Getting Around in Sicily – Taormina

Visiting a new place can sometimes be daunting and if you only have a week you have to find your way around quickly. Here are some tips on doing just that, as well as lessons learned from our last trip away.

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If you have read my previous posts you will know that my latest trip was to Sicily, where we enjoyed a week-long honeymoon. It is a fabulous place but the first day seems to always be spent finding your bearings.

Obviously, we did some research before we left but this was mainly on what was nearby such as the beaches and how far we were from Savoca (The Godfather Tour) – very touristy I know!

In hindsight, the research we should have been doing was looking at public transport options. Instead, we paid for a bus to the main town of Taormina, when there was a cable car directly opposite our hotel. This would have saved us some money and also provided us with many more culinary options.

This got me thinking about all of the ways to find out about the public transport systems:

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  1. The most obvious – take to the internet, although sometimes the timetables can be rather confusing, also some places don’t keep to a strick timetable.
  2. Ask the receptionist at the hotel, they can be very knowledgeable and may also have a timetable.
  3. When you arrive locate the nearest bus stop or alternative transportation methods and way up time differences and prices before committing.

Although saving money and time is great, I did enjoy the bus journey as we went to places we didn’t know about and got to hop on and hop off to discover new areas that were unexpected.

 

Grand Hotel Mazzarò Sea Palace

Located in the centre of a cove with a private beach this is a fabulous place to stay and relax when in Sicily.

The Hotel

From the front of the hotel, you would not know that a beach is hidden at its rear. The driveway is steep, although the steps leading to the reception are not too bad. Upon entry to the hotel, you are greeted by friendly staff who are happy to assist.

If your room is not ready, guests are directed to the ground floor where a marble and seating bar area awaits. The decor is stunningly beautiful and put me at ease when it comes to cleanliness.

Marble Bar

The large doors provide a sneak peak of the beachfront and outdoor seating area. Once outside the staircase is hidden by a circular wall which leads to the beach. One at the edge of the beach white and grey sunbeds make you instantly want to simply chill out.

Before stepping foot on the sand and choosing your sunbed the lifeguards hurry over to place your towels down and prepare your parasol. Once you are ready a bartender is there waiting to take your drinks order, and food if you are hungry and don’t mind spending 20EUROS on a burger.

Sunbeds

The beach is a key feature at this hotel as it can be seen from the room balconies and heard as you relax in bed, this provides the perfect tranquil environment. The rooms themselves are clean and fresh with white bed linen and a marble bathroom.

Hotel Balcony

My favourite thing about the service was the turn down when you arrive from an evening out to your pajamas folded neatly at the end of the bed, slippers by the side, and throw cushions in their hiding place. Oh, and sweets on the bed!

The location of the hotel is great too, just seconds from the cable cars that lead to Taormina and seconds from bus services. Plus, there are plenty of restaurants around in case you just don’t feel like heading into the main shopping town.

This hotel is a brilliant place to stay and the most relaxing place I have been. Perfect for a honeymoon or just a getaway as a couple.

Why Sicily was the Perfect Honeymoon Spot

When searching for a honeymoon location many choose exotic locations, where couples in the brochure are walking along a beach hand-in-hand as the sunsets behind them. Not us…

We wanted to find somewhere that met my need for history and my now husbands need for sunshine and the beach. That’s when we decided on Sicily and what a great decision that turned out to be.

The Landscape

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The landscape was romantic, made up of rugged hills and towns that tell a story just from the views. The winding roads that lead to hidden towns can be scary when on a bus but provide the most breathtaking views.

The Cuisine

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It’s not just the landscape but the cuisine is delicious offering freshly prepared meals, warm ciabatta, and breadsticks. Occasionally, we would also receive lemon sorbet which I really enjoyed.

Going out for an evening meal is more of an experience, taking a seat outside of a quaint restaurant and eating a meal by candlelight this is the perfect place for a couple on their honeymoon, or partake in some people watching!

The Location

Location

When arriving at the hotel we felt extremely grateful to be met by such amazing scenery, from the balcony of our room we could see the beach and the cove which or hotel was nestled in.

From the hotel, it was a 30-second walk to the bus stop or cable car that takes you straight into the main town of Taormina; this is where we would head to in the evening for our meal and drinks and the shops are open until approximately 10pm meaning there was no need to shop during the daytime. This left more time for relaxing and enjoying the sunshine, or attractions nearby.

We have been back for 5 days and we are missing it already, would love to go back and experience this amazing place with the rest of the family. Such a relaxing atmosphere and plenty to enjoy.

