Messina, Sicily, Italy
There are many ships that call into this port and we recently traveled here on the Royal Caribbean Navigator of the Seas on a seven night cruise of the eastern Mediterranean run.
The Straits of Messina are really quite nice to pass through and are very scenic. If you travel through them it is a nice time to be on deck on on your balcony if you have one. The port itself is quite easy to access as the ship stops within easy walking distance to the Messina Centrale railway station. There is also a tram that connects the northern sections of the city with the southern sections with the central railway stations roughly in the center.
We walked to the station stopping at a shop or two along the way and grabbed something to drink. We bought our ticket to Taormina for Euros 7,90 for both of us on a single ticket. We weren’t sure when we were returning so we waited to buy our return ticket at the other end. Don’t forget to compost your ticket in the machines on the platforms.
We took the train all the way down the Sicilian coast past some really nice views and despite the cars being quite busy it was a pleasant and fairly quick trip to reach Taormina. We didn’t deal with a bus when we got off at Taormina and opted for a taxi to the town which is probably something you should do. I don’t recall exactly how much it was but probably Euros 20 was what we paid.
I can’t imagine walking up that hill to the town. The taxi drops you off on one end of the town and it is nothing short of stunning the views and the town itself. It takes a moment to really allow yourself to relax and absorb the air, the atmosphere and the history.
There are lots of little alleys running up and down off the main pedestrian road with incredible views of the Italian coast along the way. No shortage of places to eat or drink and there are plenty of shops to while the time away and perhaps pick up a souvenir or two.
This is definitely a place to soak in and meander off the main road to make your own discoveries. One note that the men’s room at the railway station Taormina-Giardini takes tokens which you can buy at the entrance. It also features an incredible and interesting “flush” feature that may get you wet. Don’t miss it.
We had some gelato of course and walked the length of the town stopping periodically to shop or drink. There is much to discover and the general feeling of being there is an incredible one. There is a large amphitheater that we did not go into but is at the other end of the town. The views of Mount Etna in the distance also were quite impressive.
After several hours we hopped a taxi back to the railway station and headed back to Messina. There we walked around and headed to the cathedral and stopped in several pizza shops and ate a slice in each.
The main town is fairly compact and has some great shops. We stopped for some shoe shopping at some of the town’s shoe stores and found some leather jackets really reasonable at Bata. I mean like Euros 40 reasonable! We opted not to get them for the weight and the fact that we don’t wear leather jackets much in Florida.
So there you have a very easy DIY cruise port itinerary that is quite simple to do. English only isn’t a problem. Everyone was incredibly nice, the food beyond delicious and the scenery superior. Happy discovering!