Introducing Ionian Coast
Magnificent, overdeveloped, crowded – and exquisitely beautiful – the Ionian coast is Sicily’s most popular tourist destination and home to 20% of the island’s population. Moneyed entrepreneurs have built their villas and hotels up and down the coastline, eager to bag a spot on Sicily’s version of the Amalfi Coast. Above it all towers the muscular peak of Mt Etna (3323m), puffs of smoke billowing from its snow-covered cone. Still one of Europe's liveliest volcanos, one of Etna's most destructive eruptions occurred in 1669, when it swamped the city of Catania. (In an inspired piece of recycling, much of the city was rebuilt with lava from the eruption!) The volcano is surrounded by the huge Parco dell’Etna, the largest unspoilt wilderness remaining in Sicily.
While you probably won't linger long in the chaotic port town of Messina during your Ionian Coast getaway, chances are you'll find yourself kicking back in Taormina. This beautiful town, with its spectacular elevated location, cultural cachet and great beaches, is a veritable tourist magnet - but genuinely charming with it.
Messina Shore Excursion: Messina City Hop-On Hop-Off Tour
While in port in Messina, spend your time experiencing the beauty of this ancient Mediterranean port city on this shore excursion. Explore Messina's top attractions aboard a hop-on hop-off sightseeing tour, complete with informative audio commentary. With the choice of two different routes, you'll get to experience the cultural and artistic heritage of this great city.
Messina Shore Excursion: Private Day Trip to Taormina and Mt Etna
While you’re in port in Messina, take a full-day private shore excursion to Taormina and Mt Etna. Take in scenic views as your private driver takes you along the fabulous Sicilian coast. Explore one of the world's most active volcanoes at your leisure -- the majestic and fascinating Mt Etna.