Giardini -Naxos: Where the Locals Go in Sicily

Guest Post By: Margie Miklas

The small seaside Sicilian town of Giardini-Naxos is not well-known but it is situated just next to the very popular resort city of Taormina on the Ionian Sea.  It is a beautiful stretch of beach and has lots of great reasonable priced restaurants, so it is not surprising that this where the locals hang out.

Giardini Naxos and Bay of Giardini - View from Taormina Sicily, ItalyHistory

Originally called Naxos, this village was discovered in the year 735 B.C. as a Greek colony by the Chalcidensians. Eventually it was destroyed and in the Middle Ages the name was changed to Al Kusus during the Arab invasion. Afterwards the Normans came and the name changed again, this time to Kisoi and then Schiso.

Due to the numerous citrus orchards surrounding this village, it finally became known as “Giardini” and was then actually a part of Taormina.

In 1846 King Ferdinand II was responsible for making it an independent commune with the name Giardini-Naxos. Almost 25 years later after the Messina-Catania Railway opened the economy of Giardini-Naxos began to develop more than simply a fishing port.

Today this once small maritime village has become one of the hotpots for tourism in Sicily.

Giardini Naxos Boats along the seashore, Sicliy, ItalyPort and Cruises

Giardini-Naxos has a port where private boats as well as cruise ships depart. Since neighboring Taormina does not have its own port, the port at Giardini-Naxos is also considered to be the port of Taormina. In fact sometimes it is called the Port of Giardini Naxos-Taormina.

With 140 boat slips the port offers all nautical services including assistance at sea. Cruise lines anchor in the Bay of Giardini and tender in to the port here as well. Oceania Cruise Lines sails in the summertime to various ports in Italy and surrounding locations and can frequently be seen docked in the bay. From the beach and docking area, you can look up and to the north and see Taormina up on the hill.


I love the road along the seashore, appropriately called Lungomare which means along the sea, because on one side I can see the ocean, one of my favorite things, and on the other side are all the restaurants, shops and endless possibilities to have fun.

A few years ago my Sicilian friends Angela, Teresa and Angelica introduced me to a great friendly casual restaurant here called la Bussola. It is a casual place serving pizza and everything else with both indoor and outdoor seating. October was a little cool for outdoors so we ate inside.

Giardini Naxos La BussolaNot only were the prices very reasonable and so much less than what I had found in mainland Italy, but the food was fantastic, from pizza to pasta and anything in between. The best thing about La Bussola  was the feeling of belonging thanks to the owners who were very friendly and made us feel at home. I liked this place so much that I have returned again and again whenever I have been to Sicily. It pays to know where the locals go for an experience so much better than the average tourist!

Guest Post By: Margie Miklas



  1. Teresa says:

    It's very beautiful! Thanks, Margie.

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