Taormina may be the most popular beach town in Sicily for Italians for good reason! Here’s how to plan your time in the city.
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Taormina is a super popular vacation destination with Italians! It sits about halfway between Catania and Messina, so it’s easy to reach by train or by car, and perfect for a beach getaway!
It sits on the cliffs overlooking the gorgeous Ionian sea, giving you gorgeous views at every turn. It’s a great city to include in any Sicily itinerary, either as a day trip or overnight stay.
If you want one town to do a few days for a beach trip, pick Taormina. It has some of the most beautiful water I’ve ever seen!
Like many of these European towns, half the fun is wandering the streets. There’s a cute old cobbler watching the tourists wander by. Side streets dot the main road, offering perfect doses of local life and bright blue sea views.
Make sure to walk all the way down to Piazza IX Aprile for a lookout point! There are several great ones in the city, but this one is the easiest to get to for sure.
Taormina has a ton of ceramics shops with varying levels of authenticity, so sometimes it’s best to stick your head in and wander to see the quality. I did find one I absolutely loved: R. Valentino! The painter offered a variety of styles and products, and would quietly show you other versions of anything you liked but wasn’t sure about. I definitely did some souvenir shopping here!
One excellent and free thing to do in Taormina is to wander the Villa Comunale. It’s a massive garden from the 1920’s, and it’s full of gorgeous plants and amazing sea views.
If you’re headed here for a few relaxing days, you can’t skip the beach! Since the city sits above the coastline, your best bet is to take the cable car down to the seaside.
There are plenty of beach clubs if you’d rather have a lounge chair and umbrella, or you can bring a towel to one of the free areas. The most popular beach area (and most beautiful) is Marzzarò. If you want a less-crowded option, head north to Spisone beach, and if you’ve got your heart set on sand instead of pebble beaches, head for Naxos.
One of the best parts about Taormina is the Isola Bella, an island just off the coast. Called the Pearl of the Ionian Sea, it was private property until the 90’s. Now it’s a nature reserve and is connected to Taormina by a thin pebble path that sunbathers flock to every day. It’s 4€ to go on the island, where you can walk, explore, and swim all day.
One thing that’s on my list for the next time I visit Taormina is their Grotta Azzura, Blue Grotto. It’s the same phenomenon you’ll find in Capri, where the reflected sunlight illuminates the water from below. You can take a boat inside the cave or go scuba diving!
Like Siracusa, Taormina boasts a massive Greek-style theater that still hosts concerts and shows. The sea gives everything a unique backdrop for any show. You can pay to tour it or attend a concert, although I hear those sell out fast in summer so plan ahead! I opted to skip this one – it’s an iconic part of the Taormina, but I was mostly there to enjoy the scenery and coastline.
If you’ve rented a car to explore, stop at the Belvedere di Via Pirandello overlook point! It gives a gorgeous view of the coastline and Isola Bella. If you’re just walking, it’s a bit out of the way for the reward, but in a car it’s perfect!
Taormina is a great spot to spend a few days to get away from it all! Whether you’re there for a day or a week, it’s just busy enough to keep toy entertained without so much that you don’t relax.
If this has made you crave a trip to Sicily, I’ve put together a bunch of destination guides across the island. I highly recommend Palermo and Ortigia, or you can see the full island guide for yourself!