The past weeks I have been taking you around Sicily and now it is time to make a little summary about our Road trip. You can find all the road trip post easily under the road trip tag. Sicily is a nice place to go around with a car and I hope someone gets inspiration for their upcoming summer trip from this post. You can easily do more cities if you have time – we saw five places in three days which was just enough for us that time. And there is also nice places in the other side of the island if you are staying example in Palermo so maybe I could do something similar for that part of the island later. But now, lets see how the trip looked!
As you can see from the map I have market all the cities in the order we visited them. We started from Menfi (0 in the map) early Saturday morning and drove first to Ragusa (1). From there we continued the same day to Noto (2) and ended our day in Catania (3). The next morning we had our trip to Etna and from there we drove to Taormina (4) where we spend rest of the day. We drove from Taormina to Francavilla di Sicilia for one night and then visited in the morning Gole dell`Alcantara. From there we started our way back home and we actually had a short stop in Sicilia Outlet Village. The Outlet village is 40 minutes away from Catania with car and 70 minutes from Palermo. I made few super nice founds from there so I highly recommend this place and it looks so nice, just like a small village.
So here it is, our road trip in Sicily. I hope you have enjoyed the trip with me the past weeks and got some inspiration also. I would be happy to know if you end up doing a trip like this someday, so let me know and I am happy to answer any questions regarding trip like this.
Hello there, I hope you have had much better Thursday than I. I have spend all day in the bed, woke up with fever and no voice. I have been resting all day and though to skip the TBT post today as my head is killing me, but it starting to be little boring to just sleep and drink hot ginger tea so here we go. This will be second last TBT post from our road trip in Sicily – next week I will put together a map and summary from the whole trip. But now, to the last, but definitely not the least amazing stop we had during our trip. After Taormina we drove to Francavilla di Sicilia which is a small town close to the northern slopes of mount Etna. We spend the night in a small hotel and early Monday morning drove to the the Gole dell`Alcantara parco botanico e geologico.
Lost in a volcanic canyon – that is how it felt in Gole dell`Alcantara. The canyon is created by lavaand the water there is so amazingly clear and clean, yet super cold. Yeas, even in the summer the water is very cold, but it has said to be many health benefits with shoes it was ok to walk around. There are two different entrances to the park – one is the “official” one with the entrance fee of 6-13€ (adults) depending of the season and then there is another “locals” entrance with entrance fee of 2€. The guide in our Etna trip told to us about these two difference entrances and the entrance you want to use totally depends on how much you want to see. If you join to the park from the official entrance you will get to visit a lot; example a museum and the park as well as experience the canyon not only by walking around it but also from the above. But if you use the “locals” entrance like we did, you go straight down to the canyon and cannot enter other parts of the park. For me it was ok to spend the time walking around the canyon but definitely felt little sad we did not have more time so we could have visit the other parts also.
As you can see the water comes from the above also and even though the water was extremely cold many did do a “showers” under the waterfalls. The river is actually very long and some parts are much more deep than the are when you enter to the canyon. The bottom of the river is full of small rocks and I definitely recommend shoes when walking in the water. You should also be careful because some parts of the river has quit strong flow. So if you would like to experience the river more and visit example the downstream you can do it in a guided body rafting group.
The incredibly beautiful lava walls were created several thousand year ago as the river bed was blocked by a lava flow from mount Etna and the lava was cooled much more quickly by the water than it would have done otherwise. So the lava crystallized in to the form of columns and when the river naturally eroded a channel through there column it resulted in to these impressive gorges like Gole dell`Alcantara.
In the entrance area (picture below) there was quit many locals sunbathing and even though now a days it is highly touristic destinations locals still enjoy the are also because of the health benefits. The contact with cold water and, immediately afterwards, the exposure to the sun, on the lavic basalt’s heated by the sun, result in a sort of gymnastics at the organic level of the circulatory system: veins and capillaries are strengthened. The legs plunged to the calf cause better circulation, resulting in a better blood supply to the organs, the epidermis, the nerve centers, and the stimulating and the strengthening of the immune system. And I have to admit that after three days of walking from morning to evening it was incredibly relaxing to walk in the cold water and then enjoy the sun.
I have to say this has been of the most incredible places I have visited in Sicily, maybe in whole Italy. It is like a small secret paradise after all the cities we visited during the trip. And if you are visiting Taormina you can easily make day trip to the park as it is only about 30 minutes drive away form the city. But now more resting for me, have a lovely evening!
This Thursday I am taking you back to Sicily once again as we continue the road trip to the fourth city of our trip- Taormina. Last week I showed you Noto from where we continued to Catania for one night. There the early Sunday morning we visited mount Etna (see more about that from Dream came true -post) and after the hiking trip we skipped rest of the Catania area and continue along the east coast to Taormina. The Greek-Roman theater was the only thing I had heard about the city and I can tell you I was so surprised when we arrive there – it was so much more I could even imagine!
Taormina was for me like those sunny dreamy places you see in the movies as everything and everyone looked so good. The city has this breath taking atmosphere even though it is backed with tourist and I really hope to visit the city again with more time. Taormina has the beautiful coastal are where you can swim and do all kind of water activities and see so many beautiful yachts. Then in the up on the hill there is the city center with small boutiques, restaurants, beautiful hotels and historical sites. We drove about to the half way with out car and left it to paid parking hall. From there we took a buss (it was included in the parking fee) with other tourist to the beginning of Corso Umberto, the main street.
I have to be honest and tell that after hiking in a sunny day in Etna it was for me little heavy to fully enjoy and concentrate to Taromina. It was so hot that I was feeling sick almost all the time there and being little pit tired after Etna, I did not take too many photos. I have clear images of the beautiful city in my mind but can`t truly find it from the photos I have take there. But nevertheless the city is colorful, full of small details and beautiful people. I felt there was a lot those rich upper class couples (sorry for the generalization) having their luxury holiday and I can understand why they chose Taormina. The city offers you perfect place to escape.
From the up the view to the sea was really nice and you can see how much sea traffic there was in a sunny August Sunday. There were also few totally insane hotels in the hills with those class wall pools you see in the luxury travel photos.
After walking around Corso Umberto and streets around it, it was time to go to the Greek-Roman Theater I had been waiting to see. When standing in the ticket line we saw a small paper telling about constructions in the theater area so before paying the tickets we asked what is going on. We found out that most of the theater was covered as they were making everything ready for some event, so there was not too much to see that time. With the disappointment we eventually decided not to pay the entrance fee and join in (they did try to say there is a lot more also to see in the area) as the theater was my main interest. So my advice to you is to check what there is happening when you are visiting the city, as you can imagine how sad it was not to see this place. The picture of the theater is borrowed so I can show you how it is, but I hope one day I will see it live whit its full beauty and take my own photos of it.
I found the city surprisingly green and there seemed to be plants in every corner of the city. From the main streets you can step a side to tiny streets and find example local artist selling their paintings or peaceful cafe bars where to enjoy a small brake form the busy Corso Umberto. And as it is so hot in the summer time many restaurants and cafe places have very nice air condition machines to cool you down.
In this last picture there is the most beautiful hotel entrance I have ever seen. I wonder if it was looking as nice inside also.