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The Messina Cruise Port in 2024! Top Tips & Tricks

Bordered by the sparkling Tyrrhenian Sea and boasting a rich tapestry of history, Messina is more than just a stopover for Mediterranean cruise liners.

Welcome to cruise port Messina, where every corner has a story, every plate is a feast, and every sunset promises a new day of exploration. Grab your cruise planner and let’s begin the adventure!

Messina cruise port

Getting to and from the Port

Navigating your way to and from the cruise port can often be the first puzzle you solve in a new destination. But fear not!

Messina is not only historically rich but also user-friendly for travelers. Here’s your essential guide to getting to the heart of the city from the port and vice-versa.

Directions from the Airport to the Cruise Port

Messina doesn’t have its own major airport, so travelers often arrive via Catania’s Fontanarossa Airport or Reggio Calabria’s Tito Minniti Airport.

  • From Catania’s Fontanarossa Airport: You’re about a 1.5-hour drive away from the port. You can opt for:
    • A direct bus service which runs a few times a day.
    • Renting a car and driving along the coastal A18 highway – a scenic route that offers spectacular views of the Mediterranean.
    • Pre-booking a private transfer for a hassle-free commute.
  • From Reggio Calabria’s Tito Minniti Airport: Just a ferry ride away! Once you land:
    • Take a taxi or local bus to the Reggio Calabria ferry terminal.
    • Hop on a ferry across the Strait of Messina, a short but picturesque journey.
    • Once you disembark, you’re right at the Messina cruise port!
cruise port Messina

Local Transportation Options

  • Taxis: They’re plentiful around the cruise port Messina area. Always make sure to agree on a fare beforehand or ensure the meter is running.
  • Buses: Messina’s local bus service is efficient and covers most parts of the city. Tickets can be bought from kiosks or directly on the bus.
  • Trams: A single tram line runs through Messina, providing a charming way to explore the main boulevards.
  • Renting a Bike or Scooter: Perfect for those looking to explore at their own pace. Several rental shops near the Messina cruise port offer daily hires.

Approximate Transportation Costs and Durations

  • Bus from Catania Airport to Messina: Around €8-12; Duration: 1.5 hours.
  • Taxi from Reggio Calabria Airport to Ferry Terminal: Approx. €15-20; Duration: 15 minutes.
  • Ferry from Reggio Calabria to Messina: €3-5; Duration: 20 minutes.
  • Local bus ticket in Messina: €1-1.50; Duration: Varies depending on the route.
  • Taxi within Messina: Starts at around €7; increases with distance.
  • Bike/Scooter Rental: Starting from €15/day.

Arriving in Messina is the beginning of your Sicilian adventure. Whether you come by air and road or the romantic ferry across the Strait, each route offers its own little preview of the beauty and charm awaiting you in this magnificent city.

So, buckle up, enjoy the journey, and get ready to dive deep into the wonders of Messina on your all-inclusive cruise!

Messina cruise terminal

Port Facilities

Docking at the Messina cruise port, you’re not just arriving at a transport hub; you’re stepping into a well-facilitated gateway designed for travelers to transition smoothly into their Sicilian escapade. Let’s delve into the various amenities and services the cruise port Messina offers:

Terminal Services and Amenities

  • Information Desk: A good first stop for visitors. Whether you have queries about local transport, excursion options, or just general information, the friendly staff here can guide you.
  • Free Wi-Fi: Stay connected without burning through your data. Whether you want to update your travel itinerary or simply call home, the Messina cruise port’s complimentary Wi-Fi service has you covered.
  • Restrooms and Showers: Clean and well-maintained, these are available for travelers looking to freshen up after their journey.
  • Cafés and Snack Bars: For that quick caffeine fix or a bite to eat, there are a few establishments offering a taste of local flavors.
Messina cruise ship

Luggage Handling

  • Luggage Storage: For those wanting to explore the city without being weighed down, there are secure luggage storage services available. Ideal for travelers with late departures or those who’ve arrived well before their check-in time.
  • Porters: Available to assist with luggage, especially useful for those with mobility issues or those traveling heavy.

