11 Best Things to Do in Taormina, Sicily

Beautiful, busy, and home to some of the best views in all of Sicily, it should come as no surprise that there are plenty of fun things to do in Taormina, Italy!

We adored this small city and definitely plan to revisit any time we’re in eastern Sicily.

If the delicious food, proximity to Sicily’s most famous volcano, and charming downtown weren’t enough reasons to love Taormina, the views of the Ionian Sea alone would make it worth checking out.

Planning a trip soon?

Whether you’re visiting Taormina for a day as part of a cruise or you’re settling in for a longer trip, you’re bound to love it.

Here are the best things to do in Taormina, Sicily!

Kate Storm sitting a table at BamBar in Taormina. There's an orange granita in front of her and yellow tile work behind her. Visiting BamBar is absolutely one of the best things to do in Taormina Sicily!
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The Best Things to Do in Taormina, Sicily

Visit the Greek Theatre.

Of all the Greek theatres we have visited in world–including ones in Greece itself–this one is by far the prettiest we have ever seen, and a visit here absolutely belongs on the top of your list of things to do in Taormina, Italy.

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On a perfectly clear day, you’ll have an epic view of Mount Etna and the Ionian Sea visible behind the Greek Theatre of Taormina.

Even on a slightly cloudy day like when we visited (at least over Mount Etna), though, the views are still pretty phenomenal.

Kate and Jeremy standing in Greek Theatre in Taormina--visiting this place is easily one of the best things to do in Taormina! Kate and Jeremy are facing each other, Kate is wearing a floral maxi dress.

Stroll through the Public Gardens at Villa Comunale.

These stunning gardens boast incredible views of the Ionian Sea and are an unmissable stop when exploring Taormina.

In our opinion, the views from here are just as stunning as from the popular Piazza IX Aprile… and there are far, far fewer crowds at Villa Comunale!

These gardens are free to visit and are sometimes also called Parco Duca Di Cesarò.

Terrace of Villa Comunale, with the sea visible to the right of the photo.

Meander down the Corso Umberto.

Corso Umberto is the major pedestrian street of Taormina–as major as anything in Taormina gets, anyway.

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Stuffed to the brim with restaurants and shops full of wares that spill out into the street, Corso Umberto is incredibly fun to walk through. 

Be sure to stroll all the way from Porta Messina to Piazza IX Aprile (or visa versa).

Photo of Corso Umberto in Taormina Sicily. There's a crowd of people in the street.

Bonus: visit the Corso Umberto at night. 

As lovely as Corso Umberto is, the daytrippers and cruise ship visitors who come through during the day can also make it very, very congested.

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If you’re staying overnight in Taormina–and you definitely should!–be sure to visit Corso Umberto in the evening, long after the daytrippers have left.

The vibe is definitely more relaxed, and you’ll have far more space on the street!

Photo of the view of the Ionian Sea from above

Take a day trip to Mount Etna.

Want to add a little thrill to your list of things to do in Taormina? Book a day trip to the crater of an active volcano!

On a clear day, the views of Mount Etna from Taormina are fantastic–but there’s still nothing like standing on an active volcano with your own two feet.

Whether you want to book a morning hike, a scenic tour, or a full-day trip that also includes a visit to the beautiful Alcantara Canyons, you’re bound to find a visit to Mount Etna that appears to your travel style.

Book your day trip to Mount Etna today!

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people hiking on the barren landscape of mount etna sicily

Stop by the Piazza del Duomo.

Home to both Taormina’s lovely Duomo and an impressive Baroque fountain, the Piazza del Duomo is a quick and interesting place to visit in Taormina.

The Duomo itself is fairly understated as Italian cathedrals go, but it’s still a peaceful, beautiful spot and worth checking out.

front facade of taormina sicily duomo with fountain in front of it

Enjoy a granita at BamBar.

Meet the best slushie–for lack of a better descriptor–you’ll ever meet in your life: a granita.

Served all over Sicily, these semi-frozen desserts are made only with water, sugar, and flavorings like fruit or coffee… and yet, they’re so creamy and delicious that you’ll swear there has to be dairy in them.

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While you can have them served with milk or cream, the standard version is not.

And, especially if you’re visiting during a hot summer day, you’ll likely find granitas utterly irresistible (we sure did)!

Head to BamBar for some of the best granitas in Taormina that are definitely served with some of the prettiest decor.

We adored all of the tile work here!

vertical photo of an orange granita served at bambar one of the best places to visit taormina italy

Admire the view from Piazza IX Aprile.

Possibly the most famous viewpoint in Taormina, no visit to the city is complete without walking across this checkered piazza and admiring the views below.

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If possible, aim for a sunset visit!

Sure, you’ll no doubt share the view with quite a few others at that point–but the views are magical.

Photo of Piazza IX Aprile in Taormina Sicily

Head to the countryside on a food + wine tasting tour.

The area surrounding Mount Etna isn’t known just for its views or the history of the volcano!

The food and wine produced in the rich volcanic soil is also an absolute treat for the tastebuds, and exploring the local cuisine is one of the best activities in Taormina.

Head out from central Taormina on a food and wine tour of the Etna region, and you’re bound to return to town at night stuffed to the gills with local food, wine, and knowledge of the area.

This tour gets rave reviews and is a fantastic addition to your Taormina itinerary.

Book your food and wine tour of the Etna region today!

Photo of a plate of gnocchi served in Taormina Sicily. The gnocchi is on a white plate and has green garnish sprinkled on it.

Ride the cable car to the beach.

Due to Taormina’s location high on a cliff, in order to reach the local beaches, you’ll need to board the cable car.

Inexpensive and home to great views, head this way if you want to check out the beaches of Mazzarò or Isola Bella… or if you just want to gape at the view on your way down.

