Taxis are not a bad way to go from one site to another within an hour's drive. Messina, Sicily is the port city where a lot of cruise ships dock and cruise tours do cost an arm and a leg, per person. Try a local taxi instead. A taxi will charge you per taxi, not per person, and will even tell you how much more for a little tour on the way to where you wish to go. They are lined up at the docks waiting for customers that want to do it on their own.
My wife and I found a wonderful taxi driver, Giuseppe Tringali, while in Messina. He travels between Messina and Taormina all the time and knows english as well as time schedules of the many cruise ships that spend the day in the port. He drove us to Taormina via many local sites in Messina and dropped us off in Taormina to spend the day. He was waiting for us at the appointed time and place to pick us up and return to the docks of Messina. All done in perfect time and in a new Taxi van. Just my wife and I, no crowded buses, and no large bill. Think, if you arrive at any port, is the tour less expensive than a taxi. I know prices have gone up and the Euro is high, but I would still check it out. More than the cruise ships location and easy to hail a taxi. If is a big IF, but if Giuseppe is still driving a taxi van, you won't be disappointed and if you use Giuseppe while in the Messina area, say hello from travelgourmet in California, a grateful customer.
We wanted to go to Taormina, but how.
Well, there were quite a few choices.....
Bus....Quite reasonable, but many stops on the way
Train...Which is what we decided on and took.
We walked from the Cruise terminal to the Train Station at Piazza Della Republica. We went to the ticket office and bought return ticket's, then just had to wait for the Train.
The Train leaves about every 50mins.
The Station we had to alight, was called Giardini.
For cruise ship passenger's who would like to do this, the second website below "other" will give you an excellent description of your walk to the Station. You should not get lost!
Our fare in 2011, was 10.3 euros for a return ticket. For some reason, it was more expensive for the return journey.
Located next to Stazione Maritttima, is the busy Ferry Terminal. Ferries from Sicily connect to the Italian mainland at many Cities.
The shortest route is from Messina to Villa San Giovanni in Calabria. There is an office at the Port in Messina, so you can buy your ticket there, no need for reservation's.
Ferries leave around the clock, 24 hours a day, every 20 minutes or so. The journey across the Strait of Messina takes about 20 minutes.
A return ticket per passenger is 2euros, a 3-day return ticket per motor vehicle is 30euros, and a 60-day return ticket is 50 euros.
Reggio di Calabria is located 12km south of Villa San Giovanni, and this journey takes about 40 minutes.
Meridiano Lines... And a one-way ticket per passenger costs 1.50 euros, a one-way ticket per motor vehicle costs 23euros.
Ferry terminal on road..... Piazzale Don Blasco
Cruising is one of the ways to see the world and one of the most beautiful views to witness from the sea is the arriving in Messina, Sicily where time seems to not include the huge skycrapers that so many cities have that disrupt the view of the sea to the top of mountains. In this case, the top of the mountain is Mt. Etna, the live volcano of Sicily, which makes an impressive hello.
Once docked at port, easy short walk to the train station to get a ticket to Taormina. Just a few blocks to the station. It's about an hour ride on the train to the destination, easy to buy a RT ticket. Once in Taormina, don't think you can walk into the center of the town, it's too far, and straight up. You need to either wait on the bus at the station, or catch a taxi. We caught a taxi and it was 20 Euro. Caught another one back down when we were ready to go. Caught the train back and got there in plenty of time.
The hydrofoil (I think it is government run) docks along the Quay about 100 yards north of the Statione Maritima. I do not remeber any large signs and no ticket office, just people hanging around (many students). We did our best to ask (very little English is spoken) Reggio? (positive Head shake.). Tickets are purchased as you enter get a round trip. The 15 minute trip is in an enclsed cabin and probably full seating. You cannot wander around or look out much. If that is your goal go by ferry and expect to wait etc.Since we did not have time we did not take the long uphill walk from the Reggio terminal but took a cab to the Museo (and back) I do not know how to get timetables but if I ever find out I will add the info here.
There’re several ways to reach Messina. BY PLAIN: Messina’s linked to the airports of Reggio Calabria and Catania by bus. If your plane lands at Reggio Calabria you will get the opportunity to take the ferry to reach Messina. From Catania the bus runs on the highway coasting the sea and giving you a quick view of the Taormina, Naxos and other little villages.
BY TRAIN: from all the other Italian cities you can arrive by train at Villa San Giovanni (Calabria) and then get the ferry. You can cross the strait by train on the ferry too, but it will take longer for the wagons have to be dismantled and properly arranged on the ferry. The ferry’s very cheap for walking passengers ( $1 about). There’re a few of ferry-boat companies: the public one lands just on the centre of the city, you can easily reach the shopping centre; the private ones lands not properly on the centre but you can reach it easily by bus. (10-15 minutes). The ferry takes about 20-30 minutes to cross the sea.
If you happen to be in Reggio Calabria you can cross the sea getting several ferry-companies newly born (45 minutes about).
There’re links by bus to the other sicilian towns.
In Messina you can easily move by car or bus, though in this very last period the town is slightly “in a mess” as there’re works for the new tram-line.
I visited Mt Etna as part of a 3 day Italy cruise from Malta through Louise Cruiseline which stopped there for the day. Although I am not a "cruise person" it was quite nice and reasonably priced. If you would like to get there directly from Malta without taking a cruise, there is a highspeed catamaran (virtuferries)which takes only 90 minutes and you can book a day tour to visit Mt Etna.
We flew with a charter company from Stockhol. My god, remind me not to fly charters anymore... who cares about the lottery and what you can buy on the plane.
Beside of that, the seats are far too small especially for a big men like my boyfriend.
We rented a car in Catania at a minor renting place. Yep, that's what we got. A FIAT 600. I got cramps after 30 min. of driving, coz. the gas pedal was so high. Beside of that the pedals were to close from another so that it was easy to step on gas and break at the same time. Fun he??
Be careful getting around. Sicilians are crazy drivers. The red light....it's there only to show that you should look for once but you pass it anyway.
Adapt your rythm to the italian one, if not your are f...... Rules?? There are no rules.