Embarkation and Disembarkation Processes

  • Check-in Counters: Efficiently managed, ensuring a swift check-in process for those setting sail from Messina.
  • Security: Keeping passenger safety paramount, there are thorough security checks in place. While they’re comprehensive, the process is usually quick and hassle-free.
  • Waiting Lounges: Comfortable seating areas for passengers waiting to embark or for those who’ve just disembarked and are orienting themselves.
Messina cruise ship

Accessibility for Travelers with Disabilities

  • Ramps and Elevators: Ensuring easy mobility for those in wheelchairs or with walking aids.
  • Accessible Restrooms: Designed keeping in mind the requirements of disabled travelers.
  • Assistance Services: Pre-arranged assistance is available for travelers with special needs. It’s advisable to notify your cruise line in advance, so the cruise port Messina is prepared to offer any required support upon your arrival.

Stepping into a new city can sometimes be daunting, especially when it’s through a bustling port. But with the array of services and facilities at Messina’s cruise port, your transition from ship to shore and vice-versa promises to be a seamless one.

As you navigate through, remember, every amenity here is designed keeping you, the traveler, in mind, ensuring your Sicilian journey starts and ends on a high note!

Messina cruise ship

What to Expect upon Arrival

Stepping into Messina, you’re not just entering a new city; you’re embracing an age-old Sicilian rhythm, echoing tales of ancient cultures, battles, and fervent passions. But before you immerse yourself into its rich tapestry, here’s a primer on what to expect upon your arrival at this historic cruise port Messina:

Customs and Immigration Procedures

  • Customs Declaration: For those arriving from outside the Schengen Area, you may need to declare specific goods. Be sure to keep an eye out for the guidelines provided onboard your cruise.
  • Passport Checks: While many EU citizens can pass freely, those from certain countries might undergo passport inspections. Always keep your travel documents handy.
  • Visa Requirements: Depending on your nationality, you may require a visa to enter Italy. Ensure you’ve sorted this before your travel.
Messina sea side

Currency Exchange and Banking Facilities

  • Currency Used: Italy uses the Euro (€). It’s recommended to have a few euros handy for immediate expenses.
  • ATMs: There are several ATMs within and around the port area. They accept most international cards. Remember to be cautious of fees and notify your bank of your travels to avoid any unexpected card blocks.
  • Currency Exchange: While there are currency exchange booths at the Messina cruise port, you might get better rates in the city or at the airport.

Local Language and Basic Phrases for Communication

  • Official Language: Italian. Though in touristy areas, many people will understand basic English.
  • Helpful Phrases:
    • Hello: Ciao or Salve
    • Thank you: Grazie
    • Yes/No: Sì/No
    • Please: Per favore
    • How much?: Quanto costa?
    • Where is…?: Dov’è…?
    • Help!: Aiuto!
Messina history

SIM Cards and Connectivity

  • Purchasing SIM Cards: If you’re looking for a local SIM, there are kiosks and stores near the cruise port Messina selling them. Ensure your phone is unlocked to use international SIM cards.
  • Connectivity: Messina offers good mobile connectivity. However, if you’re venturing further into Sicily, especially mountainous areas, be prepared for occasional weak signals.

Local Etiquette and Dress Code

  • Dress Code: While Messina is relatively relaxed, if you’re visiting religious sites, ensure you wear respectful attire. This typically means covering shoulders and knees.
  • Tipping: Service charge is often included in restaurant bills, but it’s customary to leave small change. For excellent service, a tip of 5-10% is appreciated.
  • Greetings: A handshake is standard for introductions. If you’re meeting someone you know well, cheek-kissing (starting from the left) is common.

Landing in Messina, you’re on the cusp of a myriad of experiences waiting to unfold. By knowing what to expect, you’re better poised to handle the logistics swiftly and dive straight into the heart of this captivating city.

Whether it’s the rhythm of the language, the shimmer of the Tyrrhenian Sea, or the aroma of local delicacies, Messina beckons with open arms. So, arm yourself with a bit of local know-how, and you’re all set to explore and revel in its offerings!

