Traveling to Sicily, Italy you should not to be missed to visit Taormina — an extremely famous seaside mountain town. I have visited Taormina for several times and always have had a pleasant time here. It can be said that this is one of the famous destinations in Europe in the summer. In this article, I will share all the experiences, travel tips of visiting Taormina for you refer to for your upcoming perfect trip. So, where to go, what to do in Taormina and how to plan a perfect budget trip to Taormina Italy (Taormina Sicily) for the first-time? Let’s check out our Taormina travel blog (Australia blog) with the fullest Taormina travel guide (Taormina guide) from how to get there, best time to come, where to stay, best places to visit and top things to do Taormina to find out the answer!
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Exploring Taormina, visitors cannot help but learn about the rich history of this ancient town, which is also home to important and precious archaeological remains in the ups and downs of the notorious land of Sicily.
Taormina travel blog: Overview of Taormina
Taormina is a hilltop town on the island of Sicily, Italy and is a charming complex of old towers and high-end shopping streets. Guests can explore Taormina by walking to enjoy the charming scenes, enjoy clear blue beach views. The island’s big highlight is a dilapidated old theater that experts have guessed has been around for more than 2,000 years.
Exploring Taormina, visitors can wander the narrow streets to looking for high-end designer goods or visit the Greek theater, which is said that Sophocle’s works were performed and is now used as a venue for fashion shows, concerts and movie screenings. In addition, visitors can also visit the medieval Duomo and several other churches or enjoy a glass of wine while admiring the two rocky bays of Taormina and Mount Etna — an Europe’s highest volcano that still active today.
Taormina travel blog: When should I visit Taormina?
Although located in the mountains, Taormina is famous for its calm and clear pebble beaches overlooking the beautiful island of Isola Bella (Italian means beautiful island). The best time to visit Taormina is summer. But there’s one big “but”: Tourists. Like any other beautiful seaside town of Sicily in particular and Italy in general, every summer Taormina will be packed with tourists. So, please prepare to be crowded with “millions” of other beach lovers when you visit Taormina.
The last time (updated 2021) when I came to Taormina was in the “Covid-19” season, so the number of visitors was moderate. But when I went to the beach, I also saw a lot of people. Bustling enough, but not deserted. So if possible, come to Taormina around June (before the peak tourist season begins, ie July and August) or September and October (when almost guests are left). You can rest assured that in Italy at these times, the weather is still hot, comfortable to swim.
Taormina travel guide: How to get to Taormina?
Getting from mainland Italy to Taormina is relatively easy. During the day, there also will be several train lines coming here from some big cities of Sicily. Besides, visitors can take a bus, ferry or plane. And no matter how you come here, you will feel like entering a completely different world.
The most convenient way to get to Taormina is by train or bus. The most convenient starting point is from Catania. If you take a train, you must note that the station is located at the foot of the mountain, near the sea, not in the village of Taormina itself. So, if you come to Taormina by train and want to getting to the town, you must take a transfer service. There is a bus from the station to the town center, starting at 6 am and the last one is 7 pm. If traveling with a large group of people, it is most convenient to take a taxi. Standard price is 15 euros/taxi. You should ask the host to call for you or call the hotel’s transfer service.
If you getting to Taormina by bus, the bus will go straight to town center, quite convenient. However, the number of buses from other places is quite limited.
Beaches in Taormina
It only takes about 30 minutes by foot or less than 5 minutes by cable car to reach the famous Isola Bella beach at the foot of the village. From afar, you can see the entire active volcano Etna amidst the majestic mountains. Throughout the village are colorful roads, nooks and crannies filled with fresh flowers, artistic relax sitting corners, bearing bold Italian style with typical Sicilian ceramic patterns.
Taormina beach is a pebbles beach, located at the foot of the mountain, quite far from the village! There is a bus going directly from the village to the beach. Google Map suggests you can walk down, it takes 30 minutes, but don’t be greedy. I’ve tried walking before, it must have taken more than 30 minutes, the road to the beach was not even a shade of trees, very hot. So, absolutely should not walk. And don’t even think about walking backwards.
There is another equally convenient way is to take the cable car instead of by bus. Outside the village, next to the Messina gate, there will be a cable car (Funicular, with a detailed signboard, just follow it). Cable car station named Mazzarò Cable car. The two-way ticket is about 6 euros. Extremely convenient. The view along the way is also nice.
When the cable car goes down to the stop, you will see that there is a way to the beach in the opposite direction. But this is the beach of the lido (ie the private beaches are contracted by the restaurants. To access these places, you have to pay per person, not for a pair of chair and umbrella. Each visitor will be pay 18 euros. If you travel to Taormina in the peak tourist season, you should go to Lido to have a space, but other free beaches are definitely packed and you can’t turn around. Or you have to go very early to swim.
Taormina travel blog: Where to go, what to do in Taormina
Even though it’s a “tiny” town, but if you have time (and money) there are countless fun things to do. I will share some cool activities and things to do worth trying in Taormina!
Have an Italian breakfast at a local restaurant
From my experience, if you want to experience the real local life in Taormina, you should not to choose bars in the town center, which are mainly serving tourists. Let choose bars a bit far from the center and look a little casual. For example, this shop is located right at the beginning of the road leading to the Messina gate, where the locals especially like to come. Early in the morning, watching the elderly talk, sipping a cup of coffee while tasting a piece of cake is a great way to start a new day.
Go to the beach! Swimming, swimming, swimming!!
As I said above, Taormina is famous for its ravishing pebble beaches. It is impossible to visit Taormina without spending at least one session on its paradise-like calm water beach. Swimming experience in Taormina can be summarized up as follows:
- If you want to have a “seat” at the beautiful free beach right in front of Isola Bella island, plz go EARLY. 9am has already considered a bit late.
