High on Monte Tauro on the east coast of Sicily sits the resort town of Taormina. With sweeping views of the Ionian Sea, Mount Etna as its backdrop and an ancient Teatro Greco ‘Greek theatre’, this seaside location is the perfect escape for a taste of Sicilian dolce vita.
We packed a lot into our three nights in Taormina thanks to travel tips and recommendations from friends. I hope this list keeps you satiated.
STAY | HOTEL VILLA BELVEDERE
📍 via Bagnoli Croci, 79
Hotel Villa Belvedere has all the charms of a traditional Sicilian private villa with its terracotta floors and parlour rooms. Nestled on the cliffs overlooking the Bay of Naxos and Mount Etna and only a short walk to the town. We loved our three night stay here. Read my review here.
SEE | PIAZZA IX APRILE
📍 Corso Umberto
The main square of Taormina is Piazza 9 Aprile, the heartbeat of the town. Named after an important date, 9 April 1860, when mass in the Taormina cathedral was interrupted to announce that Garibaldi had landed at Marsala to begin his conquest of Sicily. Avoid the overpriced cafés that line the square, find a bench and enjoy some people watching whilst taking in the views.
SEE | TEATRO GRECO
The ancient Greek amphitheatre hosts almost all cultural events in Taormina. What a spot for a film festival?! HEAVEN.
The construction of the Teatro Greco dates back to the third century BC and is an awe-inspiring historical sight. Plus you'll love the stunning backdrop of the Calabrian coast, the Ionian coast of Sicily and Mount Etna.
SEE | VILLA COMUNALE
📍 Via Bagnoli Croce
Wander through the stunning public gardens to escape the hustle. Created by English aristocrat and conservationist Lady Florence Trevelyan in the late 19th century. Take a book and enjoy this lush paradise overlooking the sea.
SWEETS | GELATOMANIA
📍Corso Umberto, 7
Look, I’m no gelato expert but I’m about two years into my Chicho Gelato addiction. That weekly hit of the good stuff has certainly refined my palate. Of all the gelato I tried in Taormina, Gelatomania was by far the best. Nearby town Bronte grows the best pistachios in the world, so make sure you get a scoop!
SWEETS | PASTICCERIA MINOTAURO
📍 via di Giovanni 15
A local pointed out this little pastry shop. The glossy fruits will dazzle you if you’re a marzipan fiend. Otherwise go for the stuffed cannoli and keep going back until you are dead certain you’ve found your fave flavour.
SWEETS | BAM BAR
📍 via Giovanni di Giovanni, 45
An absolute must. This bright and lively granita bar is a favourite with locals and tourists. Endless granita flavours with in-season heroes. Order the Granita con Brioche… eat like the Sicilians by tearing off the brioche and dipping it past the cream into the granita below to get the full experience. YUM!
EATS | TISCHI TOSCHI
📍 via Francesco Paladini, 3
Cutest name, best little spot! My friend Alicia raved about this hidden gem. Tucked away from the main tourist drag, Tischi Toschi is a family-run trattoria with a focus on slow food. The limited menu changes with the seasons and you’ll find an interesting take on regional specialities. Dive into the wine list and let them steer you towards the local Sicilian winemakers. You have to order the baked goat cheese. Out of this world… salty, stringy, hot and loaded with garlic and herbs.
EATS | TIRAMISÚ TRATTORIA
📍via Cappucini, 1
Another gem from my friend with the good tastebuds. Tiramisu is located nearby Porta Catania and has an intimate and cosy vibe.
Staff were hilarious… this guy thinks he is a dead ringer for Vin Diesel. Go for the jokes, Risotto alla Marinara and Linguine Polpa di Ricci (sea urchin) and stay for its namesake, the tiramisu.
EATS | PIZZERIA VILLA ZUCCARO
📍 5 Piazza Carmine
This open-air pizzeria was absolutely heaving. Love the bustling vibe and watching pizza pans fly by. Beautiful big pies cooked the Neapolitan way. I have a soft spot (yep that jiggly bit around my waist) for cheese, so the quattro formaggi was my pick. Loved the prosciutto and pistachio number too. Wash it down with an Aperol Spritz. Mangia mangia!
WINE | AL GRAPPOLO D'UVA
📍 via Bagnoli Croci, 6
You'll find charming enotecas dotted through the town. We stopped in for prosecco at Al Grappolo D'Uva before dinner. Highly recommend having an early dinner and then settling in for the evening, letting the staff talk you through the local and natural wines.