A phoenix-like city
A weird bell-tower
Standing guard on the Strait

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Gateway to Sicily

Messina may well be your first sight of Sicily, and – from your MSC holiday cruise ship – it’s a fine one, the glittering town spread up the hillside beyond its sickle-shaped Mediterranean harbour.

On a shore excursion you can discover Messina’s most important monument, the Duomo, which epitomizes the city’s phoenix-like ability to re-create itself from the ashes of its last disaster. It’s the reconstruction of a twelfth-century cathedral erected by Roger II, one of a series of great Norman churches of Sicily that include the sumptuous cathedrals of Palermo and Cefalù. The Duomo’s detached campanile, or bell tower, claims to be the largest astronomical clock in the world, and puts on its best show at noon every day, when a bronze lion (Messina’s ancient emblem) unleashes a mighty roar over the city that can be quite alarming if you’re not expecting it!

Just back from the Duomo, the truncated section of the twelfth-century Chiesa Annunziata dei Catalani squats below pavement level, and is Messina’s only surviving example of Arab/Norman church-building. 

When you are cruising the Mediterranean Sea with MSC Cruises, the most obvious excursion from Messina is to the almost too charming hill town of Taormina, spectacularly located on a rocky bluff between the Ionian Sea and the soaring peak of Mount Etna, whose summit with its bleak lava wilderness is one of the most memorable landscapes Italy has to offer. 

Once the beloved retreat of poets and writers, Taormina is now the most illustrious resort on the entire island, captivating its visitors with its famous ancient theatre, grand hotels and engaging small-town charm.

Must see places in Messina

  • Mount Etna

    Mount Etna

  • Taormina's Greco-Roman theatre

    Taormina's Greco-Roman theatre

  • Cristo Re church

    Cristo Re church

Discover our excursions

5 results found




    Thanks to its strategic coastal location near Mount Peloritani, the Sicilian city and region of Messina boasts a rich heritage of 19th-century forts and old military roads that were once used to defend Sicily and the Strait of Messina. This tour gives you
    • Tasting included

    • Best seller

    • Limited seats

    • Active excursions recommended only for guests in good physical health

      Difficulty Level

    • Duration
      4 h

    • Adults$115.00Price per person

    • Children$85.00Price per person




    The Greek, Zancle, founded Messina in 730 B.C.; earthquakes systematically destroyed the city, in particular by the eruptions of 1783 and 1908. Our tour departs by bus from the port to reach Ganzirri, a small fishing village situated near the Pantano Gran
    • Wheelchair and disabled-friendly tour – Wheelchair guests must be accompanied by their own helper to get on/off the coach. Wheelchairs must be foldable as the coach is not provided with ramps or lifts. Once onboard, please contact Excursions Desk staff promptly so they can help make arrangements.

    • May involve a limited quantity of steps, uneven surfaces and/or periods of standing

      Difficulty Level

    • Duration
      3:30 h

    • Adults$55.00Price per person

    • Children$39.00Price per person




    After leaving the port, a bus transfer will take you to Taormina, one of the jewels of Sicily. A pleasant walk takes you to the renowned ancient Greco-Roman theatre, first built by the Greeks before being re-built by the Romans. Enjoy the wonderful view b
    • Shopping

    • Best seller

    • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

      Difficulty Level

    • Duration
      5 h

    • Adults$69.00Price per person

    • Children$49.00Price per person

  • ETNA



    Departing from the port of Messina, an approx. 1.5-hour coach ride will take you to Mount Etna, Europe’s highest volcano reaching almost 3,300 m above sea level, on a route that will also pass through Zafferana Etnea, a town situated on the volcano’s sout
    • Best seller

    • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

      Difficulty Level

    • Duration
      4 h

    • Adults$69.00Price per person

    • Children$49.00Price per person




    An enjoyable 1-hour coach transfer from Messina begins this tour to Tindari, a small coastal town of Greek origin that is rich in art and history. It is particularly known for the Sanctuary of the Black Madonna, a site you will visit to view the statue of
    • Shopping

    • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

      Difficulty Level

    • Duration
      4 h

    • Adults$62.00Price per person

    • Children$49.00Price per person

The excursions in the program above are intended to provide MSC Guests with an idea of the different tours that can be arranged in each port of call; this program is merely a guide and confirmation of each excursion and its description and prices will be made during your cruise.
Shore excursions programs and itineraries may vary depending on local conditions and/or any unforeseen events in relation to the timing on the day of the tour.


Some excursions are very popular and therefore availability cannot always be guaranteed, it is advisable to book in advance to avoid disappointment. The guides are guaranteed in English. Only for South America cruises, the guides are guaranteed in Brazilian Portuguese. Narration in other languages depends on the availability of guides. Please note that the final language of the tour will be confirmed on board during the cruise.

Reach the port

Port of Messina

This section contains information on how to reach the port.

Cruise Terminal:

Via Vittorio Emanuele, 2

Reach the port by

  • Car

    Travelling on the motorway from Palermo (A20) or Catania (A18), take the Messina Boccetta exit and follow the signs for Messina Port, driving along Viale Boccetta and Via Vittorio Emanuele II.

    Parking Information

    • Valet service 
    • Reach the luggage drop off zone of the cruise terminal where you'll find the staff of the parking
    Book your parking with MSC


    Car 8 € 75,00
    Suv 8 € 75,00
    Minivan 8 € 75,00
  • Train

    Messina train station is located in Piazza della Repubblica, which is within walking distance of the cruise terminal.
  • Plane

    Catania Airport (approximately 1 hour 50 minutes from Messina) is served by Società Autolinee SAIS buses from Piazza della Repubblica. Reggio Calabria Airport is served by Ustica Lines hydrofoils and ATAM shuttle buses (approximately 1 hour by hydrofoil from Messina).


History, gastronomy and fashion
History, gastronomy and fashion

A cruise to Italy is an emotional roller coaster. Rome is a tremendous city quite unlike any other, and in terms of historical sights outstrips everywhere else in the country by some way.
Liguria, the small coastal province along the north-west coast, has long been known as the “Italian Riviera” and is accordingly crowded with sun-seekers for much of the summer.
In Veneto the main focus of interest is, of course, Venice: a unique city, and every bit as beautiful as its reputation would suggest. Tuscany in central Italy represents perhaps the most commonly perceived image of the country, with its classic rolling countryside and the art-packed towns of Florence and Pisa.

The south proper begins with the region of Campania. Its capital, Naples, is a unique, unforgettable city, the spiritual heart of the Italian south. Puglia, the “heel” of Italy, has underrated pleasures, too, notably the landscape of its Gargano peninsula and the souk-like qualities of its capital, Bari.

As for Sicily, the island is really a place apart, with a wide mixture of attractions ranging from some of the finest preserved Hellenistic treasures in Europe, to a couple of Italy’s most appealing Mediterranean beach resorts in Taormina and Cefalù, not to mention some gorgeous upland scenery.

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