Sicily and Aeolian Islands

Old Jun 5th, 2006, 06:49 AM
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Sicily and Aeolian Islands

Need some advise as I am planning a trip in mid-September for 11 days with my husband. Normally, we are very active travellers, and don't stay anywhere for more than 2 nights, but I will be 7 months pregnant, and not as active as usual. I am not a huge archeaology fan, but love nature, old Italian villages, Italian food and the ocean. Based on all of the above, I would like to plan some time in Palermo, The Aeolian islands (based in Salina), and Taormina (with day trips to Siracusa, Etna, Ragusa, etc.) The idea is to spend 3 nights in Palermo, taking a day cooking class at Restaurant CinCin, 3 nights in Salina at Capofaro Resort, and 5 nights in Taormina at Villa Schuler. We would rent a car only when we get off the hydrofoil from the islands for our last 6 days in Taormina. Any thoughts, positive or negative, on this itenerary are welcome. What are your favorite hotels in Palermo? Do you stay in the center of the city or on the outskirts close to Monreale? We plan to fly into Palermo and out of Catania. Thank you in advance.
tamarahadji is offline  
Old Jun 5th, 2006, 07:13 AM
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I don't know the Aeolian Islands, so I cannot respond to that part of your itinerary.

You may find day trips from Taormina to Siracusa and Ragusa a little long: On May 27, I drove - with a Sicilian - from Siracusa to Taormina and back; it was about 2 1/4 hours each way. There is a longish stretch of highway between Catania and Siracusa that is only two-lane, where traffic can slow down considerably, unless you are prepared to pass on a blind curve (which many Sicilians do but which I presume you would not want to).

Siracusa to Ragusa is another 1 1/4 hours at least, most of it on two-lane highways.

I would suggest that you consider spending two nights in Siracusa.

I always stay in the historical center of Palermo, because I enjoy being able to walk almost anywhere. Be aware that Old Palermo can be distinctly grungy. The newer section north of Via Cavour and east of Via Ruggiero Settimo and Viale della Liberta is much newer and cleaner.
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Old Jun 5th, 2006, 11:49 PM
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You'll love the Aeolian islands. I've not been to Salina, but we've traveled to Stromboli, Panarea, Lipari, and Vulcano.

Our first trip was only to Panarea. It's a wonderful little island to spend a couple of days. We took the hydrofoil down from Naples and then a helicopter to Reggio Calabria. Nice to walk around and explore the islands, little shops, churches, cemeteries, etc. Much less touristy than some of the larger islands. Great food and wonderful accomodations at Hotel Rayas. I don't think I could spend more than a couple of days here though unless you'd like to snorkel or dive.

The next year, we just made a day trip from Tropea and visited Vulcano, Lipari, and Stromboli. I mainly remember Vulcano for the sulphuric hot springs. The main village is much smaller than Panarea and there is a least one nicer hotel, Les Sables de Noirs (or something close to that). The smell of the sulphur turned me off so I'm glad we didn't stay there.

The second stop was Lipari--much larger, touristy town. Lots of shops, restaurants and cafes, etc. Much more to do if you want more action than any of the other islands we visited. My second favorite.

The last stop was Stromboli. Known mainly for its volcano and its black beaches. We didn't have time to hike to the top of the volcano, so we just grabbed some gelato in a cafe. Smaller town, more akin to Vulcano.

Hope you have a great trip!
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Old Jun 7th, 2006, 03:18 AM
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We're leaving for Sicily this Saturday (hurrah!) and spending 3 nights on Salina, which we chose because it's apparently very picturesque and apparently quieter than the others. Look up the Hotel Signum, it looks beautiful, relaxing and in a good spot just near town of Malfa. Has had fab reviews (especially restaurant) on several different sites I looked at. Website: http://www.hotelsignum.it
We're staying somewhere cheap and cheerful in Taormina - La Pensione Svizzera - but also good reviews. Will come back and let you know how we get on if you like?!
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Old Jun 8th, 2006, 02:03 PM
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Thanks for all your great insight. Please let me know how Siciluy is when you return.
I have planned our trip as follows:
2 nights Palermo (Hotel Ambasciatore)
Hydrofoil to Aeolian Islands
3 nights Salina (Capofaro Resort with day trips to Vulcano and Lipari)
Ferry from the islands to Milazzo
Pick up Rental Car in Milazzo
4 nights Taormina (Villa Schuler)
2 nights Siracusa (Domus Mariae Hotel in Ortigia)
Drive to Catania and drop off car at airport, fly home. Can't wait!
Anyone know of a good cooking school in or near Taormina?
tamarahadji is offline  
Old Sep 4th, 2006, 07:48 PM
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how did you like capofaro??
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Old Sep 4th, 2006, 09:45 PM
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Tamarahadji, we stayed at Hotel Ambasciatori in Palermo recently and loved it!Front desk staff speak fluently English and are extremely helpful! The rooftop terrace is wonderful - for breakfast and also for a late night drink - and the Hotel is 3 blocks from the train station and bus terminal!

Enjoy Sicily!
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Old Sep 5th, 2006, 02:05 AM
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Hi there! For those willing to spend some days in Agrigento (Valley of the Temples!), I suggest the B&B Terrazze di Montelusa: located in the historical center, huge panoramic terraces, bedrooms with airconditioning and private bathrooms, ambiance 5 star hotel but B&B rates!!! The owner is very friendly and gave us all information we needed. We really loved it!
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