Giardini-Naxos Shore Excursions
Corso Umberto (Taormina)
Generally a shuttle bus is laid on for cruise passengers heading from the dock at Giardini Naxos to delightful Taormina (otherwise there's a regular public bus service). The picturesque main street of Taormina is Corso Umberto. Stroll along this quaint (and pedestrianized) street enjoying the sunny Sicilian feel and pausing now and again for a wander into the interesting shops.
Piazza IX Aprile (Taormina)
Half-way along Corso Umberto sits gorgeous Piazza IX Aprile, an enchanting terrace with beautiful views over Giardini-Naxos bay. There are several restaurants/cafes on the piazza, offering a perfect opportunity for a refreshment break.
Greek Amphitheater (Taormina)
The number one attraction in Taormina is the fabulously positioned Greek Amphitheater. Originally constructed by the Greeks in the 3rd century BC, it was substantially redeveloped by the Romans 6 centuries later. There is a souvenir shop, and a cafe. To find the theater walk up (the aptly named) Via Teatro from Corso Umberto.
Isola Bella beach (Taormina)
At the foot of the steep cliffs tumbling down from Taormina you'll find the super Isola Bella beach. Take a swim in the turquoise water, then enjoy the gorgeous scenery as you relax on the beach. Facilities on hand include restrooms, sun lounger/umbrella hire, and a beach bar. To reach the beach from Taormina, catch the Taormina - Mazzaro cable car down to Mazzaro. At the bottom walk along the coastal road up the hill to your right for about 250m, then as the road curves to the right, you'll find some steep stone steps down to the beach. If the cable car is not running, another option is the regular bus service. An alternative to Isola Bella beach is the much larger (but not as pretty) Reconati beach in Giardini Naxos.
The summit of huge Mount Etna lies just 15 miles south-west of Giardini Naxos. A ship excursion is the best way to see the unique volcanic landscape. Tours normally take the 30 mile zig-zag road to Rifugio Sapienza, on the northern side of the volcano. Several light hikes are signed from the refuge, the most popular being a walk to the awesome Silvestri craters.
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