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7 things to do in Messina: our most acclaimed tours for 2022  

Things to do in Messina: if you are a tourist docking with a cruise ship at the port of Messina and you are looking for a memorable experience, then you may wonder in Messina what to see. Read on and discover more!

7 things to do in Messina: our best sellers culture and nature day trips

We thought for you about the best things to do in Messina and we have drawn up a list of our 7 most acclaimed and appreciated day tours, that take into account the docking and the departure times of your cruise.

From the lovely and must-see Taormina, included in almost each of our tours, to Mount Etna and its wines, you will be spoilt for choice. Whatever will be the experience you choose we promise you’ll spend a great time with our local guides while in Sicily!

So, let’s start!

1. Taormina walking tour, Greek Theatre and Castelmola

When it comes to things to do in Messina, the Taormina walking tour wins the first position among our best sellers Messina excursions.

With this option you will enjoy a unique experience visiting two of the most beautiful villages in Sicily, Taormina and Castelmola. Situated at 529 metres above the sea level, the little medieval town of Castlemola Sicily is a touristy area because of its proximity to Taormina, boasting a charming landscape that gathers history, art, and architecture.

Taormina walking tour IX april Square
IX April Square, the most scenic of Taormina

The main square of Castelmola Sicily with its mosaic decorations in lava stone greets all the visitors, and a sublime view opens in front of you: in a single look the Ionian Sea, Giardini Naxos’s Bay, the kingly Mount Etna, Saint Alessio Cape, and the Calabrian coast. You will discover the hidden corners of Castelmola Sicily, the Norman walls of the ancient castle, the historic café San Giorgio and much more. You cannot miss a visit to the definitely unique, Bar Turrisi, known all over the world for its phallic shape ornaments, for sure one of the most bizzare yet fun things to do in Messina. But it doesn’t end here.

In a few minutes you will reach Taormina Sicily, where you will enjoy a walking tour around the city. Among the things to do in Messina the Greek theatre of Taormina deserves undoubtedly a visit. Enchanted by the breath-taking scenario from the Greek theatre, Goethe wrote: “Those who stand at the highest point, once occupied by the spectators, cannot help but confess that perhaps never before has the audience of a theatre seen such a spectacle before them.” Formerly Hellenistic work and turned into an arena during the roman period, the ancient theatre of Taormina is still used for art and cultural events. It is no coincidence that in 2017 it was chosen to host the G7 reunion.

2. Taormina Blue Grotto boat tour

During the Taormina Blue Grotto boat tour you’ll have the chance to enjoy your stay in Sicily from an exclusive perspective, admiring the charm of the island from its crystal blue waters that will lead you to places accessible only by sea: the Blue Grotto and the rock of the prickly pear are just a taste of what awaits you by choosing this boat tour, definitely one of the most pleasing things to do in Messina as a cruise excursion.

taormina blue grotto boat tour
During our Taormina Blue Grotto boat tour, visiting the Lovers’ Cave

A highlight of the tour will be a stop at Isola Bella, which is a little earthly heaven in Taormina Bay. At the changing of the tide, Isola Bella can be sometimes an island and sometimes a peninsula, and its beach is among the most popular destinations of the area in the summertime.

The Taormina boat tour gives you the access also to the most touristy medieval village of Sicily, that is Taormina. Legitimately recognised as “the Pearl of the Jonian Sea”, Taormina Sicily has always bewitched tourists, nobles, artists, and writers: among the many Goethe, Wilde, and Maupassant. Despite the Greek Theatre represents the image of Taormina in the world, starting from Porta Catania and proceeding along Corso Umberto, you can reach the main landmarks of the town and have fun doing shopping in the many Italian fashion shops.

3. Taormina and Etna tour

The Etna tour is one of those thrilling Messina excursions to do at least once in a lifetime and he turned out to be one of our guests most favorite things to do in Messina. You will be enraptured by the majestic elegance of the highest and the most studied active volcano in Europe.

Source of inspiration for myths and legends, literature and cinema, his majesty Etna, “one of the very few landscapes that has greatness in itself, an terrible lunar landscape” as Pasolini said once, has been declared UNESCO Heritage since 2013.

Etna tour Silvestri Craters
Walking on the edge of Silvestri Craters during our Etna tour

The Etna tour will be a privilege for you and you will have fun this extraordinary lava panorama, which offers beautiful scenarios in different seasons. A 1.30h hiking during this Etna tour will let you feel the magnificence of Mount Etna. Then it will be the turn of Taormina Sicily. Visiting Taormina is a must before coming back to Messina Cruise Port.

