Town and amphitheater, with Mount Etna
in the background
Taormina is a charming hillside town on the east coast of Sicily, Italy and is one of the island's main tourist resorts. Whilst Taormina can be hot and busy during July and August, crowded with Italian tourists, it is far more pleasant and (slightly) less busy during the rest of the year.
Many package tourists stay at the nearby beach resorts of Giardini Naxos (below Taormina on the coastline, some 3 km away to the south) and Letojanni about 5 km to the north..
Regular trains to and from Messina and Catania. However the station (called Taormina-Giardini) is on the seafront 2km below the centre. There are some buses taking you to Taormina(cost is around 1,70 euros), but it's often more convenient to take a long-distance bus from the centre straight to or from your destination. Walking from the station is scenic but exhausting.
Regular buses to and from Messina and Catania. Ticket for express bus from Catania Bus Station costs around 3,70 Euros. Catania airport to Taormina bus station at Via Luigi Pirandello is € 7.90 per person. A taxi to the center of Taormina, which is uphill is approx € 10.00
Look for flights to Catania. There you can rent a car to get to Taormina.
As an alternative, to avoid any inconvenience on arrival you can book a private transfer online upfront. There is a company, which offer this service from Catania airport, such as:
- 123Transfers has Catania Fontanarossa Airport to Taormina at €86.62 for a Mercedes E class, €100.50 for a minivan
Cruise ships occasionally visit, but must anchor/moor offshore. Passengers bus or taxi up to the town.
The main street of Taormina is pedestrianised, making it easy to wander around by foot.
If coming in by car, you may enter the town center only to go to a hotel or a rented house: local police may require to see proof of booking. In alternative, it's better to park the car at one of the 2 large public parkings ('Parcheggio Lumbi' or "Parcheggio Porta Catania") that you encounter on the outskirts of the city coming in. From there, either walk to the city center (just 2 min from 'Parcheggio Porta Catania'/around 10 min but uphill from 'Parcheggio Lumbi') or catch the shuttle buses running continously to the center.
However, there are regular shuttle buses down to Giardini-Naxos, the train station, Letojanni and up to Castelmola.
There is also a frequent Cable Car down to the beach at Mazarro. The cable car runs from 8am till 1am during the summer months.
- Teatro Greco - impressive open-air (mainly Roman(!)) theatre, with great views up and down the coast and across to Mount Etna. Entrance fee €8.00.
- The Torre dell'Orogio clock tower.
- Wander up and down the main street - Corso Umberto I taking in the sights
- Purchase a mulberry ("gelsi" in Italian) granite, or other delicious ice cream
- A vintage self drive excursion or a themed tour on a classic Fiat 500, starting from Taormina and Giardini Naxos area. The most popular excursions are themed on the Francis Ford Coppola's Godfather movie and on the Etna Wines Road. You can reach amazing villages like Savoca, Forza D’Agrò and Taormina.500 Vintage Tour - Classic car hire & tours - Taormina - Phone +39 0349 723 4906 - Email: [email protected] - Website: 500 Vintage Tour
There are plenty of souvenir shops. The Limoncello - a sweet lemon alcoholic drink served chilled after a meal is refreshing and sold widely.
Taormina has plenty of restaurants. The Spada - Swordfish is recommended. Though tourists should remember that Swordfish numbers are in decline and eating them may accelerate their demise.
- Arancini in Corso, 2 Piazzetta Leone, ☎ +39 0392 859 9198. Traditional and creative takes on arancini and other Sicilian street food. Recently opened by two young women entrepreneurs (CURRENTLY CLOSED).
- Ristorante pizzeria Mirage, Via Roma 13. Located on a terrace just next to the hotel Monte Tauro. Excellent food, good service and a spectacular view of the Naxos bay with Mount Etna on the background.
- Mamma Rosa (Taormina Restaurant), Naumachie, 10, ☎ (+39) 0942 24361, . The restaurant is in Naumachie Street, in the historical center of Taormina. Offers a wide variety of typical Sicilian dishes.
- Al Paladino (Taormina Restaurant), Naumachie, 12, ☎ (+39) 0942 24614, . The restaurant "Tavern at Paladino" is located in the beautiful Taormina, in the historical Naumachia.
- La Tavernetta (Taormina Restaurant), Timoleone, 12, ☎ (+39) 0942 23378, . On the ancient and suggestive stairway of street Timoleone, in proximity of the Greek Theater, it leans out, The Tavernetta, a restaurant from the typical and refined taste.
