TAORMINA & MOUNT ETNA
We’ve visited the Island of Malta in the Mediterranean Sea twice and had such an amazing time there … the magnificent diving spots, strolling through ancient cities, enjoying the beautiful beaches and taste Pastizz for the first time … wonderful memories!
We will share some posts of these holidays to you guys soon 😊.
But what about Sicily?
We were so tired after our three-week holiday in Malta on our first trip – you see, we don’t sleep while discovering new places – and were more than ready to go home to rest!
That was until we’ve heard of a one-day tour to the eastern part of Sicily … and quickly booked a tour with Malta Tours (and may I add, we normally don’t do organised tours, but we were so close to Sicily and who knows if we’ll ever get the chance again …)
And so, it happened that a representative from Malta Tours picked us up at 6:00 in Senglea in Malta and transported us to the port of Valletta where we’ve boarded the catamaran of Virtu Ferries.
The catamaran is equipped with a very good cafeteria and a small boutique/gift shop. After we’ve bought cappuccinos, we found our seats and enjoyed the 90-minute ride to Port Pozzallo in Sicily.
In Port Pozallo we’ve bought water, cold drinks and baguettes to enjoy while relaxing on our tour coach.
Our first stop was at the small medieval town of Taormina, build on a mountain side and located 206m above sea level.
Taormina was settled by the people of nearby Naxos, an older Greek settlement, around 395 BC. It was built on the remains of a Sicilian city and is known as the pearl of the Mediterranean.
Taormina lives on tourism – their Greek-Roman theatre with magnificent views and its perfectly preserved medieval streets were a joy to visit.
We were so intrigued with its multiple corridors and plenty of stairs that were leading to either houses or restaurants and cafés.
My favourite shops were the ones where all the sweets and pasties were exhibited – it was exquisitely crafted!
After a couple of hours exploring this medieval city, we were ready to have lunch. Our choice fell on Bella Blu Restaurant … I can’t really remember the inside of the restaurant, but it had an amazing view. We both had pasta and a salad … and I can tell you, it was the best pasta and salad we’ve ever had!! It was such a simple dish – pasta with tomato sauce and the salad consisted of only a few leaves – but the flavours were bursting in our mouths!
After one of the best meals we’ve ever had, we had another hour to spent in Taormina before it was time to leave this beautiful city.
The main thoroughfare in Taormina is Corso Umberto l. This street leads to the Piazza del Duomo, complete with a 13th century Cathedral and Baroque fountain.
There was a wonderful atmosphere in the centre of Taormina … artists were busy painting beautiful pictures of their surroundings, while men were singing songs we don’t know (but hey, it sounded so good in Italian 😁).
By now, it was time to get back to the bus. We took a few last photo’s to remind us of this beautiful ancient town called Taormina – we wish we could stay longer!
We were now on our way to Europe’s most active volcano, Mount Etna. The drive up the mountain slopes took us through picturesque villages and an ever-changing landscape.
Our visit to Mount Etna took us 2000 meters above sea level and we’ve stopped at Silvester Craters, two inactive craters that were formed as a result of the Mount Etna eruption of 1892.
Unfortunately, our time was limited and we could not take the cable car all the way to the top of Mount Etna.
We’ve spent some time walking around at the foot of Mount Etna and appreciated the views of the valleys down below.
After a glorious sunny day in Taormina, it was quite cold on Mount Etna. We’ve visited the souvenir shop where Berto bought a stone originated from Mount Etna (or so they say 😉) … maybe we should have just taken one from the ground on our walks …
(Since our visit, Mount Etna had summit eruptions that took place in 2012, 2018 and most recently in February 2021).
Our time in Sicily was running out and we were now heading back to the port of Pozallo. We had, however one last stop … at a small café where we’ve bought ice cream! Yummy, what better way to end our day trip in Sicily than with the taste of delicious gelato on our lips!
We’ve boarded our catamaran at 21:30, got two cappuccinos and settled in our seats. On the way back, we’ve watched the Disney movie Ratatouille (until today, this movie reminds me of our trip to Sicily ☺️).
We’ve arrived just after 23:00 back in Malta … exhausted after a jam-packed day filled with amazing memories. What a day trip we had in Sicily!
We have done this trip in July 2011