13 Best Things to do in Taormina (2023)

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Known as the Pearl of the Mediterranean, Taormina is one of the most popular places in Sicily. Having spent a few days relaxing and exploring the old town of Taormina it is easy to see why it attracts so many visitors each year. The relaxed atmosphere, incredible scenery and delicious food made it one of our favorite places on our Sicily Itinerary.

Despite its small size, Taormina is packed with things to see and do, plus the town is gorgeous and the food is some of the best in Sicily. We’ve put together this list of the best things to do in Taormina, including where to stay and the best places to eat.

Things to do in Taormina Sicily
The sunrise view over Taormina from Chiesa Madonna della Rocca

Things to do in Taormina

We highly recommend including Taormina in your Sicily Itinerary. The days we spent in this beautiful Sicilian town were some our favorite in Sicily and it is definitely worth a few days to see everything the area has to offer.

1 | Greek Theatre of Taormina

One of the most iconic views in Sicily is the view from the amphitheater of the Greek Theatre in Taormina. Perched high above the Mediterranean sea, the Greek Theatre has breathtaking views of the coast and Mount Etna and it is easy to see why it is one of the most popular things to do in Taormina.

Built originally in the third century BA and later remodeled and rebuilt by the Romans in the third century AD, the present-day theatre remains in excellent condition. For the best views make your way up the steep steps of the auditorium to the back of the theatre.

The views from here are spectacular and on a clear day, Mount Etna is clearly visible in the distance.

We recommend booking a skip-the-line ticket and visiting first thing in the morning. This will allow you to visit before the majority of the day trippers arrive in Taormina and before the heat is too intense. The views are absolutely amazing from the theatre and it’s far more enjoyable with fewer visitors in the amphitheater! – check prices now!

Book your Taormina theatre tickets now

Things to do in Taormina Sicily
The epic view from the Greek Theatre in Taormina

2 | Stay the Night in Taormina

One of the best things to do in Taormina is to actually spend one or two nights in the old town. While Taormina is a popular day trip destination, it is wonderful to experience in the evening after the day trip crowds filter out. It’s also a great base for the region. We stayed in Taormina for three nights in the stunning Hotel Villa Belvedere and it was a highlight of our time in Sicily.

We loved the early morning strolls in Taormina, relaxing at many of the delicious restaurants in the old town in the evening and taking trips to Castelmola and Mount Etna.

Where to Stay in Taormina

There are two main options when choosing where to stay in Taormina: in the old town or down by the sea. Most of the hotels in Taormina are located in the old town, however, if you prefer to be close to the sea then the seafront properties would be best. We recommend staying in the old town as most of the things to do and places to eat are located there, plus it’s a long walk or extra taxi rides up to the old town from the seafront.

Hotel Villa Belvedere – where we stayed during our time in Taormina and we loved it. With a pool and rooms overlooking the sea, great food and service we highly recommend the Hotel Villa Belvedere. It’s perfectly located on the edge of the old town and has parking on-site. A particular highlight was the breakfast served in the beautiful dining room overlooking the sea – check prices now!

Things to do in Taormina Sicily
Hotel Villa Belvedere was one of our favorite hotels in Sicily

Hotel Villa Taormina – another great option right in the centre of Taormina. Hotel Villa Taormina is located just off the Corsa Umberto beside the Piazza Duomo so you’ll be close to everything in the old town. This stunning boutique hotel is one of the most popular hotels in Sicily so make sure to book early – check prices now!

UNAHOTELS Capotaormina: For those seeking to be close to the sea the UNAHotels Capotaormina is a great option. Located on the rocks overlooking the sea below the old town of Taormina, UNAHOTELS Capotaormina is a beautiful 4-star hotel with its own private beach and pool overlooking the sea – check prices now!

Book your stay in Taormina now

3 | Villa Comunale di Taormina

One of the true gems of Taormina is the tranquil public gardens, known as the Villa Comunale. Originally created by the English aristocrat Florence Trevelyan, the gardens are a beautiful oasis on the edge of the old town.

