Ancient Greek history combined with beautiful beaches and a relaxed coastal vibe make this town on Sicily’s eastern coast a fascinating vacation destination.
Giardini Naxos is a picturesque coastal resort town with an ancient heritage and a lively promenade full of restaurants, bars and boutiques. Relax on a sandy expanse, go on a diving or snorkeling expedition and browse works of art that are more than 2,000 years old.
Up until the 1970s, Giardini Naxos was a sleepy fishing village. Today, it is a hugely popular vacation spot where the undoubted star attractions are the beaches. Rent a sunbed and umbrella then cruise through the water on a paddle boat. Venture under the waves on a snorkeling or diving trip, booked with one of the local diving schools.
Take some time away from the beach to explore the fascinating history of Giardini Naxos. The area was the site of the first Greek colony in Sicily, founded during the eighth century BC.
Learn about these ancient origins at the Naxos Archeological Museum. Examine pottery artifacts, terracotta figurines and objects excavated from sacred sites. The museum's collections also include prehistoric relics and shipwreck items. For more history, drive to the town of Taormina, about 10 minutes away. There you can tour the ruins of an ancient Greek amphitheater.
When you are back in Giardini Naxos, enjoy the Mediterranean custom of an early evening promenade. Walk along the seafront and select your pizzeria or restaurant for your evening meal. Night owls can choose from a number of clubs and cocktail lounges. You can also do a spot of late-night shopping, because many of the stores have extended hours.
A great time to be in Giardini Naxos is on August 15 for Ferragosto, an Italian public holiday. Party on the beach and go for a midnight swim while fireworks illuminate the night sky.
To get to the resort town, fly into Catania Airport and drive, catch a bus or take a taxi to cover the remaining 35 miles (56 kilometers). Once in the town, you can easily get to the beaches, bars, restaurants and historical attractions on foot. If you want to travel further afield take taxis or rent a car.