Taormina and Siracusa - in town or not?

Old Feb 23rd, 2014, 01:46 PM
  #1  
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Taormina and Siracusa - in town or not?

We are going to be visiting Sicily in June and are trying to decide if we should stay in the central parts of Taormina and Siricusa OR stay outside the main part and catch the train, bus or drive in.
We are going to spend 4 or 5 nights in each place and use them as a base to see not only the towns but the local area. We will be hiring a car so will need parking.

Can any Sicily experts give me advice?
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Old Feb 23rd, 2014, 02:15 PM
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I prefer to be in a town where there's some activity in the evening and where I can have some wine with dinner and not have to drive back to the hotel/apartment.

These towns are not very far from each other, about 1.5 hours driving so I'm wondering if you really want to spend so much time on one side of the island. Will you be going to other areas of Sicily?
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Old Feb 23rd, 2014, 04:58 PM
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We are arriving by train from Naples on a Saturday afternoon so we won't be able to pick up a car until at least Monday. I think we can see Taormina, Etna, the Tyrrenian coast And a day at the beach while staying
In or near Taormina. Then perhaps stay inland, Enna? For a night and see the roman villa mosaics. Then drive to Siracusa and see the town, ortygia, Ragusa, modica, and still have time to be at Pozzallo to catch the ferry to Malta. 10 days altogether then off to Malta by ferry.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2014, 05:15 PM
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You're missing some great things on the other side of the island - Palermo, Agrigento, Erice/Trapani. Do you have more on your list in case you find you have too much spare time for the Siracusa part of the trip? Taormina is good for a few hours and half a day for Etna. You could see Ragusa and Modica in a day or see them on the way from Piazza Armerina to Siracusa.

I'm concerned that this trip is too leisurely. You could start in Palermo for a couple of days, pick up the car and then go to the other side of the island in a sort of loop - Palermo, Agrigento, Enna, Ragusa/Modica, Siracusa, visit Etna and Taormina from Siracusa. There are good beaches near Palermo. The beaches near Taormina didn't look that great.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2014, 08:32 PM
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Like adrienne, I strongly prefer to stay IN towns so I can walk around at night and have a glass of wine (or two! ) with dinner.

I stayed in both Siracusa (in Ortygia, which I highly recommend) and in Taormina, and also agree with adrienne that basing in both cities for 4 or 5 days each makes little sense. I can see staying in each city just to see them both after daytrippers leave, but only if you are willing to spend just a couple of nights and then move on.

My experience was that visiting Etna took closer to a full day. I've posted details on several recent posts; please search for them if you are interested.

With only 10 days, I think you are wise to focus on just a part of Sicily, but I think you can expand your vision to include Agrigento.

Hope that helps!
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Old Feb 25th, 2014, 09:11 PM
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Thanks for all the advice so far. We are now thinking of going to Lipari first for 4 days, then Taormina for 2 or 3 nights, then pick up a car and drive to Siracusa for 4 nights.

kja- we are thinking of going on the circumaetna train as we are really only interested in looking at Etna not climbing it.
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Old Feb 25th, 2014, 09:39 PM
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You can definitely see Etna from Taormina and/or Castelmola (which is above Taormina). Taking the circumaetna train would generally mean seeing the vineyards and other things on the slopes of Etna, not the top. I only remember one or maybe two places from which one got a view of the peak once beginning to climb its slopes, and I'm not sure whether they were in the part that is reached by the circumaetna -- I just remember the bus driver telling us to get off and look. I don't remember any views en route being any better than the views from Taormina or Castelmola; if anything, the views from Taormina and Castelmola seemed much better from my point of view. I trust others will jump in if my recollections are inaccurate.
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Old Feb 25th, 2014, 09:41 PM
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BTW, why a car to go from Taormina to Siracusa? There are frequent trains and buses....
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Old Feb 25th, 2014, 10:02 PM
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I agree that the views of Etna were so much better from Taormina than from the approach to the mountain. I didn't think there was much to look at from the road.
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Old Feb 25th, 2014, 10:59 PM
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We want to have a car to visit Ragusa and some of the other inland places. We also need to get the ferry from Pozzallo to Malta, though having said that we have talked about leaving Malta out altogether and staying in Sicily which would mean we could do the west coast and Palermo as well. We need to be in the UK before the 22nd of June.
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Old Feb 25th, 2014, 11:10 PM
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You might consider waiting until you reach Siracusa to rent a car.

