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Still planning Sicily

hong kong
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Still planning Sicily

Buon giorno

The more I plan the more ideas I get. One of my companions is keen on Etna. Is it worth staying at Linguaglossa or Randazzo overnight, doing a tour and returning to Taormina after the tour that day? How do we do that? We will hire a car from Palermo airport to Erice and Segusa. Do they usually have vehicles for 6 people and maps available at the car hire places? Is parking difficult at Erice and Segusa? Coming from Palermo, we thought we might stay ovenight at Agrigento then move on to Ragusa or Noto overnight, before Sircusa. Which town do you think would be better? Is there a bus from Agrigento to Siracusa via Noto/Ragusa?

Grazie

Ciao

Here & There
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for Sicily, Taormina
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1. Re: Still planning Sicily

“The more I plan the more ideas I get” - Wonderful!!

Etna is very much worth the visit, but Linguaglossa or Randazzo would not be good bases for touring Etna without a car. You would do best to stay in Taormina and take one of the many excursions that include transportation with the tour.

Rifugio Sapienza on Etna’s south side would also be better than the north side at Linguaglossa or Randazzo. The only lift up to the highest craters is on the south side.

SAT runs very good and reasonably priced excursions from Taormina to Mount Etna.

www.sat-group.it/excursion_en.asp?cod=summer

tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g187892-d6…

Since you would require a vehicle for six people, reserve your car hire in advance and pre-pay if possible – no surprises with the exchange rate. Don’t depend on finding maps at the car hire, but there is a Tourist Information Office in the Palermo airport that does have maps – if they will be open when you arrive.

Otherwise, purchase a map prior to your visit (helps with planning), or check Google maps on line.

Palermo's airport is small and easy – There’s a double lane airport access road that connects directly to the autostrada (A29). The A29 is a very good road - straight run right to Segesta and Erice.

Check AutoEurope for larger vehicles.

http://www.auto-europe.co.uk/

Segesta has a gravel parking area – no problem parking. Erice also has a parking lot, limited spaces. There’s also metered parking along Viale Conte Pepoli. You will find parking at Erice.

Will you keep the car, or arrive in Agrigento from Palermo by train or bus?

Noto is easily reached by bus from Siracusa. The bus is better than the train (though the train is faster) because of where the bus arrives in Noto. It’s a walk from the train station in Noto to the historic centre.

Since Noto is so easily reached from Siracusa, Ragusa would be the better town to spend the night. Ragusa also offers more accommodations than Noto. Consider B&B L'Orto sul Tetto.

Travel between Agrigento and Siracusa provinces is not always the most convenient.

You would be able to take a train between Agrigento and Ragusa.

Check train schedules and routes on Trenitalia.

Trenitalia:

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

You could take AST from Ragusa to Siracusa.

Siracusa/Noto/Rosolini/Ispica/Pozzallo/Modica/Ragusa/Vittoria/Gela

aziendasicilianatrasporti.it/opencms/opencms…

If you decide to visit Agrigento from Palermo and travel from Palermo to Ragusa, AST offers service from Palermo to Ragusa.

Modica/Ragusa/Comiso/Vittoria/Palermo

aziendasicilianatrasporti.it/opencms/opencms…

Vagabonda

Hagerstown, Maryland
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2. Re: Still planning Sicily

"The bus is better than the train (though the train is faster) because of where the bus arrives in Noto. It’s a walk from the train station in Noto to the historic centre."

Hey Vagabonda - Do you know if that walk from the train station offers some good views of the town? I wouldn't necessarily mind the walk...especially if I could get some good photos out of it!

Here & There
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for Sicily, Taormina
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3. Re: Still planning Sicily

Hi jjkdc – Happy Holidays!

Sicilians generally prefer buses to trains, because the buses are just faster, convenient, clean, and reliable, have air conditioning, and buses reach areas not served by trains.

It’s not typical that the train would be faster than the bus, so this situation between Siracusa and Noto is an anomaly.

The bus is still the best way from Siracusa to Noto. Although the train is a little faster, the bus leaves you off closer to the sights in Noto - What you might save on transport time between trains and buses, you lose walking, and the walk is not particularly scenic. Noto's train station is on Via Principe di Piemonte, a 20-minute walk west of the historic core.

