COACH TRANSFER FROM CATANIA AIRPORT
Easy transfer (just over an hour) from Catania Airport - 6 euros per adult one way. When you come out of arrivals turn right towards the information office (there are signs to buses in both directions!) and go through the glass doors at the end of the building. There is a ticket booth just outside the door. The coach can be quite full as it picks up in Catania before arriving at the Airport.
If you are staying in Ortigia grab a taxi upon leaving the coach. It would seem the standard fare wherever you go in Siracuse is 10 euros. It is too far to walk with luggage but otherwise a 20-30 min walk.
STAYING IN ORTIGIA
We stayed at Aretusa Vacanze. We had a family room with two large double rooms and a kitchen and bathroom. Wonderful owners and excellent situation. Breakfast on the roof terrace is fabulous. Only slight negative was they really struggled to recommend restaurants.
RESTAURANTS IN ORTIGIA
Our favourite (so good we ate there 3 night in a row) was 1921 Cucina and Vini. Full of Italians (very few tourists) and really good quality food. Plus very child friendly and accommodating.
Other restaurants included the quirky La Foglia (10.50 euros for a soup - but very good) and Pizza Zsa (good if you want a quick cheap pizza).
THINGS TO DO WITH YOUNG CHILDREN
As well as the main sights of Ortigia (i.e. Duomo, Saint Lucia church etc)....
Although in Italian they give you a translation explaining the story. Only 45 minutes but really fun. Worth booking. We booked 2 days before and thought we would be the only ones, only to find it was full on the night.
Daily markets - Via de Benedictis
Great fun! Absolutely buzzing and such fresh amazing fruit, vegetables and seafood. A stop at Caseificio Borderi is a must - they lure you in with wonderful (and very generous) samples - but the deli food is delicious. Definitely worth grabbing a baguette - yum!! - and reasonably priced too.
Catacombs of St John
Quite a hike from Ortigia (next time we would taxi both ways) and as with all attractions check opening times over lunch. But really interesting although the tour guide's English was not easy to understand.
Day trip to Noto
We found the train so much easier than the bus, mainly due to the journey time only being 30 mins (rather than an hour). The trains also leave at better times (unless you leave at 7am/8am the first reasonable bus is 11.30am) - we caught the 10.10am - and there is a shuttle bus at the other end taking you straight up into the Centre. It is an easy 20 minute walk downhill on the way back if you don't want to wait for the shuttle.
As well as glorious ice-creams and brioche at Caffe Sicilia, we ate great pizza (good value too) at Pizzeria Al Terrazzo. Off the main drag in a lovely side road where you can sit outside. If you want to visit the other main ice-cream contender Corrado Constanzo note that this is not open all day, unlike Sicilia.
We had hope to go to Restaurant Meliora based on reviews but thankfully (it is a real hike uphill out of the centre) we met another family who said it was closed for the season. Ring beforehand!
Definitely worth climbing the steps of the church opposite the Doom for the view across Noto. The Palazzo Nicolaci is also magnificent (especially the wallpaper).
Day(s) at the beach
Without a car, the nearest beach was Aranella. Lovely sandy beach, crystal water and very safe. People also mentioned Fontane Bianche but much further away and rocky.
Although there is a bus (number 23) we caught a taxi to the beach and back (40 euros return) as we were informed the buses were very unreliable and take a considerable time (about 20+ stops on the way).
We paid 12 euros (6 euros each) for the use of the Lido for the day. Very clean, sun-loungers, umbrellas etc as well as drinks / snacks and several lifeguards. We were out of season and it was reasonably quiet (the main restaurant was not open).
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COACH TRANSFER FROM CATANIA AIRPORT