Are you looking for the best ideas for things to do in Taormina, Sicily? Perhaps you are considering visiting lovely Taormina during a Mediterranean cruise. Or perhaps you will be arriving there from other parts of Europe. I recently visited Taormina during my Holland America Mediterranean Legends cruise and it was simply amazing! My visit was so extraordinary that I want to share my own experiences and suggestions with you.
Perched high atop a cliff overlooking the spectacular deep blue Ionian Sea, Taormina is full of charming streets and magnificent squares. Historic and ornate churches, antique and trendy shops and lots of restaurants and cafes dot the main streets of this Sicilian city. I highly recommend a visit to fairytale Taormina. I do not believe you will be disappointed!
I do not know how long you have to spend in Taormina. But, I am hoping that by following my suggestions you will be able to make the most of every single moment you are there. I am listing my recommendations of things to do in Taormina in no specific order to be followed. Depending on how you arrive and how long you will be spending in Taormina, please tailor them to your specific needs.
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The enchanting Taormina!
11 Spectacular Things To Do In Taormina
Located high atop a hill, the panoramic views of the blue waters below is dreamy. Taormina is located on the east coast of Sicily, not far from mainland Italy and is a tourist haven. There are so many things to do in Taormina from sandy beaches to swim into mountains to hike in.
1) Begin Your Visit at Porta Catania
Porta Catania is a historic archway carved into s wall that once protected the ancient city of Taormina. It is a great meeting spot to agree upon should you and your family and/or friends become separated. Or wish to explore the many things to do in Taormina separately.
This entryway into Taormina is close to one of the four free municipal parking garages. As the city is built high on Mount Tauro, you will need to take an elevator several flights up to arrive at the street level from this location which will bring you to one of the city squares.
A popular things to do in Taormina to enter through Porta Catania and stroll the Corso Umberto
Tickets Here: Taormina Half-Day Private Walking Tour
Tickets Here: 2-Hour Private Taormina Guided Tour
Tickets Here: Taormina Walking Tour with Greek Theater Visit
Tickets Here: Etna Upper Craters Day Tour from Taormina
2) Stroll Corso Umberto
The Corso Umberto is the main pedestrian-only street in Taormina. Here you will find chic shops that rival any anywhere else. Casual to classy restaurants and cafes beckon you to enter for a respite.
Tickets Here: Taormina: 2-Hour Food Hopping Tour
Tickets Here: Taormina: 2.5-Hour Food and Wine Walking Tour
Lovely and charming side streets such as this one branch off the main Corso Umberto
3) Duomo – The Cathedral Of Taormina
This is the main Roman Catholic church and cathedral in Taormina. When you first see it, it looks more like a fortress than a church and is sometimes referred to as the “fortress cathedral”. It has a very long and interesting history and has been rebuilt several times in the past.
The Duomo Cathedral in the Piazza del Duomo in Taormina. The fountain in the forefront on the left. Visiting both are interesting things to do in Taormina.
4) Fountain Piazza Duomo Of Taormina
On my walking tour in Taormina, I learned that each church in Taormina has its own corresponding piazza or square. The Piazza Duomo is situated next to the Cathedral of Taormina near Porta Catania.
It houses the unique baroque Fountain of Taormina. Highly ornate in the baroque style it is also sometimes referred to as Taormina’s ‘four fountains’ because surrounding it are columns and sitting atop each rests a mythological pony. From each of their mouths flows waters into the fountain basis.
At the center of the basin high atop a column is perched a female minotaur- a being that is half human and half horse. She is the symbol of Taormina. In her hands, she holds an orb and a scepter, the symbols of power.
Here is the Duomo or Main Cathedral of Taormina along with the Duomo Fountain.
5) Church Of St Catherine Of Alexandria
Full of Greek-Roman lineage, this historic Roman Catholic church is a stunning example of Baroque architecture. You will notice the Baroque touches on the outside with elaborate statues. Once inside it is magnificent and resplendent.
The baroque church of St Catherine of Alexandria. To the right, you will notice the Cordaja Palace.
6) Cordaja Palace
Located across the Piazza Badia from the St Catherine of Alexandria Church is Cordaja Palace. It was built by the Arabs in the tenth century. A wonderful example of Arab architectural is its Islamic-style tower. It was more of a fortress and the square was used as a gathering space.
Cordaja Palace with its ancient Arab architecture.
7)Marvel At The Greco Roman Theatre
A very short walk and you will come to the ancient theatre of Taormina, “Teatro Antico di Taormina.” Built by the Greeks, it was later renovated by the Roman. This open-air theatre is nothing short of impressive. Having amazing acoustics it is still being used today for concerts and shows.
