Things to do in Taormina

by Kelly

Taormina is the most beautiful destination and one that can’t be missed in Sicily. The beautiful old town, beach of Taormina and lovely views all make it a must visit.

Is Taormina worth visiting?

Taormina is absolutely worth visiting! This little town really is one of the most beautiful places in Sicily. The charming streets, beautiful décor and stunning views all make it well worth visiting.

How many days for Taormina

You could easily see Taormina on a day trip but I recommend spending at least 2 nights there. This will give you the chance to really soak up the pretty town, great beaches, beautiful views and wonderful food. The day trips from here are also really good such as the Mt Etna hike, Castelmola, wine tasting.

How to get to Taormina Sicily?

Taormina is located on the east coast of Sicily at the bottom of Italy. It does not have an airport but there is one in nearby Catania or at Palermo the capital of Sicily.

From Catania to Taormina train

We flew into Catania and jumped on the train to Taormina. It was so easy to do and really quick. The trains run all day and are usually around 7€. It takes about an hour and a half, you will first need to get into Catania Centrale (the central bus station in Catania) and then go onwards from there to Taormina. You can book through Omio which has train and bus options for all over Europe or on TrenItalia which is the direct booking through the Italian public transport company.

Train schedule from Catnia to Taormina

Palermo to Taormina

You can also take trains from Palermo to Taormina. It can take anywhere from 2.5 hours to 6 hours with prices starting at 19€ depending on the route or time you choose. The quickest route will be about 2.5 hours and include only one change at Messina.

Train schedule from Palermo to Taormina

Where to stay in Taormina

Budget Taormina Hotels

Villa Mabel – a really old, historic building with an excellent location and budget rooms! We stayed here and although it was old it really was a great experience and the location was exceptional! Very cheap for its position.

B&B Villa Maria Ausilia – Excellent location, breakfast included, comfortable rooms, great host. Really great price!

Hotel Continental – Great location, breakfast, staff and rooms. All round great value for money.

Casa Turrisi – Great price and breakfast, location right in the centre. Clean modern rooms.

A’Coffa – Rooms&Breakfast – Excellent location, clean comfortable rooms with great breakfast included.

Midrange Taormina Hotels

Splendid Hotel Taormina – Great location, good rooms and breakfast included.

Il Piccolo Giardino GH ***Superior – modern rooms, great location, pool and service.

Luxury Hotels Taormina

Hotel Villa Taormina – Magical views from this hotel, great rooms and breakfast

Excelsior Palace Hotel Taormina – Wonderful rooms, service, breakfast and location! Beautiful castle like hotel.

Metropole Hotel Taormina – Amazing luxury hotel, incredible location, modern comfortable rooms and excellent breakfast and service.

Is it better to stay in Catania or Taormina?

We chose to stay at Taormina and loved it. You can definitely do a day trip but to really experience all that Taormina has to offer it is best to stay in Taormina. Accommodation can be found (check out our picks above) for reasonable prices. Most day trips are between 11am and 4pm, by staying there you will be able to enjoy the town before and after the most tourists are there.

Things to do in Taormina, Sicily:

Taormina Beach

Isola Bella

Isola Bella is the famous Taormina Beach that is a must visit! This gorgeous spot is a tiny little island that is connected to the mainland by a little pebbly walkway. You can swim for free either side of this walkway and the water is stunning, crystal clear. The island itself can be walked around and there are beautiful plants there, it is open from 9am to an hour before sunset every for the public.

Mendolia Beach Club is close by to Isola Bella and is 30€ per person. It has showers, sunbeds, umbrellas and food available.

How to get to Isola Bella – either take the cable car on via Pirandello to Mazzarò and then turn right and walk for a further 200m to the beach. Alternatively you can walk through Via Pirandello onto the viewing point ‘Isola Bella’ and then take the path that leads directly to the island.

Spiaggia La Pigna

Spiaggia La Pigna is a Taormina beach that is just south of Isola Bella. It is another pebble beach and has Lido La Pigna the beach club available as well. The beach has pretty views and lovely clear water.

Spiaggia La Pigna

Pretty beach just north of Isola Bella. It has a free beach section and also Lido Spisone (beach club) available. This is one of the more accessible beaches near Isola Bella.

Spiaggia di Mazzeo

Spiaggia di Mazzeo is a great pebble beach with lovely views and pretty little streets leading to the beach. There are multiple lidos (beach clubs) here including: Lido Playa Sole Luna, Lido Tropicana, Lido Ipanema Beach Club.