The Messina Cathedral

Things to Do in Messina

Ah, Messina! A city where ancient history, architectural marvels, and the allure of the Mediterranean meld into one harmonious experience. From the moment you disembark, a myriad of attractions beckon. Let’s dive into the must-see sights and hidden gems of this Sicilian wonder.

Historical Sites

  • The Messina Cathedral (Duomo di Messina): A splendid example of Norman architecture, this cathedral houses a remarkable astronomical clock in its bell tower. Make sure to be there at noon to witness the animated spectacle of its golden figures.
  • The Fountain of Orion (Fontana di Orione): Situated in Piazza Duomo, this Renaissance masterpiece symbolizes the mythical foundation of Messina. The detailed sculptures narrate stories of mythology and the city’s history.
  • Annunziata dei Catalani Church: A rare relic of the Norman era, this church boasts a unique mix of Arab-Norman architecture. Its geometric patterns and layered arches make it a visual delight.
Museum of Messina

Modern Attractions

  • Regional Museum of Messina: Dive deep into the city’s artistic legacy. The museum houses works by Caravaggio and Antonello da Messina, offering a journey through centuries of art and history.
  • Viale San Martino: This vibrant boulevard is perfect for a leisurely stroll. Lined with shops, cafés, and bustling with life, it’s the pulse of modern-day Messina.
Lakes of Ganzirri

Natural Attractions

  • Lakes of Ganzirri: Just a short drive from the city, these coastal saltwater lakes are a serene escape. Known for mussel farming, the surrounding eateries offer some of the freshest seafood dishes.
  • Capo Peloro: The northeastern tip of Sicily, it’s the perfect spot to enjoy panoramic views of the sea, the Calabrian coast, and the Aeolian Islands.
Piazza Cairoli

Experience Local Life

  • Piazza Cairoli: The heart of city life, this square is dotted with trees, fountains, and local boutiques. A visit in the evening lets you soak in the local atmosphere, with children playing and families enjoying gelato.
  • Fish Market: For a slice of authentic Messina, visit the bustling fish market in the morning. It’s a sensory delight of colors, aromas, and the melodic banter of vendors.
Pasta alla Norma

Culinary Delights

  • Granita: Messina claims to be the birthplace of this icy treat. Don’t leave without trying the classic lemon or coffee flavors at local gelaterias.
  • Pasta alla Norma: A traditional Sicilian pasta dish, it’s a melody of fried eggplants, tomatoes, basil, and ricotta cheese.
Messina Film Fest

Events and Festivals

  • La Vara: Held annually in August, this festival sees a massive carriage carrying the statues of Madonna and Christ paraded through the streets. The procession is accompanied by traditional music, dance, and a fervent atmosphere.
  • Messina Film Fest: A celebration of cinema, it attracts filmmakers and enthusiasts from all over, offering screenings, workshops, and discussions.

Messina is not just a city; it’s an emotion. It’s the laughter of locals at a café, the chimes of the cathedral bell, the aroma of fresh seafood, and the touch of history that adorns its streets. Whether you’re here for a few hours or a few days, let Messina’s rhythm guide you, and you’re sure to take back memories that last a lifetime.


Excursions and Tours in Messina

While the heart of Messina holds a world of wonders, stepping just outside its boundaries reveals a vast Sicilian landscape filled with myth, history, and nature’s bounty.

Embarking on guided tours or excursions is a perfect way to immerse in these experiences. So, let’s venture beyond the city limits and discover what the surrounding areas offer:


  • Greek Theatre: With the shimmering Ionian Sea as its backdrop, this ancient theatre is a testament to Greece’s influence on Sicily. While it’s historically captivating, it also offers some of the most breathtaking views of Mount Etna.
  • Corso Umberto: Taormina’s main street brimming with quaint shops, local boutiques, and delicious eateries. It’s the perfect blend of modern life in an ancient setting.
  • Guided Tours: Join a day tour to explore this hilltop town’s historical and cultural gems, often combined with a visit to the nearby Isola Bella.
  • Places to Stay: Interested in exploring Messina longer than a day (or half a day)? There are plenty of places to stay in Taormina that are close to some of the top attractions of the area!
Mount Etna

