Spend a full and delightful day exploring two medieval villages on craggy hills overlooking the sea, each setting with its own personality.
After departing from the pier, you will enjoy a scenic drive south to Taormina, an ancient city that rises almost perpendicularly from the sea. It’s a beautiful setting with an alluring medieval character, as you will discover while strolling its narrow, cobblestone streets.
Among the highlights are the Arabian-influenced Palazzo Corvaja and the ruins of a 2nd-century Greek theater. It sits on a seaside hilltop with a view of Mount Etna that is so inspiring that it can detract from the entertainers that still perform there in the summer.
After visiting, you will enjoy free time to explore on your own, taking in the views from the fragrant public garden or shopping along boutique-lined Corso Umberto. The most popular merchandise includes designer fashions, jewelry and colorful ceramic pine cones, a Sicilian symbol of hospitality.
A bit farther inland and above Taormina, you will find the village of Castelmola, which arguably boasts even better views. Although first fortified in the 9th century, Castelmola was repeatedly attacked and the ruins of the castle that remain are from the 16th century.
Like Taormina, Castelmola is wonderfully atmospheric with cobblestone streets and lovely squares flanked by small shops. Still, it’s the breathtaking views that will linger long in your memory. Before returning to the pier, you will enjoy a traditional Sicilian lunch and perhaps a glass of almond-flavored wine, the local specialty.
Need to Know:
Note: This tour includes approximately 1 hour of moderate to strenuous walking, plus any additional walking at the guests’ discretion during free time. There will be many steps, uneven and cobblestone surfaces to negotiate as well as an uphill walk to reach Castelmola. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests or those with mobility concerns. Weather appropriate clothing (shoulders must be covered when entering churches); sun cap; sunglasses; sunscreen; a bottle of water from the ship; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended.
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Scenic & City Tours
Tours with this activity level involve physical exertion for extended periods of time; can involve uneven or steep terrain or swimming in a light current. Recommended only for physically fit and adventurous travelers.
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