EXPLORING TAORMINA SICILY
Perched on the magnificent mountainside of the east coast of Sicily is the majestic town of Taormina. With breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea and Mount Etna the beautiful town has become one of Italy’s top travel destinations.
THINGS TO DO IN TAORMINA SICILY
- Corso Umberto is the main shopping strip of Taormina and has a number of boutique Italian stores. As well as shopping you’ll find a number of cafes, restaurants and bars which are buzzing with people- especially around and after dinner.
- You won’t be able to visit Taormina without passing IX Aprile Square which is halfway down the Corso. The Square itself is fairly small but the views are simply sensational.
- The Greek Theatre is located 3 minutes away from the main square of Taormina. It was constructed originally to host musicals and stage performances and then in later years under the Roman rule for gladiatorial battles. Today the Greek Theatre of Taormina hosts a number of film festivals, Orchestra performances, opera, and concerts.
- If you are into designer shopping then there is brand outlet 1 hour from Taormina. At The Sicilian Outlet Village you will find most of the big labels including Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, DSUARED2, Furla and more.
- Deepening on how much time you have in Taormina I would recommend venturing out to Mount Eta. There are a few tour operators in Taormina which you can find at the city gate who can help to organise this for you.
- If you are visiting in the warmer months then there are a number of beautiful beaches and lidos. To access the beaches you have to take a cable car to the bottom of the cliff which takes 5 minutes and costs €6 per person return. If you are game and fairly fit you can choose to walk but be warned it’s a longgggggg way to the top or bottom (approximately 1 hour)!
As soon as you get off the cable cars, directly in front of you will be the first smaller beach called La Pigna. This is a very beautiful spot and nearby to the cable cars if you are not up for a walk.
If you are up for a short walk then a little further down the road is Isola Bella. The much larger beach can be accessed via stairs.
Down at Isola beach are a number of beach bars that offer deck chairs. While they obviously charge you a fee it’s much more comfortable then lying on the large rocks. It’s also good to purchase rubber shoes. The rocks are painful to walk on and this makes it easier to walk into the water. The plastic shoes are ever so sexy but trust me, unless you want to look and feel like the idiot tourist then you’ll want to buy some on the way down to the beach.
Down at Isola Bella there are a number of restaurants to eat at. Most people choose Mendolia Bar because it’s in the centre of the beach but my preference Pizzichella Restaurant which was all the way to the left of the beach (if you are looking at the water). You won’t find bad food at Mendolia but the food freshness and quality of Pizzichella was much better.
RESTAURANTS & BARS OF TAORMINA SICILY
- Everyone is aware that Italian wine is some of the best in the world and Sicilian wine is no exception. There are many varieties including those sources close to Mount Etna itself. If wine is not your thing then try some Italian beer or perhaps a refreshing Aperol Spritz. Here are some great locations for a drink or two:
- For a more casual drinking spot try Daiquiri lounge which also confidently located right near my favourite restaurant Casa Gioli.
- Morgan’s Lounge Bar has a bit more of a club atmosphere and is great for those looking for something a little more upbeat.
- Hotel Metrapole has a sensational view but be prepared it’s the more pricey of the options I’ve listed here.
- We were incredibly impressed with the food and wine in Taormina Sicily and found no matter where we went that the food was fresh and delicious. Here are some of the standouts:
- Casa Gioli was a big standout for me because not only was the food fantastic but so was the service. To start we had two of their signature dishes the zucchini flowers stuffed with tuna and Italian peppers 3 ways- both absolutely sensational. For main we took the waiters recommendation and had the pork shank and the Gnocchi, The two entrees, two mains and a bottle of wine came to €130 euro which was very reasonable considering the food quality and service.
- L’Incontro is owned by a lovely gentleman who we found out lived in Australia for many years. During his stay in Sydney, he owned a little restaurant in Glebe which we had eaten at (small world). The food at the restaurant was simple and delicious home style cooking which we absolutely loved.
- Resturant Nettuno Da Siciliano is a beautiful family fun restaurant with clean, crisp white decor. The mother and father and not only the owners but also the cooks. The children the wait staff. They also have a cooking school in which they not only teach you how to cook Sicilian food but they also take you shopping for fresh ingredients.
- Despite the ordinary service Ristorante Grotto Di Ulisse will get a note here because the food was so good that I went back for seconds. Try the pepper muscles, grilled squid and veal scollopine.
- It’s no lie, I have an insatiable need for sweets and Taormina is the best place to fill that desire. Some of the specialties include Ricotta Cannoli, Candied fruit and of course Gelato. Try Gelatomania if you are looking for range and taste.
GETTING TO TAORMINA SICILY
From Rome you can get a direct flight from Rome international airport to Catania airport. One you arrive at Catania you have two options:
- Organise a private car or taxi which should cost you around €80. The benefit of the taxi service is it’s much faster than the public bus because you avoid all the stops in between. It’s also much more comfortable and you can get dropped off right in front of your hotel.
- The other option is to catch the public bus which is very reasonably priced. It’s around 30 minutes longer than a cab (1.5 hours in total) and costs only €8. As you can see this is a much more affordable option, however, I found it difficult if you are staying near the Corso as the bus drops you at the bus terminal at the bottom of the hill- almost 10 minutes walk away.
There is also the option to catch the fast ferry which you can do from Messina, Palermo, Malta, Naples and Ravenna.
Hope you enjoyed our guide to Taormina Sicily