Taormina, travel guide, sicily active

An Insider's Guide To Taormina, Sicily

Taormina, the pearl of the Mediterranean sea. Let's discover the top restaurants, the best attractions, the available tours to visit the sourrounding, cable car location and much more. I will share tips and suggestion on how to get the best out of your vacation in Taormina.


Taormina travel guide

Welcome to Taormina, Sicily - where ancient history seamlessly blends with modern luxury, creating a captivating destination for travelers seeking a mix of culture and relaxation. As you embark on your journey to unravel the secrets of this gorgeous town, get ready to be enchanted by the breathtaking views and rich heritage that await you. Start your exploration at the iconic Greek Theater, a magnificent ancient amphitheater offering panoramic views of the Ionian Sea.

Immerse yourself in the history of this site as you imagine the performances that once graced its stage. For a taste of local life, wander through the narrow alleys of Taormina and discover hidden gems, charming cafes, and artisan boutiques that showcase the town's unique character.When it comes to beaches, Taormina boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in Sicily.

Relax on the golden sands of Isola Bella, a small island connected to the mainland by a narrow strip of land, or head to Mazzarò Beach for crystal-clear waters perfect for swimming and snorkeling. As you explore Taormina's culinary scene, be sure to indulge in traditional Sicilian dishes at top dining spots like Ristorante Da Giovanni for fresh seafood and La Botte for authentic pasta dishes.

Don't miss out on trying the local specialty, arancini - delicious fried rice balls filled with meat, cheese, and peas. To make the most of your time in Taormina, be sure to take advantage of insider tips such as visiting the town early in the morning or late in the evening to avoid the crowds, and exploring the nearby town of Castelmola for stunning views of Mount Etna. Whether you're a history buff, a beach lover, or a food enthusiast, Taormina has something to offer every traveler. So pack your bags, prepare to be enchanted, and get ready to uncover the hidden treasures of this magical destination.

Taormina's rich history

Taormina Greek theatre, with Mt. Etna on the background

Taormina's history is a tapestry woven with influences from ancient civilizations, each leaving enduring marks on the cityscape. The whispers of the past echo through the architectural marvels and historical monuments, bearing witness to the city's cultural heritage. The Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Normans, and Spanish have all left their legacy in the timeless artifacts scattered throughout Taormina.

Strolling through the city streets, one encounters remnants of ancient civilizations, like the Greek Theatre, a structure dating back to the 3rd century BC. This amphitheater offers stunning views of Mount Etna and the Ionian Sea, showcasing Taormina's historical grandeur. The charming alleyways display a blend of architectural styles, reflecting the diverse influences that have shaped the city over centuries. Immerse yourself in Taormina's rich history, and you'll uncover a treasure trove of cultural wonders waiting to be explored.

In 2022 The Mike White’s award-winning series “The White Lotus.” chosen Taormina as a location. Taormina has been a travel destination for hundred of years, and a place that have inspired multiple artist, including Mark Knopler that after visiting this enchanting Sicilian town wrote the song "Light of Taormina".

Best Beaches in Taormina

Mazzarò bay and Isola bella @Mazzarò Sea Palace

Imagine unwinding on the smooth pebbles as you watch the sun dip below the horizon, enveloped by the fragrant shrubs that dot the shore. Treat yourself to a delightful meal at one of the cozy beachside eateries, at Isola Bella or Mazzarò bay where you can savor local cuisine with a view of the clear blue waters. For a touch of adventure, consider trying your hand at kayaking or paddleboarding along the unspoiled shoreline. Whether you prefer a moment of relaxation or a burst of excitement, Taormina's beaches cater to both desires. Take a leisurely stroll along the water's edge, feeling the gentle caress of the sea breeze on your skin, or take a dip in the crystalline waters for a rejuvenating swim. Taormina beaches have been using as a film location for the series the White lotus, and for the movie  "The Big Blue".

How to  reach the beach

To access the beaches of Taormina, consider utilizing the convenient transportation options. With these beach transportation and coastal connections, you have various seaside travel options for convenient shoreline access and waterfront transit.

cable car

One practical choice is the Funivia Taormina, a cable car system that efficiently connects the city to Mazzarò Beach in just two minutes. Operating every 15 minutes, this service offers captivating views of the rocky landscape and sea, with tickets priced at €6 each way or €10 for a return ticket. a daily ticket costs €20, while for a week pass be ready to pay €85 with unlimited rides Cable car location on google map


If you prefer a taxi, they're readily available for the 10-minute drive between Mazzarò and Taormina, typically costing at least €15. Taxi are available at: by Porta Messina, Porta Catania and by the begin of Via Teatro Greco the road that leads to the Greek Theatre


Additionally, InterBus provides a cost-effective option, departing hourly from Taormina to Mazzarò for around €2 each way; it's advisable to consult the local bus timetable for accurate schedules. Taormina bus terminal on google maps

Walking trail terre rosse

For the adventurous souls, there's also a steep walking path leading to Isola Bella fror the city of Taormina. The acces to this panoramic short cut begin with a set of stairs opposite to the private parking lot called "Parcheggio Porta Pasquale" terre rosse short cut on google map .


