When your cruise to Messina docks at the northeast tip of Sicily, you’ll be perfectly poised to enjoy Messina shore excursions to the most mesmerizing sights on the island, including Taormina and Mount Etna.
Sicily’s premier resort town is just a scenic drive away when you book shore excursions in Messina, Sicily on your Mediterranean cruise. As you enter the town gates, stroll through the charming bougainvillea-lined streets to the Palazzo Corvaja, where you’ll find a museum of arts. Next, see the town’s most impressive site, the ruins of the Ancient Theater. Here, you can sit where third century B.C. Roman citizens sat to watch gladiators clash. As you look out over the Greek-style ruins, note the looming presence of Mount Etna in the near distance and the rugged hills that descend to the Bay of Taormina below.
Shop the boutiques and gift shops along the Corso Umberto. Bask in the Sicilian sunshine as you sip espresso and bite into a cannoli bought from one of the many pasticcerie (bakery-cafes) along the way. Delight in seeing, if not tasting, beautiful sweet treats like frutta di Martorana (Sicilian marzipan) that are lovingly handcrafted and totally edible little gems that are made to look like miniature fruits and vegetables.
From your Italy cruise, other Messina shore excursions take you to the hilltop town of Tindari overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. Visit the ancient agora of Tyndaris, or public gathering place, which is now the site of the stunning Tindari Basilica that sits on the edge of a cliff that looks out over the sea. Hear the many legends surrounding the Black Madonna, a wooden sculpture carved around the 12th century. Explore the town’s archeological wonders, including a Greek-Roman amphitheater. Marvel at the “tongue of sand,” a historic sandbank that stretches out into the sea which is now a designated nature reserve.
For sheer drama and excitement, Messina shore excursions to Mount Etna, near the city of Catania, can’t be beat. Enjoy a scenic ride past terraced vineyards, fruit orchards, and olive groves. Enter the eerie world of lava fields as your coach climbs to the Silvestri Spent Craters, the two inactive craters situated over 6,000 feet above sea level. Walk along the volcanic rims, and be thrilled by the sight of the main Etna crater. Before heading down the mountain, stop for a sweet snack at a local mountain restaurant.