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[ 2012 ] Suggestions for Sicily Please

cgeidl

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We will be in Sicily from 16 September until 30 September. We are spendiing the 23-29th outside Taormina in an apartment for a week and plan day excuesions.
We would like to stay a week in the East and plan to stay 3 nights Palermo and go to Monreale and Cefalu.Would like a clean quiet place to stay and moderate cost(unnder $150 night). Then two nights around Marsala/ Erice then Agrigent two nights.
Suggestions of where to stay .
Also car rental suggestions for rentals we can drop off in Catania.Also any up to date restaurant recommendations.
 

Laurie

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Also any up to date restaurant recommendations.
Definitely not for the prudish - but you can combine a pretty walk with beautiful views up to Castelmola from Taormina (or drive I assume), then dine at Bar Turrisi. Honestly I don't recall much about the meal, other than we liked it, but great views - and the place itself was more memorable than the menu. :D

www.turrisibar.it
 
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Margariet

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We will be in Sicily from 16 September until 30 September. We are spendiing the 23-29th outside Taormina in an apartment for a week and plan day excuesions.
We would like to stay a week in the East and plan to stay 3 nights Palermo and go to Monreale and Cefalu.Would like a clean quiet place to stay and moderate cost(unnder $150 night). Then two nights around Marsala/ Erice then Agrigent two nights.
Suggestions of where to stay .
Also car rental suggestions for rentals we can drop off in Catania.Also any up to date restaurant recommendations.
At least one American who is gonna drive in Italy! I was already giving up on the subject of Americans and cars in Europe on this forum. I thought it was a 'contradictio in terminis' ! I can't help you on car rental since we always drive our own car in Europe. All the places are lovely. In Palermo try Mura, where the locals eat. In Erice stay in Elimo or San Domenico. Have fun!
 

Carolinian

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There is a whole string of historic towns south of Catania, and Taormina is a bit far north for day trips to some of them. I used Catania as a base for day trips in eastern Sicily, which is better located. I enjoyed Taormina, but did it as a day trip from Catania.

I did the Palermo area on a seperate trip, and stayed that time in a medieval palace converted to a hotel that was generally near the train station. I liked the location, ambiance, and price but don't recall the name of it. I found it on booking.com
 
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antjmar

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Also car rental suggestions for rentals we can drop off in Catania.Also any up to date restaurant recommendations.
I highly recommend www.europcar.com we rented a car in Rome and returned it in Lamezia (Southern Italy) and they have a Catania location.

They also had great rates! Not sure if they still do this but they would allow you to park their rental car for free for the day at any of their locations. This in itself saved us some $$ when going into cities since they seemed to be everywhere.
 

beejaybeeohio

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Car Rental out of Catania

For our port day in Catania, we were planning on renting a car to visit Taormina by taking the cable car from Mazzaro and also sightseeing enroute. I reserved a Nissan Micra automatic thru www.carrentals.com. Avis was the vendor. (We also have a reservation thru them out of CDG for an automatic via Budget.) Then we learned that 2 more friends would be joining us, so I reserved an automatic van directly through Avis. Prices seemed acceptable for one day, especially since automatics are difficult to rent in Europe.

Both reservations are now cancelled since I realized we had to add in the taxi time and extra cost to/from port to airport just to get the vehicle.

Your week in Sicily sounds wonderful!
 
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Margariet

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For our port day in Catania, we were planning on renting a car to visit Taormina by taking the cable car from Mazzaro and also sightseeing enroute. I reserved a Nissan Micra automatic thru www.carrentals.com. Avis was the vendor. (We also have a reservation thru them out of CDG for an automatic via Budget.) Then we learned that 2 more friends would be joining us, so I reserved an automatic van directly through Avis. Prices seemed acceptable for one day, especially since automatics are difficult to rent in Europe.

Both reservations are now cancelled since I realized we had to add in the taxi time and extra cost to/from port to airport just to get the vehicle.

Your week in Sicily sounds wonderful!
Will you be in the harbor of Pozzalo? You can hire the car over there or let the car drop at the harbor. It will save you time and money.
 

beejaybeeohio

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Will you be in the harbor of Pozzalo? You can hire the car over there or let the car drop at the harbor. It will save you time and money.
I'm not sure- but in the meantime we've booked a private tour thru Sicily Limousine Service- Etna Experience and the Charming Town on Taormina for @62 euro pp.

We also thought about the train & bus, but discarded that idea due to the variables of possibly crowded busses or having to wait for 30+ minutes if the train arrival doesn't mesh with that of the bus.

Margriet, would you please let me know the car hires available at the harbor? Folks on Cruise Critic who port in Catania would find that info very useful, thanks!
 

Margariet

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I'm not sure- but in the meantime we've booked a private tour thru Sicily Limousine Service- Etna Experience and the Charming Town on Taormina for @62 euro pp.

We also thought about the train & bus, but discarded that idea due to the variables of possibly crowded busses or having to wait for 30+ minutes if the train arrival doesn't mesh with that of the bus.

