place to see in taormina
Last updated: 31 August 2023

Taormina: what to see in a day? Itinerary, beaches and restaurants recommended by a true local

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Discover what to see in Taormina in one day: special places, historical sites, beaches and restaurants.

You are trying to understand what to see in a day in Taormina and you don't want to miss out on an authentic visit? Thanks to the experiences of the our facilities Ferrini Home and the help of a real local who gave us this advice, we wrote the definitive guide to spending a perfect day in Taormina from Catania

We will recommend unmissable places, historical sites, beaches and restaurants, but one thing is certain: anyone who visits Taormina is enchanted by it.

Before we begin, to give you a better understanding of the special nature of the place, we would like to quote the words of the writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe written about Taormina in his "Trip to Italy": 

"If we stand at the highest point occupied by the ancient spectators [of the Ancient Theatre], we must recognise that never, probably, has a theatre audience seen anything like it. On the right side are castles on the cliffs above; farther on, below us, lies the city, and although its houses are of recent date, they certainly occupy the same places where others stood in ancient times. In front of us the whole, long, mountainous massif of Etna; on the left the shore of the sea as far as Catania, or rather Syracuse; and the very wide picture is closed by the colossal smoking volcano, which in the sweetness of the sky appears more distant and more tame, and does not inspire terror."

So we are sure we have convinced you to visit Taormina. Here is what to see in one day in the pearl of the Ionian Sea!

What to see in Taormina in a day? 7 places recommended by locals

We asked a real Taormina local what places to see in a day in Taormina and these are the 7 things he recommended and that we always recommend to our guests when they ask us what to see in Taormina in one day. 

1. Via Pirandello panoramic road 

If you reach Taormina by car or take a bus from the train station, be sure to pass by Via Pirandello to get to the historic centre. This is a panoramic street that offers a crazy view. The first thing you will see is Isola Bella from above and as you go higher and higher, a fantastic view of Mount Etna and the Bay of Naxos will open up before your eyes. 

2. The Belvedere of Taormina

belvedere taormina what to see
By merrydl via Pixaby

At the end of Via Pirandello you will find the Belvedere di Taormina. A small square overlooking the coast offers a breathtaking view. It is an excellent spot to take a break or admire the sunset in the evening hours. It is usually not very crowded, which makes it a very romantic spot. 

3. Church of San Pancrazio

There are several churches to visit in Taormina, such as the Cathedral or the Varò church, but the Church of San Pancrazio is certainly the most striking. It is a Baroque-style church where, however, remains from the Byzantine and Saracen periods are preserved. San Pancrazio is the patron saint of the city, inside you will find his statue and many gifts that the faithful offer him. The church portal is truly spectacular and overlooks a cloister surrounded by columns that will make your visit truly enjoyable. 

4. Taormina Municipal Villa

municipal villa taormina
By Valery Bareta via Adobe Stock free

Anyone can confirm it: the real gem of Taormina is its Villa Comunale. In the heart of the old town, you absolutely must visit this marvellous garden full of history. The Trevelyan Park (today known as Villa Comunale Duca Colonna di Cesarò) was built in the mid-19th century at the behest of Lady Florence Trevelyan, an English noblewoman who lived in Taormina and married the then mayor of the town Salvatore Cacciola, with whom she purchased 87 plots of land to create the present Public Garden. Taking a walk in this park is truly a unique experience and the view you will see is one of a kind. The entrance è free and in summer the Villa remains open from 8 a.m. to midnight

5. Via Giardinazzo and Naumachie

Little known to tourists, these two destinations in the historic centre of Taormina are not to be missed. In Via Giardinazzo you can admire a beautiful palace decorated in full Sicilian style and you can find the boutique of one of the most famous local artists. The Giammonarte palace can be visited and contains many special works inside. The Naumachie, on the other hand, are located right next to this street and are the city's former aqueduct, now restored and free to visit. 

6. Castelmola - Ancient village

Not far from Taormina, reachable by car or public transport, is the historic village of Castelmola. It is also a popular place for locals because, compared to Taormina centre, it is a little quieter and, being a little higher up, there seems to be a pleasant breeze in the evenings. Here, too, you can lose yourself in the village's narrow streets, dine in one of the bars in the main square, and visit one of the most peculiar bars in all of Sicily, Bar Turrisi (we don't want to anticipate anything, we'll just tell you that it is perfect for celebrating a hen party!).

