Why choose a cruise to Messina?
Just a few miles from Italy’s mainland, Messina is your gateway to the enchanting island of Sicily. The setting for Shakespeare’s romantic comedy Much Ado About Nothing, this bustling port city is known for its scythe-shaped natural harbour and medieval architecture.
A Messina cruise offers you the chance to explore the island’s showpiece – its volcano. The majestic peak of Mount Etna lies on the east coast between Messina and Catania, and is one of Italy’s most popular tourist attractions.
A guide to Messina’s hotspots
Messina’s main appeal is the 12th-century Norman Cathedral and its striking bell tower. Head to the city’s main piazza at midday to see golden figures emerge from the clock to act out important moments from the city’s history. Near to the cathedral is the decorative Orion fountain and the historic church of Annunziata dei Catalani.
The undisputed jewel in Sicily’s crown is Mount Etna. To see the volcano in its full glory, hop on board the Circumetnea Railway which winds its way up the slopes, or take a road trip to the Crateri Silvestri for fantastic views of the cold lava streams and the Gulf of Catania.
Another of the island’s most prised gems is the picturesque town of Taormina, perched high in the cliffs. Get lost down the maze-like backstreets and spend some time browsing the charming boutique shops. Don’t miss the impressive Greek amphitheatre at the top of the town, with its breathtaking views of the sea and Mount Etna.
If it’s beaches you’re after, there’s plenty of glorious bays dotted around the island. Cruise passengers can choose from various day-long tours from Messina to the best sandy spots and soak up some sun before returning to the ship.
Cruise lines that sail to the port of Messina
The best time to visit Messina
The best time to visit Messina and Sicily is either side of summer, in the late spring and early autumn, when there’s less crowds and pleasant temperatures around the mid 20s. This time of year is also perfect for hiking, sightseeing and relaxing beach days.
Although temperatures drop to an average 12°C in the winter months, there’s far less tourists meaning you can appreciate a quieter, more relaxed side to the island. There’s also many events taking place in Sicily during winter, including the Carnival of Acireale in February, with colourful parades, food and entertainment.
Did you know?
- Much of Messina had to be rebuilt after earthquakes and bombings during World War II
- The cathedral’s bell tower has the world’s largest mechanical clock
- Much of the Godfather trilogy was set in Sicily, and visitors can tour the various filming locations
- Mount Etna is one of the world’s most active volcanoes
- The volcano is one of Sicily’s main attractions with thousands of tourists visiting every year, including in winter when it turns into a ski resort