Sicily East with 8 nights

Old Jul 8th, 2019, 01:07 PM
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Sicily East with 8 nights

My husband and I just came back from the Aeolian islands and had a wonderful time. We originally wanted to see more of Sicily but decided to not do this as a drive by shooting so we focused on Salina (this has been on my list since the movie Il Postino) this time and are now planning to go back end of May next year. We are flying in and out of Catania and will have 8 nights. We will like stay the last night in Catania as we have a 9 AM flight back. We were thinking of spending 3 night in Taormina and then 4 nights either in Siracusa or Ragusa....I guess the question is given the amount of nights we have (really seven because of the last night in Catania) how would you structure your itinerary? I'm not keen on switching hotels more than for Taormina and further east in addition to Catania. We love the countryside and LOVE to eat. Should we stay in Siracusa and drive around from there or stay elsewhere that is a bit more remote? Any hotel suggestions also very welcome. We plan to go back if we are lucky enough, to Palermo and the surrounding area on another visit. I think to try to fit Agrigento in on this trip would be too hard? Would love your thoughts.

Many thanks.
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Old Jul 8th, 2019, 02:31 PM
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Two nights is plenty for Taormina due to the crowds. The views of the sea and Mt.Etna are beautiful. The Greek Theater is easy to access by foot as it is near the main pedestrian road.
Stay on Ortigia Island Is , the historic part of Siracusa,
very charming. Go into Siracusa to visit the Greek Theater. Wander around Ortigia, Duomo, Caravaggio painting of Santa Lucia( patron saint of Siracusa), Puppet Museum and Theater . There is large outdoor fresh food market every day except Sunday.
You can do a day trip to a Baroque town or two by train or bus. Noto is closest to Siracusa.
Agrigento could be a day trip from Taormina, extra night needed there in that case. There is better highway access from Taormina.
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Old Jul 8th, 2019, 05:28 PM
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Unless you are using Taormina as a base for day trips (maybe Etna) one night should be plenty. I would try to fit in a visit to the Villa Romana del Casale. Agree about Ortigia.
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Old Jul 8th, 2019, 05:38 PM
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DH and I were fascinated by the papyrus museum in Siracusa. The big surprise was the sophisticated equipment used.

Please report on your trip!
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Old Jul 8th, 2019, 07:03 PM
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We stayed 2 nights in Catania and 4 nights in Noto, using Noto as a base for Syracusa, Modica, a beach day and Noto itself.

We stayed at the Porta Reale in Noto and really liked the hotel, beautiful room, nice breakfast, great service. They also have a great 5th floor terrace.

Mike

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Old Jul 8th, 2019, 07:33 PM
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I'll add another voice of warning about Taormina -- the views are gorgeous, but the place gets painfully crowded with day-trippers during the day. If you go, plan accordingly.

And another vote for staying in Ortigia. I was very pleased with my stay at L' Approdo delle Sirene, which still gets very positive reviews.

Enjoy!
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Old Jul 9th, 2019, 01:46 AM
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We did a trip to Etna from Catania, it was a terrific experience, and we loved Catania over Taormina. My vote for Ortigia too.
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Old Jul 9th, 2019, 10:40 AM
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Thank you all so much. We are thinking about skipping Taormina altogether now given the crowds. We are leaning toward Origia as a base.....would that still work if we stay in that one location for day trips to the other nice spots (Noto, Modica, Ragusa) in that area and is the driving really stressful? Maybe we should consider two nights in Catania on the way back and the other six in Ortigia. I would move to a third hotel if worth it. Would it make sense to do 3 in Orgigia, 3 in Ragusa and 2 in Catania?

Thanks again.
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Old Jul 9th, 2019, 11:50 AM
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Please stay on Ortigia Is at least four nights.
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Old Jul 9th, 2019, 12:08 PM
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There usually is a reason for crowds (think Rome, Venice, Florence, Cinque Terre, Barcelona). They are places most of us are pleased to have visited.

IMO, Taormina is one of those places. We have been there a couple times in November, and we found it one of our favorite places anywhere. Obviously, that was, in part, thanks to fewer crowds. Early mornings and evenings (maybe you could travel to Etna during the day, for example) are wonderful even during peak times. The Greek theatre and the views from there, Castelmola, the public gardens, the funicular to Isola Bella just to name a few of the things that make it worth it.