7. Church of the Madonna Rocca 

Reachable by car or municipal shuttles, the Church of Madonna della Rocca is a must-see. It is a small church completely excavated in the rock. It is very small but very suggestive. The Belvedere in front offers a crazy view of the Greek Theatre and the centre of Taormina. From there, a path with stairs leads directly back to the centre of Taormina. 

TIPS : if you are in Taormina, we recommend you take the cableway to descend to the beach and admire the whole city from above. A few minutes of wonder in which you can literally fly over the Sicilian sea!

Taormina's Ancient Theatre: information and visits 

One place you simply cannot miss in Taormina is the Greek Roman Theatre located right in the city centre. The TGreek Theatre of Taormina is the according to in size throughout the Sicily and one of the most beautiful in Italy. Today it is a historical cultural site popular with tourists and a prestigious stage chosen by singers and theatre companies for their concerts e shows. In addition, all award ceremonies and film productions take place there as part of the Taormina Film Fest, a film festival that for many years has hosted international actors and directors as well as Italian excellence. 

taormina greek theatre
By michelangeloop via Adobe Stock free

Speaking a little about its history, the Taormina's Greek Roman Theatre was built around the 3rd century BC. as evidenced by the original building plan. It was later rebuilt and enlarged by the Romansparts of the theatre built using techniques of Greek origin and parts that still retain the old Roman brickwork are still visible today. In Roman times, the theatre was also used for the venationes (sgladiator and ferocious beasts)

The most beautiful thing about the theatre in Taormina is definitely the view offering from the pinnacle of its gratin on the bay of Giardini Naxos and Mount Etna. Very impressive! 

For the past few years, a bar inside the theatre reserved for visitors, which, being located at the top, offers the possibility of having a drink or a bite to eat in a terrace overlooking the sea. In the evening it is really wonderful to see the lights of the neighbouring villages and the coast from above. 

Taormina Greek Theatre: tickets and visiting hours

The cost of a ticket for the Greek Theatre in Taormina is:

  • 13.50 euro FULL
  • 8.50 euro REDUCED
  • Free of charge only for certain categories indicated on the site

It can be purchased on site at ticket office (open until 7 p.m.) because reservations are not compulsory. Or, you can find tickets on the official website

The Greek Theatre of Taormina is open from Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 7.45 p.m. Timetables may vary in relation to specific park requirements, such as concerts. Any variations are marked on the site. 

Can you get into the Greek Theatre of Taormina for free? Yes! On the first Sunday of the month, entry to sites in eastern Sicily is free. Admission will also be free on 4 November. In addition, several categories (such as students or journalists) will receive a free ticket. 

Isola Bella Taormina and other recommended beaches 

beautiful island taormina
By Aerial Pictures via Adobe Stock free

Taormina is also sea! In fact, there are many beautiful beaches near the ancient town. Following the advice of those who live in Taormina, here is a list of the beaches in Taormina to visit: 

  1. Isola Bella: One cannot but start with this one, which is the best known of the Taormina beaches. To reach it you have to climb a few steps, but once you arrive you will find yourself in front of a small island connected to the beach by a strip of sand. You can visit the islet or stop at the beach. There are also lidos where you can rent parasols and deckchairs or eat. For parking, rely on the pay parks or use the means (bus or cable car from Taormina). 
  2. Mazzarò: beach next to Isola Bella, easily reached by cable car. It is not a very large beach, so if you don't want to go to a lido, we recommend going early. Its special features are the rocks and the circular shape that makes you feel you are in a corner of paradise. 
  3. Letojanni and Mazzeovery large beaches with several lidos, restaurants and services. They are suitable for families or large groups. There is also plenty of space on the free beaches and parking is easier to find. 
  4. Fondaco Parrino: beach frequented mainly by Taormina residents and locals. A few lido have opened in recent years, but overall it remains a very quiet beach. From there by boat you can reach some really impressive natural pools. 
  5. San Marco beachIt is a little further away than the others, but it is also worthwhile. The particularity of this beach is that it is bordered by a huge pine forest where you can stop during the hottest hours or take a relaxing walk. It is easily reached by car and parking is easy to find. 

Where to eat in Taormina? Restaurants and more

This is perhaps the question our guests ask us most often when they decide to visiting Taormina from Catania. Indeed, Taormina recently rankeda among the 100 best eating cities in the world (42nd place)list compiled by the website "Taste Atlas, local food around the world', becoming a de facto culinary destination as well. 

