Why visit Taormina?
Taormina is a jewel of Sicily.
One may argue that it has become overly touristy and overpriced. In fact, it used to be even more expensive in its chic times and hardly affordable to an average tourist. Whatever anyone may say, Taormina has a millennia’s record of the most fantastic views on the coast and on volcano Etna. In addition, it has a special atmosphere of wealth and class that is extremely captivating, and an amazing coastline that not only Sicily but the whole Italy is proud of.
Taormina is always a good idea, and now with the appearance of some local fast food options to eat – it is a must visit for a traveler on any budget.
If you’d like to be guided around and not to miss anything that Taormina has to offer, we can recommend and book a good guide for you. Taormina is compact, but tricky – it is easy to gaze around the whole day and miss the history behind. If you are interested in a story, architecture and appreciate a professional touch – book a tour to Taormina. For a pleasant walk around on your own – here is our advice.
Where to start your day-trip to Taormina
Coming by car from Riposto, Acireale, Catania, Messina or Giarre for a day, it is a good idea to park at Mazzaro parking and divide a day between the beach which is just across the road, and the downtown – a short cable car ride away.
As of July 2017 the first hour at Mazzaro parking costs 1 Euro, every next hour – 2 Euro. In summer after 10 am the parking is usually full. In this case go make a round and you will find private parking spaces with the entrance from the main parking. The cost is similar: 5 Euro for 3 hours, or 10 Euro for the whole day (till 7 pm) – Parcheggio Crupi Taormina.
The cable car starts right next to the parking and brings you close to Porta Messina. From there The Greek Theatre (10 Euro adult ticket), Villa Communale (entrance free) are the highlights within a few steps away. The famous Bam Bar is also close and worth a visit for a Sicilian specialty – granita. Granita here is truly among the best in Sicily.
The walk along the main street – Corso Umberto – gazing around, shopping and sipping a drink in one of the bars is also a must.
Taormina restaurants for lunch and dinner
Our suggestions for a delicious lunch or dinner in a place which is not too touristy and overpriced:
- Il Re del Sole – a family-run restaurant serving fresh fish and typical Sicilian food right on the beach (Spisone)
- Tiramisu – Trattoria some 50 m from Porta Catania
- Gran Duca – pizzeria and restaurant on the Corso itself with amazing sea views
There is a small shop next to Porta Catania serving yummy tavola calda – Sicilian version of fast food. It is always fresh, good quality and great taste with the price as little as 2 – 3 Euro per piece. We highly recommend this option if you are short on time, or don’t feel like a proper Sicilian lunch lasting forever. And don’t let our ‘fast-food’ tag discourage you – Sicilian tavola calda is as genuine and authentic Sicilian food, as Pasta alla Norma. It is worth a bite even if you are not a fan of fast food at all.
The visit to Taormina downtown isn’t really complete without going even more up – to Castelmola. But then… you find yourself short of time and in desperate need to return at least for another day!
A tip: not a big fan of the beach and sunbathing?
You can exclude the visit to the coast! In this case park at Parcheggio Porta Catania or Lumbi Parking, go up to the downtown and divide your time between Taormina and Castelmola. You can drive further to Castelmola, or take a bus from the square next to Porta Messina.
A tip: in love with the sea?
Devote more time, or even more days to Taormina coast and explore the best beaches one by one: Isola Bella, Mazzaro bay and Spisone are among the best options to spend at least half a day.
Here is a video of the Spisone beach in Taormina:
For some other aerial views of Taormina coastline – check this link and video
As of July 2017 the private serviced beaches in Taormina offer prices varying from 25 Euro for 2 beds and Ombrellone (e.g. Lido Delfino, Mazzaro) to 50 Euro for the same plus towels and drinks at Stockholm. Lido La Pigna (Mazzaro, next to the Belmond Sant Andrea Hotel private beach) – 20 Euro per sunbed (40 Euro for 2 sunbeds and one Ombrellone).
Hope this makes it a little bit clearer?