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Welcome to one of the most popular places to visit in Sicily. To help you plan your trip, here are the best things to do in Taormina, with all the must visit attractions.
Taormina is an important Sicilian city that has seen multiple reigns of power on its land. Hence, what one sees today is a perfect mix of Arabic, Roman and Gothic cultures that have influenced the city through centuries. Because of its location on the mountain and its proximity to Mt Etna, the city has been the favorite among many travelers. And if you are one of them, you can check the list below to see what surprises this Sicilian gem has for you. You will also find our recommendations for the best accommodations as per your budget.
So, let’s find out about all the top and unmissable things to do in Taormina.
Things To Do In Taormina
1. Find Peace At St. Nicholas Cathedral Of Taormina
St. Nicholas Cathedral of Taormina is one of the oldest buildings in the city. It was built in the thirteenth century and since then has been renovated three times. The causes of renovation were a revolution, the effects of different rulers and some natural calamities like earthquakes. Despite the renovations, the beauty of the cathedral has not been lessened even a little bit. The entrance door has been re-established while the white giant walls still tell the tale of time. The main chapel is guarded by the chapel of Holy Sacrament on the left and which has been built in Baroque style and the chapel of Our lady of Grace on the right which has been built in Gothic style.
The nave of the church has the Visitation of the Virgin Mary with Saint Joseph and Zechariah. It is astoundingly beautiful and makes the most attractive part of the cathedral. The architecture and mixed design of the church that has been influenced many times is also something to look at.
2. Get Photogenic At Piazza IX Aprile
The Piazza or the plaza makes up the central part of Taormina. It makes for the most artistic and aesthetically rich place for you to click pictures and get into that Italian vibe. The chess-checkered floor and benches all around the square amalgamate the perfect place to sit and gaze at the culture of the city and the daily life of the local people.
Piazza IX Aprile was named after a rumor but got renamed due to a gorgeous church made on the eastern side of the square, namely, the Church of Sant ‘Agostino. You can only walk-through the piazza as most of the streets around it do not allow any vehicles. Also, if you are visiting Taormina during any festival or an Italian holiday, this is the perfect place to be at.
Taking pictures is also one of the most loved things to do in Taormina by visitors. This is also the place that connects the old Taormina with the new one. So, no matter where you want to go, you would end up going through the piazza.
3. Get Amazed At The Greek Theatre of Taormina (Teatro Antico di Taormina)
There is no doubt that Taormina and Catania hold special places in the heart of Sicily. These places not only have current cultural significance but also have a mass historical value attached to them. One of the main reasons could be the giant Greek theatre built in both cities. Taormina’s Greek theatre stands strong for the third century BC. While the theatre from Catania has a separately maintained stage for Orchestra.
One of the most amazing things to do in Taormina is visiting the Greek Theatre. Taormina’s theatre’s stage was removed during its renovation under different rulers. It shows up a clear space to witness fights and other shows. You would be left aghast by the magnificence and size of it. Multiple football fields could be included in this arena. The pillars still stand strong for you to witness the place where once the entire state used to come together to get entertained.
4. Ground Your Energy At Villa Comunale
Pictures from this place have often been found on various Pinterest boards and vision boards of many travelers. But only a few people realize the true beauty of this place and how heavenly it looks. The credit goes to a Scottish noblewoman Lady Florence Trevelyan who maintained the garden for its enchanting natural beauty.
It was opened for public visitation in 1922 and has been an estate of peace and grounding energy since then. The park has a lot of greenery and trees. It has marble balconies built on the edge of the rock formation where you can sit and enjoy the salty breeze while gazing at the turquoise waters to the horizon.
It becomes all so magical on a sunny day. You will find an idol of the lady herself and various other pieces of art which you would love to capture with your camera. This is the most wholesome experience that you are going to have here.
5. Visit Mt Etna From The City
What could be better than visiting a volcano from the city of Taormina? There are various routes through which you can visit the volcano and enjoy the site of the city from a certain height. The distance between the volcano and the city is 30 km. Considering the coiled-up path to the mountain, it takes around 54.5 km to reach the highest spot in the city. There are daily guided tours available from the city. For the picturesque views that one can get from that height, it is always considered a must for every tourist who visits Taormina.
Here are some of the best Mt Etna tours from Taormina that will allow you to make the most of your visit:
- Mount Etna food and wine tasting tour : This tour is inclusive of a visit to a scenic winery, exploration of the lava terrains of Mount Etna and an organic lunch that serves a variety of Italian dishes. You will also be served the homemade Limoncello which is a popular Italian lemon liqueur. Hotel transfers and a well versed guide will add more to your convenience of visiting Mount Etna.
- Mount Etna morning trek : This tour starts at 8:30 AM from the foothills of Mount Etna. It takes you through craters, lava tunnels and ancient woods to an otherworldly landscape of the mountain The tour is inclusive of trekking equipment, rental wearables, lunch, insurance and return transfers.
- Mount Etna sunset tour : The Mount Etna sunset tour is a favorite amongst travelers. Watching the sunset from the top is a cherished experience. The tour is inclusive of hotel transfers, tastings of local produce and wine from organic farms, lava cave visit and more.