Top Bars and Cafes to Visit

Experience the authentic local charm of Taormina by visiting its top bars and cafes, where traditional Sicilian flavors meet contemporary twists. Relax with a beachside cocktail while taking in the serene views of the Ionian Sea, or choose a cozy corner in one of the quaint local coffee shops. Delve into the art of cocktail making by participating in a mixology masterclass with Marcone Patanè .

Seat at sunset at the seafront terrase of the Atlantis bay, enjoy a dinner in the small alley at Bristot du Mond for a unique and enriching experience. If you are looking for a Sicilian breakfast try the granita at Bam bar. Explore the hidden gems nestled in Taormina's winding streets, where you can find the perfect spot to unwind and savor delicious beverages. Some establishments offer rooftop views, like the hotel Metropole creating a picturesque backdrop for your evening drinks.

For a Pizza night , no doubt! The top place is Granduca the terrace with a breath taking view on Giardini Naxos bayis worth the trip, but when you will be served by the super excellent staff you will feel special. Whether you seek a vibrant atmosphere or a more laid-back setting.

We have a big news!! for all the lovers of the dolce vita, The historical Mocambo bar located in Taormina main road will re-open in summer 2024 and it will be runned by the world famous fashion designer "Dolce and Gabana"  If you are one of those persons that an aperitivo while on holiday is more important than a swim than read our 2024 guide about the top bars and cafes in Taormina! Taormina's top bars and cafes cater to a range of preferences, ensuring a memorable visit without the need for excessive glamor.

Luxurious Hotels in Taormina

When discovering the enchanting allure of Taormina, you'll encounter a range of refined hotels that embody sophistication and serenity, enhancing your visit to this storied city. The San Domenico Palace is an institution for luxury, since 2022 it belongs to the prestigiuos four seasons Hotel chain. Taormina presents exclusive havens offering luxurious accommodations, like the Grand Hotel Timeo close to  the Greek Theatre.

The Metropole Hotel located on Taormina main road Corso Umberto offers serene escapes, and refined accommodations, the view on the mediterranean sea is mind blowing. If you wish to spend your vacation closer to the beach, the Atlantis bay, the Mazzarò sea palace and the Villa Sant'Andrea they all offer a five star standards and a view on Mazzarò bay. These establishments are crafted to anticipate your every desire, delivering impeccable hospitality, stunning vistas of the Ionian Sea, and upscale amenities.

Whether you're seeking a romantic interlude, a peaceful getaway, or a refined experience, Taormina's distinguished hotels excel in every aspect. From serene pools with panoramic sea views to gourmet dining highlighting Sicilian flavors, these deluxe retreats promise an unforgettable sojourn in this idyllic locale. Treat yourself to spa indulgences, private balconies, and tailored service while immersing yourself in Taormina's rich heritage and natural beauty. Select one of these refined hotels to ensure a truly memorable visit. If you want to discover the full list of top hotels in Taormina check our 2024 guide Taormina's finest hotels.

Exploring Taormina's Cultural Sites

Embark on a journey through Taormina's rich history by immersing yourself in its captivating cultural sites. Uncover hidden gem like Madonna della Rocca church and the Greek theatre that whisper tales of bygone eras, offering a glimpse into the city's ancient past. Visit the beautifull public garden of Taormina Explore art galleries showcasing local talents and international masterpieces, providing a window into Sicily's vibrant artistic scene. Dive into local traditions that have been preserved through generations, from Taormina cultural festivals to culinary customs that define the essence of Sicilian culture.

Marvel at architectural wonders visible on Taormina main road Corso Umberto like the the church the Duomo, the piazza IX April, the Naumachie or the little theatre "The Odeon" that stand as testaments to the city's diverse heritage, blending Greek, Roman, Arab, Norman, and Spanish influences into a harmonious tapestry of styles. Delve into the Palazzo Corvaja  exhibits that house priceless artifacts, shedding light on Taormina's rich historical tapestry and the civilizations that once thrived here. Each site you visit will unveil a new layer of Taormina's past, enriching your understanding and appreciation of this enchanting Sicilian gem. Since we are locals and we really kmìnow the territory we have prepare a detailed article about "What to see in taormina", if you are courious about the main monuments of Taormina or how to organize your selfguided tour of the city get free advises through our dedicated article.

Outdoor Activities in Taormina

Explore the invigorating outdoor pursuits awaiting you in Taormina. Put on your sturdy hiking shoes and meander along the scenic hiking paths of Taormina that meander through the rugged terrain, providing awe-inspiring vistas of the surrounding countryside. For those who relish the water, partake in exciting water activities like snorkeling, diving, or paddleboarding along the striking coastline.

