A view of Taormina main road. Corso Umberto

Taormina Guide

Along this article, you will not find just a list of Taormina’s top attractions but a series or common questions such as: How much is a taxi from Catania airport to Taormina? What to do around Taormina? Is there a Bus from Catania airport to Taormina? If Taormina is going to be your next destinations or you are curious about this beautiful Sicilian town, then keep on reading to find out all you need to know about Taormina.

The 2021 Taormina Guide.

The enchanting town of Taormina is located on the east coast of the island of Sicily. Perched on a rocky hill, it overlooks the turquoise waters of the Marine Park of Isola Bella and Mount Etna; Europe's highest active Volcano. The nature surrounding Taormina is phenomenal, and his proximity to some of the most famous tourist attractions make this location the ideal place to explore Sicily's Ionian coast. The Botanical Park of the Alcantara Gorges is just twenty kilometers far. Isola Bella and the sandy shore of Giardini Naxos can be reached in minutes while a series of mountain villages off the beaten path can be visited with one day tour. This historical ad trendy town has been inspiring artists and travelers for hundreds of years. Even Mark Knopfler during his Italian tour after playing a gig at Taormina's stunning Greek theatre was inspired to write a song, "Lights of Taormina". But let's see what you can do and see while staying in the pearl of the Mediterranean sea. Check our article guide about Taormina's best tours

The best things to see in Taormina

1 A walk along the Corso Umberto

A stroll along the main street of Taormina is the first thing to do once you drop your luggage at the hotel. You will be introduced and seduced by the Mediterranean atmosphere of Taormina. The Corso Umberto is an open-air museum, hosting churches, beautiful palaces, narrow cobbled streets, and the most beautiful view you'll ever see in your journey in Sicily, Mount Etna proudly towering over the blue sea of Naxos's bay. I piece of advice, walk slowly and pay attention to the baroque details of the many balconies, let the mix of Arab, roman, greek, and norman architecture bewitch you, and be sure that every time you walk along this enchanting street, you'll find something new to wonder and admire. As a native from Taormina, I've been fascinated by the tower clock used to divide Taormina's medieval side from the Roman-Greek quarter. Pay attention to door n. 42 there is the ex-church of Santa Maria Delle Piliere today it hosts a shop check its splendid Renaissance portal a heritage of the days on which this building was a place of cult.

2 The Greek Theater

Taormina Greek Theatre
A view of Taormina Greek Theatre with Naxos Bay and Mt. etna in the back ground

The Ancient Greek-Roman Theater of Taormina is the second-largest ancient theatre in Sicily after that of Syracuse. A visit to this archaeological site at sunset will define one of the most memorable moments of your holiday in Taormina. Seeing the sun setting behind Mighty Mount Etna as the last sun rays colors and sparkles the Mediterranean Sea is priceless, very simple. The Greek theatre Between June and September host some international artist, I have seen, James Brown, Carlos Santana, Deep Purple, and Ben Harper, to name a few. This magnificent place hosts a very important Opera season too. Avoid visiting the Greek theatre in the hottest hours of the day, as the scorching sun can make the visit unpleasant.

The Naumachia

At night, this Roman Monument is one of the best places to breathe Taormina's rich history when it is light with candles. The so-called Naumachia is a large construction formed by a brick wall, 122 meters long and 5. It was built in Roman times and more precisely in the second century. A.D. The name Naumachia means "naval battle". It was once believed that the monument was a water circus, made by the Romans for representations of naval battles. In reality, the monument is a large nymphaeum with niches, that is, a monumental fountain with water features. Roman structures were used as the foundation for modern houses.

3. Piazza IX Aprile

Along the way, you will surely come across Piazza IX Aprile, one of the best viewpoints in Taormina, with its incredible panoramic terrace overlooking the bay below and Mount Etna. It is considered the perfect place to take beautiful photos, especially at sunset. You will enjoy the atmosphere, even more, thanks to the musicians, acrobats, and painters who perform there. You can also see a small church that contributes to the charm of this square, the Church of San Giuseppe, the church takes up the Baroque style, and if you visit Taormina, you certainly will not be able to experience it.

4 Cathedral of Taormina 

Taormina, sicily, Italy
Taormina's Duomo, picture by Berthold Werner 

If you want to visit one of the typical Sicilian churches, you can visit Taormina's cathedral. Located at the end of Corso Umberto (or at the beginning, depending on where you are), you can recognize it due to its beautiful medieval facade and its Baroque-style door. Its interior is also definitely worth a look, which gives another reason to visit it: during the hot summer days, despite the outside temperature, its interior always remains fresh and welcoming. 

5 Public Gardens - Villa Comunale

If you prefer to get away from the crowds, you can go to Villa Comunale, with its huge public garden. In the past, the villa belonged to a rich English woman passionate about birds, who, she decided to build several structures, including feeders and nest boxes. From here, the bay's view is magnificent, and this is the ideal place to enjoy a picnic in the shade of the vegetation. If you plan to eat with a packed meal, this is the best place to do it!

6 Madonna Della Rocca Church

Those who still have some strength can reach this pretty church via Circomvallazione. From here a staircase of over 300 steps starts, without a shred of shade (so bring a bottle of water), which will take you to the top of Taormina in about 20 minutes on foot. From here, you can enjoy a magnificent view of the whole city and the Greek Theater. The Madonna Della Rocca sanctuary, a small chapel partially carved into the rock, is also worth visiting.

