The chic Mediterranean town of Taormina, on Sicily’s northeast coast, is located high in the mountains—which means rewarding hikes and beautiful views. For visitors arriving in the city’s port who want to stay closer to town, Taormina’s medieval center is thick with unique shops, historical monuments, and sidewalk cafés.
Because of the dense traffic and rather unrestrained drivers, it’s best to explore the pretty center of Taormina as part of a walking tour, or take a private tour on a Segway with a local tour guide. Explore the main sights in the historic Borgo Medievale—including the Piazza del Duomo, with its pretty baroque fountain, and the former monastery of San Domenico—and stroll through the Villa Comunale, Taormina’s beautiful park. Spend some free time nursing a cappuccino on Corso Umberto, the pedestrian thoroughfare that winds through the town’s main shopping district. Don't miss the city’s beautiful Teatro Greco, the outdoor theater built by the Romans in the third century BC and one of the most famous ancient theaters in Italy—a highlight of any Taormina tour.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Outdoor enthusiasts shouldn’t miss climbing Mount Etna, one of Europe’s biggest active volcanoes. Consider joining a half-day Mt. Etna shore excursion with transportation and an Etna tour up to the crater with a local guide.
- To explore the coastline near Taormina, head to Isola Bella near Lido Mazzaro beach. Connected to the mainland by a narrow strip of sand often covered with water at high tide, this picturesque rocky outcrop can be reached by land or sea.
- For some of the best views over the coastline and sea, head up to the hilltop village of Castelmola above Taormina.
- Taormina is located along Sicily’s eastern coast halfway between Messina and Catania, and well connected to both by train. The train station is located along the coastline below the city center.
How to Get to Taormina from the Taormina Cruise Port
Most ships offer shuttles to Taormina from Giardini Naxos. The trip takes about 20 minutes and requires guests switch to a minivan to navigate the narrower streets. Taxis are also available for hire and tend to be a faster—if more expensive—option.
Cruise ships anchor in Giardini Bay in Giardini Naxos, about 20 minutes from Taormina, and passengers travel to the dock on tenders. Italian is the main language here, but it’s easy enough to find English speakers at major tourist attractions. Taormina’s primary currency is the euro, and there are a number of ATMs and exchange bureaus near the port.