Things to do in Taormina Sicily
The Villa Communale is one of the most unique sights in Taormina

The gardens are extremely beautiful and the views over the Meditteraan Sea are some of the best in Taormina. It’s a great place for a stroll during the day when it gets very hot with the trees and sea breeze offering the perfect place to relax. So grab a gelato or a snack and head to the gardens for some chill time!

Things to do in Taormina Sicily
The “Angels of our time” statue in the gardens

4 | Bam Bar

Sitting outside Bam Bar with a granita and brioche is one of the quintessential Sicilian experiences that every visitor to Taormina should experience! Tucked away just off the busy Corso Umberto, BamBar is a beautiful little cafe-bar that is a must-see in Taormina. This colorful and quirky cafe is home to some of the best brioche we’ve ever tasted.

Things to do in Taormina tip: Bam Bar can get really busy during the day so we recommend trying to visit it mid-morning or later in the afternoon when the queues are smaller. The cafe also does takeout if you’re in a hurry but we definitely recommend sitting in!

5 | Take the Godfather and Mafia tour

Movie fans will know that many iconic scenes from the Godfather Trilogy were shot in Sicily. The small towns of Savoca and Forza D’Agro located just north of Taormina featured in both the first and second Godfather movies, with Bar Vitelli in Savoca and the Church of Sant’Agostino included in the tour.

This small group tour is a great option and takes visitors from Taormina on a tour of the filming locations and includes a traditional Sicilian lunch. This is a must-do for any fans of the movie trilogy – check prices now!

Book your Godfather tour now

Things to do in Taormina Sicily
Bar Vitelli (owned by Apollonia’s father)

6 | Isola Bella

Isola Bella is a beautiful little island located close to the shores of Taormina and connected to the mainland via a narrow rocky beach. The images of Isola Bella have become as well known as the views from the Greek Theatre in Taormina and for good reason. The island is beautiful and a day on the beach relaxing is a perfect way to unwind.

There are a number of beach clubs along the rocky strand where you can get some drinks, a bite to eat or hire a lido for the day.

Things to do in Taormina Sicily
Isola Bella

There is a walking route down from the old town of Taormina to Isola Bella and you can catch a taxi back up to your hotel/the old town. The hike back up the hill is exhausting!

Things to do in Taormina tip: The beach at Isola Bella is a rocky beach and we recommend picking up a pair of swim shoes to help you walk and swim at the beach. The stones can be uncomfortable under your feet, especially when entering and leaving the water!

Things to do in Taormina Sicily
Isola Bella

7 | Corso Umberto

The ancient street that links the two historic gates, Porto Messina and Porto Catania, in Taormina, is known as the Corso Umberto. The street has retained its historic charm and is lined with many historic buildings, including the old clock tower on Piazza IX Aprile.

You’ll find no shortage of souvenir shops and restaurants along the Corso Umberto and each side street reveals another narrow lane to explore.

Things to do in Taormina tip: Corso Umberto can get very crowded at peak times, especially around lunchtime.

Things to do in Taormina Sicily
Corso Umberto

8 | Belvedere di Via Pirandello

Belvedere di Via Pirandello is our favorite viewpoint in Taormina and well worth the short walk from Taormina town. If you are planning to walk down to Isola Bella make sure to stop at this viewpoint as the views are stunning.

The Via Pirandello Vewipoint is usually a lot less crowded than the viewpoint at Piazza IX Aprile and it offers spectacular views of Isola Bella at sunset.

Things to do in Taormina tip: The walking route from Taormina down to Isola Bella ( known as the Guardioal Vecchia) is located right beside the Via Pirandello viewpoint so you can catch it on your way down to the beach.

Things to do in Taormina Sicily
The view from Belvedere di Via Pirandello

9 | Hike to Chiesa Madonna della Rocca

The Chiesa Madonna della Rocca (Church of Madonna della Rocca) is a 15-minute relatively vigorous hike from the Corso Umberto up the mountain that directly overlooks Taormina. The small church is built on the cliffside and offers some of the best views of Mount Etna from Taormina.

