Best things to see and do in Messina

by Irene Righetto
best things to see in Messina - migliori cose da fare esperienze Messina

What are the best things to see and do in Messina? All the sightseeing that you can’t miss when visiting this well-known Sicilian city. 

Nestled on the northeastern coast of Sicily, Messina is a city steeped in rich history, offering a captivating blend of cultural treasures and natural wonders. From incredible monuments to mouthwatering culinary delights, this destination has something for every traveler. In this guide, we’ll unveil the best things to see and do in Messina, ensuring your visit is nothing short of extraordinary. Explore the intricacies of the Duomo of Messina, an architectural masterpiece, and witness the mesmerizing performance of the Astronomical Clock. Immerse yourself in the local culture at the Regional Museum, savor the flavors of Sicilian cuisine at the bustling food market, and bask in the serenity of Villa Mazzini Gardens. Additionally, we’ll share insider tips for an unforgettable experience, ensuring you make the most of your time in this enchanting Sicilian gem. Let’s find out what are the best things to do in Messina!

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best things to see in Messina

When staying in Messina

When organizing a trip in Italy, there are a few things that you should provide for. First of all, request on iVisa the tourist visa, to make sure you’ll get it on time. Don’t forget to buy travel insurance, Heymondo provides a great cover for all your needs. Lastly, we recommend you sign up a plan with Airalo, an eSIM company that allows you to use your number from overseas. You’re now ready to explore Sicily and discover all the best things to do in Messina.

Best things to see and do in Messina

To get to the city of Messina, you will need to land at Catania airport, located around one hour and a half from the final destination. From the airport, you could also rent a car to start exploring the best things to see in Messina.

The Duomo of Messina and the Bell Tower

The Duomo of Messina is a blend of Norman and Baroque styles that showcases intricate details and stunning sculptures that narrate centuries of history. Inside, there are masterful artworks and religious relics, creating an atmosphere of solemn reverence. Adjacent to the Duomo, the Bell Tower and its animated Astronomical Clock are marvels of engineering and artistry, among the best things to see in Messina. The tower soars into the sky, offering panoramic views of Messina and the sparkling Ionian Sea. As the clock chimes, an enchanting spectacle unfolds, animating various characters and celestial bodies. 

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best things to see in Messina

Shrine of Christ the King

Among the best things to do in Messina, there’s a visit to the Shrine of Christ the King, perched majestically atop the hills of Messina, a sanctuary of profound spiritual significance. This sacred site offers a serene retreat from the bustling city below, inviting visitors to reflect and find solace in its peaceful ambiance. The shrine’s architecture is a testament to the harmonious fusion of modernity and tradition, with sleek lines and minimalist design complementing its spiritual purpose. You can also meditate in the surrounding gardens, a quiet place with breathtaking views of the city.

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Catalani Church

The Catalani Church finds a place among the best things to see in Messina. This historical church, boasts a captivating blend of architectural styles, including elements of Norman and Byzantine design, which are sure to captivate any visitor. The interior is adorned with intricate frescoes, ornate altars, and beautifully crafted statues, each telling a unique story of faith and devotion. The soaring nave and delicate stonework add to the sense of grandeur and spirituality.

Regional Museum of Messina

The Regional Museum of Messina is a treasure trove of Sicilian history and art, nestled in the heart of the city. This cultural haven houses an impressive collection of artifacts spanning millennia, offering a captivating journey through the region’s rich heritage. We recommend you to include this museum among the best things to do in Messina. Booking a ticket in advance can be a great option to come prepared and avoid queues. You’ll be able to explore a stunning array of medieval and Renaissance art and much more.

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Faro Tower, Ganzirri Lakes and Pilone

The Faro Tower is an ancient lighthouse, perched on the coast, that stands as a sentinel, guiding ships safely through the waters of the Strait of Messina. Its weathered stones whisper tales of maritime history and the resilience of seafaring communities. Adjacent to the tower lie the Ganzirri Lakes, a sanctuary for avian life and a haven for tranquility seekers. The shimmering waters mirror the azure sky, creating a serene backdrop for leisurely strolls and birdwatching. The nearby red and white Pilone of Messina is located right on the coast, in one of the most popular locations of the island, a real symbol of the city. Why not renting a car to reach this area and visit one of the best things to see in Messina?

Vittorio Emanuele Gallery

You will be amazed by the ceilings of Vittorio Emanuele Gallery, located near Via Cavour, with the main entrance in Antonello Square. This gallery represents the liberty style and it can be recognized for three confluent arms in the centre. The barrel ceiling will impress you for its coloured glass and skylights, as well as for the glazed domed vault. Inside, you’ll be able to find many bars, restaurants and pizzerias to relax and enjoy a wonderful meal.

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Visit the traditional food markets

You should not skip a visit to the traditional food markets if you’re looking for the best things to do in Messina. This is an immersive journey into the heart of Sicilian culinary culture. As the markets pulses with life, it’s an ideal opportunity to sample regional specialties like arancini and cannoli. We especially recommend Vascone market, or Zaera market. If you’d like to leave a deeper experience, you should book a dinner with local people to truly understand all the secrets of sicilian cuisine. 

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Taormina and Isola Bella

Taormina, often referred to as the “Pearl of Sicily,” is a mesmerizing hilltop town overlooking the azure waters of the Ionian Sea. Its ancient Greek theater, with a backdrop of Mount Etna, offers a breathtaking stage for dramatic views and cultural performances. Just off the coast lies Isola Bella, accessible by a narrow strip of pebbled beach; it’s a paradise for nature enthusiasts. A day trip to Taormina and Isola Bella promises a blend of cultural enrichment and natural splendor.

READ ALSO: Best luxury hotels in Sicily and Taormina 

Pools of Venus and Capo Milazzo

Among the best things to see in Messina we had to include a trip to Pools of Venus. This hidden gem along the coast near Messina is a natural wonder of unparalleled beauty, with crystalline waters and rocky alcoves framed by rugged cliffs. It’s a haven for swimmers and snorkelers seeking an intimate encounter with Sicily’s coastal treasures. Capo Milazzo, a promontory that juts into the Tyrrhenian Sea, presents a dramatic panorama of the Sicilian coastline. Perfect location for hikers to explore a network of trails and admire the amazing views from the lighthouse. Rent a car and drive to this beautiful part of Sicily.

STAY IN MESSINA: find the best deals for accommodation

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