Mount Etna

  • Volcano Hiking: For the adventurous, guided hikes up Europe’s most active volcano promise unforgettable vistas, unique landscapes, and a touch of adrenaline.
  • Winery Tours: The fertile volcanic soils around Mount Etna produce some of Sicily’s best wines. Embark on wine tasting tours to savour local varieties, paired often with local delicacies.
Aeolian Islands

Aeolian Islands

  • Island-Hopping Tour: These seven UNESCO-listed islands are a paradise for nature and beach lovers. Popular stops include Stromboli, known for its active volcano, and Lipari, the largest island with rich history and stunning views.
  • Boat Excursions: Dive into the turquoise waters, visit sea caves, and enjoy the marine beauty of this archipelago.
Reggio Calabria

Reggio Calabria

  • National Archaeological Museum: Home to the famous Riace Bronzes, this museum offers a deep dive into the region’s ancient history.
  • Promenade Tours: Often dubbed the most beautiful kilometer in Italy, the Lungomare Falcomatà is a joy to explore, with the views of Messina on one side and the Aspromonte mountains on the other.
Forza d'Agrò

Savoca and Forza d’Agrò – The Godfather Tour

  • Cinematic Landmarks: Visit Bar Vitelli and other filming locations of the iconic movie ‘The Godfather’. Experience the rustic charm of these villages that served as the backdrop for some of the film’s most memorable scenes.
  • Guided Tours: Local guides narrate intriguing stories of the movie, the villages, and their ties to Francis Ford Coppola’s masterpiece.
Nebrodi Natural Park

Nebrodi Natural Park

  • Nature Trails: Explore Sicily’s largest national park, with its dense forests, pristine lakes, and rich biodiversity.
  • Local Culture Tours: Many excursions often combine nature hikes with visits to traditional mountain villages, offering insights into the local way of life and unique culinary traditions.

Embarking on these tours and excursions not only deepens your understanding of Sicily but also offers a broader context to Messina’s place in this beautiful island’s mosaic. Whether you’re scaling volcanic heights, diving into azure waters, or walking through cinematic history, each experience weaves a story – a story that becomes an essential chapter in your Sicilian tale.


Local Cuisine of Messina

A journey through Messina isn’t complete without indulging in its culinary delights. The city’s gastronomy is a vivid reflection of its storied past, a delectable mix of indigenous traditions blended with Greek, Arab, and Norman influences. Let’s embark on a culinary voyage through the gastronomic heart of Messina.

Starters and Snacks

  • Arancini: These are delicious, deep-fried rice balls stuffed with a variety of fillings, such as ragù (meat and tomato sauce), mozzarella, and peas.
  • Caponata: A sweet and sour eggplant dish cooked with tomatoes, capers, olives, and a dash of vinegar.
  • Pane e Panelle: Chickpea fritters often sandwiched between slices of bread, offering a crunchy, savory bite.
Swordfish Messinese

Main Dishes

  • Pasta alla Norma: A celebration of Sicily in a dish, it combines pasta with sautéed eggplants, rich tomato sauce, basil, and grated ricotta salata cheese.
  • Swordfish Messinese: Swordfish steaks cooked in a savory sauce made from olives, capers, tomatoes, and herbs.
  • Falsomagro: A traditional meat roll stuffed with cheese, breadcrumbs, ham, and eggs, then cooked in a tomato sauce.
Cozze alla Messinese

Seafood Delights

  • Gamberi Rossos (Red Prawns): Often hailed as the “gems of the Mediterranean”, these prawns, sourced from the waters near Messina, are renowned for their sweet, delicate taste.
  • Cozze alla Messinese: Mussels cooked in a rich tomato sauce with garlic, olive oil, and local herbs.
  • Sarde a Beccafico: A traditional dish where sardines are stuffed with breadcrumbs, raisins, and pine nuts, then baked or fried to perfection.

