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Please Help!

Sydney, Australia
6 posts
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Please Help!

I am spending 5 nights in Sicily August, we are travelling by train from the Amalfi Coast and flying out from Palermo. I want to know where the best places to visit in that time are and whether to hire a car/moped or take public transport to get around.

We are after a relaxing holiday but still want to have a true Sicilian experience and see as much as possible, without rushing about... I welcome your suggestions!!

Many Thanks,

Emma

Here & There
Destination Expert
for Sicily, Taormina
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98,179 posts
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1. Re: Please Help!

Hi Emma,

Five nights really isn’t a very long time in Sicily!

Where will you be traveling from – Sorrento, Naples, Salerno? There’s no train service on the Amalfi Coast.

The train is long and tedious - Naples to Messina, or Salerno to Messina would take around 6-7 hours.

Trenitalia:

http://www.trenitalia.it/en/index.html

Have you considered flying or taking a ferry?

Air One, Air Italy, and Alitalia fly from Naples to Catania and Palermo.

Naples or Salerno would be the closest ports for Sicily from the Amalfi Coast.

TTT Lines provides service from Naples to Catania.

TTT Lines:

http://www.tttlines.it/

SNAV and Tirrenia provide service from Naples to Palermo.

SNAV:

http://www.snav.it/

Tirrenia:

http://www.tirrenia.it/index_en.asp

Grimaldi lines also services Salerno to Palermo.

Grimaldi Lines:

www.grimaldi-ferries.com/england/index.jsp…

There is also ferry service from Salermo to Messina on Caronte Tourist.

Caronte Tourist:

http://www.carontetourist.it/v2.0_it/

The best way to see Sicily (especially if you don't have a lot of time) is to travel by car – as long as you stay out of the larger cities.

To help find the “best” place for you, it would be helpful to know what you would like to see and do – beach, mountains, small towns, ruins, winery…

Taormina would not be the right destination for you if you want a true Sicilian experience. A stay at an agriturismo, a visit to a winery, touring some ruins, visiting some small towns in the Madonies – these would be much more authentic.

Arrive in eastern Sicily – Catania if you were to fly or ferry, Messina if you were to rail or ferry, and work west towards Palermo for your departing flight.

You could also rail straight through to Cefalu for two nights, then rent a car, see Monreale, and spend your last three nights around Castellammare del Golfo with day trips to Segesta and Erice, before departing from Palermo's airport (west of the city).

If you didn’t rent a car, another excellent possibility would be to ferry from Naples to the Aeolians for two nights, ferry from the Aeolians to Milazzo, take the train to Cefalu for one night, rail to Palermo for two nights (day trip to Monreale by bus from Palermo), and bus to Palermo’s airport – all very Sicilian!

Best Wishes!

Vagabonda

Umbria, Italy
Destination Expert
for Sunshine Coast, Umbria
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2. Re: Please Help!

You do not need an Ozzie to help you when the 'Vagabonda man' has got it wired.

The only comment I will make is do not change accom every night as this will be to taxing.

Sicily enters the soul via the oesophagus and enhances the visual senses.....what i mean is take time to smell the roses before eating them.

Here & There
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for Sicily, Taormina
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3. Re: Please Help!

Point well taken mausgrass!

Then stay in Cefalu the entire time - day trip to the Aeolians or the Madonie hill towns, Palermo or Monreale, or just sit on the beach.

Cefalu also has many excellent restaurants.

Vagabonda

Sydney, Australia
6 posts
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4. Re: Please Help!

Thank you for your suggestions!! I will start looking into these options now... =)

Sydney, Australia
6 posts
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5. Re: Please Help!

We have decided to stay in Taormina for 2 nights, so we can see Mt Etna though the accomodation looks to be very expensive!! Can you suggest any more affordable options which are in a good position to the Volcano and coast?

And we will stay in Cafalu for the remaining 3 nights, and maybe do a day trip to Aeolian islands...Can you recommend any places to stay there?

Also we were wondering whether buses and trains are a good way to travel between Taormiona and Cefalu, then Palermo airport or if we should hire a car?