- Taormina Private Accommodations, . Over 200 rental options in Taormina/Giardini Naxos from private rooms to entire flats.
- Gianni House, 47 Via Pergusa, Giardini-Naxos . Rated the #1 Hostel In Sicily
- Hotel Del Corso, Corso Umberto 238 - Porta Catania, Tel: +39 0942 628698 - Fax: +39 0942 629856, . Hotel del Corso, on Corso Umberto I and the Naxos Bay, in the heart of Taormina.
- Youth Hostel is friendly and convenient, although difficult to find.
- The Dolphins Guest House has a number of single, double and triple bed rooms starting from 25 euros. Good location, spacious, and clean accommodation for all travellers. .
- Hotel Victoria, Corso Umberto, 81 - 98039 Taormina, Tel: +39 0942 23372 - Fax: +39 0942 623567, . Hotel Victoria is situated right in the heart of the historical centre of Taormina, directly on Corso Umberto, the famous pedestrian district.
- Hotel Jonic Strada Statale 114, n. 224 Tel: +39 0942 23112 - fax. +39 0942 628515" URL: . 3 star hotel overlooking the Bay of Mazzaró in the historical part of Taormina. Close to the transport link down to the beach.
- Hotel La Pensione Svizzera Taormina - via Luigi Pirandello, 26 - 93039 Phone +39 0942 23790 fax +39 0942 625906 . In a scenic location in Taormina, just a stone's throw from the town center.
- Grand Hotel Timeo, Via Teatro Greco, 59, + 39 0942 23801 . In 1906 it housed the Grand Hotel Timeo Guillermo II of Hohenzollern, Duke of Prussia and the Emperor of Germany, and in his honour the most prestigious suite in the hotel is dedicated to him. It is located in a park approximately 20.000 metres squared. Other NH Hotels in Taormina
- Hotel Villa Caterina, Via Silipigni, 17, 98039 Taormina (MESSINA), Ph. +39 0942 24709, Fax +39 0942 24709 . Among the sweet scents and colors of Sicily, a warm hospitality in a dream setting. A splendid villa immersed in greenery, just a few steps away from the sea and the old town center of Taormina. Twin room from 102€.
- Hotel Villa Gaia, Via Fazzello, 34, 98039 Taormina (MESSINA), Ph. +39 0942 23185, Fax +39 0942 23185 . The 2** Hotel Villa Gaia is situated in the historic center of Taormina, just 30 meters from the Duomo, a splendid example of sixteenth-century Gothic architecture, and the famous Corso Umberto I, the most elegant street in the city, with its high fashion boutiques and antique shops. Single room from 85€, double from 120€.
- Hotel Villa Il Glicine, Viale S. Pancrazio 25-27, 98039 Taormina (MESSINA), Ph. +39 0942 23112 , Fax +39 0942 628515 . The Villa Il Glicine is a group of family sized luxury apartments with private terraces and facilities and the services of the nearby 3 star Hotel Jonic for extra convenience. Full kitchen facilities and home comforts are all provided in this brand new structure.
- Hotel Villa Schuler, Piazzetta Bastione/Via Roma, I-98039 Taormina. Ph. +39 0942 23481 (Fax +39 0942 23522), . Spectacular and unique views of Mt.Etna and frontal view of the bay of Naxos. Surrounded by its own extensive gardens. Central and quiet position, conveniently located to all major attractions. Easily reachable by car and one of the few hotels in the medieval historic town centre of Taormina to have its own garage with valet parking service. 21 spacious rooms and 5 Junior Suites with scenic views, 24H room service, parking, garages, solarium, sport activities and shuttle-service to the hotel-beach. Free wi-fi. Doubles from 138€ Special offers updated online with low season periods also from 79€.
- Hotel Taodomus, Taormina, Sicily, Italy, Corso Umberto, 224, I-98039 Taormina. Tel. +39 0942 628315 - Fax +39 0942 624446 www.taodomushoteltaormina.com . Situated in the very historical centre, just in Taormina’s main street, the Taodomus hotel gives to his guest the chance to taste the magic atmosphere of Sicily, made of history, culture, art, shopping and nightlife. The Taodomus hotel Taormina, the best place for people who want to relax in a refined, quiet and welcoming space, is located between piazza del Duomo, with its famous baroque fountain, and Porta Catania, where Taormina’s main street, Corso Umberto I di Taormina, begins.