In addition, Taormina is home to the Saretto's BamBar, a very famous bar where stars and celebrities from all over the world come to eat one of the best granitas in Sicily. The BamBar specialises in granite fruit and more, the flavours vary according to the season, to be eaten strictly by dipping the Sicilian brioche into the 'tuppo"(as seen in the photo below).  

bambar taormina
By BigDreamStudio via Adobe Stock free

Besides BamBar, there are also many other places to eat in Taormina. For example, to eat a good bruschetta with typical products you can go to the Arco Rosso wine shop or Bar Timoleone. Among the historic restaurantsn the city, the restaurant La Botte, which has hosted many celebrities performing at the Greek Theatre, certainly stands out. Also recommended are the restaurants Osteria da Rita and Rosmarino. If you are looking for something more elegant, we also recommend trying one of the hotel restaurants of the city. 

arancino taormina
By Vincenzo VAD via Adobe Stock free

If we talk about street food cannot miss the arancino to be sampled in the historic rotisserie of the city Da Cristina or at the rotisserie L'Arco in Porta Catania. While for a taste of typical sweets, you can go to these historical pastry shops: Pasticceria il Minotauro for almond pastries and sweets with cream; Pasticceria d'Amore for pistachio sweets and ice cream; Bar Etna for typical sweets or breakfast and Da Roberto for cannoli. 

How to get to Taormina Centro from Catania? public transport and parking

If you have just arrived at Fontanarossa Airport and need to reach Taormina or you want to stay in the centre of Catania without giving up visiting the pearl of the Ionian Sea, There are several ways to get from Catania to Taormina comfortably in a day. Let's see them together!

Catania Taormina by Train

From Catania Central Station many trains leave every day for Taormina. La arrival station to refer to is Taormina-Giardini from where, once you arrive, you can take one of the many shuttles to the old town or the most famous beaches. The cost is less than 6 euro a route and the duration of the viage is approximately 40 minutes. Tickets can be purchased at the Catania station ticket office or from the Trenitalia official website

Catania Taormina by bus

Another easy way to reach Taormina from Catania during the day is by bus. Every day, every half hour or so, the buses of the Interbus company which runs this route. In Catania, the main stops are near the FS Centrale railway station, in Via Libertà, in Corso Italia, in Via Etnea or in Piazza Cavour. In Taormina, on the other hand, the bus will drop you off at the city terminal about 500 m from the city centre. The journey takes 1 hour and 10 minutes about. The cost is around 6 euro each way, but a reduced fare applies for a return trip. The ticket can be purchased online at Interbus website - Etna Trasporti

If you prefer a more complete experience, from Catania buses leave for organised guided tours with destination Taorminasuch as those of Etnatribewhich take you to the most interesting sites in one day (about 9 hours in total). 

Catania Taormina by car and Lumbi car park

Reach Taormina from Catania by car is definitely the fastest way to do it. Just take the A18 motorway from the Catania tollgate and exit at Taormina. The journey lasts about 45 minutes for a total of 43 km. The toll costs 1.70 euro in legwork. 

Taormina is a small town always full of tourists in the summer, so we recommend public transport to get there if you can, but if you can't do without your car or want to go there on an on-the-road trip, here are the best parking places in Taormina where you can leave your car: 

  • Porta Catania municipal car parkis the closest to the historical centre of Taormina. 
  • Parking Lumbiis the largest car park. Shuttles hop on and off every 10 minutes or so to take you to the centre of Taormina and back, even at night. 
  • Parking Piano Portorecently built and generally only open in summer or when there are events or concerts. This car park is also equipped with municipal shuttles that take you to the centre. 
  • Porta Pasquale car parksmaller but strategically located because it is very close to the main city gate.
  • Parking Isola Bella and MazzaròThese two beaches offer ample private parking (but we still advise you to go early in the summer because you might find confusion). 
  • Private car parksIn Taormina and its beaches there are also many very convenient private car parks, although generally more expensive than municipal ones. 

TIPSnever park in the historic centre, most parking spaces are reserved for residents and you may get a fine!

With this guide we hope to have given you all the useful information at what to see in Taormina in a day starting from Catania

If you are planning your trip to Sicily and still don't know where to stay in Catania, you can book one of our flats or one of our suites in Catania city centre now. We will be happy to find the most suitable solution for you and your family so that you can enjoy an unforgettable, stress-free holiday in Sicily.

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