The Messina port, set in the busy port city on the narrow Strait of Messina, is many cruisers’ first taste of Sicily. The closest Sicilian city to mainland Italy and a popular port of call for Mediterranean and European cruises, Messina offers striking architecture, flavorful street food, and easy access to Taormina, Mount Etna, and other Sicilian sights.
Messina is rich in history and culture, and bus or Segway tours of the city cover highlights like the 12th-century Duomo with its bell tower and astronomical clock, the Regional Museum of Messina, and the Church of the Santissima Annunziata dei Catalani, as well as the nearby Cape of Peloro along the coast. If you want to delve deeper into the island, join a shore excursion to the clifftop town of Taormina, famous for its ancient Greek theater, pretty center, and picturesque coastline. Many Taormina tours also include a stop at the scenic village of Castelmola and Mount Etna, Italy’s largest active volcano. Another popular option is a Cyclops Riviera tour along Sicily’s lush eastern coast, with stops at the fishing hamlets of Acireale and Catania.
Things to Know Before You Go
Local bus and train services can be unreliable; opt for a shore excursion that includes roundtrip transportation to avoid worrying about making it back to the ship in time.
City tours include visits to important chapels and churches, which require modest clothing that covers the shoulders and knees.
Shore excursions, especially those stopping at Mount Etna, include significant stretches of time outdoors and some walking. Bring a hat and sunscreen, and choose comfortable footwear and weather-appropriate clothing.
Sicily is famous for its unique cuisine and excellent street food, so be sure to sample some local delicacies while exploring the island.
How to Get to Messina from the Messina Cruise Port
The Messina cruise port sits directly in downtown Messina, so it’s easy to walk straight off the ship and into the Piazza del Duomo, the heart of the historic center. There isn’t much need for taxis, as most of the city’s main sights are within walking distance of one another. If you do choose to go further afield, car rentals and taxis are readily available.
The language in Messina is Italian, and despite the city’s port status, English is not commonly spoken. The main tourist hubs are a bit more English-friendly. The currency is the euro and ATMs can be found throughout the city. Stop by the Tourism Office at Piazza Stazione for additional information.