Many Thanks for your help and advice!!

Manchester, UK
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11 reviews
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6. Re: Please Help!

For accomodation near Taormina have a look at Giardini Naxos and Letojanni. Both town are only few km from Taormina town centre and well connected by local bus. Giardini is also Taormina's train station and Letojanni has a train station too.

With your plan it sounds like it you wont need a car. To get to Cefalu' from Taormina just take the train (change in Messina Centrale) and enjoy the landscape and view of the coast running under your train-window:

http://www.trenitalia.com/en/index.html

From Cefalu' you can also take the train to get to Milazzo when you go to the Aeolian Islands and to Palermo to go to the airport or if you fancy a day trip to visit Monreale's Cathedral.

Here & There
Destination Expert
for Sicily, Taormina
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7. Re: Please Help!

Salvo is correct – your entire trip could be done on public transportation, unless you wanted the convenience of a car.

Giardini is less expensive than Taormina, but there are some excellent budget accommodations in Taormina as well, and Taormina offers some reasonably priced excursions to Mount Etna.

Accomodation in Taormina:

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g187892-i344-k2111…

If you were to stay in Taormina, bus to Messina, then catch the train to Cefalu. It’s just a little easier than taking the bus from Taormina down to the Giardini-Taormina train station.

Accommodations in Giardini:

www.aastgiardininaxos.it/ospitalita_uk.jsp…

If you were to stay in Giardini, you could rail the entire way to Cefalu.

It’s easy to take the train from Cefalu to Milazzo, then the AST bus from Milazzo’s train station to the port for the hydrofoil.

The train is also the best way to get from Cefalu to Palermo. Take Bus #389 from Piazza Indipendenza in Palermo for Monreale.

Cefalu has many budget accommodations.

http://www.cefalu.it/index.php?lingua=en

Vagabonda

Sydney, Australia
6 posts
1 review
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8. Re: Please Help!

Thanks Sal73 and Vegabonda for all of your help! One more question, I have booked everything apart from the Cefalu accomodation, it is very expensive and the nearest affordable place looks to be Palermo... What do you think, we'd prefer somewhere beachy and a place we can travel to the Aolian Islands from though we fly out from Palermo so can't go too far away, any suggestions??

UK
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9. Re: Please Help!

Dear Em271,

I'm sure you can find good accommodation in Giardini Naxos etc. if you wish to be close to the railway line - but we found the bus station (airconditioned buses) in Taormina very good. The buses go all over the island, and down to the beaches on the coast beneath Taormina. There's also a cable car that gets you down there from Taormina in fifteen minutes, same time as the bus takes. We stayed in Taormina itself for two weeks, with incredible views, and relatively cheaply, in the Hotel Condor. The breakfast terrace has a fantastic view towards the coast of the mainland and every morning at dawn you could watch the sunrise from our room balcony - ask for a 'superior' room with sea view. It was actually a two star when we stayed there, but felt like three stars - we didn't realise ! It had been recommended to us by an Italian friend and we hadn't checked. Have a look on this forum left hand side of the webpage at the hotel reviews, mine has the photos too.

Taormina is a 'bijoux' type town, as it's become famous and used by the ' jet set ' etc. maybe less so nowadays ... but has kept its style and fame a bit like Capri did in the 1960s. So it's not 'cheap' - and hotels set their own prices as they are allowed to all over Italy, regardless of 'star status'. It's views are beautiful - the town itself is a panoramic balcony over that side of the coast and the volcano... and you can have peaceful picnics sitting in the shade with views of Etna and the coast in the beautiful public gardens framed by mauve bougainvillea and the blue flowered jacaranda trees.... wish i were going with you !!! Enjoy your trip....

Sydney, Australia
6 posts
1 review
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10. Re: Please Help!

Thankyou Nolana, I have actually booked accomodation at the Hotel Condor! So it's great to hear your feedback and I am very glad I chose that hotel now! I am really looking forward to this trip though still struggling to find accomodation in Cefalu for a reasonable price, I am now looking at Palermo which is cheaper and has more options available, can anybody recommend anywhere?