Revision as of 14:14, 3 October 2009
Giardini Naxos is a seaside resort town in the Messina Province of Sicily.
Sicily is traversed by a number of main motorways that run between major cities. From Palermo, take the Palermo - Catania motorway, then the Catania - Messina motorway, exit at "Giardini-Naxos". The main street (runs north-south) is SS 114.
Giardini-Naxos has a railway station that appears as "Taormina - Giardini - Naxos".
The nearest airport is Catania airport, "Catania-Fontano-Rossa", 40 km away. Upon arrival, take a bus toward Giardini-Naxos, arrive at the Recanati bus station.
The city is small enough to explore on foot, but those who need to get somewhere quick should phone a taxi or rent a car.
- Dal Pirata Beach, ☎ 338 5880373, . Near the archaelogical area of Naxos, Dal Pirata Beach is contained by two partitions of lava stone from the nearby Mt. Etna. Popular with tourists in the summer, the beach has a number of restaurants nearby with typical Sicilian dishes, and a snack bar. There are boat rentals, or you can simply relax on a sunbed.
- La Bicicletta, Via Consolare Valeria, 118, ☎ 338 7745892. Rent a bike for a few days from this shop right on the main street of Giardini-Naxos and enjoy relaxing rides along the coast, through the center of town, and in and out of the lemon groves that are scattered on the periphery. It is also possible to bike to the nearby Taormina, although novice bikers beware--it's a steep climb!
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- Al Fagiano, Via Consolare Valeria n. 126 (From the motorway, head south on SS 114. On the left.), ☎ 0942 51880. "The Pheasant", an excellent pizzeria and seafood restaurant close to the main bus station.
- Pianeta Pizza, Via Vittorio Emanuele, 184, ☎ 0942 52044. 17 00 - 23 00. "Pizza Planet", the best takeout pizza in Sicily. Many combinations, from the classic "Margherita" (tomato, mozzarella, oregano, and oil, €3.70) to the "Siciliana" (Tomato, mozzarella, pepperoni, scalora, anchovies, oregano, olives, and oil, €5.00). Menu also includes sandwiches and salads from €4.00 and calzones from €4.50. from €3.70 for a single pizza.
- Pasticceria Casablanca Massimo, Via Consolare Valeria, 84, ☎ 0942550062. A typical Sicilian sweet shop. Stop in for a tasty gelato, or go for cannoli or the trademark pasta di mandorle, a small almond sweet. Also available are wonderfully crafted marzipan fruits and impressive Sicilian cakes.
- Gianni House, Via Pergusa, 47 (just off the main street, on the left), ☎ 0039 3382 383 732, . Conveniently close to the main bus and train station, Gianni House is a startup hostel that offers a wide range of accommodation for backpackers, families, or couples seeking a holiday stay. The owner, Gianni, personally greets each guest and offers information on Giardini-Naxos and the surrounding area. Pasta parties are a regular occurrence in the summer, held on the fifth floor terrace, which offers a spectacular view of the sea (just five minutes' walk from the hostel). from €20.00 dorms, €23.00 privates.
Taormina is the obvious destination for those staying in Giardini-Naxos, tantalizingly placed on the side of a hill to the north. It is in walking distance, but those unsuited for climbing many sets of stairs would do better to take the bus (€1.00, €2.50 return) which departs from the Recanati bus station. Another bus runs from Taormina further up the hill to Castelmola, which is also worth a visit. Down the hill is the beautiful Isolabella, a small island which juts out from the coast and is usually bridged by a strip of beach, depending on the tide.
In the other direction, Mount Etna dominates the skyline on clear days. An active volcano, Mount Etna has a summit that glows red in the night from magma eruption. Excursions depart from the Recanati bus station with the company SAT. Guides are necessary to get right up to the lava flow, but those who want to explore on their own can take a line that circumvents the mountain.
To the north is the beautiful Alcantara Gorge, a canyon formed by lava flow that houses a river with freezing water (even in the summer). Wading boots are available for €5.00.
Also nearby, in the harbor town of Riposto, there is a fish market where Sicilian caricatures hawk seafood freshly caught just off the shore. Check the prices, the seafront stands tend to be more expensive than the vendors who are hidden along the sides. The market is close to the main square, faced by a large church.