I may be a little biased because Sicily is one of my favorite places in the world to visit — besides Italy, of course! I adore this part of the world — the people, the food, exploring landmarks and marveling at the sights. Basically, I love everything about it. Whatever you want to do, I guarantee you will find the option in Sicily!
If you want to take it easy and explore the local area, then Messina is an easy place to navigate, and you will get a feel for that Mediterranean way of life we have come to love so much. But if you really want to get out there, then I have two options for you. First, a trip into Savoca, and second, an excursion to Taormina and Messina.
Let me start with the Taormina and Messina. A shore excursion that takes you here is an ideal introduction to one of the true gems of the Mediterranean. (Shameless plug: When you book with Shore Excursions Group, the tour is guaranteed to run, even if no one else but you books it!) You’ll be picked up directly from the cruise pier, and head off on the one-hour drive to Taormina. Note the scenery as you go — it really is beautiful!
Your stop in Taormina includes a guided tour. Be sure to have your camera ready for the amazing views of Mount Etna!
There really is so much beauty to see here, including the Greek Theater, which is known throughout the world for its stunning location! There is a small admission charge for the theater, but it really is worth it. You will get some free time during your visit to enjoy a coffee or grab some light snacks before you head back toward Messina for the second part of your tour.
As you take in downtown Messina, you will pass the Town Hall, Church of Catalani and the world’s largest Astronomical clock.
Your guide will give you the choice of whether to head back to the ship or be left in the town once your tour comes to an end. I would recommend staying in town and doing some more exploring! If you have time, grab a meal in a local restaurant. It is super-easy to return to the ship — the walk back takes just minutes.
Another of my personal recommendations would be a trip to the medieval village of Savoca. It is a 40-minute journey from the cruise pier, so share a cab in order to keep transportation costs down.
Not only are the views absolutely superb, but this stunning mountainside village also was the location of filming for The Godfather movies. Yes! You can still enjoy an ice cold beer at Bar Vitelli and even visit the church where Al Pacino’s character got married. It is picturesque and very beautiful. For an excursion that’s off the beaten track, Savoca is an ideal choice.