Spiaggia San Giovanni Giardini Naxos

Naxos beach is a little further away. It is sandy and less busy than the other options closer to Taormina. Definitely worth the trip down there, you can get a bus easily from the train station or transit station and spend a day there. It takes only 5 minutes by bus and costs about 1.80€.

The Corso Umberto

The Corso Umberto is the main street in Taormina. It is where you will find everyone strolling along, taking in the scenes. There are great restaurants, bars and patisseries/gelaterias and the street is lined with high end stores and elegant perfumeries. Make sure to check out the local Aria di Sicilia Parfums as well as Nino and Friends cookie and chocolate artisan store. This great artisan store has a chocolate fountain in the window and grab free samples of their biscuits and chocolates!

Ancient Theatre of Taormina (Teatro Antico di Taormina)

The ancient Greco-Roman Theatre of Taormina (Teatro Antico di Taormina) is a must see, it is right in the centre of town and easily reached. The theatre has views to Mt Etna and is now used for entertainment events. You can purchase the entry tickets for Ancient Theatre of Taormina and skip the line up as well!

Naumachia di Taormina

Naumachia di Taormina is an ancient Roman place, the large niches in the long red brick wall are of unknown origin or use.

Belvedere di Via Pirandello

Belvedere di Via Pirandello is the best viewpoint of Isola Bella! Make sure to stop by here for the iconic photo of this gorgeous spot!

Tino Giammona House

This is maybe the most charming place in all of Taormina. Located just around the corner from Bam Bam Bar it is the most unassuming little house that has been painted by a local artist. The beautiful storybook like imagery of Taormina folklore stories is so charming, this hidden gem in Taormina is a must visit location.

Wine tasting Taormina Sicily

The wine which is grown near Taormina is known for its good quality. The grapes for Etna wine are gown on the slopes of Mt Etna, they are of really high quality due to the nutrient rich volcanic soil in which they grow. Wine tasting in Taormina is a must do activity. These are a couple of the tours and tasting we recommend while in Taormina:

Duomo di Taormina and Fontana di Piazza Duomo (4 Fontane)

Duomo di Taormina is the main church in Taormina, it is beautiful inside and out and is easily visited right in the centre of town.

Fontana di Piazza Duomo (4 Fontane) is the large fountain located directly opposite the Duomo. It is a meeting place, a place to sit and people watch as there are cafes all around and the main shopping street where everyone will walk past.

Cooking Class in Taormina, Sicily

A cooking class in Taormina is a great way to get closer to the culture, food is such a big part of Italian life! Learning how to make local delicacies from local people is a joy! These are our picks of the best cooking classes:

Piazza IX Aprile, Taormina

Piazza IX Aprile is right across from where we stayed in Villa Mabel. The checkerboard tiles lead out to the most lovely views in Taormina. Overlooking the ocean and the road that leads up to the main area. The Piazza is also used for cultural events such as music. You will find buskers here during the day, we saw a political speech happening while we were there.

To the left you will find a small building with a free exhibition in it. We entered and saw extremely old artefacts from Taormina. This included ancient books and texts, personal items such as combs, mirrors and linens. It was really interesting to check out.

Chiesa di San Giuseppe

Chiesa di San Giuseppe is a church right near the Piazza IX Aprile. It has a lovely staircase at the front and the church itself is really nice to stop in and check out. These churches are practising churches open to the public, please make sure to be dressed appropriately before entering.

Porta Messina

The old city gate, it is the one you will walk under when entering Taormina from the bottom of the hill or train station. It was once part of the protection of the city and now stands as a starting point of entry.

Porta Catania

Porta Catania is the historic arched gateway that once protected the city on the west side. It is a beautiful landmark and walking through will take you to the outskirts of Taormina.

Villa Comunale di Taormina

Villa Comunale di Taormina is a little hidden gem in Taormina and maybe my favourite place. The public gardens with views out to the sea has some decorative buildings and beautiful plants to enjoy. You can take a walk here or bring a snack to sit and relax while escaping the heat of the day. It is located at the bottom of the town near the tennis courts.

What to do around Taormina


One of the prettiest Sicilian villages in Italy, centred around an old castle. This little town set in the hills above Taormina has beautiful views out over the water and to the town below. You can walk there if you like to hike, it takes about half an hour or alternatively there are buses run by Interbus that leave from the Taormina bus terminal and only cost a couple of euro.

Alcantara Gorge

Alacantara Gorge is a beautiful big gorge that you can walk through and swim in. It is free and open from 9am each day. You can get there by bus, it takes just over an hour from Taormina and costs approximately 4 euro. You will find the bus at the Taormina Bus Terminal, or alternatively there are tours that include a trip to Alacantara Gorge.

