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Traveling Italian

Posted On February 22, 2023 By Louis

The Taormina Travel Guide 2023

About Taormina

Located on the eastern coast of Sicily, Taormina is a charming seaside town that boasts breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea and Mount Etna - Europe's most active volcano. This makes it an ideal destination for adventure seekers who are looking to explore nature's wonders.

Its population is only around 11,000 people however during summer can get a lot higher as Taormina is a very popular town to get married in and is considered a luxury Italian holiday.

Apart from its beautiful views, Taormina is also rich in history. It has many medieval architectures, narrow winding streets and many 14th-century churches and palaces.

Taormina is also known for its:

Historical Attractions - A must-visit is the Greek theatre or Teatro Antico di Taormina which was built in the third century BC. You can also go to the Palazzo Corvaja, a medieval palace constructed at the end of the 14th century with Gothic influence.

Food - When it comes to cuisine, Sicily offers an array of mouth-watering options, including locally-sourced fresh seafood that is skillfully prepared by some of the region's top restaurants. Moreover, Sicily is renowned for its Cannoli, and one of the best examples of this delectable dessert can be found here

Resorts & Shopping - Taormina has some of the most luxurious hotels to stay at and many boutique & high-end stores to visit.

Beaches - If you are looking for a relaxing holiday there are some incredible beaches such as the Isola Bella, a pebbly beach with beautiful views and backdrops. Right beside it is the "Blue Grotto or la Grotta Azzura", a must-see.

Languages spoken in Taormina

The locals Sicilians speak Italian, however, don't be worried as many do speak English so you shouldn't have too many problems if you haven't brushed up.

Greek Amphitheatre in Taormina with Mount Etna in the background part of popular guides

How to get to and around Taormina

There are many ways to get to Taormina and it also depends on where you are coming from.

Plane - If you're looking to get to Taormina quickly from another country, flying is typically the most efficient option. Catania Airport CTA is the nearest airport, and it's possible to fly there directly from the UK for as little as £13, with a travel time of approximately 3 hours. Alternatively, if you're traveling from Australia, Emirates Airways offers direct flights. Once you arrive at Catania Airport, Taormina is approximately 67 kilometres away, and you can expect to reach it by taxi or car in around 50 minutes.

Train - Trains offer a speedy way to travel around Sicily and reach Taormina. The nearest train station to Taormina is Taormina-Giardini, which is operated by TRENITALIA. If you're arriving at Catania, you can catch a train to Taormina in just 40-50 minutes, with one-way fares starting from as low as €5.20. Trains operate from 5 am to 10 pm, making it a convenient option for most travelers. In addition, there are direct trains available from Rome to Taormina.

Bus - While buses are a convenient mode of transportation in Sicily, it's important to note that they can be subject to delays or cancellations. The two main bus companies operating in the area are Interbus and Etna Transporti. If you're looking to travel from Catania Airport to Taormina by bus, it will take approximately 1 hour and 25 minutes, with the first service departing at 7 am. For those traveling to Sicily from mainland Italy, many opt for overnight buses due to the long travel time. For instance, the journey from Rome to Sicily can take up to 11 hours and 15 minutes.

Car - If you're looking for a cost-effective way to get to and move around Taormina, driving a car is likely your best bet. It takes approximately 50 minutes to get to Taormina from Catania Airport by car. However, if you're driving to Taormina from mainland Italy, keep in mind that you'll need to take a ferry from Villa San Giovanni Port to Messina, which takes about 31 minutes. Additionally, remember that driving in Italy means you'll be driving on the right-hand side of the road, with the driver seated on the left-hand side of the car. Manual cars are typically the most affordable option, and they're usually half the price of an automatic rental car. Keep in mind, though, that parking can be difficult, particularly in town during the peak season. Save now and book a rental car.

Taxi - While taxis can be a convenient way to travel to and around Taormina, it's important to keep in mind that they are typically the most expensive option. However, if you're arriving from overseas after a long journey, it might be the preferred choice as you won't have to wait for a train or bus or deal with rental cars and parking. A reputable taxi company in Taormina is Taxi Taormina. If you're traveling from Catania Airport, it's advisable to hire a local taxi, which should cost around €70-90 one way for a single passenger and offer more value for group travel.

Taormina Cable Car - The Funivia takes you from the centre of Taormina to the bottom of Taormina Mazzaro and vice versa. It is one of the best ways to see the views of Taormina. Tickets from €3 for a single trip and €10 for a day trip. They run every 15 minutes from 8 am - 8 pm. If you take the cable car down, the Isola Bella is then just a 5-10 minute walk.

Parking in Taormina

Parking in Taormina can be a daunting task for tourists, especially in a new country. However, with a little understanding, you can navigate parking in Taormina with ease. It's important to note that parking is usually not free, so always carry cash in case you need to pay for parking.

During the summer season, parking in Taormina can be very limited. If you park on the street, be sure to check the parking signs carefully, as white lines indicate resident parking and blue lines indicate paid parking. If you park in a paid parking area, look for a parking meter or visit a local newsagent to purchase a parking ticket. Be sure to display the ticket clearly on your dashboard and avoid being late, as parking wardens are present in the area.