You might enjoy reading anywhere123’s account of taking the train to Noto instead of the bus!

tripadvisor.com/…14325105

The walk from the train station doesn’t offer anything exceptional in views jjkdc, BUT for views of the town (and you absolutely must do this!!) climb to the roof of one of the churches on Corso Vittorio Emanuele, the broad main street. Many of the churches post signs in front, and for a few euros, you can climb to the church's roof and stay as long as you like. Preferably find a church across the street from the Duomo, so you can fully appreciate the views of Duomo. If you were to face the Duomo, walk right, cross the street and there's a church that's perfect - great views of the Duomo and Corso Vittorio Emanuele. Noto looks like a golden Baroque movie set, but it's especially beautiful at sunset when bathed in the sun’s setting rays.

Enjoy!

Vagabonda

Menlo Park...
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4. Re: Still planning Sicily

I don't want to throw a wrench in your planning especially since Vagabonda has given such detailed information on logistics -- but I have climbed both Etna and Stromboli and the latter was by far the more spectacular experience. Maybe something to consider...

Here & There
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for Sicily, Taormina
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5. Re: Still planning Sicily

The itinerary can always be re-worked mcjhawar!! And the Aeolians are spectacular!!

Etna would be more convenient - HongKongWalker only has 10 days in Sicily, 6 people, and public transport, BUT….????

These earlier threads comparing the volcanoes may be helpful!

Etna or Stromboli:

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g187888-i735-k2079…

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g187886-i343-k2266…

Vagabonda

hong kong
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6. Re: Still planning Sicily

Buon giorno Vagabond

The idea was to stay at Agrigento rather than retrace our steps back to Palermo.

We planned to arrive at Agrigento by train. Apparantly a tour leaves from the station at 10.00. We hope to catch that tour. The train arrives at 9.45 and the tour leaves at 10.00. Is the station confusing, or would 15 minutes be ok to find our way? I will ring to see if these tours are still on offer. Furthermore, is Agrigento worth staying overnight or whould we be better continuing to Raguso after the tour? When travelling by bus, is there room for luggage?

Grazie Ciao

HongKongWalker

Manchester, UK
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7. Re: Still planning Sicily

Hi HongKongWalker,

the train station of Agrigento Centrale is small and has only 4 platforms. You should be able to find the tour in 5mins!

Train from Agrigento to Ragusa is an option but if the train timetables doesn't suit you you could take the bus from Agrigento to Catania Airport with SAIS (about 2h 30mins):

www.saistrasporti.it/taborari.aspx…

and then bus Catania airport to Ragusa with ETNA (about 1h 40mins):

http://www.etnatrasporti.it/

There are only few trains running between the two cities and you would still require 2 changes. By bus there are many daily departures (nearly every hour) and it takes only one change.

Intercity buses in Sicily have plenty of room for luggage. It will be a bus like in this picture:

http://i44.tinypic.com/70j42g.jpg

Hope it helps.

Salvo

Here & There
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for Sicily, Taormina
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8. Re: Still planning Sicily

Ciao HongKongWalker,

As long as the train is on time, you should have no trouble finding the tour – The station has a lot of space around it and it’s not confusing.

Agrigento would be worth staying the night if you would like to see the temples lit. As stated earlier, travel from Agrigento to Ragusa is less than ideal, by train or by bus. You might consider just returning to Palermo, enjoying a delicious dinner in Palermo, and taking the direct bus from Palermo to Ragusa the following day. It would be a very long day (with luggage) to continue on to Ragusa from Agrigento after the tour.

Sicily TravelNet offers excellent excursions in the Agrigento area. You could even customize your tour and arrange for a private transfer to Ragusa.

sicilytourguides.net/Agrigento_day_tours.htm

http://www.sicilytourguides.net

/Agrigento_temples_tour.htm

Buona Fortuna!

Vagabonda

hong kong
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9. Re: Still planning Sicily

Buon giorno

We will return to Palermo for a nice meal after Agrigento. Having trouble with accomodation in Ortigia. Pallazzo de Sale is full. Any other suggestions for around 100EU?

Grazie, Ciao

HongKongWalker

Here & There
Destination Expert
for Sicily, Taormina
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10. Re: Still planning Sicily

Ortygia is blessed with many good accommodations – trattorias as well!

Artusa Vacanze B&B:

www.bed-and-breakfast-sicily.it/pagina.cfm…

tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g187891-d483423…

L’Approdo delle Sirene:

http://www.apprododellesirene.com

karenbrown.com/Accommodations/…00002211.php

www.bed-and-breakfast-sicily.it/pagina.cfm…

tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g187891-d569…

http://www.slowtrav.com/italy/hotels/review.asp?n=l%27approdo+delle+sirene&s=siracusa

Ortigia Sea View Bed & Breakfast:

http://www.ortigiaseaview.it/home_eng.htm

tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g187891-d563548…

Il Cortiletto:

http://www.ilcortiletto.com/

tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g187891-d567273…

Vagabonda