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Giardini Naxos is an affordable and laid-back resort, close to Taormina and with plenty of charm of its own. Stretching along the beachfront in the same wide bay as Taormina, this authentic Italian town thrives in the summer, and is a tranquil option outside of peak months. Designed around a long promenade packed with shopping and dining, the town of Giardini Naxos is perfectly suited to a relaxed seaside escape.
There’s plenty of history to enjoy too, with the 15th-century Vignazza Tower and 16th-century Schiso Castle dominating the town’s skyline. Activity in the Giardini Naxos generally revolves around relaxing by the seafront, with several lidos providing easy access to the beach. In the evening, many of the beachfront bars and cafes stay open late and it is not uncommon to dine late into the evening, with ice cream or crepes to finish. Should you wish to see more of the area, then Taormina is just a 15-minute drive across the bay, and boasts an ancient amphitheatre, historic streets and a 13th-century cathedral.
The coastal town's main draws are its beautiful beaches (perfect for sunbathing, snorkelling and diving), friendly restaurants and lively bars. The town is also home to the church 'Chiesa di Santa Maria Raccomandata', which dates back to the 18th century. Inside you can view the 15th-century painting of the 'Madonna di Porto Salvo'. Every Saturday, the street leading to Hotel Sant Alphio Garden diverts into a market selling everything from shoes and clothing, to flowers, dried fruits, fashion jewellery and home ware.
The closest airport to Giardini Naxos is Catania (CTA), which is about 1 hour from Giardini Naxos. Direct flights to Catania are available from Birmingham, London Gatwick, London Luton and Manchester and take approxmimately 3 hours.
Giardini Naxos boasts over 100 restaurants in the close surroundings, with the majority serving authentic Italian cuisine. In the evening, many of the beachfront bars and cafes stay open late, and it is not uncommon to dine far into the evening, with ice cream or crepes to finish. There are also takeaway pizza options, and shops where you can buy sandwiches for a picnic lunch. For finer cuisine, head to nearby Taormina, where wine becomes more of a passion.
Founded in 735 BC, Giardini Naxos was the first Greek setting in Sicily. The town was captured and destroyed in 403 BC, at the hands of Dionysius the tyrant. Following this, the town became a quiet fishing village, up until the early 1970s, when it became a popular tourist destination because of its beaches, landscapes and bustling fishing port.
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