📌 Read in / Lire en : Français (French)
Today we take you to the southeast coast of Sicily, about halfway between Messina and Catania. You guessed it – it’s Taormina (or Taormina). This small town in Sicily is considered the pearl of this island region of Italy. Perched high on a cliff, it offers a breath-taking view of the ocean and Etna, the most famous volcano in Europe. A cultural and historical city, in turn placed under Roman, Norman, and Muslim influence, Taormina has no shortage of monuments and picturesque landscapes to offer its visitors. So, to help you on your journey to explore the whole city from top to bottom, here is what to see and do during a trip to Taormina.
💸 For small budgets. Visiting Sicily can be expensive. So here is a selection of cheap hotels in Palermo, the capital.
🗒️ What you need to know before your trip to Taormina
Before we begin our list of must-do things in Taormina, here are some tips for your next trip.
Where should you land to go to Taormina?
If you are not engaged in a Sicilian road trip, which you will surely have started in Palermo, the nearest airport to Taormina is in Catania, which is very well served by airlines – budget ones included. It is located 8km southwest of the city centre.
How do you get from Catania to Taormina?
If you have just gotten off the plane, be aware that you can take a direct bus line (Interbus) from Catania to Taormina, further north. This will drop you off not far from the historic centre. It is also possible to reach the city by train. Depending on the number of stops, the trip can take anywhere from 40 minutes to an hour. Prices rarely exceed five euros. Daily schedules are available here.
Which hotel should you choose in Taormina?
The accommodation offered in Taormina is of high quality, although not substantial. Given the location of the city, the view is often breath-taking. Do you want a truly memorable stay? Then we recommend the Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo. There, you will find all the charm of Italy, in addition to a breath-taking view of Mount Etna and the Mediterranean.
Another favourite: the Hotel Villa Ducale. This is a charming, family-run establishment, located in the heights of Taormina. With rooms carefully decorated in white and beige tones, and its beautiful terrace, it’s hard not to fall in love.
🔝 The 10 essential things to do in Taormina
Now that we’ve covered the practical side of travel, it’s now time for our little guide. Here are our top 10 things to do in Taormina, Sicily.
Explore Corso Umberto
Lined with luxury boutiques, clothing, jewellery, souvenir, and grocery stores, and restaurants, Corso Umberto is Taormina’s main street. This is undoubtedly what earned it the nickname of “Sicilian Saint-Tropez”. Stretching for about 800 meters from Porte de Messina to Porte de Catania and crossing the entire historic centre of Taormina, this pedestrian street takes its name from one of the kings of Italy, Umberto I of Savoy. You are sure to come back often during your trip to Taormina, as there are so many things to discover there.
Admire Piazza IX Aprile
An emblematic square crossing Corso Umberto, Piazza IX April is characterized by its outdoor bars as well as the portraits and landscapes painted by local artists. It is the ideal place to take photos, especially at sunset. That is to say that it is the most beautiful place in Taormina.
Visit the Cathedral of Saint Nicholas
The Cathedral of Saint Nicholas of Taormina is a medieval church dedicated to Saint Nicholas of Bari. It is located along Corso Umberto near Porta Catania. Its baroque facade, characterized by a crenelated crown, makes it all the more interesting. You will also find the large rose window, a central source of inspiration during the Renaissance. This church, attractive both inside and out, is a must-see in Taormina.
Stroll through the Public Garden – Villa Comunale
Consisting of exotic plants and terraces and imbued with an original British style, the public gardens of the Villa Comunale are a true haven of peace in Taormina, ideal if you want to escape the bustle of the city. These gardens are beautifully open, overlooking the sea. Discover secret groves, sculptures, beautiful ponds. This park is said to have belonged to a wealthy Englishwoman called Lady Florence Trevelyan.
Go up to Castelmola
After exploring the city centre of Taormina, why not visit its surroundings? For this, we present: Castelmola. This is a small village perched above the historical part of Taormina and the main square of Castelmola. It was classified as one of the “most beautiful villages in Italy“. Don’t forget to taste the local speciality, the famous almond wine, during your visit.
Discover the Greek Theatre
Dating from the 3rd century BC, this Greek theatre has become symbolic of the city, immortalized by many painters throughout history. Its prestige comes not only from its incredible architectural style and size, but also from its historical value. Taormina’s most emblematic monument, it is in a very good state of conservation. With a capacity of 50,000 people, it frequently hosts cultural events such as concerts and theatrical performances.
Gather at the Chiesa Madonna della Rocca
For those who adore breath-taking views and history alike, a visit to the Church of the Madonna della Rocca and its magnificent panoramic balcony overlooking Taormina, Mount Etna, and the bay of Giardini Naxos, is a must. You can kill two birds with one stone with the charm of this small church. perched high up. Dating from the 12th century but restored in 1600, it is close to the Sarracini castle.
Getting to Isola Bella
If you like postcard landscapes, then Isola Bella is well worth a detour if you are in Taormina. It is resplendent: the most famous of the three Borromean Islands and certainly the most popular with tourists. It is characterized by its contours, forming the silhouette of a boat. With its pebble beach and crystal-clear waters, this island offers several activities such as diving and boat trips. You can get there by boat from the piers of Stresa, Verbania, Bavero, and Arona.
Marvel at the Alcantara Gorges
The Alcantara is a small 52-kilometre river which follows an old lava flow between Etna in the south and the Nebrodi and Peloritani mountains in the north. It has walls of more than 25 meters high but is only 2 to 4 meters wide. It is not necessarily recommended for swimming because of the intense cold which reigns there, but the river itself lends itself rather well to adventurous activities such as canyoning.
Take a memorable ride to the top of Mount Etna
What better way to end your trip – and our selection of things to do in Taormina – than with a visit to the famous Etna volcano? Frankly, it would be a shame to have come so far only to miss the main attraction of the region. Located in the south of Sicily with a height of 3350 meters, it is the most active volcano in Europe, but still many visits depart from the main towns in the area.
There you have it, our selection of unmissable things to do in Taormina is complete. Other ideas? Share them in comments!