Things to do in Taormina Sicily
The view of Mount Etna from the church of Madonna della Rocca

The entrance to the trail, known as the Salita Castello Trail, is on the road parallel to the Corso Umberto and takes 1-2 minutes to reach. From here it’s a steep climb up the many steps up to the small church. The views on the ascent get better and better before you reach the best views at the top.

The views of Taormina from above are also incredible, especially just after sunrise.

Things to do in Taormina Sicily
The view of Taormina from Chiesa Madonna della Rocca just after sunrise

Things to do in Taormina tip: We recommend hiking up early in the morning before it gets too hot as it’s a pretty steep hike up!

The hilltop town of Castlemola that is located further up the mountains is also visible from the church

Things to do in Taormina Sicily
Castlemola as seen from the church

10 | Enjoy some delicious Italian seafood

Italian food is always amazing but we were really blown away by the quality and variety of seafood on offer in the restaurants in Taormina. Whether you want a sit-down meal, quick snack or something to take out to your hotel, Taormina is incredible for food.

The traditional Italian dishes and the amazing seafood will mean you’ll experience some of the best food in Sicily during your time in Taormina. Some of the best restaurants include Osteria Nero D’Avola for dinner, Ristorante Myle e I Suoi Sapori for pizza and pasta and Da Cristina with its delicious budget-friendly, deep-fried treats.

Things to to in Taormina tip: we advise asking your hotel for advise on where to eat and for help boking any dinner reservations in Taormina. The popular restaurants are usually packed in the evenings and it’s worth having a reservation ahead of time.

Things to do in Taormina Sicily
The food is exceptional in Taormina

11 | Take a day trip to Mount Etna

Mount Etna is one of the world’s most active volcanos and one of the most famous sights in Sicily. The imposing volcano is visible from many parts of Taormina and we highly recommend taking the time to do a day trip to Mount Etna. If you have a rental car in Sicily, as we had, it’s around an hour’s drive from Taormina to the cable cars at Rifugio Sapienza that take visitors up Mount Etna.

Things to do in Taormina tip: It can get pretty chilly and windy at the top of Mount Etna so make sure to take layered clothing and solid shoes with you!

There are a number of popular day tours to Mount Etna. Most of the tours include time at Rifugio Sapienza, the place where cable cars and hikes up to Mount Etna depart from.

This is the most popular hiking tour from Taormina to Mount Etna and includes a visit to a lava cave! – check prices now!

Book your Mount Etna trek now

This is another great small group tour and also has the option to add on the trip to the Mount Etna summit via the cable car and 4×4 – check prices now!

Book your Mount Etna day trip now

Things to do in Taormina Sicily
The view from the top of the cable cars at Mount Etna

12 | Piazza IX Aprile

This busy little square is one of our favorite spots in Taormina. The Piazza IX Aprile is a small square located on the Corso Umberto and has incredible views of the coastline and Mount Etna on a clear day.

The piazza is surrounded by the clock tower, the church of San Giuseppe and the small church of Saint Augustine.

Grab a gelato and stay here for sunset when the view is really incredible. It’s one of the most popular places in Taormina so expect it to be busy throughout the day. We found it to be relatively quiet in the mornings and later in the evening when most of the day trip tours are not in the old town.

Things to do in Taormina Sicily
The Church of San Giuseppe on Piazza IX Aprile

13 | Explore the hilltop town of Castlemola

The hilltop village of Castlemola that overlooks Taormina is only a short drive and worth exploring for an afternoon. Built around the ruins of a Norman castle, it is one of the most picturesque towns in Sicily and has breathtaking views of the coast and Mount Etna.

Things to do in Taormina Sicily
The views from Piazza Saint Antonio alone are worth the trip up to Castlemola

The main piazza, Piazza Saint Antonio, has a number of restaurants with incredible views so it’s worth staying for a quick bite or a drink to enjoy the views.

Things to do in Taormina Sicily
The Church of Saint Nicholas of Bari in Castlemola

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