use your card, if possible use the OPM (Other People Money) one rather than yours ( more on that in Money in Sicily)

Service Areas on Sicilian Highways and Gas Stations --> NEXT

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