9-13 June 2014
Giardini Naxos, Italy
UTC timezone

Social Activities

Social activities / Leisure
Giardini Naxos is located in an ideal location on the east coast of Sicily in a very romantic bay. Prior to the early 1970s, Giardini Naxos was a quiet fishing village. Now it is a popular tourist destination, famous for its beaches, panoramic view of the bay and surrounding hills, and its small, but bustling fishing port.
In addition to the famous and vibrant Taormina only 20 minutes from Giardini Naxos, delegates can visit the Gole dell'Alcantara and Mount Etna, only 45 minutes away. In a one-day excursion it is also possible to visit the suggestive city of Agrigento, the Valley of the Temples (La Valle dei Templi), Syracuse, the roman theatre in Piazza Armeriana and by sea, the beautiful Isole Eolie.
Many activities are organised directly by Atahotel Naxos Beachhotel or other local providers. More details can be found at: http://www.atahotels.it/en/naxos/attivita and http://www.atahotels.it/en/naxos/informazioni
Please note SKA Organisation cannot be held responsible for the quality of the services provided by the hotel or any of the local providers and participation to any activity is under the entire responsibility of the delegates and their accompanying people.
Free shuttle (service provided by Athotel Naxos):
The Atahotel Naxos provides free shuttles for its guests between the hotel and Taormina cable car, to be booked directly at the hotel. There are 2 services in the morning and 2 in the afternoon, on the first come first serve basis. Timetable should be checked directly with the hotel.
Etna excursion:
An excursion to Etna volcano is organised by the conference LOC on Wednesday 11 June afternoon.

Departure from the hotel will be at about 13h30 and return at about 18h30. 

Buses will take people to Rifugio Sapienza, a mountain refuge located at 1,935 m above sea level on the Etna south side. Several bars and shops can be found there. From there, it is possible to visit Crateri Silvestri and walk around the inactive caldera. 

Other option is to buy a ticket for the cable car to reach an altitude of 2,400 m above sea level. From the cable car station, one can then walk (not very safe without guides though) or continue till about 2,900 m with an off-road car and Etna alpine guides. People can buy the ticket for the off-road transport near the Rifugio Sapienza. Website of the company that provides the transport is: http://www.funiviaetna.com/versione_inglese/index.html
Website of the Etna alpine guide: http://www.etnaguide.eu/en/homepage
Please note that a stay at high altitude can be unsuitable for people with heart problems and/or high blood pressure. People with a history of either should check with their physician before taking part in this journey.
Equipment: Temperatures can drop dramatically at high altitude. It is
advisable to carry a thick sweater, a wind-cheater and appropriate footwear (closed toe walking shoes, preferably hiking boots).

Please note that prior reservation to the Wednesday afternoon Etna excursion is compulsory and has to be done by sending an email to ska-june14-etna@skatelescope.org by 28 May

Further information regarding buses timetable to/from Etna will be provided to the participants during the conference

We negotiated special rates with Sea Spirit Diving company for people interested in scuba diving or snorkeling. Sea Spirit Diving are based at the Atahotel Naxos, which makes it very handy for delegates and accompanying people staying at the hotel. Pick up from the hotel to the harbour is included in the price.
Normal program takes place in the morning, with a departure at around 08.30am from the harbour. During navigation, diving instructors tell stories about the area and show the Isola Bella Marine Park and Grotta Azzurra. Water, orange juice, and fruits are offered during the tour and complimentary Sicilian wine and biscuits are offered after the diving. Return is around 1.00pm. Diving sites depend on weather and sea conditions and of course the experience of the divers on board. During the normal program, people can do the following activities:
- Fun diving for certified divers. Two dives in the morning, guided by a PADI instructor or PADI dive master. Special SKA cost: €60 (equipment included); €45 without equipment.
- PADI Discover Scuba Diving. This is a try-dive. The basics of diving are taught by a PADI instructor followed by a dive lasting about 30 minutes to a max. depth of 6 metres. On the second dive spot, the people can snorkel. Minimum age is 10 years old. Special SKA cost: €55 (equipment included).
- 8- and 9-year-old children can do the PADI Bubblemaker. This also includes a brief explanation about the basics of diving, followed by a mini-dive, max. depth is 2 meters. Special SKA cost: €45 (equipment included).
- Snorkeling on the two dive spots is also possible. Special SKA cost: €20 (equipment included).
Afternoon session consisting of one dive can also be arranged on demand, with a departure at 3.00pm and return at 5.30pm. Special SKA cost: €40 (equipment included); €25 without equipment.
What is requested is:
- certification cards from the certified divers (divers can bring it with them to the boat)
- any diving-related medical documents from their doctor (where applicable)
- shoesize, lenght and kg to prepare the correct sizes (dive equipment)
All the scuba and snorkel equipment is SCUBAPRO.
If some of the delegates want to rent a private boat, this is also possible (only afternoon from 3.00pm). If somebody is interested in this, please contact the SKA Conference Local Organising Committee at ska-loc@oact.inaf.it.
People interested have to make their own arrangements by emailing directly the company at info@seaspiritdivingtaormina.it or getting in touch at the resort. Specify that you are part of the SKA conference. More information at: www.seaspiritdivingtaormina.it
IMPORTANT INFORMATION: people who plan to do the Etna excursion on Wednesday afternoon MUST NOT do scuba diving the same day or even before the day before the tour.