Travelling in Messina Sicily

November 18, 2014 0 Comments

Travelling in Messina Sicily

Messina Port view

This wasn’t really a place we had particularly intended to visit unlike Cefalu the main reason for our visit to Messina Sicily was to give us access to the Aeolian islands so we booked up our next night’s stay and headed off.

Milazzo is the main port offering trips to the Aeolian Islands and is well know for this but to us Milazzo sounded a little too industrial and plain so our misguided logic had us looking for alternative options. Messina seemed like the perfect choice as it had the potential to give us somewhere nice to hang out for the evening and just chill.

Heading to Messina did mean that we had a little further to travel as it is situated slightly down on the east coast of Sicily, on the flip side it also meant we were closer to our next destination of Catania. Also we left Cefalu early and allowed plenty of time to get to Messina, this would give us loads of time to get out there and organise the trip we wanted.

The journey to Messina continued to take us along the north coastal roads of Sicily and I have to say these roads are quite pretty in the day light as you head through the mountain tunnels and look out over the sea.

Some of the roads are under repair and you will find stretches of the road that move into single lane on the opposite side of the road.

Randomly overgrown bushes litter the central reservation and spill onto the outside lane. This can feel a little sketchy when driving and the quality of the other drivers doesn’t get any better bit the roads are not that busy and so make for a relatively easy journey.

We had no troubles but if there was an accident or something you may take a while to get around so it is well worth checking out the roads before you head off if you can.

Having made some good time on the road we got to Messina on schedule, this was quite an achievement considering our previous experiences on the road but then we faced a similar issue to the one in Cefalu. The sat-nav took us to some random destination on the outskirts of Messina before we hit the readjust and begun to head into the city.

Having learned the lesson from driving in Cefalu I already requested details about the destination and the parking, sadly we discovered later that the owners of the B&B did not speak English and so hadn’t replied.

Hard to find B&B

Instead we spent what seemed an age driving around the same streets in busy traffic, it must have been at least an hour before we ditched the car and started asking the locals.

I don’t know why but having been told the island wasn’t too big I just assumed the towns / cities we were visiting were going to be a lot smaller than they were! lol

Eventually we found that while the sat-nav had taken us to the rough destination, the road it took us to happened to be behind the B&B and there was no entrance to be seen here and there was NO PARKING!!

We got chatting to a friendly local street vendor and discovered travellers gold….

In the cities of such as Messina Sicily you are able to park in any parking space marked in Blue. You pay on average €5 for the day and night with tickets available from various sources. Happy with this great bit of advice from and a new-found loyalty to the street vendor we bought our parking tickets for the next few days and grabbed a magazines and a few treats from his stall as he told us all about it!

Remember what I said about speaking to the locals…. ah man, we should have done that way earlier!

So Messina Sicily, it’s a large coastal town / City, there is a fair bit you can do and check out if you want to but having wasted so much time finding the place we just wanted to get settled, get some food in us and get the boat booked to the Aeolian islands.

As you look across the waters from the port area of Messina you can see Italy not too far in the distance. This gives you some idea of how far you are round the coast of Sicily but it also shows how easy it could be to get into and out of Italy if you found yourself wanting to connect that way rather than flying into Palermo.

You would need to look into this before you go though to see if it is possible… 😉

As you may expect we had already looked at some a lonely planet and thought about which islands would interest us the most so now it was just a case of getting to the port and booking it up.

We still has some time to organise our trip so we went for a bit of a wander and somehow despite being 10 mins from the water and where we would have expected to find the port we went the wrong way and before long started to get a bit fed up with all.

As we walked into what appeared to be a dodgy area of the city we almost considered just binning off the tour to head back to the B&B. We would have missed out on one of the main things we wanted to do on the tour but to our credit we persevered.

It wasn’t long before we wandered into a local travel agent who randomly specialised in offering tours around Australia. Oddly they didn’t offer any local tour deals in and around the city or any deals on island hopping in the Aeolian islands but as fortune would have it the friendly staff did know where the ticket office at the port was and off we went.

Now considering there were some great value tours to the Aeolian Islands from Cefalu and given that we were much closer to the islands you would have thought there would be similar offers departing from Messina instead you couldn’t be further from the truth!

Millazo offers a much better timetable with regular boats running to and from the islands, some had tours and parking included, Messina has nothing but a bit part service with few travel times and boat only offers.

It seems our cleaver thinking wasn’t as clever as we had hoped, not only were we facing heavier costs to get there we also had no tour options and a longer journey to and from the islands.

Add this to the lessons learned list,

As I said before we deliberately didn’t plan too excessively for this trip, the outcome is a blog giving you an account of our experience and some genuine advice. This goes a long way to give you an idea of how much easier, stress free and enjoyable a trip can be if you prepare, plan and research.

While you may get to see the things you thought you wanted to see however; this is not always the best way to do things.

If things go wrong with the plan it can be hugely disappointing and if you plan everything it could mean that you miss out on some of the other experiences which can be equally fulfilling.

What this does show you though is that a balanced approach can sometimes pay off.

Once we had finally booked the islands it had been another long exhausting day and we knew we needed an early start for the Aeolian islands.

For us it was “back to the ranch” to chill and get some sleep…. Saturday night and with busy bar downstairs in the square and loads of boy racers driving around the streets it may not have been as chilled as we had hoped.

I popped out, grabbed a couple of large local beers and we stuck on some TV, drank the beers and hit the hay dreaming of the next days boat and island tours…

That was almost the end of Messina as the next day we were off to the Aeolian Islands, one more sleep before we head to Catania another hotspot on the list of destinations for Sicily, next post coming soon…

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