- Ariston, Via Bagnoli Croce, +39 0942 643131 (fax: +39 0942 643141).
- Hotel Caparena, Via Nazionale, 189, 98039 Taormina. Tel. +39 0942 652033 - Fax +39 0942 36913 www.hotelcaparena.com . Spacious rooms and luxurious living, the Hotel Caparena is a 4 star hotel located right on the beach in Taormina. Hotel features 3 restaurants, 3 bars and a Wellness and beauty centre.
- Hotel Villa Angela Taormina, . Home to Actors and Rock Stars.
- Hotel Villa Carlotta Taormina, Via Pirandello 81, 98039 Taormina (Messina) - Ph. +39 0942 626058, Fax +39 0942 23732 . Castle-like Sicilian villa.
- Taormina hotel Villa Ducale, Via Leonardo da Vinci 60, 98039 Taormina (Messina) - Ph. +39 0942 28153, Fax +39 0942 28710 . Boutique hotel.
- Hotel Giardino dei Greci, C.Da Sirina - Via dei Sei Mulini 98030 Giardini Naxos (Messina), Tel. +39 0942 51514, Fax +39 0942 550079 . Right on the bay of Taormina, the delightful sea, ancient history and Sicilian traditions combined with lively summer gathering places, seaside promenades and sophisticated and typical locales.
- Hotel Imperiale, via Circonvallazione, 11 - 98039 - Taormina (ME), ☎ +39 0942 625202 ([email protected], fax: +39 0942 625978), . Located in the heart of Taormina's historic centre, the historic Hotel Imperiale was built at the beginning of the 20th century and reopened in 2009 after restructuring works. The design and the restructuring has been carried out in full observance of the styles and local materials, such as the widely used volcanic stone, and has been adapted to modern requirements.
- Hotel Méditerranée , Via Circonvallazione, 61, Tel. +39 0942 23901• Fax: +39 0942 21231 . Top quality 4 star hotel overlooking the sea from a great height, with outdoor swimming pool, restaurant and large meeting facilities plus the option to use the private beach of the sister hotel on the coast.
- Hotel Villa Sirina, Via Crocifisso, 30, 98039. Tel. +39 0942 51776, Fax +39 0942 51671. . Villa Sirina is a historic villa located at the foot of Taormina with a wonderful view of the blue sea of Giardini-Naxos Bay.
- Hotel Villa Taormina, Via Tommaso Fazzello, 39, 98039 Taormina (Messina), Ph. +39 0942 620072, Fax +39 0942 623003 . An antique residence in the heart of Taormina surrounded by a typical Sicilian garden full of perfumed essences hosts the Hotel Villa Taormina, a small luxurious residence. Antique furnishings, a panoramic terrace with a splendid view.
- Hotel Villa Sant Andrea, The Hotel Villa Sant'Andrea is ideally located on the bay of Mazzarò, in the immediate proximity of Taormina.
It was built in 1830 by an aristocratic British family, and was transformed into a hotel in 1950. It's the ideal centre to admire the artistic and natural beauties of Eastern Sicily, Castelmola, Naxos and the Alcantara's Gorges, Etna Mountain, the baroque Acireale, and of course Catania and Siracusa.
- Castelmola - a hilltop village 5km above Taormina with even better views. Several buses up (you can walk down if you have time). A couple of hints will help if you are walking down: the start is slightly hidden: walk back down the road, past the Madonna on your left and into a car park on the right. Go along to the far end of the car park and pick up the brick road. Further down, where the bricks run out, and you cross roads, you need to cast around a bit. Look for pedestrian crossings on the road, as they will usually mark where the path continues. On a hot day, take plenty of water, more than you think necessary. Also, some portions of the path are also used by vehicles, but they only go slowly.
- Plenty of agencies offer day trips to Mount Etna. You are not allowed to walk right to the top unless you have a guide (and possibly not even then, depending on the state of the eruptive activity), but the lava flows are impressive. It is over 3000m high, so wear warm clothes - it can be cold even in summer, and the top is often covered in cloud.
Novara di Sicilia - Located in the provence of Messina on the northern side of Mt. Etna, this picturesque medieval town is nestled in the mountains overlooking ancient Tyndaris and Abacaenum. It is the archetype of a typical medieval town, with its friendly and accommodating people who speak a distinctive dialect.