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The cable car tends to run every 15 minutes during the summer, and much less in the winter.

Check the updated schedule and ticket prices here.

Photo of the Ionian Sea as seen from Taormina. There are cacti in the foreground of the photo.

Pay a visit to Isola Bella.

Home to what are widely considered to be the best beaches in Taormina, summer visitors should definitely add a visit to Isola Bella to their list of things to do in Taormina!

A day spent soaking up the sun and views here make for an absolutely idyllic day in Sicily.

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Though you can easily reach the island yourself from Taormina via the cable car, a cruise along the coast paired with visits to the island’s best swimming spots is an excellent day to spend a hot day in Taormina!

Book your boat cruise around Isola Bella today!

view of isola bella in taormina italy with colorful flowers in the foreground

Just stare at the sea for a while.

Sound silly? 

Honestly, staring out at the Ionian Sea from all angles was among our favorite things to do in Taormina.

The views from this tiny town are absolutely stupendous, and they alone are worth visiting Taormina for.

View of Ionian Sea from Taormina Sicily. There's a lone catamaran in the bottom left corner of the photo.

Where to Stay in Taormina

The two most important things to consider when deciding where to stay in Taormina are whether it’s within walking distance of the center of the city (you can check the walking time to Piazza IX Aprile from the hotel you’re considering for a good estimate), and, if you have a car with you, whether they have parking available.

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Hostel Taormina — Boasting great reviews and a perfect location in Taormina’s Old Town, Hostel Taormina is the perfect place for budget travelers looking to keep costs down in what is arguably Sicily’s most expensive city.

Both private rooms and dorms are available, and a shared kitchen is located in the hostel.

The only downside?

No parking options–so keep that in mind if you choose to book a stay here!

Check rates & book your stay at Hostel Taormina!

Photo of Taormina visible beyond part of the Greek Theatre.


Hotel Natalina — We had a great time at this little hotel!

The location is a short walk from Taormina’s Old Town, the included breakfast quite large by Italian standards, and the customer service excellent. The staff helped us park our rental car for free nearby, which we greatly appreciated!

The rooms are large, but a bit dated–this certainly isn’t a luxury hotel, but it’s definitely a cozy enough place to stay while visiting Taormina, and we’d be happy to stay again.

Check rates & book your stay at Hotel Natalina!

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Hotel Continental — Want to admire the sea views that Taormina is famous for from the comfort of your hotel, while also staying in the lap of luxury?

If so, the Hotel Continental is for you!

Known for its superb location in the heart of Taormina, its views, and its wonderful included breakfast, luxury travelers can’t go wrong with a stay here.

Check rates & book your stay at Hotel Continental!

View of a beach along the Ionian Sea as seen by peaking through a gate at Villa Comunale, one of the best places to visit in Taormina Sicily!

How Long to Spend in Taormina, Italy

The major sites of Taormina can easily be covered with one full day in the city, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to hurry on!

A three-day stay in Taormina would allow you to spend one day enjoying the town, one day relaxing on the beach, and one day taking a day trip to Mount Etna. 

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It will also allow you to be a bit flexible with your trip to Mount Etna and essentially give you three possible days to visit the crater.

If you get unlucky with the weather like us and find Mount Etna stubbornly covered in clouds when you arrive in Taormina, you’ll be happy for the extra time!

That being said, if you’re short on time in Sicily, you can get a great taste of Taormina without sticking around more than one full day and night (not counting visiting Mount Etna).

Selfie of Kate and Jeremy in Taormina Sicily. You can see the sea in the background.

Getting To + Around Taormina

You can reach Taormina fairly easily via train from Catania, or with some effort, from Palermo.

However, the absolute best way to reach Taormina from either of Sicily’s two major cities with an airport (aka most likely the place you’ll be coming from unless you’re visiting Taormina via cruise ship) is with a rental car.

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Sicily is the perfect island for a road trip, and Taormina makes an excellent stop.

Within the center of tiny Taormina itself, though, you can give your rental car a break–central Taormina is small and extremely walkable, so you’ll only need a car for day trips once you arrive in the city.

Photo of a street in Taormina Sicily with cars parked on either side. There's a church visible toward the back of the photo.

If you do plan to explore the best things to do in Taormina as part of a Sicily road trip, though, we recommend shopping through Discover Cars in order to search through multiple companies at once.

Not only will you be able to compare prices easily, but you’ll also be able to compare rental inclusions (like insurance, kilometers allotted, etc.), which we found varied dramatically among different rental car companies in Sicily!

Shop rental cars for your trip to Taormina, Sicily today!

kate storm sitting on a garden wall in taormina sicily overlooking the ionian sea, one of the best places to visit in italy summer

About Kate Storm
Image of the author, Kate Storm

In May 2016, I left my suburban life in the USA and became a full-time traveler. Since then, I have visited 50+ countries on 5 continents and lived in Portugal, developing a special love of traveling in Europe (especially Italy) along the way. Today, along with my husband Jeremy and dog Ranger, I’m working toward my eventual goal of splitting my life between Europe and the USA.

4 thoughts on “11 Best Things to Do in Taormina, Sicily”

  1. Loved reading all this!! However, are things open there in Mid November? That’s when we were planning on going.

    • Hi Tawney! That’s definitely the off-season, but yes, most things will still be open, including day trips to Mount Etna, most restaurants, etc. Some things will probably be closed for the season, but you’ll find plenty to do–and you’ll be able to avoid the summer crowds, which is a big perk!

  2. Hi there ,
    I’m from Australia and holidaying in Europe (currently in Taormina). I read your bio at the end of the article and think that’s so great! Good for you. I think more people need to do that.

    Thanks for the write up, it’s definitely an amazing little town.


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