6. Enjoy The Heavenly Isola Bella
Isola Bella is a small island near Taormina. It is just 12 minutes from the city. The beauty of this island is alluring. When one glances at the vast sea near Taormina, one wonders about diving into it. If you are one of them, you can always head to the little island to dive deep and have as much fun as you want.
The island is also known as The Pearl of the Ionian Sea. It was a private property but was opened for public recreation with a minimal fee of 4 euros per person. The island has been visited regularly by conservationists because of its flora and fauna. Apart from diving deep into the blue waters, you would love the hospitality, the environment and the enchanting sunsets here that you are going to fall in love with.
You can also visit Isola Bella from Taormina by a scenic boat tour. This tour is inclusive of snacks, drinks (juice, tea, soft drinks and wine) and snorkeling equipment. Click here to get more information on this boat tour.
7. Go Back In Time At Madonna Della Rocca
Reaching the Madonna della Rocca is not that difficult if you prefer hiking. The church is built at the top of the mountain. It was built around the 12th century. So, you can imagine the design and architectural capability invested into building that. Apart from that, on your way, you would find the place where Christ was being crucified and later disappeared leaving the cross intact.
You will find yourself on a roller coaster of emotions until you reach the church which itself is a sort of museum with paintings on the walls and little halls filled with collections from the time of the crucifixion.
8. Gaze At The Ground Underneath While Being At Castelmola
Castelmola is known as one of the most beautiful Sicilian villages in Italy. Perched on a mountain above Taormina this village stays aloof from the city. It most certainly looks like a place straight from a fiction book instead of a real place. You would love the colorful buildings and pleasing surroundings. The sight of other mountains, blue water beneath and pristine air teleports you to heaven. With an area of 16.4 kilometers and a population of a mere over 1000, you can visit this place within an afternoon. But don’t leave just yet because the sunset would look angelic from this place and you might certainly not want to miss it.
9. Explore The Museum At Palazzo Corvaja
From the reigns of Muslims in the city through to modern times, the Palazzo Corvaja has been changing its roles to its architecture. From being a parliamentary hall to the defence base of the town, it has always courageously served the city in one or the other ways. In modern times, it gracefully serves as a museum and a place for various exhibitions and auctions that get conducted in the city. The palace has a varied collection and some exemplary specimens of old wars, reigns and multiple rulers of the city.
10. Walk Along Corso Umberto
If you want to shop from real Taormina, it should be from the street shops of Corso Umberto. It has been the main shopping street of the city since the time of the last king who ruled in Italy. You would be left gaping by the number and variety of shops here. From boutique shops where you can buy clothes for yourself to restaurants, bars and antique shops that will lure you in to buy carefully crafted pieces that you won’t find anywhere else in the world. The Gelato from this street is also very famous.
The street is so long and looks beautiful and lit during the evenings. You can have your food every day here because you will find a lot of variety here. The menu of these places is different but you would find lip-smacking cuisines in every restaurant or eatery.
If you would like to relish over the traditional Sicilian food and wine, we recommend you to this incredible walking tour that starts from Corso Umberto. You will get to try a variety of fresh seafood and appetizers like bruschetta, caponata, cold cuts and more along with delicious wines and pastries.
Where To Stay In Taormina, Sicily
There are numerous accommodations in Taormina for you to choose from. However the best place to stay in the city is its historic center. All the major attractions and the vibrance will be close to you. Book well in advance to make sure that you get your home for vacation, specially during the peak season (April till October).
Below are our highly recommended finds for accommodations in the historic center of the city.
Budget (< € 50) : B&B Odeon is located just 200 meters from Corso Umberto. Modern, clean and comfortable rooms are available here starting from € 45. This B&B is an excellent choice for backpackers and couples looking for a cheap stay in Taormina.
Mid Range (upto € 100) : Located at a 3 minute walk from the Greek Theater of Taormina and in the heart of Taormina’s historic center is Casa Turrisi. Rooms are well equipped with modern amenities, impeccably clean, soundproofed and comfortable. Almost all rooms have a private balcony with lovely city views. Facilities at the hotel also include airport shuttle, family rooms and sun terrace with seating area. This hotel is a perfect value for money option for staying in Taormina.
Luxury (€ 100+) : If you are looking for an affordable luxury option, look no further. The Hotel Villa Taormina is a historic hotel set in the heart of the city. The rooms are bright, spacious and beautifully decorated with antique furnishings. They also serve the best breakfast buffet in their restaurant. The sun terrace of the hotel overlooks the incredible Mount Etna, the historic center and the sea. More facilities of the hotel include access to the airport shuttle, organized walking tours, bike rentals, heated rooms, a lovely sitting area with sun umbrellas and hot tub.
Taormina also has an ultra luxurious hotel, Grand Hotel Timeo for those looking for a fairytale and splurge worthy experience of hospitality.
Now that you know about the best things to do in Taormina, we are sure you will have a great time in this astounding part of Sicily.