Mtr Etna volcano

Tours to Mt Etna are a must! You can actually just go there on your own although there is a limit to how high you can go. It is much better to go with a tour so you have any equipment needed and be guided by the tour leader. These are the Mt Etna tours we recommend:

Taormina Day Trips from Palermo, Catania or Cefalu:

Taking a day trip to Taormina is such an easy way to see this great town if you don’t have the time to stay here. These are the best rated day trips to Taormina and surrounds:

Day trips from Catania:

Day Trip to Mount Etna and Taormina – Visit the north slope of Etna and its craters and lava cave at 2000 meters, followed by a lunch made of typical Sicilian products, water, and a glass of wine and finally discover the city of Taormina in the afternoon.

Taormina, Savoca, & Castelmola Tour w/ Brunch – Visit a famous town and bar from the Godfather movies, taste the flavors of Sicilian food and Etna wine with a delicious brunch, admire the majestic town of Taormina and discover its Greek Theater, explore the medieval suburb of Castelmola, with views of Mount Etna, finally immerse yourself in the rich culture of Sicily by visiting traditional villages.

From Cefalù:

Sicilian Gems Mount Etna (to 1900) Meters & Taormina – Climb up to 1900 meters on Mount Etna, take a look at the craters and lava landscape, visit Taormina and walk the beautiful streets, finally enjoy the view of the ancient Greco-Roman theatre with a beautiful panorama in the background.

From Palermo:

Mount Etna and Taormina Full-Day Excursion from Palermo – Experience the dramatic views of Europe’s highest Volcano, Mount Etna, discover interesting facts and the history of Mount Etna with a guide, explore Taormina’s old churches, antique shops, restaurants and cafés.

Mount Etna, Taormina & Castelmola Day Trip – Experience the lava fields and the incredible landscape of Mount Etna, take an independent tour of the charming town of Taormina, marvel at the panoramic views of the bay and scenery from Castelmola.

Best foods in Sicily

These are our favourite local foods you have to try while in Sicily:

Granite– the local food that many have for breakfast, perfect on a hote summer morning. It is shaved ice with flavouring, usually fruit but can be coffee, often topped with cream. You can choose to have it with a brioche bun, to eat you rip off pieces of the bun and dip it in the brioche. You can take it without the brioche too.

Arancini – a street snack food that is delicious! Rice that is crumbed and deep fried. Often filled with cheese, bolonagise or meat.

Cannolo – the best dessert! A crunchy pastry outer filled with cream or custards and often topped with chocolate or caramel and nuts or sprinkles. Truly divine!

Pasta alla norma – a tomato based eggplant pasta which is very delicious.

Where to eat in Taormina

These are our favourite places to eat in Taormina, we usually find the places we like best and then keep going back! In Taormina we looked for the best pizza we could track down and the best gelato! These were our top picks:

PizzaMania Taormina

Best pizza in Taormina and really cheap. Mike ate here everyday, sadly there isn’t gluten free so I couldn’t try it. The decor and style is old school, there are slices that you can purchase immediately or you can order a whole pizza and they make it fresh, you even see them flattening out the dough. Mike rated it really highly, definitely one to check out.

Bam Bam Bar

This bar is now famous and rightly so. It serves the best granite and is such a gorgeous spot. Service is excellent, you wont regret it, just make sure to come early enough or there can be a line up! They even have gluten free options for the brioche and cones.

Ristorante Pizzeria Porta Messina

More expensive but excellent pizza and also excellent gluten free pizza! Ristorante Pizzeria Porta Messina makes their own gluten free bases and they are so good! Worth the money, you wont be disappointed. I was told by a coeliac local lady (working in another restaurant!) to try and I am so glad she recommended it.

Supermarket – InCoop

This is the best supermarket close by the town, located just outside of the Porta Messina. It has the best range in town of food items if you are cooking for yourself or looking to make a lunch, for snacks or drinks. It is tiny but there is a fair choice available.

Pasticceria Gelateria D’Amore

Pasticceria Gelateria D’Amore is a must! The best pasticceria in town, there are tons of cookies and pastries to try and they even have gluten free local cookies in four flavours. They are so delicious I had them everyday, my favourite was lemon or orange. Even better is their gelato! Great flavours, prices and decent scoop sizes. This is one you can’t miss!

Drink aperitivo at Taverna Don Nino

Taverna Don Nino has the cheapest aperitivo in Taormina. We enjoyed 4.50€ Aperol Spritz with complementary peanuts and no cover charge.

Across the road are two great wine bars, Enoteca and Al Grappolo d’Uva. They are right next door to each other and are very cool with great food and drinks, albeit a little more expensive.

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