If you have a passion for cycling, opt for a mountain bike and set off into the hills encircling Taormina for a heart-pumping ride. Or, revel in the peace of nature with leisurely strolls through verdant forests and colorful gardens, immersing yourself in Sicily's rich flora and fauna.

To relax and rejuvenate, engage in a session of sunset yoga gazing out over the captivating waters of the Ionian Sea. Experience the sea breeze with one of the many water activities sport. Taormina offers a delightful array of outdoor activities to cater to every adventurer's preferences, more over Mount Etna and the Alcantara Valley are to great areas not far from Taormina to enjoy some outdoor activities like rafting, mountain bike, quad tours and long hikes.

Day Trips From Taormina

If you wish to expand your horizons beyond Taormina for a day, consider reading our dedicated guide "What to do in Taormina". If you have a car, grab it to discover the quaint villages and historical sites scattered throughout the Sicilian countryside. The closer place is the Agrò valley with towns like Forza D'Agrò and Savoca two beautiful hill-side villages used as filming locations in the Godfather movie, both rich in traditions and full of history. Take leisurely walks on the Volcano Etna to admire the picturesque landscapes or partake in wine tastings at local vineries to savor the authentic flavors of Sicilian wine. The small village of Castelmola just 6 km. from Taormina is a must. Try to visit at sun set the view on Mount Etna and the sea is superb.

Stroll through bustling markets in towns like Randazzo brimming with fresh produce, artisanal crafts, and local specialties, immersing yourself in the rich culture of the area. 

Immerse yourself in Sicily's ancient past by visiting historic villages like Castiglione di Sicilia, where centuries-old ruins and charming alleyways invite exploration. Day trips from Taormina offer a diverse array of experiences, including the Body rafting at the lakes of the Alcantara allowing you to fully appreciate the allure of this enchanting region.

Culinary Delights of Taormina

Experience the rich and authentic flavors of Taormina's culinary traditions,  with a walk along Corso Umberto ,where time-honored Sicilian recipes are crafted with care using the freshest local ingredients. Stroll through the side road to enjoy the colorful fruits, vegetables, and artisanal goods, ideal for gathering supplies for a hands-on cooking session. Immerse yourself in the cultural tapestry of Sicilian gastronomy tasting an arancini (sicilian street food) at the famous yet simple Da Cristina. If you are looking for the freshest home made cannoly filled with fresh ricotta cheese on the spot than do not go further than La pignolata close to "Porta Catania"

Take a leisurely stroll through Taormina's picturesque streets and sample a variety of street food delights,, offering a taste of the island's culinary heritage. Indulge in the decadent flavors of Sicilian gelato, including pistachio, cassata, and almond, for a sweet and satisfying treat.

Whether you're a connoisseur looking to enhance your culinary expertise or simply eager to savor the genuine tastes of Sicily, Taormina invites you to savor a gastronomic journey that will leave a lasting impression. We have prepared a guide to "Taormina best culinary delight on a budget" what are you waiting for ? Click, we will share the knowledge of locals on Taormina best food.

Shopping in Taormina

Discover the diverse shopping options in Taormina, where hidden boutiques and local artisans offer a range of unique finds. The main road Corso Umberto is the one where most of the fashion industry big name have a shop as well as local artisan. Try your luck in one of the many side road departing from Corso Umberto maibe the souvenir you are lokking for is awaiting to be discovered away from the high street of Taormina.

Local artisans showcase their craftsmanship through handmade ceramics, delicate lacework, and traditional Sicilian pottery, each piece reflecting the region's rich history and culture. Whether you seek a wardrobe update or a special memento, Taormina's shopping spots cater to all tastes.

How to move around taormina

Navigating Taormina is most enjoyable on foot, as it allows you to fully embrace the city's captivating ambiance. However, for those who prefer local transportation, there are buses available to conveniently transport you to different areas within the city and its surroundings. These buses offer a practical way to explore lesser-known areas that may be harder to reach by walking.

For a leisurely outing with scenic views, consider taking a relaxed stroll along Corso Umberto, Taormina's main street. This charming thoroughfare is adorned with shops, cafes, and historic edifices, providing a delightful backdrop for a casual promenade. For a touch of adventure, venture into the nearby hillsides to revel in stunning panoramas of the Ionian Sea.

When traversing Taormina, it's advisable to wear comfortable footwear suitable for navigating the cobblestone streets. Carrying a map will aid in easily maneuvering through the city, and be prepared for some uphill treks due to the hilly topography of the area. In essence, moving around Taormina offers diverse transportation options catering to various preferences, allowing you to savor the city in a distinctive and memorable manner.