Sweets and Desserts

  • Cannoli: Crunchy pastry tubes filled with sweetened ricotta cheese, often sprinkled with pistachios or chocolate chips.
  • Pignolata: A dessert made of small dough balls that are fried, coated in honey, and then typically divided into two portions – one covered in lemon-flavored icing and the other with chocolate.
  • Granita: Icy and refreshing, this semi-frozen dessert comes in various flavors, with lemon, almond, and coffee being the favorites.


  • Marsala Wine: Originating from Sicily, this fortified wine can be dry or sweet and is often used in cooking or enjoyed as a dessert wine.
  • Limoncello: A zesty lemon liqueur, it’s perfect as an after-dinner digestive.
  • Caffè Freddo: A cold and sweetened coffee, ideal for the warm Sicilian climate.
Mercato del Pesce

Street Food and Markets

  • Mercato del Pesce: Messina’s fish market offers not just a variety of fresh seafood but also an authentic atmosphere of local life. Many stalls serve ready-to-eat seafood snacks, making it a delightful culinary experience.
  • Pizzette: Small pizza bites often topped with tomatoes, anchovies, or onions, easily found in local bakeries or street vendors.

While the landscapes and monuments of Messina leave a visual imprint, its cuisine is what lingers on the palate and in the heart. From the freshest of seafood to the most decadent of desserts, every morsel narrates a tale of the land, the sea, and the passionate people who’ve honed these recipes through generations.

So, dive into this gastronomic haven, and let the flavors of Messina dance on your tongue!

Mercato delle Pulci

Shopping Guide to Messina

Whether you’re on the hunt for artisanal treasures, high fashion labels, or simply some authentic Sicilian souvenirs, Messina’s shopping scene is a delightful blend of tradition and modernity. Here’s a guide to ensure that you find the best shopping spots and return home with bags full of memories!

Traditional Markets

  • Mercato di Messina: A bustling hub of activity, this is where you’ll find everything from fresh produce, local cheeses, and meats to clothes, accessories, and household items. It’s not just a shopping spot but a cultural experience.
  • Il Mercato delle Pulci: Translating to “The Flea Market,” this is the place to hunt for antiques, vintage items, and unique collectibles.

Artisanal Shops

  • Ceramic Workshops: Sicilian ceramics, with their intricate designs and vibrant colors, are famous worldwide. Head to local workshops where you can watch artisans at work and buy handmade pottery and ceramics.
  • Loom Weaving Studios: Buy authentic hand-woven textiles, from scarves to tablecloths, made using traditional Sicilian weaving techniques.
Viale San Martino

High-End Shopping

  • Viale San Martino: Lined with chic boutiques and international brands, this boulevard caters to those looking for high-fashion items and luxury goods.

Local Delicacies and Gourmet Shops

  • Enoteca (Wine Shops): Sicily has a rich wine heritage. Visit local wine shops to sample and buy renowned Sicilian wines like Marsala, Nero d’Avola, and Grillo.
  • Dolcerias: These sweet shops are filled with traditional Sicilian desserts. Stock up on torrone (nougat), almond pastries, and, of course, cannoli.
Artisan Olive Oil Producers

Souvenirs and Crafts

  • Via Tommaso Cannizzaro: This street is known for its small boutiques selling crafts, local art, and souvenirs. Look for handcrafted jewelry, embroidered linens, and olive oil-based soaps.
  • Artisan Olive Oil Producers: Sicily’s olive oil is some of the finest in the world. Visit producers to taste and buy premium oils, often infused with herbs or citrus.

Contemporary and Niche

  • Via Giacomo Matteotti: A modern shopping street, it’s dotted with contemporary boutiques, niche perfume stores, and artisanal coffee roasters.
  • Independent Bookstores: Explore charming bookshops that offer a curated selection of books, including those focusing on Sicilian history, art, and culture.

