From the Italian mainland, you can see the city of Messina at the tip of Sicily’s northeastern coast across the Strait of Messina. The city is Sicily’s entry point for all ground transportation from the mainland, including buses and trains, and many people don’t see more of the city than is necessary as they disembark from a ferry. Should you want to linger, however, there’s enough to keep you interested for a short stay.

At one time, Messina only ranked behind Palermo in terms of power on the island. Catania has since surpassed Messina, but because of its status as the main gateway to Sicily, Messina remains an important Sicilian city. It was originally founded by the Greeks in the 8th century BCE, but Messina’s main sites aren’t quite as old. Major attractions include 13th century churches, a 16th century lighthouse, the Botanical Gardens at the University of Messina, and an art museum with a Caravaggio painting.

Since Messina is such a popular transportation hub, it’s quite easy to reach the city. Ferries cross the Strait of Messina on a regular basis, carrying not just foot passengers, cars and coaches, but also trains. There are special ferries with train tracks embedded in the floor of the lowest deck, allowing trains to roll right onto the ferry and then off again on the other side. That said, loading and unloading the trains from the ferries takes far longer than crossing the Strait itself.

Getting to other Sicilian destinations from Messina is relatively easy, too, depending on where you’re going. If your itinerary is essentially sticking to the big cities and towns, you can probably get away with relying on trains and buses to get around. If you’d like more flexibility and, above all, if you want to explore further afield, you should look into renting a car when you arrive in Messina.

Tours & Tickets

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Messina Shore Excursion: Private Day Trip to Taormina and Mt Etna

While you’re in port in Messina, take a full-day private shore excursion to Taormina and Mt Etna. Take in scenic views as your private driver takes you along ...  Read more

Location: Messina, Italy
Duration: 9 hours (approx.)

From USD $131.77

Messina Shore Excursion: Messina City Hop-On Hop-Off Tour

3 star rating: Worth doing 9 Reviews

While in port in Messina, spend your time experiencing the beauty of this ancient Mediterranean port city on this shore excursion. Explore Messina's top ...  Read more

Location: Messina, Italy
Duration: 1 day (approx.)

From USD $19.76

Messina City Hop-On Hop-Off Tour

Explore Messina’s highlights on a hop-on hop-off sightseeing tour, complete with informative audio commentary. With the choice of two different routes, you can ...  Read more

Location: Messina, Italy
Duration: 1 day (approx.)

From USD $19.76

Messina Shore Excursion: Acireale, Catania and Cyclops Riviera Day Trip

Enjoy a full-day private shore excursion from the Messina port to the picturesque Cyclops Riviera, encompassing the Sicilian fishing villages of Catania and ...  Read more

Location: Messina, Italy
Duration: 9 hours (approx.)

From USD $131.77

Messina Segway Tour

Get to know Messina on a self-balancing electric Segway! With little effort and lots of fun, glide around the wide boulevards with a guide, learning all about ...  Read more

Location: Messina, Italy
Duration: 3 hours (approx.)

From USD $118.59

Messina Shore Excursion: City Segway Tour

See the sights of Messina on a self-balancing electric Segway on this exciting 3-hour shore excursion! After leaving the Port of Messina, glide around the wide ...  Read more

Location: Messina, Italy
Duration: 3 hours (approx.)

From USD $118.59

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