Messina, Sicily was by far the most beautiful port in Europe we vised. I don’t think it had one area that was not green other than on top of Mt Etna. No matter what you decide to do while in this area I don’t think you could go wrong. There were plenty of vineyards and lemon groves and of course the biggest draw of the area is Mt Etna.
We chose to go see Mt Etna. It is still a very active volcanic area. Last eruption was in the early 2000’s but they do have Earthquakes on a regular basis. The tour takes you to about 2000 meters up and the top is at 3000 meters. You can take a tram to the top if you like. You must have an escort to go above the tourist stop at 2000 meters due to you can become disoriented and lost easily at the top. They warn you to take warm clothing and I would agree totally. Due to the altitude this place is quite cold. It would be 24C in town but 14C at the 2000-meter stop.
Mt Etna is about 2 hours away from Messina, so we only had approximately 1 hour there before we had to head back to the ship. This only allowed us time to climb the lower of the two craters there. The highest one is a pretty steep climb and unless you are in top shape you might not want to attempt it. I would have liked to but it would have taken me about 1 hour to get there so didn’t want to waste my little time. They say its only a 30-minute hike but that is for top conditioned visitors, in which I don’t fall into that category.
The town of Messina is right at the port and is within easy walking from the ship if you desire not to go on an excursion. There are many shops and restaurants in the area and keep in mind Sicily is known for its Pizza.