small traveling italian red green and white logo
Traveling Italian

Posted On August 13, 2023 By Louis

Best things to do in Taormina 

Taormina is an amazing city within Messina on the east coast of Sicily and is built on a cliff overlooking the Ionian Sea. The city was established around 396 BC by the Siculi when Dionysius I destroyed the nearby town of Naxos. Since then the City has been occupied by many adding to the influence of the historical sites seen there, consequently, there are lots of things to do in Taormina. The city has gone from strength to strength over the years and is now a thriving tourist city,

There are many things to do in Taormina, here are the top ones:

Immerse yourself in the history of Museo Siciliano di Arte e Tradizioni Popolar

This is a small museum located in an old church just up a hill close to the Excesior Palace Hotel in Taormina city centre. It has a series of rooms that show objects from local antique dealers between the 17th and 20th centuries. You can find embroidery, wooden sculptures, portraits and much more. As you enter the different rooms you can feel the aspects of the rich Sicilian culture. Entry is free plus have a guide in English.

Sit at the Greek Theatre of Taormina

Teatro Antico di Taormina is an ancient theatre built in the 3rd century BC for performances and musicals. During the Roman times, it made way for gladiator battles and games. Now the theatre is no longer in operation however used for the annual arts festival. It spans 107 metres in diameter and holds around 10,000 people. It is split into several parts, the Orchestra, the Cavea and the Portici. Beyond the theatre are incredible views of Mount Etna and the ocean. There are many steps and if it's a sunny day make sure to bring water and a hat. There is usually a line in peak season, and tickets to get in are around 14 euros a head. The Teatro is also very close to the Grand Hotel which is one of the top hotels in Taormina.

Take the Cable Car down to the Isola Bella

Isola Bella is a small island in Taormina known as the “The Pearl of the Ionian Sea”. The Funivia (cable car) takes you from Taormina Centre to the bottom of Taormina Mazzaro. A Single ticket is around 3 euros but well worth the trip with the views of the whole of Taormina. From Mazzaro, it's about a 10-minute walk to the Island of Isola Bella. Isola Bella started out as a private property that was gifted to the town by King Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies and then bought by Florence Trevelyan in 1890. Other owners kept up the island until they went bankrupt and the region of Sicily won it at Auction. From then they turned into a nature reserve and protected. Now you can see sunbathers relaxing on the pebbly beach or people snorkelling around the many natural sea grottos. 

Climb Mount Etna a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Mount Etna is one of the most active and tallest volcanoes in Europe, however well worth the visit as the viewing platform lets you see some stunning views of the countryside and Volcano. In 2021 it erupted so much that it grew by 30 metres! Etna Volcano is just an hour away by car from Catania, and you can take the cable car up to 2,500 meters. The cable car ticket costs €50, and a guided tour to the highest point for tourists costs €78. The volcano is open from 8:30 am to 4:10 pm every day (weather permitting). I would definitely enlist a local tour guide to make sure you are going at the right time. This is an experience you won't want to miss! 

Visit the Cathedral of Taormina

Located in the Piazza Duomo is the Roman-Gothic Duomo di Taormina which belongs to the Archdiocese of Messina-Lipari-Santa Lucia del Mela. The cathedral was built in the 13th century and from the outside looks more like a fortress. Free to enter and during the summer seasons/ weekends it is often decorated for weddings inside. Make sure not to enter when a wedding is happening. Well worth the look inside.

Eat at Taormina’s restaurants

Taormina has some of the best restaurants in Sicily with around 10 Michelin-reviewed sites. Being a town by the ocean, Taormina has a selection of seafood and authentic Sicilian cuisine. Noteworthy dining establishments include Trattoria Da Nino and Osteria da Rita (established in 1991). To satisfy your sweet cravings, don't miss out on the delightful La Pignolata Guinness Cannoli. Renowned for its culinary offerings, Taormina is also celebrated for serving some of the finest cannolis in all of Sicily. Make sure to book ahead if you can.

Relax at Taormina’s finest beaches.

There are many beaches around Taormina. My two favourites are Spiaggia di Isola Bella and Spiaggia di Mazzeo. Spiaggia di Isola Bella is a pebbly beach with stunning views of the Isola Bella and beautiful waters. There are a few public beach clubs where you can rent a lounger but be careful not to sit at the hotel ones. You could stay there all day. Spiaggia di Mazzeo is a lot larger so and not as many people, it is also a pebbly beach so grab a lounger.  Make sure to bring strong sandals or water shoes.

Challenge yourself and climb 500 steps

At the top is Chiesa Madonna della Rocca which was built in the 12th century and stands on a mountain. In the 1600’s was restored The church is called the Madonna della Rocca as it was carved into the mountain. Inside the church, you can where it was carved into the rock as it acts as a roof. It's a few steps but is well worth the view at the top. Bring water, wear a hat and avoid going midday, especially in summer.

Useful tips when visiting Taormina

  • Taormina stands as a favoured destination for tourists, with chic Michelin restaurants. Securing reservations beforehand is highly advisable, particularly during peak seasons, as the town's limited size leads to swift reservation occupancy. 
  • ​​Given the intense summer sun in Taormina, safeguarding yourself from its harsh rays is paramount. Shielding measures like wearing hats, sunglasses, and sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or above are essential. Those with sensitive skin should consider bringing a higher SPF sunscreen from home.
  • The pedestrian-friendly layout of Taormina makes it most conducive to exploration by foot. The charmingly narrow streets and labyrinthine alleyways offer a pleasurable amble, while the wealth of historical landmarks and attractions ensure endless activities. If embarking on extensive walking and sightseeing, packing comfortable shoes and an ample water supply is wise.
  • Booking a local tour guide can unveil Taormina's history from a distinct angle. These guides can divulge narratives and myths not typically found in guidebooks, while also addressing inquiries about the city's storied past. This approach serves as an excellent conduit for discovering Taormina's hidden treasures and immersing oneself in the local ethos.
  • In the summertime, the midday and afternoon sun's intensity in Taormina necessitates a preference for outdoor attractions during early mornings or evenings when temperatures are milder and the crowds are fewer. Additionally, taking a refreshing dip in the ocean is always an option!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram