The southern Italian island of Sicily has long been a destination of mystery and desire for travels from around the globe. And nowadays, it repeatedly makes the list as one of Europe’s most sought-after holiday locations. Filled with beautiful landscapes and captivating cities, it’s no wonder why the island has not only caught the attention […]
The southern Italian island of Sicily has long been a destination of mystery and desire for travels from around the globe. And nowadays, it repeatedly makes the list as one of Europe’s most sought-after holiday locations.
Filled with beautiful landscapes and captivating cities, it’s no wonder why the island has not only caught the attention of holidaymakers from far and wide but also filmmakers, landing it its role as the core setting of the famous ‘The Godfather’ film and ‘The White Lotus’ series.
The Greeks, Romans, and other ancient civilisations have all played their part in Sicily’s development and weaved their way into the island’s heritage and culture. And now, visitors can expect excitement and exploration at every turn during a visit to its lands, with everything from active volcanoes to ancient ruins to keep them entertained.
Whilst the island’s idyllic settlements all harbour something unique and offer ample things to do in this Italian paradise, the charming hilltop town on the east coast of the island, known as Taormina, is one of the places to visit in Sicily for new and returning travellers.
Dating back to the 3rd century BC, Taormina offers picturesque panoramic views of Sicily’s imposing Mount Etna and the Ionian Sea. For those looking to visit Sicily for its rich history and culture, Taormina is just the spot to spend some time in. Through its labyrinth of alleyways and cobblestone streets, you’ll discover splendid eateries serving authentic Sicilian cuisine, historic buildings, and ancient structures.
And not to mention Sicily’s vast expanses of natural beauty, which draw visitors from all over Italy, and further afield, to indulge in the native wildlife and soak in the Mediterranean sunshine throughout its countryside.
So, quite frankly, Taormina has it all and there are more than ample sites to discover, things to do, and places to see when staying in this east coast seaside town. But to help narrow down your choices, our experts here at Italian Breaks have recommended the 8 best things to do in Taormina for a break, alongside some recommendations of places to stay during a trip, for an ideal Sicilian getaway. From uncovering pockets of history to sampling the local delicacies, we’ve got you covered.
Located in the centre of Taormina town, Corso Umberto is a bustling street which is the hive of activity in the heart of the settlement.
It’s a picturesque setting that harbours some of the town’s historical landmarks and amazing architecture. The Cathedral of Taormina, for example, is nestled along the street, alongside the Palazzo Corvaja, the town’s medieval palace, for all those looking to indulge in some history during a trip. Here, you can find everything from boutique shops to upmarket restaurants, and quaint cafes to spend, eat, and drink the day away.
Strolling along the Corso Umberto is one of the top things to do in Taormina, and we’d recommend spending an afternoon here and staying to watch the sunset with views out to the Mediterranean Sea for the perfect end to any day.
Arguably one of the most iconic of Taormina’s coastal locations, Isola Bella is a charming island and beautiful nature reserve. It’s gained its nickname of the ‘Pearl of the Ionian Sea’, and with white sands, crystal-clear waters, and thriving greenery, it’s not hard to see why.
Here, wildlife lovers will be in awe at the breadth of opportunities to spot local species and immerse themselves in the lush native vegetation of Sicily. Visitors can literally dive straight into this oasis, with snorkelling and diving being commonplace activities.
The island is also home to the whimsical Villa and Gardens of Isola Bella, a gorgeous 17th-century palace home to art and antiques and boasting an impressive architectural style.
For those looking to have a slower day out in the tranquil surroundings of Taormina, with nothing but the sound of the coastal breeze and rustling of the trees, this is the place to go.
Also known as the Cathedral of Taormina, St Nicolas Cathedral is a breathtaking 13th-century structure situated in the beating heart of the town.
The building was rebuilt in a Norman architectural style in the 15th, 16th, and 18th centuries from the remains of a church dedicated to St Nicolas of Bari. Utilising local Siracusa Stone and featuring delicate frescoes and intricate mosaics, it's a wonderful example of the artistic and architectural accomplishments of its time.
For centuries the cathedral has been an important historic and cultural site for both locals and visitors, offering a glimpse into the religious heritage and traditions of the town. Visitors should keep an eye out for the large rose windows and rosettes on the east and west of the cathedral to admire the intricacies of its interior design.
When shortlisting things to do in Taormina, the Greek Theatre should not be missed from the list. This Greek amphitheatre was originally constructed by the Greek empire in the 3rd century BC. Built to house performances, gladiatorial battles, and hold public announcements, it was a pivotal centre of the community. And some may also be surprised to hear that the structure is still used for performances today!
