Planning your next Taormina holidays? Being one of the most known tourist destinations in whole Sicily, Taormina still represents today one of the poshest places in the region since it became an integral part of the “Grand Tour” of European aristocrats and artists some two hundred years ago.
Taormina is perched on a rock 200 metres above the sea, from where people can admire both the gorgeous panoramas and the landscape: from Calabria to the Mount Etna – the tallest active volcano in Europe.
During your Taormina holidays, you will find one of the world’s greatest views, winding streets, alleyways and staircases strewn with bars, and restaurants, art galleries, ceramics, souvenir shops, small squares around corners, beautifully restored medieval buildings.. a perfect place to enjoy a romantic stroll!
This way you will discover that this city cares about every small detail. The streets are perfectly decorated with colourful ceramics.
The main street, Corso Umberto, runs in no more than 15 minutes. This street is crossed by Porta Catania and Porta Messina; doors that belonged to the old city wall. Arriving at Porta Messina you will find the main tourist attraction of Taormina, the Teatro Antico di Taormina.
The Greco-Roman amphitheatre of Taormina started its life in the third century BC. It hosted then performances of works by Euripides, Aristophanes, Aeschylus and Sophocles. It was originally a small theatre, enlarged by the Romans. Beyond the columns you can see the bay of Giardini-Naxos, the coastline, the town’s rooftops and, in the distance, Mount Etna.
The theatre’s acoustics are still exceptional, a whisper on the stage can be heard in the last row. Nowadays the theatre is used to play concerts of classical and modern music as well as to celebrate the film festival.
The entrance fee is € 10 and the opening hours are between 9:00 and 19:00 and despite the touristic nature of the place, your visit is undoubtedly a must-do in Taormina in one day.
The closest beaches are as well a wonderful natural scenario: steep rocks and beaches, lidos, restaurants, and some very luxury hotels making this enchanting coastline a firm favourite with Sicilians and visitors alike.
When arriving at Porta Messina you can visit the next most visited tourist attractions of Taormina: Isola Bella, a small island that communicates to the coast when the tide is low.
This island hides a luxurious residence with swimming pool where several remarkable people lived throughout history.
A cable-car connects Taormina with the seaside at Mazzarò, for visits to the beach and Isola Bella. (Adult one-way: € 3.00/every 15 minutes)
Want to spend a great night at the beach? Lidos and beach clubs in Taormina-Mare, Letojanni and Giardini-Naxos organize events and parties with cool tunes and sublime cocktails
Especially in spring, when the almond trees are blossoming, we recommend a walk from Taormina to Castelmola, which takes about an hour. Good hikers continue from Castelmola up to Monte Venere, about 900 m above sea level.
Don’t forget a water bottle and your hat! The climb is worth it – you will be awarded with panoramic views of the Peloritani Mountains, the Med, the Italian mainland and Mount Etna!
Taormina holidays tip: If you are planning to drive to Taormina, check the parking provision when you are choosing accommodation, and ask your hotel for directions; the central lanes are partly pedestrianised.
There are large fee-charging car parks outside the town centre, including the Parking Garage Lumbi, with a bus connection to the centre. Another option would be to park the car near the beach and from there take the funicular or the bus that takes you to Taormina.
Taormina is also one of the places chosen to stay for those who want to take a trip to Etna.
Mount Etna has become an almost obligatory tourist stop among the various historical and cultural attractions in Sicily. Mount Etna is one of the highest volcano in Europe and one of the most active in the world. The volcano shaped the Sicilian history and landscape and still affects the island today.
It is a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2013 and the smoking volcano craters and the old and new lava flows are always an impressive experience for visitors.
Located near the east coast of the island of Sicily, Mount Etna is 3,329 meters tall with a base circumference of about 150 kilometres.
The most requested activity is no doubt the excursion to the craters, to be done safely with the help of expert guides and with appropriate clothing.
We recommend you to book a half day tour from Taormina to explore Mount Etna (prices from € 70). With the cable car “Funivia” from Rifugio Sapienza you will reach about 8,200 feet (2,500 meters).
From there you will have two options, the first is, to join a guided hike in the volcanic area, known as the Valle del Bove and the second is a less strenuous tour with a 4×4 jeep ride.
Also the Alcantara Gorge, which is carved out by an ancient lava flow, is possible to visit. For wine lovers, the best choice is the combination of a Mount Etna 4×4 Jeep Tour and a wine tasting at some of the local wineries at the fertile slopes.
Don’t Miss: The Etna sunset tours are spectacular for those who love extraordinary experiences!
The best time to visit Mount Etna and recommended clothing:
Mt. Etna can be visited and hiked year-round. Etna has an average temperature of 10 degrees Celsius. July is the hottest month, with an average temperature of 22 degrees Celsius, while in January and winter months temperatures can drop below freezing.
If you visit Etna in winter the snow-covered slopes offer two of Sicily’s three ski resorts. From November to March you can ski the slopes of the volcano one day and enjoy the beach the next!
For the hike, definitely March to September. The best months to visit Mount Etna with pleasant temperatures and without the extreme July/August tourist crowds are: May and late September – October.
The recommended clothing to visit the Etna varies according to the season. In the winter months, from December to March, heavy clothing is recommended, with jackets, gloves, hats and scarves.
During the summer or spring season you can opt for comfortable sportswear, trousers and knitwear. Better always bring a jacket and sneakers.
Did you know? Its volcanic ash grows excellent wine!
No Mount Etna, visit is complete without tasting the local wine that grows from the rich, volcanic ash. It is a hyper-local product and one of the region’s unique treasures. Some oenophiles claim that the wine from Etna alone is enough reason to visit Sicily.
For Romantics: we recommend the railway tours by Circumetnea trains, departing from Catania- Stazione Borgo and arriving in Riposto. The private railroad almost circles the volcano, running 114 km between Catania and Riposto (It doesn’t go to the volcano top). The one-way trip takes about three and a half hours.