- You must bring an umbrella! The weather will be extremely hot.
- Bring food enough for picnic.
- If you don’t want to avoid crowded, pay to enter the lido beaches (where there are umbrellas). Note: In Taormina, Lido beach charge fee per person, not a pair of chair and umbrella like other places.
Is the beach in front of Isola Bella too crowded? Come to Letojanni
During my travel to Taormina with friends, I got off excess a station due to I didn’t notice. But it turned out to be one of those wonderful accidental mistakes. Right behind Taormina Giardini Naxos station is Letojanni station, exactly 6 minutes away by train. From Letojanni station to Letojanni’s long pebble beach is about 5 minutes on foot. This beach is very long, about two kilometers, beautiful pebbles, clear water, importantly, not very crowded, extremely suitable for relaxing and avoiding the hustle and bustle of Taormina. There are also bars for dining. But shortage of lido beaches. Coming here, you should prepare everything in advance for your convenience.
Strolling along the old street of Corso Umberto, admiring the lovely nooks and crannies of Taormina
Although Sicily has an abundance of stunning pebble beaches, one of the things that makes Taormina stand out is its lovely, vibrant old streets and lovely alleyways. Wherever you go, how many virtual living spots come there.
The main square of Piazza IX Aprile and beautiful sea view.
At the end of Corso Umberto street is one of Italy’s most beautiful squares: The Piazza IX Aprile. This square is unique not only because of its floor design with black and white squares checkered pattern and street with various style buildings, but also because of its amazingly beautiful view. From this square, you can see the blue sea as far as the eye can see.
You should come to this square in the afternoon to avoid the sun heating and enjoy it longer. Or come in early morning. It’s also quite bustling at night. Avoid noon because it’s very hot, it can be burnt your skin. The most beautiful time to come is around 5, 6 pm, go to the square to watching the sea and then choose a beautiful bar to drink aperitivo to prepare for a full dinner.
Villa Comunale Park
This lovely little park at the end of Corso Umberto is famous for its ancient ruins and breathtaking sea views. Inside the park, there is also an ancient Greek theater with a stunning view of the sea. Entering Villa Comune Park is free, but visiting the theater costs you 10 euros. I didn’t visit the theater, I just visit the garden. But that’s enough to relaxing and resting!
A 4-min walk from the Ancient Theatre of Taormina
Address: Via Bagnoli Croci, 98039 Taormina ME, Italy
Reveal the secret
Due to the lack of time, I did not have time to do anything more. However, there are two other activities that are extremely interesting if you stay in Taormina longer. That is going up Castelmola — a small village higher than Taormina with the best view. From the bus station right in the center of Taormina, there is an interbus that runs directly to Castelmola.
Another day trip I was looking forward to (but the last day it rained, so I had to stay at home), that is going to Alcantara. This is a small gorge where the locals love to bathe and climb in the summer to cool off. Interbus has a route here. Although I really want to, I haven’t come yet, so I can’t share my experience. You can visit this thread or @Vagabonda (an Italian travel expert on Tripadvisor) to ask for more information! If you have a chance to visit, remember to share with me!
Taormina blog: What to eat?
Enjoy a delicious seafood meal!
Taormina is for tourists, of course there are countless restaurants, the quality is not the same. However, there are two worthy places to eat I would like to share.
This is not really a restaurant, but a cafe, also serving food. This restaurant is open all day. Early in the morning this is a gathering place for local elderly people. They serve lunch and dinner. The location of the shop is right at the beginning of the busiest street of Taormina, opposite Catherine Church. During the tourist season it will definitely be crowded. The best time to come is when avoid the time when tourists come. This restaurant has a very good atmosphere, warm service and the food is much and delicious (order slowly, the serving is huge). The shop’s specialty is Italian Shrimp with Pistachio Sauce (Ravioli di gamberi con la salsa di pistacchio). The main course is fish wrapped in pistachio. Score close to 10 for quality.
Address: Largo Santa Caterina, 7, 98039 Taormina ME, Italy
Phone: +39 0942 625607
In addition, our host strongly recommends Tiramisu restaurant. She said it was one of the few favorite restaurants of the locals. Since we are students with shortages of money, we only tried at Licchio’s. But before the guarantee of the host, this is also an option worth considering. Remember to reserve a table.
Note: There are two Tiramisu shops in Taormina, and the one you should go to is the Trattoria Tiramisu, not the Ristorante!
Address: Viale Apollo Arcageta, 9, 98039 Taormina ME, Italy
Hours: 1–2:30PM, 7–10:30PM/Monday: Closed
Taormina travel blog: Where to stay?
Below we recommend more best budget, mid-range and upscale hotels with good ratings and reviews you can refer to.
- Hotel Villa Belvedere (Agoda.com or Booking.com)
- Mazzaro Sea Palace – VRetreats (Agoda.com or Booking.com)
- Hotel Villa Ducale (Agoda.com or Booking.com)
- Hotel Villa Carlotta (Agoda.com or Booking.com)
- UNAHOTELS Capotaormina (Agoda.com or Booking.com)
- Grand Hotel Timeo, A Belmond Hotel, Taormina (Agoda.com or Booking.com)
Taormina is a great summer destination in Sicily. With a little planning, you can enjoy a great value vacation! Don’t forget to share with me!
Some best day tours, trips, activities and transfer services, tickets in, from and to Sicily you can refer to
- Catania: Mount Etna Day Trip with Tasting and Cave Trip
- Etna: Summit Craters Trekking
- Lipari and Vulcano: Day Trip from Milazzo
- Mount Etna Summit and Crater Trek
- From Tropea: Day Tour to the Aeolian Islands
- Palermo 3-Hour Street Food and History Walking Tour
- Catania: Mount Etna Sunset Jeep Tour