Lovely, welcoming bargainous B&B (45-90 euro per night) clinging to the hillside above Taormina. Huge balconies overlooking the bay and Giardini-Naxos. Reward yourself after climbing back up the hill after dinner with a bottle of wine and fireworks; more often than not there is of course Etna or be there on 8 September when man-made fireworks are let off all evening to celebrate the feast of the Immaculate Conception.
'Mountain' restaurants (restaurants found up in the Nebrodi and Madonie mountains, which are along the north coast of Sicily).
Fantastic food and wine, and enough of it for even the biggest of appetites, and for the smallest of wallets.
Multiple courses of speciality foods, all washed down with locally produced wine. Life can't get any better, especially when it costs in the region of €20 - €30. And lets not forget the views!
Too many to put here ! Just ask the local people and I'm sure they will point you towards one of their favourites.
In Sicily there are three big natural areas and other little ones.
The first one in the Etna Park. Mount Etna is not only a volcano - it also has a lot of paths and trekking opportunities. The best ones are the excursions on the summit craters on the south side starting from Rifugio Sapienza in Nicolosi (Catania).
The second park is the Nebrodi Mounts. This is between Messina and Catania. This park is full of forests the most known is the "Bosco di Malabotta". The park is a little less accessible so it's advised to use a four-wheel drive vehicle and take a good map.
The latest park is the park of the Alcantara river. This is a river formed in a lava eruption thousand years ago. The river is walkable.
Etna Park - Nicolosi (Catania)
Nebrodi Park - Between Messina and Catania
Alcantara River - Near Francavilla di Sicilia (Very near to Taormina)
The nearest station for Etna Park is the Circumetnea. From here, a rail road goes around Etna and its villages. You can take it in the Catania central railways station (Piazza della Repubblica) or in the Station of Giarre if you come from Messina by train.
More info here:
Restaurant in a converted oil mill with much-coveted terrace overlooking the sea (the views are beautiful but, more importantly for Italians, it's outside so you can smoke). The main attraction is the lobster, clams, sea bass, cuttlefish and just about anything else that can be removed from water with a net, pot or hook. But it's also a great place to come to watch people make idiots of themselves: get a table in the atmospheric stone-walled interior (much more room, aircon), order a prosecco and watch as the beautiful people attempt to beg, threaten or bribe their way on to the terrace. We saw cash, fags and what looked like an offer of sex, but the maitre d' stood firm: no prenotazione, no prime preening spot.
Via Bordonaro 96
Beautiful old town that's perfect for mooching around and seeing the sights. Grab a limoncello or three at one of a strip of waterside bars as the sun sets and go for a stroll amongst the locals. Clear your head the next day by exploring the ancient ampitheatre at the edge of town (catch a bus from the central station).
South-east Sicily. Rent a car for max flexibility when touring the island.
A restaurant perched high above Taormina (take a taxi there and back). Breathtaking views over the Gulf of Naxos and Etna. Excellent local food and wine. Romance on a plate.
Salita Castello, 98030 Castelmola
Tel: 0942 28180
An agriturismo and working vineyard on the slopes of Mount Etna with comfortable, stylish rooms. Run by the noble family of the Baron Scammacca del Murgo - the hosts are full of character!
The estate produces very drinkable red and sparkling wines - tastings and tours available - and you can really taste the volcanic minerals in the red wine.
As you take a well-earned rest after ascending 1000m, a feeling of warmth seeps into your trousers - which is par for the course when you are sitting on an active volcano. Regular and spectacular eruptions, as well as the sight of all the cruise ships watching these from the water, are the very convincing reason to make the three hour guided climb up here.
Coming down, although slightly disconcerting as you slide down the ashy slopes, is much quicker. The climb is enlivened by the amazing variety of flora and fauna and of course, the views. It's necessary to have a guide, and trips can be booked from Lipari and the other Aolian islands.
Stromboli, Aolian Islands
The Villa Gaia Hotel is situated in the historic center of Taormina, just 30 meters from the Duomo, and offers a magnificent view of the crystal-clear blue waters of the Ionian Sea! I've been here with my wife and had a very pleasent stay.
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