First time to Sicily

Old Aug 21st, 2004, 09:53 AM
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First time to Sicily

In May of 2005, my husband has a meeting in Taormina where lodging and meals will be provided. I, of course, plan to accompany him and after the meeting we will extend our stay. While we have been to Italy, we have never visited Sicily. Any help on sites and cities not to be missed? Palermo looks like a must. Any restaurant and moderately priced lodging suggestions? We do hope that the dollar gets stronger before we go as the Euro is a killer, but, oh well.....

I dislike having my husband drive as it is very hectic and he can't enjoy the scenery. We really enjoy going on day trips with a guide with groups of 6 or so. Any suggestions on whom we might contact?

We would welcome any of your ideas. Thanking you in advance -
PamNC is offline  
Old Aug 21st, 2004, 10:25 AM
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On my first trip to Sicily some years ago, I took Compagnia Siciliana Turismo's seven-day tour, which covered all the main points of interest in Sicily. Lodging was in the Jolly Hotels (a little like the Holiday Inns of Italy...), meals were good and more than ample, and it cost much less than if I had done it independently (which I would not have done, anyway, because train service is sketchy in Sicily and while there are buses that go everywhere, the schedules may not always be convenient). But the tours are not small-group tours; more like 40 or so people on a normal tourist bus.

CST also offers day excursions from both Palermo and Taormina. I imagine that the groups are also large rather than small.

The Web site is not the easiest to navigate, but you might want to have a look at it anyway:

http://www.compagniasicilianaturismo.it/home.asp

And for a general description of Sicily and what it has to offer -- a great deal, to my mind; I love the island -- have a look at the Fodor's Destination Guide for Sicily.
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Old Aug 21st, 2004, 10:41 AM
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Hello Pam, We too may be doing Sicily next May and I have been doing some homework. First, I do not know how to see sicily without driving. I have done Taormina for 3 days before and fell in love--that is a given. We plan to base in 4 locations over about 12 days--not yet totally defined but perhaps like this:
Taormina--3
Near Siracusa--3
www.verdetechnica.com as base for west
Lipari[Aeolian Isles]--3

This is all very rough at this stage. We may not spend time in Palermo proper but will see Monreale. We will probably fly into and out from Catania.
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Old Aug 21st, 2004, 10:48 AM
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We once tried to do Sicily without driving and did pretty well, except when we wanted to go from Siracusa to Agrigento it became almost impossible, so we ended up renting a car for a couple of days.
Don't overlook the Aeolian Islands (Lipari) which is a great part of Sicily. You can get there from Taormina by train and boat and you certainly don't need a car there. You'll love the day trips by excursion boats to the various islands. From there you can also easily get to Palermo by train and you don't need a car there.

Your hotel in Taormina will be able to help you with an excursion to Etna.

How much time do you have?

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Old Aug 21st, 2004, 11:01 AM
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the greek roman amphtheatre in taormina is a must - fantastic ruin as well as the most gorgeous view of etna. taormina is built on a moubntainside and is quite pedestrianised so you wont need to drive there. There's a cable car to the beach though which is fun. as for trips - i only spent a day in sicily when i was on hols in malta but i'd probably recommend a trip to etna if you can get one - the roads are very twisty although thwey are good quality but if you dont like your hubby's driving it could be frightening!

have fun - sicily is gorgeous!
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Old Aug 22nd, 2004, 07:25 AM
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Hi Pam,
Feel free to dip into my trip report. (Type "Betty's Consolidated Sicily Trip Report" in the search box.) I was in SIcily in May 2004 and the weather was quite nice.
Getting around by car is the most easy and convenient. (The roads are quite good. The only toll we had to pay was entering Taormina. Avoid driving in Palermo, though!)
Have a great time!
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Old Aug 22nd, 2004, 09:17 PM
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Thanks to all of you! We couldn't have planned our last two trips to Italy without everyone's help; and so quickly after posting a request. Once we do some homework and reading, I know that I will be back with more questions. You have given us a jump start already.

We plan to be in Sicily for, hopefully, 3 weeks. Maybe I should get over the fear of driving, huh? Definitely, I know that the big cities are to be avoided at all costs.

I'll be checking back later. Thanks again!
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Old Aug 24th, 2004, 04:18 AM
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Pam,
I actually mentioned this in another post but you should get in touch with www.sicilylife.com
The company arranges personal tours and helps with driving throughout Sicily.
The guys live in Taormina, but I remember that they work all over Sicily, so you can contact them about your travel needs. Good luck!
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