Where to park in Taormina

Let's be honest whatever you live in Birmingham, Houston or Mexico city the battle for a parking spot rage on. Taormina makes no difference but since two large car park have been built on the south and north side of the town things are much better. At least other three private car parks are scattered around Taormina. For a completed list and prices of where to park in Taormina you can read our dedicated article.

when to visit taormina

Taormina, Sicily,  a warm glow over the cobblestone streets. The perfect time to visit Taormina

For a serene and authentic experience, consider planning your visit to Taormina based on the seasonal weather and your preferred activities. Taormina enjoys hot summers and mild winters, with July and August being popular months for beach outings and city exploration.

However, for a more tranquil atmosphere with fewer crowds, opt for visiting during the off-peak seasons of spring and fall. During these times, the weather remains pleasant, and you can partake in local festivals without the hustle and bustle of peak tourist season. Embrace the charm of Taormina in a quieter setting, engaging with locals and immersing yourself in the genuine Sicilian way of life.

Crowd levels fluctuate throughout the year, so plan your visit thoughtfully to fully appreciate the beauty of Taormina without feeling overwhelmed. Whether you seek a lively ambiance or a peaceful retreat, Taormina offers a unique experience year-round.

how to get to taormina from Catania airport

When arriving at Taormina from  Catania airport, transportation options include a train, a bus service, or a taxi. While taxis offer a quicker but more expensive journey, public transportation provides a cost-effective means to reach Taormina, with buses departing regularly to the city center. Shuttle services are also available for those seeking a direct transfer without the complexities of public transport.

Taxis are easily accessible outside the airport for a faster alternative, although it's wise to compare prices as they can vary. Opting for a taxi to travel from the airport to Taormina is a convenient choice if speed and confort are your priorities.

Insider Tips for Taormina

  • For a genuine experience in Taormina, explore lesser-known spots cherished by locals to truly connect with the city's allure.
  • Uncover hidden viewpoints like the Castelmola Castle, providing stunning vistas of Mount Etna and the Ionian Sea.
  • Indulge in the local gastronomy at cozy trattorias run by families nestled in the narrow alleyways, relishing in authentic Sicilian dishes such as arancini and pasta alla norma.
  • As night falls, explore the lively nightlife by mingling with residents at quaint wine bars and vibrant music venues.
  • To delve deeper into insider activities, consider joining a guided tour of the ancient Greek amphitheater or embarking on hikes along the undiscovered trails of the Alcantara Gorge for a unique view of the island's natural beauty.
  • You can leave on a budget in Taormina, look out for places outside Corso Umberto main road and ask for Tavola Calda, the Sicilian fast food.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is It Possible to Visit Mount Etna From Taormina?

Certainly! Mount Etna is easily accessible from Taormina, offering a range of guided hiking excursions, wine tasting experiences, off-road jeep tours, breathtaking sunset panoramas, and a cable car transport system for exploring the awe-inspiring volcano. Immerse yourself in the thrill of proximity to this geological marvel with our specialized tours and activities. We have several dedicated articles and guided on Mount etna.

What Are Some Lesser-Known Cultural Sites to Explore in Taormina?

The Towns in the Alcantara Valley and the Nebrodi Mountain ranges are the place to go off- the beaten path. You will need a car or arrange private tours

Are There Any Local Markets or Artisan Shops in Taormina Worth Visiting?

Don't miss out on the vibrant local crafts scene in Taormina. Immerse yourself in the world of artisanal souvenirs, one-of-a-kind handmade treasures, and authentic markets showcasing unique finds. From exquisite ceramics to meticulously handwoven textiles, Taormina boasts a plethora of artisan shops that are a must-visit for any discerning connoisseur.

Can You Recommend Any Unique Outdoor Activities or Excursions in and Around Taormina?

The must go tours are boat excursions in the marine park of Isola Bella, choose the boat tour departing from Giardini Naxos they cost less and last longer, the wine tasting around mount Etna is another tour worth every penny. While for the hikers a walking tour of Mount etna and the Alcantara Gorges must be in the bucket list while visiting Sicily. The godfather tour includes a walking tour of a mountain town and the visit to the movie location. 

What Traditional Sicilian Dishes or Local Specialties Should Visitors Make Sure to Try While in Taormina?

When visiting Taormina, Sicily, be sure to sample authentic Sicilian dishes like: pasta alla norma, parmigiana, caponatina, some arancini, and the classic pasta with sea urchins. Boiled octopus and raw fish are a must try while being in Taormina. Immerse yourself in wine tastings, culinary workshops, street food experiences, gelato tastings, and a lavish seafood banquet. These indigenous delicacies are guaranteed to excite your palate.


Explore the rich history, stunning beaches, top bars, and cafes of Taormina, Sicily. Pack your bags, book your tickets, and get ready to experience the charm and elegance of the Pearl of the Ionian Sea.

Taormina is calling your name!