Tips for Shoppers

  • Bargaining: While fixed prices are common in high-end shops and malls, don’t hesitate to haggle in markets and smaller stalls.
  • Opening Hours: Remember that many shops close for a siesta in the early afternoon, typically between 1 PM and 4 PM.
  • Tax Refunds: Non-EU tourists can avail tax refunds on certain goods. Make sure to keep your receipts and inquire about the refund process in stores.

Shopping in Messina isn’t merely a transaction; it’s an immersion. It’s the stories the artisans share, the history embedded in every artifact, and the modern city’s pulse felt in its contemporary stores. With every purchase, you’re not just taking home a product but a piece of Messina’s soul. Happy shopping!

Messina cruise stop

Tips for Cruisers to Messina

Navigating a foreign land can be a daunting task, but with a handful of insights and advice, your journey can be smooth, enjoyable, and truly enriching. If Messina is your next travel destination, here are some essential tips to ensure a seamless and memorable experience.

Best Time to Visit

  • Spring and Fall: The months of April to June and September to early November are ideal, offering pleasant temperatures, fewer crowds, and the chance to experience local festivals.
Messina cruise stop

Getting Around

  • Walking: The historic center is compact and best explored on foot. Wear comfortable shoes, as some streets can be cobbled.
  • Public Transport: While the bus system is reliable for reaching suburbs and nearby towns, the tram line is more tourist-friendly for main attractions.
  • Renting: For more flexibility, consider renting a car or scooter, especially if you plan to explore the countryside.

Language and Communication

  • Italian and Sicilian: While Italian is the official language, many locals also speak Sicilian. English is commonly spoken in tourist areas, but learning a few basic Italian phrases will be appreciated.

Currency and Payments

  • Euro (€) is the official currency. While credit cards are widely accepted, it’s wise to keep some cash, especially for small purchases, local markets, or remote areas.

Local Etiquette

  • Greeting: A simple “Ciao” (Hello/Goodbye) or “Buongiorno” (Good morning) goes a long way. Physical greetings, like cheek kisses, are common among friends.
  • Dress Code: While Messina is modern, it’s advisable to dress modestly, especially when visiting religious sites. Always carry a scarf or shawl for churches.
cruise port Messina


  • General Safety: Messina is relatively safe, but as with any tourist spot, always be wary of pickpockets, especially in crowded areas.
  • Emergency Numbers: 112 is the general emergency number, but for medical emergencies, dial 118.


  • SIM Cards: Local SIM cards are readily available for tourists. Consider buying one if you’re planning a longer stay.
  • Wi-Fi: Most hotels, restaurants, and cafes offer free Wi-Fi. However, always be cautious about using public networks for sensitive tasks.


  • Restaurants and Cafes: Service charge is often included in the bill. However, leaving small change or rounding up the bill is a kind gesture.
  • Taxis: Tipping isn’t mandatory, but rounding up to the nearest Euro is appreciated.

Festivals and Public Holidays

  • Check Local Calendars: Festivals, parades, and public holidays might affect shop openings and transport schedules. The Ferragosto (August 15) is a significant summer holiday where many businesses might close.


  • Stay Hydrated: Especially during the summer months. Bottled water is widely available.
  • Pharmacies: Easily recognizable by a green cross sign. They carry essential medicines and often have English-speaking staff.


  • Respect Nature: If you’re exploring natural spots or beaches, ensure you don’t leave trash behind.
  • Support Local: Buying from local artisans or eating at local eateries helps sustain the community and offers an authentic experience.

Armed with these tips, you’re set to explore Messina like a seasoned traveler, balancing the wonder of a first-time visitor with the savvy of someone who’s been there before. Enjoy the splendors of Messina and let the city’s magic envelop you!


Nearby Destinations to Explore from Messina

Messina is not only a captivating destination in its own right but also serves as a gateway to some of Sicily’s most enchanting locales. If you’re looking to explore beyond the city’s boundaries, here are some must-visit nearby destinations that promise diverse experiences.


