If Taormina is a place to see and admire during your vacation in Sicily, Giardini Naxos is a place where you can also swim in its clear and glimmering waters. This town lies near Taormina, but the latter practically towers over Giardini that is a sort of lowland touched by the waters of the Ionian sea. Giardini Naxos is often visited only because it is near Taormina, but I suggest that you visit Giardini Naxos even though you would never have known about Taormina. Giardini Naxos, is, indeed, the first Greek settlement of Sicily founded in 734 BC.
The new colony was named Naxos just as the namesake island in the Aegean Sea. The ancient town was included in the Taomina city and gained the independence from this famous city only in 1847. Both of them are in the province of Messina.
Giardini Naxos beaches
Today, Giardini Naxos is a place to see during the hot Sicilian summer. Surrounded by a rocky promontory, this Greek sea village has also a stunning, pebbly beach with clear, bright and fresh waters. Here, the coastline is 4 kilometres long with several bays where the most known are just Giardini Naxos, Taormina and Letojanni. Swimming in these waters, you may also enjoy relaxing and funny moments in some of the most beautiful beaches in Sicily.
Sometimes, in this place, waters are really cold and this avoids to perceive the heat of certain summer days. Giardini Naxos is also a buzzing town, both in the morning and at night. Streets and bays are enriched with hotels, restaurants, apartments, private villas and B&B. Many beaches are for free, while others are also equipped with umbrellas, showers, cabins, sun beds and sport facilities. If you want to enjoy a relaxing holiday, you can also stay in Recanati, a dreamy, large and sandy beach near Giardini Naxos. That is a lovely and quiet place suitable to live in peace and far from the crowd of tourists.
Moreover, in Recanati, the hotels are cheaper than in Taormina. From Giardini Naxos you can also admire spectacular views, such as the one of Taormina and walk along the avenues which border a long bay also equipped with discotheques and nightclubs. These facilities are suitable for parties and an unleashed and funny nightlife. For softer parties, you can also attend the huts on the beaches, while bands of musicians cheer your holiday with quieter music and chilly drinks.
What to see in Giardini Naxos
The castle, placed on the extreme tip of a promontory called Capo Schisò, is also known as the Schisò castle (see the image). In Giardini Naxos, you can also see churches and monuments. Among these, you can admire:
- The church of Maria SS. Raccomandata.
- The archaeological park, the statue of Teocles, the Greek founder of the city.
- The prehistoric settlement and the Greek settlement called Apollo Park.
- The archaeological museum.
- The museum of natural history.
- A modern Olympic temple built in 1960 to celebrate the torch addressed to the Olympic games in Rome.
Currently, aside the beaches, the most relevant tourist attraction in Giardini Naxos is the archeological Park. This area contains the ancient ruins of the old Greek city (see the image). The Park is along the seafront and spans from Schisò Cape and up to Taormina. It is contains remote and ancient ruins of the Greek homes razed to the ground during the battle between the Atenians and Syracusans (415-413 B.C.). Today, you can still see some ruins of the ancient protection walls the inhabitants of Giardini Naxos built to prevent the attacks by enemies and invaders. The perimeter of the park is just like the original and ancient Greek settlement and for this reason, it is also subject to be explored by scholars and archeologists from around the world. Often, the park is undergone to archeological digs. You could be disappointed to see the area fenced with steel grid.
Of course, it is better to visit the Greek Theatre in Taormina, but I advice you visit the Park, also, because that is a living witness of the Greek history of Sicily. Then, if you want, you can go to Taormina and Syracuse, as well, to live a stunning tour in the Greek areas of Sicily.
As often happens, in Sicily, it is not always easy to visit the archelogical park of Giardini Naxos. This depends on the opening hours, which change seasonally.
Anyway, I published them here: the park always opens from 9.00 A.M. The closuse hours are, instead, 16.00 in winter, 17.00 in autumn and spring, 18.30 in April and September, 18.00 from 16 to 30 of September, 17.00 in March and 17.30 from 16 to 31 of March, 19.00 from May to August. To be sure to visit the archelogical Park, it is better to choose the time from May to August, so that you can visit it from 9.00 to 19.00.
Giardini Naxos is also in a favourable position to reach the Natural Park of the Gorges of Alcantara. This sea town is, indeed, only five kms away from the stunning natural waterfalls and grottos of Alcantara river.
Hotels and accommodations in Giardini Naxos
As said in the paragraphs above, hotels and accommodations can be very expensive in Giardini Naxos. This is due to the fact that the town has a worldwide tourist relevance and an uncomparable beauty. The landscape is breahtaking and the waters are, really, crystal and mesmerizing. To find affordable accommodations in high season, it is better to book apartments, because the hotels, in summer, could be too very expensive. If you want to find accommodations or apartments to stay in this beautiful village in summer and enjoy its beautiful bays, you can see this link.
Photocredits for the castle image: Lugi Strano by Flickr