7. Isola Bella

Isola Bella taormina, grotta azzurra Taormina
A view of Isola Bella Marina Park, Taormina

Among the things not to be missed is the small island "Isola Bella" located at the foot of the city. You can reach Isola Bella on foot in about half an hour from the top of the city (going back will be particularly tiring for your legs!) by car (good luck finding a parking space nearby!) org using the cable car, found not far from the bus station. This beach is truly amazing and worth visiting, especially for its pebble beach and crystal clear water. On-site, there are several things to do: snorkeling, boat trips, jet ski, or more simply, relax! 

8. Castelmola

Five kilometers from Taormina, the small town of Castelmola is worth a visit, both for the ruins of its medieval castle and for its enchanting streets. From Castemola there are some great viewpoints overlooking the valley below and Mount Etna. Do not forget to taste almond wine, a specialty of the country. You can park your car in the village car park, for only 1 euro per hour. Less touristic than Taormina, Castelmola is the perfect place to have a drink or go to a restaurant!

9. Alcantara Gorges

Alcantara Gorges, sicily
Alcantara Body Rafting

A 30-minute drive from Taormina, the Alcantara gorge, and the river represent a geological Marvel. The black walls of the Canyon of the Alcantara are more than 30 meters high and are no more than 2-4 meters wide.

These gorges' peculiarity lies in its walls' amazing shapes, resulting from three lava flows from Mount Etna. The Alcantara river's water is cold, usually around 9-11 degrees Celcius, but this does not stop people from enjoying a refreshing swim.

Among the many activities to enjoy at the botanical park of the Alcantara, we recommend the adventurous Body Rafting, that goes in the heart of the canyon and to venus's pool if you want more info's check our Alcantara gorge Guide or our guide about the beautiful Alcantara valley.

10 The Mount Etna Volcano

Mount Etna, Sicily
A View of Mount Etna from Cesarò

If there is a place that anybody traveling in Sicily must visit, that place is Mount etna. This active Volcano rises from the depths of the mediterranean sea and reaches an altitude of 3340 meters. It offers plenty of tours and activities to explore its lush, forest, the active craters at the summit, and the many lava deserts. The drive from Taormina it's just 50 minutes, and you'll find yourself in a lush pine forest surmounted from a series of craters. Like the north slopes, the south side can be discovered through mountain bike tours, Trekking excursions, and quad adventure. See our article on the best excursions on Mount Etna. 

11 Wine tasting on Mount Etna

Mount etna wine Tasting
A young couple enjoying a Mount Etna Wine Tasting Tour

The wine district of Mount Etna stands out among other things to do while being in Taormina because, in a single tour, you can explore some walking trails on the north side of the Volcano, enjoy some fine wine, and visit a mountain village in the Alcantara Valley. The quality of the wines produced on the Volcano's flank has improved a lot over the last 20 years, and nowadays the Sicilian wines are among the best you can drink in Italy. The soil reach in mineral delivered from the Volcano's frequent explosions gives birth to red wines with a complex structure and fresh and crispy white ones. The number of wineries on Mount Etna is incredible, 185, so it's not easy to decide which one to choose, we have a guide about the top 5 wineries on Mount Etna. We suggest hiring a guide for a proper Mount Etna Wine tour, so you do not need to worry about driving.

12 The Godfather town, Savoca.

On the north side of Taormina there is the Agrò Valley, often overlooked by tourists. The Agrò has a rich history, and on the flank of the hills, there are some beautiful villages. The best known are, Forza d'Agrò and Savoca, the best known are the movie director F.F, Coppola used these two Villages as a movie set for the famous saga of the "Godfather". We suggest a visit to Savoca, and we strongly recommend going over the famous "Bar Vitelli" where most of the tourists stop. A walking tour around the town can make you discover some art gems. Do not miss out on the church of San Nicolo, inside a few years ago some fresco of the 5th century was discovered during some restoration work. There is also a spooky museum at the "Convento Dei Cappuccini" di Savoca. Inside, 37 mummified bodies are preserved in the Crypt of the Church; all belonged to nobles, high prelates and wealthy professionals, and some children.  

Faq about Taormina

How much is a taxi from Catania airport to Taormina?

An honest fare would be €60/80, but rest assured that some taxi driver we'll try to charge you up to €130. Make sure to agree on the fare before you board the taxi. 

Tip: Ask the hotel or the B&B you have chosen, to arrange transport for you. There is a good Bus service from Catania airport to Taormina; it costs just €8,50.

Bus from Catania airport to Taormina

There is a bus service from Catania airport to Taormina city center. The bus stop is outside the arrival terminal. the trip last 60 minutes, the ticket price is €8,50

Where is Taormina Italy

Taormina is located on the east coast of the island of Sicily, halfway between Catania and Messina. Taormina counts nine thousand dwellers, it is built on a cape at 204 meters above sea level and it' is the most touristic town of Sicily.

What to do around Taormina?

Taormina's proximity to Mount Etna, two beautiful valleys plus the marine park of Isola Bella makes it the perfect location to discover the east coast of Sicily. 

Can you see Etna from Taormina?

Taormina offers an amazing view on Mount Etna, north side. See our guide about Mount Etna tours from Taormina.

Where to stay near Taormina?

The closest towns to Taormina are Letojianni and Giardini Naxos and Castelmola all just five kilometers away from Taormina.