May travel means smaller crowds, and you might see signifiant differences on days when cruise ships are not in eastern Sicily since that is where most of the day trippers come from. You might check cruise ship schedules (Messina and Catania) for next May and see if your dates can completely, or even, in part, work around them.

https://www.cruisemapper.com/ports/m...20-05#schedule

https://www.cruisemapper.com/ports/catania-port-241?tab=schedule&month=2020-05#schedule

Last edited by whitehall; Jul 9th, 2019 at 12:14 PM.
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Old Jul 9th, 2019, 12:19 PM
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If you use Ortigia as a base for the baroque towns you don't need a car.
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Old Jul 9th, 2019, 12:28 PM
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Thank you all. We are thinking of doing Taormina on another trip when we fly into Palermo and fly out of Catania....we would likely do that either earlier in May or in September so it's a bit less hectic but thank you so much whitehall for that info about the cruise ships. Good idea for sure. thursdaysd if we base in Ortigia you don't think we need a car which sounds appealing. I assume we could rent a car in Syracusa when we are ready to leave.....as now upon doing some more research I think we would like to spend a few nights in Ragusa as well. So it would be Ortigia, Ragusa and the Catania for one or two nights to visit and be close to the airport.

We are looking at the Algila Ortigia Charme Hotel...does that sound like a good choice for exploring both Ortigia and Syracusa? Does anyone have any suggestions on where to stay in Ragusa and Catania?

Thanks again...really appreciate the feedback.
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Old Jul 9th, 2019, 01:31 PM
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The Aligia Charme Hotel is very nice. It is on ocean side of the island while many hotels are on the bay/ harbor side. I haven’t stayed there but walked through it as friends stayed there.
Thete is a parking lot between the hotel and the sea.
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Old Jul 9th, 2019, 07:16 PM
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If you want to, you could easily stop in Taormina briefly to see its theater using public transportation on your way to or from Siracusa.

Anything in Ortigia will be fine for visiting both that island and the attached city of Siracusa.
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Old Jul 9th, 2019, 09:45 PM
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Our family stayed at the Algila Charme in 2010; it was well located with an upmarket feel, pleasing decor, and good service. I see that recent reviews are generally positive. Here’s what I wrote at the time:
“We got into Ortigia around 2. Check-in was at 3 so we ordered some fresh-squeezed orange juice from the bar and relaxed in the little sitting area until the rooms were ready. The Algilà (€219/room/night for a classic double with a sea view) is a recently renovated palazzo with a view of the sea, albeit over a parking lot. The rooms were furnished in restful shades of cadet blue, aqua, and fawn; everything tied together. Our two rooms, while the same price, were quite different in size. We had a corner room of a good size with windows on two sides opening to Juliet balconies. In our sons’ room, there was just enough space to walk around the beds. There was not a single drawer for clothing to be had in either room. Breakfast was served until 10 and was ample—the marmalades and jams were particularly good. The white tea Bulgari bath products were a plus.”
Nine years later I’d definitely consider a revisit but would choose my room carefully. Also, a second building has now been added.
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Old Jul 10th, 2019, 10:40 AM
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Very helpful for sure....thank you so much for the room tip and all the others who took the time to contribute.
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Old Jul 10th, 2019, 01:09 PM
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Family members liked the new annex of the Aligia.
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Old Jul 12th, 2019, 09:19 AM
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Thank you....we booked four nights in Ortigia at the Charme Hotel and two nights (they were already booked for a third night) at the San Giorgio Palace. We were thinking of either then staying in Catania for two nights as we will then fly from there or we were also thinking of a night in an agriturismo for something different and for a great dinner....we love those dinners! I am looking at one called Nocalino which gets great reviews....any other suggestions...it can be near Ragusa or en route back to Catania. Also if anyone has hotel suggestion in Catania that would be great.

Grazie mille!
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Old Jul 12th, 2019, 06:09 PM
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For a wonderful dinner on Ortigia , make a reservation at Regina Lucia.
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Old Jul 12th, 2019, 08:36 PM
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We stayed two nights in Catania at the Palace Catania on Via Etnea. Nice, clean modern rooms, great breakfast and a nice terrace with views of Mt Etna.

We ate both nights on the street behind the hotel, parallel to Via Etna. One night at L’horloge; the other at Blanc a manger. Not everyone spoke English but who cares😄. Good food and creative appetizers.
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