Five Dishes You Must Try When Visiting Sicily

As we are planning a trip to Sicily for our honeymoon this year, we want to make sure that we taste the place as well as see the landmarks.

There are several wine tours offered, but if you want to know what makes Sicilian people happy, you need to search for the most popular traditional dishes of the island. Below you will find a list of dishes you must try when walking the streets of Palermo or going out for a meal.

Cannoli

While most people believe this is a traditional Italian dish, it is actually from Sicily. You can get it freshly made in most restaurants, made with ricotta. Inside the fried pastry, you will find seasonal vegetables and a sweet ricotta filling. Make sure that you get it fresh, and the crust will stay crunchy and firm.

Arancine

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Image via Flickr

These rice balls are great for snacking on. They are coated with bread crumbs, and come with different fillings. The most popular Arancine is mozzarella and ham, but you will also find some with tomato sauce and meat inside. It is basically similar to a pasta dish, but the pasta is on the outside and is replaced by rice, and the snack is fried in breadcrumbs.

Caponata

Caponata

Image via PxHere

The beauty of this dish is that it comes in different flavors and variations. It is like an eggplant stew, but sweet and sour at the same time. No matter which version you try when visiting Sicily, the base of the dish will be Aubergine, and different vegetables are added to it for flavor. Your chef might create their own Caponata recipe based on the availability of fresh ingredients.

Sfincione

Also called the Sicilian version of pizza, this dish is a popular street food in the region. The base is rectangular, instead of round, and deep, instead of thin. Depending on which place you visit, you might find that the tomato sauce is placed on the top of the other ingredients, so they stay soft, while other places will add onions, sardines, herbs, or mozzarella on the top. Check out emilia delizia for creating your own pizza recipe.

Pane Con La Milza

While this sandwich might not be something you might think of when packing your lunchbox for work, it is extremely popular in Sicily. Boiled pork spleens are slow cooked and placed in a fresh brioche. You can find this dish at most bakery stalls on the street, or at traditional takeaway restaurants. Sometimes lemon and caciocavallo cheese is added to the recipe of the Pane Con La Milza for flavor. Try it with caution, but Sicilians love this sweet bread sandwich.

To get to know a culture and a place better, you should mix with the locals and try their food, some people say. With so many traditional dishes available on the streets and in the restaurants of Sicily, you will love strolling around and tasting new flavors every day. From rice balls to pasta and fried snacks, there are a variety of meals Sicilians are proud of and will want you to try.

 

The Sicily Plan

After researching a few options for our honeymoon this year, we have finally settled on Sicily. It’s beaches, history and culture are all appealing and I am looking forward to the visit. However, I want to make the most of being there, so this post is basically our itinerary.

We are in Sicily for nights and we are well aware what honeymoons are meant for, but you have to take a few breaks and make the most of visiting a new place. With this in mind, I am looking for about 3 activities and a few restaurants that provide food for extremely fussy eaters!

The Attractions

There are many attractions in Sicily but we are looking for places to go near to where we are staying, here are the trips on the top of our list:

Mount Etna

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Image Source

As Europe’s tallest active volcano, this is a must-see on our stay in Sicily. From our accommodation, there are many tour companies who offer excursions to Catania, the ancient city destroyed by earthquakes and Etna’s eruptions. From here tours to the volcano itself or local walking tours can be booked to explore the city.

As we would only have one day to explore I think we will book a private tour and hope that we can view the volcano and take some time to look around the city before heading back to our hotel.

Godfather Walking Tour

Savoca is located about 45 minutes from our accommodation when in Sicily, so we are the perfect distance to attend a Godfather walking tour. As part of the tour we would visit the unchanged Bar Vitelli, we can take in the view from the square (ideal as this was the location of the wedding scene), and as we explore the filming locations we will also discover the history of the Sicilian Mafia.

Having looked around this is the company I would prefrebly like to book with is https://www.viator.com/

Wine Tasting

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There are a number of wine tasting tours available including one with Etna included or with Godfather tour. As we are not big wine drinkers the tours probably aren’t at the top of my list but it would still be a relaxing experience and something nice to do during our honeymoon.

There is the option of a 6-hour tasting… this seems a little extensive for me, so maybe a shorter one will be better. It would seem that the best option for our trip would be a local tour along with food and a tasting – two birds one stone!

I have chosen three activities that are varied rather than doing the same type of thing three times in one week! Now all that’s left to do is get married.

If you have any suggestions of places to visit whilst in Sicily, I’d love to hear about them.