Sicily is one of the most amazing places on earth. The history and culture make it full of places to see and things to learn. And that is beside the fact of how good the food is. You'll want to visit just for that alone!
Here are 5 places along the eastern coastline of Sicily that you must visit during your stay on this beautiful island. All of the photos in the article are my own.
Messina is the third largest city on the island of Sicily. Located on the northeast tip of the island it is known as the gateway to Sicily. It was founded by Greek colonists in the 8th century BC. In Messina, you will find wonderful beaches, lovely churches, and some of the best Sicilian food. The granita (especially from “Il Tedesco), and the arancini are the best on all the island (in my opinion of course). Make sure you visit the Duomo in Messina which has the world's largest mechanical and astronomical clock in the world (or as I like to call it, a Cuckoo Clock).
Going south from Messina along the eastern shores or Sicily you will come upon a quaint city by the name of Taormina. It is midway between the cities of Messina and Catania. It is most famous for its beautiful beaches and its ‘Isola Bella’ (Beautiful island). It was founded in 734 BC by the Greeks.
Taormina has become a very popular tourist destination over the last century. There are many fine dining restaurants to eat at, old churches to visit, and there is even the old citadel on the very top of the hill. Another one of the main sites in the city is the ancient Greek theater, the Teatro Greco. It is the second largest of its kind in Sicily and is still used today for theater and opera performances. From the theater, you can see our next stop, Mount Etna, an active volcano.
To read more about the theatre, go to my article:
Travel Italy: The Greek Theatre of Taormina
3. Mount Etna
Mount Etna is an active volcano on the eastern coast of Sicily. It is the tallest active volcano in Europe at 3,329 meters (10, 922 feet). It is considered one of the most active volcanoes in the world. On the volcano itself, you can go for guided tours, ride the ski lift part way up, and visit the many gift shops with different items made from the volcanic rock itself. It is very interesting to walk on and see what a volcano is like. You can then look down and see quite a magnificent panorama of the sea and the city of Catania.
Catania is one of the largest cities in all of Italy.
Dating back to the 8th century BC, Catania is a place full of history and culture. During the renaissance period, Catania was one of the most important political, artistic, and cultural centers in all of Italy. If you are in love with Italian food, Catania is the place for you to be. The street vendors here are said to be the best in the south.
The symbol of the city is “u Liotru”, or the Fontana dell”Elefante (The Elephant Fountain). It is located in Piazza Duomo. Catania has numerous ancient Greek and Roman buildings from churches, amphitheaters, castles, and much more.
Syracusa (Syracuse) is originally Greek city that dates back to around 800 BC. It was once known as “the greatest Greek city and the most beautiful of them all” and equaled Athens in size during the 5th century BC. Syracusa now is full of ancient monuments that one can visit.
The Greek amphitheater is one of these amazing places. It is the largest in Sicily and is still used today for live performances. There is a temple of Zeus located just outside the city as well. There are many churches, a castle, beautiful piazzas and fountains to see while in Syracusa. And since you are still in Sicily, the food is always delicious!
You can take trains from most parts of Italy to Messina and start your journey along the eastern coastline there, or fly into the airport in Catania and start in the south-eastern part of the island.
All of Sicily is absolutely breathtaking and a place I would suggest to all to visit. I was fortunate enough to have been able to see a lot of the island while living in Messina. But there are many places I still want to make it to on my next trip there!
Hey all, Brian here. Welcome to my travel blog. I have had experience traveling around Canada and in Italy so those will be my main topics of interest here. If you ever want to know more about a place, just send me a message and I'll write to you personally about it as well as make a more in depth blog post! Thanks for reading and go travel the world!