  • Distance: Approximately 50 kilometers south of Messina.
  • Highlights:
    • Ancient Greek Theatre: Offering panoramic views of Mount Etna and the Ionian Sea.
    • Corso Umberto: The main street, filled with shops, cafes, and historic landmarks.
    • Isola Bella: A picturesque islet and nature reserve connected to the mainland by a narrow strip of beach.
Mount Etna

Mount Etna

  • Distance: Roughly 90 kilometers from Messina.
  • Highlights:
    • Trekking and Tours: Explore Europe’s highest and most active volcano with guided tours or treks.
    • Wine Tasting: The fertile volcanic soil around Etna produces some of Sicily’s finest wines. Don’t miss out on vineyard tours and tastings.


  • Distance: About 100 kilometers south of Messina.
  • Highlights:
    • Piazza del Duomo: A UNESCO World Heritage site with the stunning Catania Cathedral.
    • La Pescheria: The bustling fish market that captures the essence of local life.
Aeolian Islands

Aeolian Islands

  • Distance: The closest, Lipari, is around 1.5 hours by ferry from Messina.
  • Highlights:
    • Stromboli: One of the most active volcanoes in the world, offering nighttime lava displays.
    • Salina: Famous for its Malvasia wine and caper exports.
    • Panarea: A glamorous getaway known for its azure waters, luxury yachts, and nightlife.


  • Distance: About 40 kilometers west of Messina.
  • Highlights:
    • Milazzo Castle: A vast fortified area offering panoramic views of the town and coastline.
    • Cape Milazzo: A scenic area with the Sanctuary of St. Anthony, lagoons, and beautiful vistas.


  • Distance: Approximately 170 kilometers south of Messina.
  • Highlights:
    • Ortigia: A historic island district with landmarks like the Temple of Apollo and the Fountain of Arethusa.
    • Archaeological Park of Neapolis: Home to the impressive Greek Theatre and the Ear of Dionysius.
Cefalù Cathedral


  • Distance: About 170 kilometers west of Messina.
  • Highlights:
    • Cefalù Cathedral: A UNESCO World Heritage site with stunning mosaics.
    • The Rocca: A massive limestone rock overlooking the town, offering hiking paths and panoramic views.

Tips for Nearby Travels

  • Plan Ahead: Especially if visiting popular destinations during peak seasons.
  • Use Local Transport: Buses and trains are cost-effective options to explore the island.
  • Ferry Services: Essential for trips to the Aeolian Islands. Make reservations in advance during the tourist season.

While Messina offers a rich tapestry of history, culture, and beauty, venturing out to these nearby destinations can enhance your Sicilian experience manifold. Each place, with its unique allure, ensures that your journey through this magical island remains etched in your memory forever. Safe travels!

Messina cruise stop cathedral

Best Times to Visit Messina

Sicily’s allure is perpetual, but depending on what you seek, there are optimal times to visit Messina. Factors like the weather, local festivals, and tourist influx can influence your experience. Here’s a breakdown of the best times to explore this Sicilian gem:

Spring (March to May)

  • Weather: Mild temperatures, blooming flowers, and longer days.
  • Highlights:
    • Easter Celebrations: Witness age-old traditions, religious processions, and local festivities.
    • Local Produce: Springtime sees an abundance of artichokes, fava beans, and fresh citrus.

Summer (June to August)

  • Weather: Hot and sunny, with temperatures often crossing 30°C (86°F). Coastal breezes in Messina can make the heat more bearable.
  • Highlights:
    • Beach Days: Perfect time to hit the beaches and coastal areas.
    • Ferragosto (August 15): A significant summer holiday. While many locals go on vacation, there are festivities and fireworks in towns and cities.
    • Tourist Influx: This is the peak tourist season, so expect crowded attractions and higher prices.
Messina cruise stop cathedral

Autumn (September to November)

  • Weather: Mild to warm temperatures, making it pleasant for sightseeing.
  • Highlights:
    • Wine Harvest: Visit local vineyards to see the grape harvest and partake in wine tastings.
    • Food Festivals: Autumn is rich with food festivals celebrating mushrooms, olives, and more.
    • Fall Foliage: The landscapes transform with hues of gold and brown, especially in the countryside.