When I visited, the theatre was being restored and partially restricted. However, the walking tour I was on was still able to walk through the entire structure.
Please note, the historical Greco-Roman Theatre is one of the most popular visited attractions in Taormina. There is an admission fee.
Tickets Here: 3-Hour Taormina Segway PT Authorized Tour
Tickets Here: Taormina Walking Tour with Greek Theater Visit
The Greco Roman Theatre still in use today. It has brilliant acoustics. Visiting it is one of the most popular things to do in Taormina.
8) Rest At Piazza IX Aprile
Located right in the center of Corso Umberto, the Piazza IX Aprile is named after a famous date in Sicilian history. Today, however, it boasts the absolute BEST views of the Ionian Sea and of Mount Etna.
You will certainly want to linger here to marvel at the panoramic views that never seem to end! Or stop and refresh at one of the trendy cafes that line the piazza. Either way, you cannot go wrong.
The popular Piazza IX Aprile in the center of Taormina. San Guiseppe is to the right.
Tickets Here: Taormina: Half-Day Pizza Making Class
9) Church Of San Guiseppe
Located on Piazza IX Aprile in the center of town, the Church of St Joseph is another historical and ornate example of Baroque architecture. It is located right next to the clock tower. It was built in the late 1600s to the early 1700s.
9) Hike Up To The Madonna Del Rocca Church
This is not for the faint of heart. The climb is steep and you will need plenty of water and good sturdy walking shoes. However, the humble church dedicated to Mary at the top is worth your efforts. And of course the views.
According to legend, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to a young shepherd boy during a storm and comforted him. The church was built to honor Mary and commemorate her appearance.
The church has limited visiting hours, so be sure to check before you plan to visit Taormina. Admission is free.
Incredible views from the Madonna Del Rocca Church. Worth the hike!
10) Taormina Castle
Taormina Castle has a storied history that included ownership by the Greeks, Romans, and Muslims. It can be reached by hike as well. The staircase starts from the Church of the Madonna Del Rocca.
Sadly this fortification is closed and there is no entrance. However, the stunning views from atop Mount Tauro are worth making this one of the things to do in Taormina.
Can you even imagine the views from Taormina Castle?
11) Soak Up Some Sun At Iso Bella Beach
Situated along Taormina’s coast, the beach Iso Bella has become one of the symbols of Taormina. Its ownership has changed hands several times until it was finally purchased in 1990 by the Department of Cultural Heritage.
There are two ways to get to Iso Bella. The first is by taking the funicular cable car from downtown. The views are breathtaking on the way down and at the bottom, you only have a short walk to the beach.
Or if you enjoy walking as I do, walking down a path that leads directly to the beach is another option.
Tickets Here: From Taormina: Isola Bella Mini Cruise
Deep blue waters of the Ionian Sea at Iso Bella Beach, one of the perfect things to do in Taormina.
Packing Tips For Your Trip To Taormina
I think that using these useful packing tips will enhance your trip to Taormina and help you remain organized while there.
If you are in need of new luggage, this expandable soft side spinner luggage is affordable and comes in lots of colors. If you like hard-sided better, then you may favor this hard-sided luggage set better. Both sets come with TSA approved zippers locks and 8 wheels per piece. Either will be great for the plane or train or even your car depending on how you plan to travel to Italy.
I was never a fan of packing cubes until I tried them out! Now I am sold. These Bagail packing cubes are the exact ones I use whenever I travel. I cannot believe how much more organized I am now!
Hydration is so important. When I visited Taormina it was in the mid-90s and having water with me was very important. You want to remain hydrated to support your immune system which in turn will be stronger to fight off any germs you will encounter during your travels. You will want to bring your own refillable water bottle with you. I never leave home on a trip without my Bobble filtration bottle. The 18.5-ounce size is perfect for travel and it will fit nicely in the pocket of a backpack or your purse. Also when filled with water, it is not too heavy to carry. And the Bobble carbon filter ensures fresh clean water whenever and wherever you fill the Bobble. You can find filter replacements here.
Perhaps you are traveling a long distance and packing space is a premium. Then this set of collapsible silicone foldable water bottles would work well for you. Would not take up much space in your suitcase at all. And you will be receiving a set of two.
You will want to bring a backpack or daypack with you to store snacks, your water bottle, phone, extra clothes, etc.. This foldable water-resistant backpack would be great. It is very affordable and is available in many color options for you to choose from. The fact that it folds down into a zippered pouch will make it easy to pack.
Perhaps you need a more substantial backpack for your international travel. This antitheft backpack has a charging port, is water-resistant and can comfortably carry up to a 15.6″ laptop.It comes in a range of colors to choose from and it is inexpensive as well.
