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Rent a car in Messina and you’ll be able to explore fascinating landscapes, historic towns and ancient ruins.
You can arrange to pick up your hire car from the nearest airport, Catania-Fontanarossa Airport, which is just over 60 miles south of Messina and about 75-minute drive. Another option if you’re travelling from the mainland is to hire a car on the mainland and take the ferry across the Straits of Messina from Reggio Calabria.
The Ionian coast between Catania and Messina is lined with some of Sicily’s most appealing sights. You can’t miss the white-tipped peak of Mount Etna, which is Europe’s tallest active volcano.
From the airport, it takes about 50 minutes to drive to the chic resort of Taormina and its Greek Theatre overlooking the Ionian Sea. It’s a must-do Sicilian road trip, and for good reason. If you’re there in the summer, you can catch concerts and film screenings held in the theatre.
After exploring Messina’s sights including the restored Norman cathedral, you can carry on north along the Tyrrhenian coast. After about 30 minutes, you’ll reach the port of Milazzo, where regular boats go across to the Aeolian islands. The island of Stromboli is one of Sicily’s most compelling sights, as it erupts approximately every 20 minutes.
As with the Ionian coast, the Tyrrhenian coast is lined with long stretches of beaches. While many offer beach clubs and facilities, but drive your hire car to the more rustic beaches off the usual tourist route for something a bit special.