One Day in Taormina, Sicily, Italy

I first visited Taormina, Sicily, during a cruise stop. We spent half the day touring Mount Etna, the nearby volcano, and a small amount of time walking the town streets. I knew that if I ever made it back, I would want to spend a whole day exploring this delightfully colorful town built into the mountainside of eastern Sicily overlooking the Ionian Sea, sitting under the volcano. At the shoreline are white, sandy beaches.

Things to do in Taormina

I ended up returning as an extension of our 7-day trip to Puglia.

As is true of most of southern Italy, Taormina has been settled for a long time, since 376 BC. It was conquered by the Greeks and Romans, who influenced the northern part of the town, and France, from whom the southern half of the town got its Medieval designs.

How to Get Around Taormina

Exploring Taormina involves a lot of walking, and parking is a bear, but there are a few big parking lots at the bottom of the mountain, which have shuttles transporting people up to the center of town. There is also a cable car that travels from the beaches of Mazzarò to the town. The other option is to walk the stairs.

Where to Stay in Taormina

One day in Taormina
The view from our hotel

We stayed at the Splendid Hotel Taormina, which was perfectly located near the north end of town, it has quiet, dark rooms, a splendid breakfast including fill your own cannoli, and gorgeous views of the ocean.

A Perfect Day in Taormina- Things to Do in Taormina

Wander the colorful streets of Taormina, Italy with my one day guide. #SicilyItaly

Stroll through the alleyways of town.

Taormina is a perfect place to wander, with views around every corner. If you start at the top of the hill, you can wander down. Corso Umberto is the main street to walk on.

Taormina Itinerary
Take a walk down Corso Umberto.

Visit a few churches.

  • Chiesa Madonna della Rocca—This church is built into a rocky hill and offers panoramic views of the area.
  • Church of St. Catherine- This church features Taormina’s famous pink rock and is right on a plaza on the famous street Via Umberto.
What to see in Taormina
Inside the Church of St. Catherine.

Visit the Ancient Theatre of Taormina.

This ancient Greek Theater was built in the 3rd Century and still hosts shows. It is intact and has excellent views, and you can buy tickets to tour it. Prebuy Skip-the-Line tickets with an audio guide.

Spend some time relaxing in the Municipal Gardens.

Ruins of old stone houses, originally the home of Scottish Lady Florence Trevelyan, can be seen throughout the garden.

This is one of my favorite spots in Taormina—it has beautiful walls, flowers, and, you guessed it, spectacular views! Even better, it’s free to visit.

Things to see in Taormina
View of Mount Etna from the Municipal Garden

Take the cable car down to the beaches.

Walk over to Isola Bella.

Isola Bella is a nature reserve that used to have a grand house built into it. It has many birds and a unique red-chested lizard, the Podarcis sicula medemi.

From the cable car stop, walk right and over to the island. For more information, check out this article.

If you would rather see this area from the water, consider a boat tour.

Beaches in Taormina
in this picture you can see Isola Bella, the Ionian Sea, and Taormina’s white sand beaches, as well as mainland Italy in the distance.

Go back up into town for a scrumptious dinner.

Try the Pasta Norma at Osteria Villa Zuccaro. In the US I don’t care for eggplant, but the way they cook it in this part of Italy makes for a very special dish.

If you would rather see Taormina as part of a private tour, which includes a boat ride, check out this one.

If you have more time available in the area, consider a day trip to Mount Etna or a Godfather Tour.

I hope you can see why I wanted to return to this gorgeous Italian town. Next, we are on to the much different Sicilian town of Agrigento, which has ancient Greek monuments, as part of our three-day exploration of Sicily.

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