You will be walking more than usual when visiting Taormina. A sturdy and comfortable pair of walking shoes is a must-have. These waterproof all-season shoes are extremely affordable and yet fashionable. Mostly everyone is familiar with the Skechers brand, and these Air Run high fashion sneakers come in a lot of colors to match your outfits and are still affordable.
And let us not forget the beach shoes for Taormina’s pebbly beaches. These quick dry slip on aqua shoes are a great selection. They come in a ton of bright colors for men, women, and children.
You may be visiting Taormina in warmer weather, and you may want a pair of sandals to wear exploring. I highly recommend these Vionics adjustable strap orthotic sandals. I have several pairs of these exact Vionic sandals in several colors that I bring with me *everywhere* I travel. They are very comfortable. I also sometimes bring along my Vionic Tides flip flops. The toe post is so comfortable which makes wearing these super comfortable.
A concealed travel pouch may be one of the most important items you bring during your visit to Taormina. This unisex RFID blocking concealed travel pouch is lightweight and comes in several colors. It has lots of organization to give you peace of mind. You can keep your most valuable documents safe and secure next to your body.
If you have a pouch already you may not want to or need to invest in a new one, like me. If it does not come with the RFID protection, these RFID sleeves would be handy to prevent identity theft. This configuration comes with enough passport and credit card sleeves that the entire family would be protected. They are slim too, so they will easily fit into your current pouch or wallet.
Bring a lightweight scarf or shawl. Scarves and shawls are very popular in Europe and Taormina are no different. Both men and women wear scarves, both decoratively and as a layering piece to keep warm. This cotton unisex lightweight scarf is versatile and can be worn in any season. And here’s another option to consider: this lightweight sunscreen shawl scarf would do double duty to protect you from the sun in the warmer seasons as well as being a fashion accessory layering piece.
We all need to protect our eyes from the sun’s harmful UVA/UVB rays. These unisex polarized sunglasses come in a lot of lens colors and frame designs and are extremely affordable too.
If you are fond of the aviator-style of sunglasses these polarized aviators may interest you. I like polarized sunglasses because they remove the glare off the water and help you to see things more clearly. This will be very helpful in Kotor.
Don’t forget to bring along a universal power adapter on your trip to Taormina. This worldwide power plug is a great example and will charge your phone at the end of your busy days. And this world traveler adapter kit can charge several devices at the same time. This is what you will need when there are several people traveling in your group, or if you bring several electronic devices on your trip that require charging at the same time.
If you are planning on taking a lot of pictures with your phone you will definitely want to consider an external charging battery. This Anker high-speed phone charging battery is the exact one I carry with me on all of my trips. It can be used on a variety of phones, not just an iPhone like I have. And wow is it fast! I like that it holds its charging capabilities for several uses so I do not have to worry about it while out and about. And if I forget to recharge it at night, it will still be good to go the next day.
My daughter gifted me this FugeTek Selfie Stick and Tripod for my birthday. It has Bloothtooth connectivity so it is very easy to use. It is made of durable aluminum and is very lightweight and easy to carry. I love mine and I think you will enjoy it too!
A unique view of Mt Etna as viewed from Taormina.
Quick Tips For Your Visit to Taormina
Here are some quick tips and tricks I’ve learned, along with the ones above, which will enhance your trip to Taormina. And hopefully, make it a bit less stressful.
Before you leave home, contact your credit card company and check to see if your credit card does or does not have foreign transaction fees. If it does, inquire about the possibility of applying for one that does not carry foreign transaction fees attached to it (the small fee charged you whenever you use your card out of your home country.) Also, remember to notify your bank of the dates you will be out of the country.
When you visit an ATM in Taormina, check to be sure it is on the same network as your bank, so you are not charged a transaction fee every time you withdraw cash. Withdrawing larger amounts of money will help you limit bank transition fees. Italy’s form of currency is the Euro.
Purchase advanced tickets to attractions whenever possible. Admission tickets purchased online are usually offered at a discount, and you will save a lot of time waiting in lines to buy tickets at the individual attractions. Your things to do in in Taormina list will flow more effortlessly when you have your plan and can pace yourself and not have to worry about the availability of tickets at each location you wish to visit.
These are my top suggestions to aid you in selecting interesting and fabulous places to visit in Taormina. And tips for a safe and organized trip! If you are on a cruise and have only a limited amount of time to see Taormina, I believe my recommendations will please you. You will be able to cover a lot of territory and see a great many sights if you use them as a reference when planning your time.
I was absolutely charmed by Taormina! Have you ever visited fabulous Taormina? What did you think? Do you have any additional suggestions of things to do in Taormina? Please leave your comments and suggestions below.
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