"we have talked about leaving Malta out altogether and staying in Sicily which would mean we could do the west coast and Palermo as well" -- Hmm... IMO, seeing Sicily takes 2.5 to 3 weeks, and longer if one prefers a relaxed pace, as suggested by your plan to spend 4 days on Lipari. By way of contrast, I spent 3 hours on Lipari and just shy of 2 weeks in Sicily. I regret that I did not give Sicily longer, not because I would have wanted more time in the Aeolians, but because I wasn't able to fit in Trapani or Erica or Cefalu or any number of other sites that I think I would have loved. And I travel HARD!!! I fill pretty much every moment and come home exhausted.
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Old Feb 26th, 2014, 03:43 AM
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I spent 12 days on Malta and Gozo and much preferred Sicily. The food is so much better on Sicily! Malta was very interesting but I think you should just stay on Sicily and see more of what the island offers. I had 12 days on Sicily and it wasn't nearly enough time. I didn't get to the Aeolian Islands nor to the Baroque towns.
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Old Feb 26th, 2014, 09:25 AM
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We just returned from 10 days in Sicily and the west side of the island is so beautiful. Do not miss this. We stayed in Trapani and thought it wonderful. Another couple we met took a couple of days trip to Malta, from Sicily, finding an inexpensive side trip, and they regretted it. Stay on Sicily but do be very careful around Catania, where we were robbed of all our luggage.
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Old Feb 26th, 2014, 05:20 PM
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Images2- where was your luggage stolen from? Car, room?

Adrienne - we like food and it is usually the highlight of our trip!
Just borrowed some books in sicily from the library. So maybe it will just be sicily. I'll let you know.
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Old Mar 2nd, 2014, 07:31 PM
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I think we have finally decided on an itinerary! Been puzzling over it for days now. Please feel free to post your thoughts.
Aeolian Islands 4 nights
Taormina or Giardini Naxos 3 nights
Syracusa 4 nights
Agrigento 1 night
Trapani 4 nights
Palermo 3 nights then fly out of Palermo to London.

We'll pick up a car after Taormina and drop it off at Palermo airport before we stay in Palermo.
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Old Mar 2nd, 2014, 07:45 PM
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Should be good!

Depending on your interests, you might want to make sure to have at least 2.5 DAYS in Palermo, which might mean another night. And don't miss the cathedral in Monreale while there!

You might consider waiting until you leave Siracusa before picking up your rental car -- but I've said that before and I guess you have your reasons for a different plan. Do keep in mind, though, that it is easy enough to get from Taormina or Giardind Naxos to Siracusa using public transpiration, and having a car while in Siracusa will likely prove to be more of an impediment than a help. Similarly, you might consider returning your car upon your arrival in Palermo. A car would almost certainly be an encumbrance while in Palermo, and there is easy public transportation from Palermo to the airport.

Enjoy!
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Old Mar 3rd, 2014, 09:10 PM
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kja- thanks for all your advice. I have started trying to book and now realise its going to be harder than I thought, 6 different locations with booking fees and other associated costs. Not to mention giving out ones credit card details.

Last year we had a bad experience with my card number being used to buy things on the net while we were in the air flying to Rome. I had made several accommodation and car hire bookings on the net before we left BUT our bank said it could even have happened in a shop in Australia. Luckily our bank was on the ball and queried the transactions. I had told them the dates we would be travelling. SO we didn't actually lose any money but I couldn't use my credit card for a month. So I'm loath to give anyone my card number now.

I now realise making 6 booking is going to be a bit of a nightmare and am again rethinking the itinerary. A week in Liapri and a week in Syracusa are sounding good. We wont see everything but we'll be less stressed and it will be easier to organise. Also, after reading Images2's trip report we will probably finish in Palermo for a few days and fly out of there instead of Catania.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2014, 09:13 PM
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Have you tried booking.com for accommodations? or gamut.com for your car rental? I've used both for years, have had not problems with CC info, and haven't heard/read of such problems.

Good luck!
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Old Jun 5th, 2014, 12:23 AM
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Hi everyone
We are finally here on Lipari for a week. We chose B and B Diana Brown as she has a self contained apartment with terrace right in town BUT not noisy. We are very comfortable and have been enjoying the food and sights. It's not very warm so we haven't been able to swim. The highlight as far as food goes has been a tasting plate of caponata, melanzana, octopus salad and a zucchini dish we had at Ristorante Aurora at Acquacalda. It was the only place open but the food was to die for. We are hoping to go back tomorrow. We are going to catch the hydrofoil to Vulcano today and have a look around. On Saturday we head to Siracusa for 6 nights, though I do love it here.
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Old Jun 5th, 2014, 04:49 PM
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Glad you're enjoying it! Thanks for letting us know.
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