"Messina Sicily tips on travel to Taormina for cruisers; getting to Taormina monuments in the shadow of Mount Etna Volcano."
Getting from Messina Sicily to Taormina Italy is fairly easy and most cruisers really enjoy the 50 minute long scenic train ride along the Ionian coast.
Another great thing about getting from to Taormina town by public transportation is that it’s really cheap!
So here’s how to go about your travel to Taormina by train: first of all, make sure you know what day of the week you will be calling to Messina.
Namely, trains from Messina Sicily are very restricted on Sundays and you won’t be able to use them at all.
If that’s the day of your visit, you’d better start planning a different way of travel from Messina Sicily to Taormina: either taking a taxi, a private tour or a cruise ship organized tour.
Second, you need to be sure what time your ship actually docks in Messina Sicily. Oftentimes, ships spend only half the day in Messina Sicily and could have a very late arrival or early departure. Knowing this info will help you plan your train travel a great deal.
Keep in mind that even if your cruise times say your ship may be docking in Messina Sicily at 7am, you should always allow about 30 minutes for the ship to be cleared and the gangway to be set up. So, don’t plan on catching the 7:15 train!
Now that you know all the details, here’s the train times/timetables:
From Messina Centrale to Taormina (Giardini-Naxos):
08:00....................09:02 (not running on Sunday)
09:31....................10:14 (not running on Sunday)
12:15....................13:23 (not running on Sunday)
13:10....................13:57 (not running on Sunday)
13:35....................14:40 (not running on Sunday)
From Taormina (Giardini-Naxos) to Messina Centrale:
DEPARTURE..............ARRIVAL 12:28.........................13:10 (not running on Sunday)
13:25..........................14:32 (not running on Sunday)
14:02..........................15:07 (not running on Sunday)
15:13..........................16:05 (not running on Sunday)
15:53..........................17:00 (not running on Sunday)
17:21..........................18:00 (not running on Sunday)
Most trains fee is €3,50 per person one-way ticket while only occasionally, for some trains in the afternoon you might need to pay €7,50.
For the latest train timetables always double check the official Trenitalia website here.
If you’re not sure how long you need to really see and explore Taormina Italy, we would say that about 3-4 hours are more than enough to do your sightseeing, dining and Taormina shopping.
Just keep in mind the majority of shops will be closed for siesta in the afternoon, starting from 1:00 pm or 1:30 pm till around 4:00 pm.
Now that you have planned the timeframe of your visit to Taormina, all you need to know is how to get from the cruise ship dock in Messina Sicily to Messina Centrale train station.
When you get off your ship’s gangway, and pass through the little terminal building, you will be on the main waterfront which is downtown Messina Sicily.
Now take it to the left and keep walking until you see the big Martini sign up on one of the buildings.
Carry on past the gas/petrol station.
When you get to face the Messina Maritima building, turn right and walk some 150 m up the road and then turn left. The Messina Centrale station will be right in front of you.
You can purchase your tickets at the biglietteria booth or at the self-service machine.
Once you get your ticket, check the Partenze screen for the number of platform (binario) your train will be departing from.
If you don’t see the train to Taormina Giardini-Naxos on the list, check the one entitled Catania C.LE.
From there on you can relax for some 45 minutes to an hour and enjoy the vistas.
Watch out to make sure you get off at the Giardini-Naxos train station… but once you get off here you won’t be at your destination yet!
Giardini-Naxos, once a quiet fishing village, today is a popular seaside resort on the coast of the Ionian sea. However, there’s nothing of interest here for you (unless you want to lay on a beach) and you will be heading up to the top of the hill on which Taormina town is situated.
There are two ways of getting from Giardini-Naxos train station to Taormina:
1) Taking a taxi - honestly, even if they will charge you the outrageous €20 for a 10 minute ride to Taormina, it is still by far the quickest way of getting up there! If you’re a couple, find someone to share the taxi with and you will be glad you saved yourselves lots of time that now you can spend enjoying the beautiful Taormina.
If you are going to go with the taxi make sure you’re one of the first people to get off that train and run out of the train station terminal building to catch your taxi, they are very limited in number!
2) Taking a bus – this is the cheaper option of getting up to Taormina town, the bus fee from Giardini-Naxos to Taormina is only approx. €1,20. The bus will stop right in front of the train station building.
However, you might need to wait for up to an hour for a bus to pass by. Even though there should be one every 30 minutes, some of them won’t stop as they will already be full of passengers from Messina Sicily.
The bus will stop at the Taormina bus terminal in Via Luigi Pirandello. Before you head on, make sure you check the times of buses departure on the way down back to the train station!
From Taormina bus terminal, there’s about a 5-10 minute walk to Porta Messina, which is one of the two main entrances into town. From there, you will be entering the pedestrian area of Taormina.
It’s entirely up to you to decide what kind of transport from the train station works best for you but whatever you do, do not try to walk up to Taormina by yourself. We tried it and got nowhere… if it wasn’t for the nice bus driver that picked us up along the way, the day would have ended up a complete disaster. Way too much time wasted!
If you still think getting from Messina to Taormina is just too much hustle, check some of our shore excursion recommendations below...
Have fun sightseeing Taormina monuments and enjoying the views of Mount Etna volcano!