Sicily, East & West side


Jul 13th, 2014, 05:18 AM
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Sicily, East & West side

Hello, we are planning 10 day trip to Sicily middle of August this year. Will be travelling with a toddler. I have a few questions that I need help with before finalising our trip.
Will be spending 5 days in east & 5 days in west

1) Flying into Catania, thinking of picking car up, staying in either Taormina or Siracusa for total 5 days. Thoughts? Not really interested/able to explore volcanos & Greek ruins... after "family" friendly beaches & other sights to see... are day trips to e.g.. Lipari do-able from here? What else is there to do around this side?

2) Will be driving to other side, possibly staying in Tipari, would like to see Erice... and potentially Favignana... how long is the ferry ride? Anything else to see around this side? Will be flying out of Palermo. Should we drop the car off here?

Itinerary will need to be leisurely as it is our first time travelling with a toddler.
Whilst doing research, I have read that quite a few people have been robbed... am starting to worry this island may not be too safe?!

Thanks in advance!
milavi is offline  
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Jul 13th, 2014, 06:20 AM
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The itinerary you have sketched out is anything but leisurely. We spent 10 days on Sicily visiting only the east and were quite busy. If you want leisurely, visit one side only. The beaches aren't especially nice but are servicable.

I think the island is safe as long as you take the precautions you would take anywhere while traveling.
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Jul 13th, 2014, 06:49 AM
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I agree with mamcalice, the itinerary seems to be planned for two 18 year old back packers rather than a young family.

We took our then 4 year old to the SE corner and had a wonderful time. Stay somewhere near Noto and Taormina, Noto, Modica, Arigento, Ragusa Ibla, Siracusa are all day trip. There is far too much just there for day trip material.

The benefit of the coastal area around Noto is that there are actually some great beaches to potter around with a toddler. Many of them are very rustic and have few amenities but many are very quite stunning and safe with shallow shelving bottoms. The three beaches at Vendicari nature reserve are stunning and 10 minutes drive from Noto.

From experience toddlers love beaches and hate travelling.
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Jul 13th, 2014, 08:29 AM
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I was actually just thinking that it may be too much for the little one travelling so far from one place to another.....thanks for confirming, there are so many wonderful places to see in Sicily, and unfortunately they are in complete opposite directions! Australia is so far away from Europe, so when we get the chance to travel to Europe we usually try to cram as much as possible, but as stated this will be first time with a toddler.

Even though the west looks amazing, I think we should just stick to the East. I have read that Taormina is quite hilly/steep with lots of stairs and not ideal for you have any other suggestions where to stay? Would you suggest to hire a car to visit the other destinations Dickie_Gr suggested, or take bus?
Thanks again
milavi is offline  
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Jul 13th, 2014, 09:06 AM
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I much preferred Ortygia (not modern Siracusa) to Taormina, which is very touristy. Buses will work, except on Sundays, but with a small child you may be happier with a car. I was not aware that Sicily was supposed to be any more dangerous than the rest of Italy, but I wear a money belt and don't take much "stuff".
thursdaysd is online now  
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Jul 13th, 2014, 09:07 AM
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Glad you decided on one side!

We stayed at this Agriturismo just outside of Siracusa a few years ago and really enjoyed it and found it to be an excellent to base to explore the east side. We had a rental car and don't mind longish day trips though. Easy drive into Siracusa (I buzzed in each morning to the train station for the Herald Tribune) and the food was quite good (simple but good). Family friendly too.
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Jul 13th, 2014, 11:53 AM
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I agree about Taormina we found it fairly tacky. Lots of streets stalls selling rubbish but it does have an amazing view of Etna.

I would definitely hire a car as you will find it impossible to reach all the hidden corners that make a trip to Sicily.

Do you want to stay in a hotel or villa?

Over the past five years there have been some really good options for both which have appeared.

Personally, I would rent a villa which is walkable to the beach and take half day trips to the many sites/sights.
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Jul 13th, 2014, 11:58 AM
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A hotel with pool would work well as 40oC is not unusual in August.

The Agriturismo posted by Elizabeth looks lovely.

We haven't seen any petty crime but I would be very thorough and clear in any business dealings. In our experience the truth seems to be an inconvenience to some Sicilians.
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Jul 13th, 2014, 12:23 PM
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Dickie_Gr - we had a great time at Limoneto.....I think we spent 5 or 6 nights there if I recall. Dinner is optional (and you can opt in during the day) and is served family style (or was) so we met different people every night. It was lovely. The pool is new since we were there.
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Jul 13th, 2014, 07:39 PM
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Good decision to cut back on your plans!

I think Ortygia is well worth considering as a base on the east side of Sicily.

You can visit a number of places from Ortygia by bus or train. If there are places you want to visit that are not conveniently reached by public transportation, you could rent a car for just the days you would need to see them.

kja is offline  
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Jul 14th, 2014, 09:42 AM
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Are you sure you want to go to Sicily? In my opinion, Sicily's charm is in the ruins, the churches and museums, the Sicilian Baroque architecture, and the lively city scenes. Most of which you're not interested in.

If you really want beaches, check out Sardinia instead.
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