Things to do in Giardini-Naxos
It’s a splendid coastal town on the eastern coast of Sicily, renowned for its rich history, beautiful beaches, vibrant nightlife, and thrilling sea excursions. If you’re planning a visit to Giardini-Naxos, here’s what to see and do in this captivating destination.
History of Giardini-Naxos
Giardini-Naxos boasts an ancient and fascinating history. Founded in 734 BC by settlers from Naxos, an ancient Greek city, it is considered one of the earliest Greek colonies in Sicily.
- Naxos Archaeological Park: A must-visit, where you can admire the ruins of the ancient city. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the archaeological remains, such as the defensive walls and the Greek Temple of Apollo, which provide an extraordinary immersion into the millennia-old history of this charming location.
- Church of Maria Santissima Immacolata: Another interesting stop, an architectural gem with internal artworks that will immerse you in the culture and spirituality of the area.
- Schisò Castle: Built between the 13th and 14th centuries on a ledge of lava rock. The castle was a military structure that controlled access and commercial navigation in the bay of Giardini Naxos. Today you can admire it from the seafront of Schisò, next to the port area.
The beaches of Giardini-Naxos are enticing, with vast stretches of golden sand and crystal-clear waters, inviting you to spend relaxing and enjoyable days. Among the most renowned beaches are Recanati Beach and Schisò Beach. Let’s explore the differences and highlights of these two bathing spots.
Located within the Naxos Bay, specifically in the Schisò area, this beach is situated in the heart of the town, along the promenade, where you’ll find many hotels, restaurants, pubs, and bars. The beach features very fine and golden sand, relatively narrow in some areas, stretching for about 1.5 km and is an integral part of the bay. It is organized with beach clubs: Lido di Naxos, Lido La Romantica, and Lido Saionara are the most famous. But there are many others.
Schisò Beach offers a fantastic view of the mountainous coast of Taormina and boasts calm waters with a gently sloping seabed; in fact, you can walk quite a distance into the sea. Schisò Beach is highly recommended for families, as it offers organized facilities, including food areas, bars, children’s and teenagers’ play areas, changing rooms, and secure storage for personal belongings. The only drawback is parking if you are not staying on-site. Otherwise, you can step out of your hotel and practically be on the beach.
Here, you move out of the bay towards the south of the town. Recanati is the area of Giardini-Naxos that hosts the largest complex of hotels and accommodations. To name a few, there is Naxos Beach by Una Hotels, a large accommodation facility with over 2000 rooms of all types and bungalows.
Recanati Beach is wide and stretches endlessly towards the south. You’ll find fine sand, which becomes coarser as you approach the shore, eventually giving way to small pebbles at the water’s edge. After just a few meters, the water becomes deep, and crystal-clear waters prevail. Unlike Schisò, Recanati Beach is more restrained here, and you can also find many free beaches. Recanati appears more untamed, which adds to its appeal.
Going up the main road, Viale Jannuzzo, you can easily find bars and restaurants. Parking should not be a problem, and for those staying in the area, the sea is right at your doorstep. In conclusion, Recanati Beach is a favorite among locals.
Sea Excursions in Giardini-Naxos
One of the best things to do in Giardini Naxos is the sea excursion. It is a must-experience where you can explore the coastline and enchanting sea caves while admiring spectacular views. Let’s look at the main options for sea excursions in Giardini-Naxos.
Boat Excursions to Isola Bella and the Blue Grotto
From Giardini-Naxos, typical boats depart, taking you directly to the marine reserve of Taormina. These excursions last approximately 2 hours, covering the coastline, crossing Naxos Bay, and stopping at the bays of the reserve. The main one is Mazzarò. Most of the tours also stop at the famous Grotta Azzurra and Isola Bella. The experience also includes swimming time and a small refreshment on board with beverages and local food. This option caters to all needs with group and private tours, as well as longer excursions lasting two hours or more. That’s a recommended tour for everyone, especially families and groups of friends. The activity requires no special physical abilities, and departure times are spread throughout the day.
Snorkeling in the Marine Reserve
Another intriguing activity allows you to enjoy a boat tour while exploring the marine flora and fauna along the Taormina coastline. It’s well worth it, especially for those with a strong sense of adventure and a love for the sea. Here’s the link to find out more and book:
Kayak excursions along the coast between Giardini Naxos and Taormina are a must. These tours allow you to visit all the coves, something that’s challenging for a large motorized vessel. This activity combines a passion for nature and sport. At the water level, you can even venture into the caves. Keep in mind that it requires some physical effort. Here’s the link to the tour page:
Evening Activities in Giardini-Naxos
Nightlife is vibrant and engaging in the town. The best things to do in Giardini Naxos are concentrate Along the promenade, where you’ll find numerous bars, restaurants, and nightclubs offering a wide range of entertainment. The promenade is divided into:
- Via Schisò: Where you’ll find a higher concentration of venues, including beachfront discos and pubs.
- Via Naxos: Offering a wide choice of restaurants, ice cream parlors, and fast food. In Lungomare Naxos, you’ll also find Piazza San Pancrazio.
- Tisandros Promenade: Located in the central part of the promenade, a few hundred meters from Piazza San Giovanni. Here, you’ll find ice cream parlors, creperies, sandwich shops, rotisseries, and a few restaurants.
- IV November Promenade: This part of the promenade is more tranquil and is situated towards the end, closer to Taormina. It’s an excellent place for a leisurely stroll, with small pebble beaches below. On the IV November Promenade, you can find some relaxing restaurants and pubs, away from the crowds, and enjoy a wonderful sea view while sitting in the largest square in the town, Piazza Municipio. During the summer, Piazza Municipio hosts live music and other events.
How to Reach Giardini-Naxos
Giardini-Naxos is easily accessible from both Messina and Catania. If you’re coming from Messina, you can take the A18 highway towards Catania and follow the signs to Giardini-Naxos. The car journey takes about 40 minutes. Catania is also connected by the A18, which reaches Giardini-Naxos in half an hour. Alternatively, you can opt for public transportation, such as train lines or bus lines, which connect Messina and Catania to Giardini-Naxos efficiently.
In conclusion, there is so much to see and do in Giardini-Naxos. It’s a destination that offers a perfect blend of history, beaches, vibrant nightlife, and thrilling sea excursions. Whether you’re interested in culture and history, beach relaxation, or aquatic adventures, Giardini-Naxos will amaze you with its beauty and the variety of attractions it offers.