Winter (December to February)

  • Weather: Cooler temperatures with occasional rain. Snow is rare in Messina but can be seen on the peaks of nearby Mount Etna.
  • Highlights:
    • Christmas Celebrations: The city lights up with decorations, nativity scenes, and festive markets.
    • Fewer Tourists: A quieter time to explore the city without the usual tourist crowds.

Special Considerations

  • Festivals and Events: Besides the seasonal highlights, it’s worth checking the local calendar for special events, festivals, or religious celebrations specific to the year of your visit.
  • Cost: Off-peak seasons (spring and autumn) often offer more competitive rates for accommodations and tours.
  • Outdoor Activities: If you’re into hiking, cycling, or other outdoor activities, spring and autumn are ideal, offering pleasant temperatures and fewer tourists.

In conclusion, while every season presents its unique charm in Messina, the periods of spring and autumn strike a delightful balance between pleasant weather, cultural experiences, and manageable tourist numbers. However, regardless of when you choose to visit, Messina’s charm, history, and warm hospitality remain a constant.

cruise port Messina

A Final Word on Messina

Messina, often overshadowed by its more renowned Sicilian counterparts, is a treasure trove waiting to be discovered. From its rich tapestry of history and culture to the sweeping views of the Ionian Sea, the city effortlessly blends the allure of the past with the vibrancy of the present.

As a fun cruise port, Messina serves as a gateway to the heart of Sicily, welcoming visitors to delve deep into its stories, flavors, and landscapes. The intricate dance of ancient civilizations that once called this place home still resonates in the city’s architecture, its streets, and in the very spirit of its people.

Here’s to new horizons, to Messina, and to the stories yet to be written. Safe travels!

FAQs on Cruise Port Messina

Q1: How far is the cruise port from Messina city center?

  • The cruise port Messina is conveniently located, and it’s just a short walk to the heart of Messina’s city center.

Q2: Are there any facilities at the port itself?

  • Yes, the cruise port Messina has basic facilities like restrooms, a tourist information desk, and some cafes.

Q3: Is there Wi-Fi at the port?

  • Limited free Wi-Fi may be available. It’s advisable to check with your cruise line or at the tourist information desk upon arrival.

Q4: Are there taxis readily available at the port?

  • Yes, there’s usually a line of taxis waiting when cruise ships dock. However, it’s always a good idea to agree on a fare before starting your journey.

Q5: Is there a shuttle service from the port to other attractions or nearby cities?

  • Some cruise lines may offer shuttle services to popular attractions. Alternatively, local tour operators often run shuttle services to places like Taormina or Mount Etna.

Q6: How much time do I need to explore the main attractions in Messina?

  • A half-day is sufficient to see Messina’s key sights, but if you want a more relaxed pace or to explore further, consider allocating a full day.

Q7: Can I book excursions directly at the Messina cruise port?

  • Yes, there are often local tour operators offering excursions directly at the port. However, it might be worth comparing these with options offered by your cruise line in advance.

Q8: Are there any recommended local markets near the cruise port Messina?

  • Yes, the Piazza Cairoli is a bustling local market where you can find fresh produce, local delicacies, and souvenirs.

Q9: Can you recommend a traditional dish to try in Messina?

  • Absolutely! You must try “Arancini” – fried rice balls stuffed with various fillings like meat or cheese.

Q10: Is Messina cruise port safe for tourists?

  • Messina is generally safe for tourists. As with any destination, it’s essential to be aware of your surroundings, especially in crowded places.

Q11: What currency is used in Messina?

  • Messina, like the rest of Italy, uses the Euro (€).

Q12: Is English widely spoken?

  • In tourist areas and among those in the hospitality industry, English is commonly spoken. However, a few basic Italian phrases can enhance your experience.

Q13: I have a late departure from Messina cruise port. Are there facilities to store luggage?

  • Some cruise terminals offer luggage storage facilities. Additionally, the central train station in Messina may have lockers or storage services.

Q14: Can I rent a car near the Messina cruise port?

  • Yes, there are car rental agencies in Messina, some within walking distance or a short taxi ride from the cruise port.