In this article we’ll break down the best 10 things to do in Taormina. A quaint, little town perched high on a hill, almost 200 meters above sea, Taormina affords some of the best views on the east coast of Sicily. The expansive blues of the Ionian Sea, the towering shadows of Mount Etna and the romance of the ancient ruins give the town is unique character.
Where to Stay in Taormina
If you are planning a trip to Taormina, Sicily and are considering what to do, there are plenty of things that will make it worth your while. We’ve listed the 10 you might want to mark on your calendar.
How to get to Taormina
If you are travelling by plane the nearest airport is Catania Fontanarossa, from here you can get regular buses to Taormina Via Luigi Pirandello a taxi will cost around €80
If you are travelling by train you need to get to Giardini Naxos rail station, this is one of the main stations on the train line Messina to Catania. From here you can get the bus to the terminal in Taormina Via Luigi Pirandello, the journey is 10-15 minutes. A taxi will cost you €10-15. For buses time table click here
Teatro Greco is picture-perfect and a must-see site on any trip to Taormina. It blends the Greek and Roman in its design. This horseshoe-shaped theatre is surrounded by incredible views of the Ionian coastline and Mount Etna. The theatre dates back to the 3rd century BC and is regarded as the second largest theatre in Sicily. If you happen to visit in the summer, you might get a chance to witness an opera or classical concert live in action. There is an entrance fee of €10.
For tours and activities in Taormina click here
A hidden beauty that not many tourists are aware of is the public garden at Villa Comunale. The lush gardens offer a welcome respite from the bustling market areas in Taormina. It was designed by Lady Florence Trevelyan, earning it the moniker the Trevelyan Gardens. The English-styled garden is home to beautiful flowering shrubs, cacti and palm trees. It also incorporates Victorian follies in its architectural design. There’s a children’s play area and a small terrace, making it ideal for a simple picnic. For the lone traveller, you can simply stroll through the garden or sit awhile and absorb the views.
One of the busiest streets in Taormina, Corso Umberto bustles with activity. Cutting across the town from Porta Messina to Porta Catania, the pedestrian street boasts of an impressive line-up of restaurants and shops where travellers can taste the local fare or shop for souvenirs, knickknacks, jewellery and clothes. The best time to visit Corso Umberto is at night; with day-trippers leaving, it is less congested towards the evening.
Not far from Taormina is the hilltop village Castelmola. The ruined medieval castle and winding roads give this village its old-world charm. You cannot visit Castelmola and not taste their almond wine. If your physical condition allows you can go on foot; if not, you can always take the interbus.
The Taormina coast is lined with scenic beaches where you can go sunbathing. But the Isola Bella beach is the most beautiful of them all with its pristine blue waters and pebbled beaches. Isola Bella is a beautiful island with a designated nature reserve. Its connect with the mainland is a narrow sandy patch that can be crossed when the tide is low. You can get to the beach by taking the cable car from Taormina. You can explore the island and museum for a nominal fee of €4 or indulge in adventure sports such as jet skiing, snorkelling or diving. You can also enjoy a boat ride around the rocky island.
Piazza Del Duomo
Situated on the Western end of the busy Corso Umberto, this picturesque square houses the Church of San Nicola, a 13th century cathedral. The landmark of this place is the baroque-styled fountain called “Quattro Fontane” or four fountains located bang in the centre of the square. At the top of the fountain is a statue of a centaur, the symbol of the city. You can stop by this square to grab a drink or just sit back for a few minutes to relax.
Mount Etna is the highlight of Taormina and makes its presence felt from virtually any point you stand. It is the highest active volcanoe in Europe. You can book yourself for a one-day guided excursion of Mount Etna. It includes a hike to foot of the volcano and ascent further up to the crater. Scaling Mount Etna makes for a thrilling adventure. It can get chilly up at Mount Etna and hence it is advised to carry warm clothes.
You couldn’t have gone to Sicily and not tasted a Granita! It is a staple drink that you’ll find at every corner. But there’s none that beats the slushies served at Bam Bar. For the uninformed, a granita is simply flavoured ice. The semi-frozen delights are made of water, flakes of ice, sugar and fresh fruit for flavouring. You can enjoy a variety of flavours from the common strawberry, lemon and orange to more unusual melon and Nutella flavours. You can also ask for a dollop of cream in your granita. A granita is the perfect choice of drink on a hot summer afternoon in Taormina.
The Alcantara Gorge is a site in the Sicilian landscape that piques the interest of geologists and travellers alike. Situated to the north of Mount Etna, the canyon was formed due to the cooling of lava runoffs from Mount Etna. The Gorge is very narrow, only 2-4 metres wide. The black lava walls are quite high, extending to more than 50 meters upwards. The Alcantara river runs across the canyon. Tucked away safely, the Alcantara Gorge is home to rare species of flora and fauna. It is an ideal summer location, but not the best swimming spots because of its very chilly waters.
Piazza IX Aprile
While in Taormina, you can also head to the Piazza IX Aprile. The square is located bang in the centre of Corso Umberto. From its terraces, you can enjoy a panoramic view of the Ionian river, Mount Etna and Teatro Greco. It is the perfect picture-point at sunset. Piazza IX Aprile is also known for its varied monuments: the rose-tinted church of San Giuseppe, the church of St. Joseph, the church of St. Augustine and the stone clock tower. The chequered floors do not fail to garner attention. The town’s main square is a lively place with its tourists, vendors, artists and caricaturist.
So, prepare your itinerary carefully. Choose from among our list of top 10 things to do in Taormina and make your trip worth your while.