The site has well-preserved seating, an intact stage area, and offers sensational acoustics, which explains why it's still used as a venue to this day given its pristine design which has stood the test of time. It is the second largest theatre in Sicily and has made its name around the world for its significance and history, which is exactly why a visit here is one of the best things to do in Sicily, in our opinion.
Connecting visitors from the charming narrow streets of Taormina through to the heights of the town, one the best things to do in Taormina is to journey to Chiesa Madonna Della Rocca, a historic chapel that is worthy of every visitors’ attention.
This walk is one of the best ways to get a glimpse of the town of Taormina from a new perspective. Nestled within a steep mountain overlooking the town, it is built into the living rock and was founded in the 1600s.
Boasting rustic charm, the Chiesa Madonna Della Rocca may not be the grandest site to see, but it perfectly represents the modesty and religious heritage of the Taormina. The route to the site takes visitors from the alleys and backstreets of Taormina up to the hills. Here, walkers can soak in the views of the sea and stretching Sicilian landscapes, for a peaceful and rural escape only a stone’s throw away from the centre of town.
Housing a magnificent array of native and exotic plantlife, Taormina Public Gardens is a tropical oasis in the centre of town. Home to flowers including magnolias, hibiscus, and jasmine, visitors can easily spend a day roaming around here and admiring views of not only the plants but also the Ionian Sea and Taormina. The garden is also home to a lovely botanical museum, which has a selection of local fauna and flora for guests to marvel at, alongside a number of statues and fountains.
A treat for all the senses, when in search of romantic things to do in Taormina, the Public Gardens offer a peaceful setting for couples and loved ones to admire the natural beauty of Sicily and have an intimate moment.
One of the best things to do in Taormina when it rains is to take a trip to San Giorgio Theatre. For anyone who appreciates the arts, grand architecture, and wants to learn more about Taormina’s history, this is a destination for you.
Constructed in 1870, San Giorgio Theatre is located in the centre of town and is known best for the operas it hosts. It has welcomed many famous names in its time, including the likes of Maria Callas and Enrico Caruso.
Guided tours are available at the theatre, allowing visitors to admire its stunning interiors. From frescoes to ornate designs and decorations, not only are the performances held here masterpieces, but the theatre itself is too. Or, of course, visitors can opt to view an opera at the venue to enjoy renowned first-class entertainment in this spectacular setting.
During your visit to Sicily, it’s without a doubt that you have to sample some of the local delicacies, and there’s one refreshing treat that will quench your thirst and satisfy your sweet tooth.
Originating from Sicily, Granita is a traditional frozen dessert made of sugar, ice, and fruit juice, or in some cases coffee. It makes for a delicious snack or dessert which is ideal for a sunny day.
However, you’ll be surprised to hear that you will normally find granita being served first thing in the morning, offering the perfect excuse to have dessert for breakfast! And Taormina is, of course, a marvellous location to try Granita.
We recommend Bambar to savour this sweet treat. This historic cafe, which has served Granita since 1947, has been honing its craft creating the perfect balance between its ingredients, and using traditional methods, to make an authentic Granita treat that is hard to beat.
Now that you’ve received this inspiration you need to begin to shape your next Sicilian adventure, deciding where you want to stay during any holiday can be a tricky task. This is why we’ve got a few recommendations up our sleeves that we think you’ll love for a getaway on the island, which are all nearby Taormina:
For large groups, we’d recommend basing yourself at Villa Letojanni. Sleeping up to 8 guests across 4 bedrooms, this luxurious villa is within a short driving distance of Taormina.
Featuring its own private outdoor swimming pool, and views outwards from its gardens to the bay of Isola Bella, it’s a tranquil and picturesque retreat for families or groups of friends to relax and explore the area.
On the other hand, for couples and small groups, Casa Marlena offers an intimate escape for up to 3 guests, hosted across 2 bedrooms.
This newly refurbished, and therefore stylish, accommodation is located in an unrivalled position from which you can adore spectacular scenes and views of the Ionian Sea and Sicily’s inland landscapes from the confines of its rooftop terrace.
The apartment is only within a short walking distance of the beach, and also Taormina town centre, offering the perfect balance between being central and being private.
Taormina is not short of exciting things to do and see, leaving visitors in awe at every twist and turn as they explore its diverse landscapes. From visiting ancient theatres to exploring tropical oases on the seafront, you can expect nothing short of pure bliss during your next visit to Taormina, with something new and fascinating around every corner.
Booking your trip to Taormina is just a click, or phone call, away. Here at Italian Breaks, our team of experts would be happy to assist you in arranging your perfect getaway on the island of Sicily. You can contact us now, or visit our website, to begin making your Italian holiday dreams a reality.
Why not visit our blog page too to learn more about Sicily, alongside the best times to visit and what other destinations it has in store, to help better plan your trip??