Situated on the eastern coast of the picturesque island of Sicily, Taormina stands as a Pearl of the Mediterranean. With its stunning views, picturesque streets, and all-over beauty, this charming town has to be the most sought-after destination in Sicily. From its ancient ruins to its lively piazzas and delicious food, Taormina offers endless entertainment. In this blog post, we’ll take you through the 15 best things to do in Taormina, Sicily. This guide will help you make the most of your visit to this amazing destination.
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15 Best Things to do in Taormina, Sicily
1. Have a granita at the famous Bam Bar
Bam Bar is a famous place in Sicily known for its delicious frozen treat called “granita.” Granita is like a slushy ice dessert made with flavors like lemon, almond, or coffee. It’s super refreshing, especially on a hot day. The locals even eat this dessert for breakfast believe it or not. At Bam Bar, they make some of the best granitas in town. You can enjoy your granita with a sweet brioche bun. It’s a must-try when you’re in Sicily, and Bam Bar is the place to get it! I tried 2 flavors when I got mine – half strawberry and half lemon! If Bam Bar happens to be closed (as they are in the off-season on Mondays) or the lines are too long, you can also try granita at the local ice cream shops. I also had a great one at Don Diego Gelateria Caffetteria.
Read my full blog post on my Sicily 10 Days Itinerary
2. Check out the iconic White Lotus Hotel
The San Domenico Palace is a Four Seasons Hotel and was featured in the filming of HBO’s White Lotus. You will see a lot of hype from this HBO series. To visit the iconic hotel, you must either be a guest or have a lunch or dinner booking Be sure to reserve ahead as it does book up. The pool is the true highlight with the stunning blue and white umbrellas lined in rows. Behind, you’ll find the beautiful Taormina landscape with a mountainous backdrop.
3. Hike to Mount Etna
Hiking Mount Etna in Sicily is an incredible experience and can be done as a day trip from Taormina with this tour. I’d highly recommend going as part of a tour and that’s the only way you can visit the summit due to safety reasons. It’s an active volcano, so keep an eye on safety guidelines, and if you’re unsure, consider going with a guide who can show you around and explain the volcano’s history. Also, depending on the trail you choose it can be more or less difficult. There are easy paths for beginners and more challenging ones for experienced hikers. The volcano is really high, so be prepared for some altitude changes and bring warm clothing and sun protection. The best times to hike are spring and early autumn when the weather is pleasant. Overall, it’s a great experience with beautiful views!
4. Relax in the beautiful free park, Villa Comunale di Taormina
Relaxing in the Villa Comunale di Taormina park is one of the best things to do in Taormina, Sicily. This free park is a green oasis with colorful flowers, tall trees, and stunning views of the sea and Mount Etna. You can take a leisurely stroll, have a picnic, or chill on the benches in peaceful surroundings.
5. People watch at Piazza IX Aprile
Piazza IX Aprile is one of the most famous and picturesque squares in Taormina, Sicily. This bustling square is named after April 9th, 1860, when Giuseppe Garibaldi landed in Marsala to eventually unify Italy. From the square, you can admire the panoramic views of the Ionian Sea and Mount Etna. There is also many cafes all around making it the perfect place to relax, have a coffee or gelato, and people-watch. The square is also home to the Church of Saint Joseph and the iconic clock tower, which is a focal point for many events and gatherings in Taormina. It’s a lively and historic heart of the town, where you may even find musicians set up on the street and people enjoying the tunes.
6. Wander the beautiful streets
Every corner you turn, you’ll find so many adorable streets in Taormina. So just wander your way around and discover the beautiful pathways. There are a few side streets with steps lined with ceramic pots and iconic ceramic heads too. You will find the first photo above around the corner from Bam Bar, the granita shop. It has the most intricate doorway and building in Taormina. There are also these interesting plants hanging from the window which you’ll find throughout the town.
7. Admire the views from the Greek Theatre
The Greek Theatre in Taormina (“Teatro Antico di Taormina”) is one of the most iconic and well-preserved ancient theaters in the world. It’s the second largest theater of Sicily with Syracuse being the largest. The views from the theatre are some of the best you’ll find in Taormina. Skip-the-line tickets can be purchased here for €17.
8. Enjoy a sunset drink at Bar Timeo
The best spot in town for a drink at sunset has to be Bar Timeo. It’s part of the Belmond Hotel, Grand Hotel Timeo. You will find the view above from the outdoor terrace. It’s the perfect place for a cocktail but be sure to arrive early to get a seat as it fills up. You can also enjoy dinner.
9. Try arancini at Da Cristina
Sicily is known for its delicious arancini. They are essentially deep-fried rice balls typically filled with a variety of delicious ingredients. The most common type of arancini consists of saffron-infused rice and is stuffed with fillings such as ragu, ham and mozzarella, and eggplant. I tried the eggplant and ragu one. I really loved the eggplant one! The best place to pick up this snack is Rosticceria Da Cristina.
10. Take the cable car down to the beaches
You can easily reach 2 stunning beaches by taking this cable car down. It will take you moments away from Spiaggia La Pigna with its turquoise-clear waters and rocks bulging from the sea.
Just a few minutes walk down, you’ll also find Isola Bella. In the early 19th century, King Ferdinand gave Isola Bella as a gift to Taormina. Later, Lady Florence Trevelyan bought it and built a house, along with planting tropical plants on the rocky island. Isola Bella is now a protected nature reserve and has the most famous beach in Taormina. It does get pretty crowded during the summer but it’s well worth a visit. You can rent sunbeds for somewhere between €10-30 or you can set up your own towel on the rocky beach for free. There are also many nice boat tours you can take which stop at top attractions like the Grotta dell’Amore, Capo Taormina, the Grotta delle Sirene, and the Scoglio dell’Elefante. You can pre-book the boat tour here.
11. Go to the viewpoint Belvedere di Via Pirandello
If you want to see Isola Bella from above, then head to Belvedere di Via Pirandello (Google Maps). Here you will see views of the island and you can also go down to Isola Bella on foot from here instead of using the cable car.
12. Have tiramisu in a cup at restaurant Lido La Pigna
This might be the best tiramisu in Taormina and it is definitely the cutest too as it is served in a coffee cup. You can get it at the restaurant Lido La Pigna and enjoy it with views of the beach below.
13. See the many beautiful churches
There are many churches in Taormina. Don’t miss visiting the main ones such as the Duomo di Taormina, Chiesa di San Giuseppe, and Chiesa Madonna della Rocca. The interiors are absolutely stunning too.
14. Go ceramics shopping
In Taormina, you’ll likely see ceramic heads all over and many shops will be selling them too. According to legend, these ceramic heads symbolize Moor’s Heads. They represent the impossible love of a young couple. I truly loved seeing all the beautifully decorated heads all over Sicily. They are great souvenirs to buy and to remember your visit.
15. Have dinner at Osteria da Rita (dal 1991)
There are so many foodie choices to choose from in Taormina. One of my best meals was at Osteria da Rita (dal 1991). They don’t take reservations so you’ll have to stand in line and sometimes it can take an hour to get seated. It wasn’t too bad for me and the line went quickly. I ordered the bruschetta with fresh tomatoes and had a wonderful pasta served in a pan. There’s both outdoor and indoor seating and if you’re lucky, you will catch some live music during your meal.
These are the best things to do in Taormina, Sicily. Let me know in the comments if you have more to add or did any of these!