The EasyPark app is the most convenient way to pay for parking in Italy. It works in most places around the country, and it allows you to pay directly from your phone, without having to find a ticket machine or newsagent. You can pay for a few hours, and if you come back early, you can stop the timer and pay less. One tip: when you download the app, enter a random Italian phone number, as your local number may not register. EasyPark does charge a small fee, but the convenience is worth it.

Additionally, pricing for parking may vary depending on the location and the time of year. In the summer season, hourly rates may be higher compared to other months. To simplify parking in Taormina, it's best to opt for a hotel with its own car park or to use public transport when possible.

The most common and accessible are the big local car garages in town there are a few minutes to the centre. 1 is the Parcheggio Lumbi (northern part of Taormina Town) with 965 spaces. You can stay there from around €2 an hour to €14.50 for 24 hours. 2nd is Parcheggio Porta Catania (Southern part of Taormina Town) with 650 spaces. 3rd is Parcheggio Porta Pasquale (North Eastern part of Taormina Town), however, is a bit smaller with only 75 spaces. You can also park pretty close to the sea at the Mazzaro parking however is a mixture of covered/ uncovered parking and has 180 spaces.

If you're staying at a hotel in Taormina, the safest and most convenient option for parking is usually the hotel's own car park. Some hotels may offer free parking for guests, while others may charge a nominal fee.

Best things to do in Taormina

There are so many things to do in Taormina as it's surrounded by the Mediterranean and is rich in History. Here are some of the best things to do in Taormina.

  • Go to the beach, Taormina has some great beaches including Mazzaro Beach the famous Isola Bella beach. It has the most incredible turquoise water you can swim in. Make sure to bring some shoes/ swimming sandals as is a pebble beach.
  • Take a boat tour, you can book a Taormina day tour and Isola Bella boat tour and visit the magnificent Blue Grotto.
  • Take the Cable car from Mazzaro Beach up to the town or vice versa. You will see some beautiful views of Taormina and the price starts from only €3.
  • Visit Mount Etna. The Etna volcano is just 1 hour away by car and you can take the cable car up to 2500 metres. Prices for the Mt Etna cable car start from €50 and a guided tour that goes further to the highest point for tourists starts from €78. It is open from 8.30 am - 4.10 pm and open every day (weather permitting). You don't want to miss this experience.
  • Visit the historical sites around town. There are many historical palaces and churches in Taormina such as the Palazzo Corvaja, Duomo di Taormina and Chiesa di San Giuseppe.
  • Go to the Teatro Antico di Taormina, a famous Greek theatre with amazing views that was built in the third century BC.
  • Visit the shops, there are many boutique shops where you can find some great fashion wear.
  • Book yourself some restaurants in Taormina. The town has some incredible seafood and Sicilian dishes. Some places I have had some great dishes at are, Trattoria Da Nino, Osteria da Rita (dal 1991), and for dessert La Pignolata Guinness Cannoli. Taormina is home to some of the best cannoli's in Sicily.
  • Go wine tasting. With volcanic soil, you can taste some of the most award-winning wines by booking a Mount Etna wine tour.
  • Into watersports? Go visit the Le Gole dell'Alcantara and go bodysurfing or even go for a nice walk and take in the views.
Stairs to Taormina centre with Sicilian sculptures

Top 5 Hotels in Taormina

How much should you budget for a trip to Taormina?

If you are considering different categories based on activities, I suggest setting aside at least €310 per day per person for budgeting purposes. Here is a more detailed breakdown:

Breakfast (sometimes included in accommodation)€20
Tourist Activities€30
Going out€30
Total cost per day€310

Best travel card to use on holiday

I recommend the Wise card for transferring money during your luxury Italian Holiday. It's one of the best international cards available and lets you avoid visiting the post office to convert money into cash, waiting in line etc. You can even use Wise with Apple Pay or Google Pay before receiving the physical card.

Wise's fees are much lower than banks, without any additional charges. They provide the current exchange rate of the day without any inflated rates and just put on a small fee. While it's a good idea to carry some cash while traveling, Wise's fees are reasonable and worth comparing to your local debit card.

I've personally used Wise for over five years and saved a significant amount of money compared to my local bank. I also use Wise to transfer money to hotels and other places abroad, where I save on exchange fees compared to my bank. The Wise app informs me of how much other banks may charge for the same transaction.

Wise is not a one-time use card, and you can use it repeatedly for every international vacation or business trip you take.

How long should you stay in Taormina?

If you're traveling around Sicily, I would suggest staying in Taormina for at least 2-3 days. However, if you want to engage in numerous activities and visit all the sights, it would be best to stay for a longer duration. The length of your stay will also depend on your preferences and the nature of your trip, such as whether it's an Italian family holiday, a solo trip, or a romantic getaway.

2-3 days will allow you to go to some historical sites like the Palazzo Corvaja, the Greek Amphitheatre, and see Taormina's main attractions and things to do.

If you are more into activities, you can visit Mount Etna or walk around Le Gole dell'Alcantara.
Nightlife and restaurants are also very big and Taormina has some of the best restaurants in Sicily so very worth exploring.

Taormina is an immensely popular destination, especially during peak seasons, so it's crucial to book your flights and accommodations early, as they tend to fill up quickly every year. Furthermore, prices may increase year on year. As a tip, I would recommend booking your luxury Italian holiday a year in advance or just before Christmas.

Make sure to read our blog on Travel Essentials for Europe for more tips when planning a trip.

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