At 200 metres above sea level, Taormina Sicily benefits from meaningful landscape beauties, such as Isola Bella, Giardini Naxos’s Bay, Mount Etna in the distance, and then you can give yourself a bit of leisure along the shopping streets. This wonderful experience is right for you if you are looking for the most sensational things to do in Messina combining nature and culture.

4. Godfather tour Sicily

The Godfather tour Sicily offers a special visit through the places where the Godfather movie was filmed by Francis Ford Coppola in 1972, a milestone in the history of cinema that is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

Savoca and Forza d’Agrò are cinetouristic destinations known all over the world thanks to this film, but they also have many other reasons to be visited. In fact, Savoca is included among “the most beautiful Italian villages”, one of the places worth visiting and to include among the things to do in Messina that we recommend you not to miss.

Bar Vitelli Sicily entrance the godfather sicily scene
Bar Vitelli, Godfather Sicily tour

The Godfather tour goes through the famous Bar Vitelli, where Michael Corleone comes in to drink something and which maintains the original sign. Then, the tour continues through the streets of the historic centre and the church of San Nicola. Other not-to-be-missed locations of the Godfather are in the hilly village of Forza d’Agrò. Here you can admire the church of Annunziata where Michael and Apollonia got married. Forza d’Agrò is the ideal place where to enjoy stillness away from the chaos of the city.

If you are keen on movies and want to discover the places of the film, the Godfather tour Sicily is the Messina excursion that we suggest you.

5. Messina tour

Messina tour can’t fail to be among the things to do in Messina, one of the most fascinating Mediterranean destinations! 10km away from the old town, you will see the natural beauties of the Strait and the Northern Riviera.

The lakes of Ganzirri are renowned for fish farms of mussels and clams, while Capo Peloro is the closest point of coast (only 3 km) to the Calabrian shore. Here, when the two seas – Ionio and Tirreno – meets, the currents provoke enormous vortexes which the famous legend justify with the presence of the monsters of Scylla and Charybdis.

bell tower of Messina
View from below of the bell tower of Messina

The Messina tour will bring you sightseeing in the city centre where the cathedral with the Bell Tower is the main attraction. The Bell Tower is equipped with the astronomic clock, the biggest and the most complex mechanic clock of the world. You will have the opportunity to attend one of the most stunning spectacles: every day at noon different symbolic statues start to move on the notes of the Hail Mary of Schubert.

6. Etna wine tour and Taormina

The Etna wine tour is the perfect option for those who appreciate the good wine and want to try the local products of Sicily and particularly its wine.

The essence of the Etna wine tour consists indeed of the sensory experience of the Etna wines in the places of production. On the slopes of Mount Etna some prominent wineries rise up, and a visit in one of the cellars will enable you to taste the production of three different wines – red, white and rosé – savouring some good quality Etna wine together with some delicious Sicilian food.

Etna wine tour
Visiting a cellar during our Etna wine tour

If you’re asking why the Etna wines are so special, you must know that the soil close to the volcano and the temperature fluctuations of the climate make distinguish the grapes for their unequivocal scent and savour. That’s why the Etna wine obtained the title of the Denomination of Controlled Origin in 1968.

Thanks to this Etna wine tour the visitor will be given an unforgettable experience in a vineyard with broad sceneries ranging from the fresh mountain air to the sea breeze.

At the end of the tour a short stop before coming back to the port of Messina will let you experience the dolce vita of the lovely and fancy Taormina.

7. Cooking class Sicily in Taormina

Cooking class Sicily is the right tour for you if you want to feel Sicilian for one (unforgettable) day.

Choosing the cooking class Sicily you can test your culinary skills and learn some secrets of the Italian gastronomy making with your own hands a genuine and typical product.

cooking class sicily making pizza
Making pizza and pasta during the Cooking Class Taormina Sicily

Making fresh homemade pasta and pizza is an ancient art which is for many Italians a practice handed down from generation to generation. It’s a childhood memory, a time for celebrating with family and friends, and you will have the chance to breath this suggestive atmosphere reminding of the good old days. While you will have the finger in the pie – in the literal meaning of the expression – you can taste some typical appetizers together with a good glass of wine.

What makes the cooking class Sicily a unique experience is that it is framed inside the most glamour location of Taormina Sicily. After your participation in the cooking class Sicily, you can spend your free time among history, art, culture, and shopping. It’ll be one of the things to do in Messina you won’t forget.

Here you can find the top 7 things to do in Messina to get the most from your Sicilian holiday. All you have to do is to choose one of the Messina excursions that best suits you and take pleasure from your tour.

All this and much more are just waiting to be discovered by you. We at Discover Messina Sicily can’t wait to set off together!

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