Margriet, would you please let me know the car hires available at the harbor? Folks on Cruise Critic who port in Catania would find that info very useful, thanks!
No, I only know that someone once told me about the car rental at the harbor of Pozzalo. But that's too far from Catania. Maybe they know it on TripAdvisor?
 

hibbeln

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I think you're going to want a car even more for the western side of Sicily (once you leave Palermo). We rented at the Palermo airport (I think the rental company was Maggiore). Check rates as they change all the time as to who has the best rate. Obviously don't try to drive in Palermo itself (other than to leave or enter)....you can walk faster than you can drive.
Driving in Sicily (outside of the cities) is easy. The autostrada is WONDERFUL and a nice quick ride. The roads that wind through the interior part of the country and along the southern end take far longer to drive than you would think because of traffic and their winding nature.
Sicilian are generally good drivers with surprisingly few accidents. Buckle up and simply remember that you only go in the left hand lane to PASS. DRIVE in the right lane when on the autostrada.
We were solely on the west side and the center of the island (Caltagirone area) and found a car to be essential as bus connections were not great.
 

hibbeln

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One other thought.....at the end of the "season" like you'll be in September, there is a real possibility that a lot of the hotel rooms are very smokey after a summer of tourists. Obviously this won't be much of a problem at smaller places and will be more of a problem at beach resort type places that cater to package tours. If you don't like super smokey smelling rooms, it is worth it to ask for a non-smoking room!!!!
 

pedro47

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I'm not sure- but in the meantime we've booked a private tour thru Sicily Limousine Service- Etna Experience and the Charming Town on Taormina for @62 euro pp.

Is this tour company any good for a one day tour with a group of ten adults?
 

beejaybeeohio

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I'm not sure- but in the meantime we've booked a private tour thru Sicily Limousine Service- Etna Experience and the Charming Town on Taormina for @62 euro pp.

Is this tour company any good for a one day tour with a group of ten adults?
I think the largest group they can accomodate in one vehicle is 7. You could consider breaking up your group. Another company to check out is www.newtravelservices.net. They might have a vehicle large enough and they are well-recommended on Trip Advisor- my only hesitation in using them is that their prices seemed TOO low!!
 

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I used Sciacca as a hub and stayed in a wonderful agriturismo that was so damn reasonable. A google search may find it. It was in a botanical nursery and parking, getting to the highway and navigating the town was effortless.

Agrigento, erice and Segesta were manageable day trips.

Good luck
 

Carolinian

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For Mt. Etna, there is a private railroad that circles around the base of the mountain, a very scenic trip, and it joins the regular rail line.
 

cgeidl

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Appreciate the Tug ideas.

Some great help. We may look at staying in Sciacca at a agritourismo.
 

Carolinian

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Erice also has a medieval monastery converted to a B&B that is very reasonable, which I found on booking.com
 

GetawaysRus

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This is an older thread, but I'm not finding much here on TUG about Sicily.

I'm working on plans for a cruise in September 2014. We'll be on Celebrity Silhouette. One of the stops is Catania, Sicily. It's just one day in Sicily. We're debating what to visit from Catania. We could either head north to Taormina and Castelmola or south to Syracuse and Noto.

Would appreciate any comments. We've never been to Sicily. So, if you had one day, would it be Taormina or Siricusa, and why?
 

beejaybeeohio

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2x on Silhouette

This is an older thread, but I'm not finding much here on TUG about Sicily.

I'm working on plans for a cruise in September 2014. We'll be on Celebrity Silhouette. One of the stops is Catania, Sicily. It's just one day in Sicily. We're debating what to visit from Catania. We could either head north to Taormina and Castelmola or south to Syracuse and Noto.

Would appreciate any comments. We've never been to Sicily. So, if you had one day, would it be Taormina or Siricusa, and why?
1st time we used Sicily Limousine Service and went to Etna & Taormina. Very enjoyable day at a reasonable cost as we were in a group of 6!

This past November, DH & I decided to wander Catania on our own. Gritty port city, IMO, but we found 2 sites that made it worthwhile- the Roman ampitheatre and a Baroque convent that is a UNESCO site.

Please join Cruise Critic if you're not a member! 3 forums will be of great use to you- Celebrity, Ports-of-Call, and your sailing's Roll Call. The Roll Call will help you find other cruisers who may be organizing private tours and looking for others to join in. Or you can organize your own!!

Our most recent Silhouette cruise we joined a private tour in Koper and I organized two- for Bari and Malta. For our upcoming cruise, I'm coordinating a group of 20 for a 2 night private tour in Beijing and a smaller group of 6 for a private tour of Jeju Is. Korea. We are joining in a private tour of Taipei.

DIYing or doing a private tour when on a cruise is the way to go!
 

cgeidl

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Depends on your interests

We completed our Sicily trip and enjoyed all except Palermo which was only for our arrival night and one other night.
In Catania we enjoyed the World War 2 museum and displays. This takes about an hour and a half,then you could go to Syracusa for a couple hours have lunch the do to Ragussa or Noto the return .we had lots of time but for a cruise we would hire a car and driver.
 
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