What to See and Do in Taormina, Sicily

Teatro Greco, Taormina
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No visit to Sicily would be complete without taking the cable car up to the hill town of Taormina. It may be true that the town is buzzing with tourists, but there is good reason for this. There is lots to see and do in Taormina: a dazzling mixture of spectacular views, historic buildings, cannoli and ice cream. And it was voted one of “The 15 most charming small towns in Italy” by Conde Nast in 2019.

Teatro Greco, Taormina
The Teatro Greco is right at the top of the town

Greeks and Romans in Taormina

Like many towns in Sicily, Taormina was settled by the Greeks before the Romans arrived, and was briefly occupied by the Byzantines, Arabs, French and Spanish. It later became a favoured haunt of artists and intellectuals, including D H Lawrence who lived there for a while, and more recently it has been colonised by tourists. All of these visitors have left their mark upon the place.

But the first thing you notice is the views. From your vantage point on top of the hill you can see exactly why so many people have been attracted to the town. In one direction there is the coast, with its shimmering blue sea; on the other the vista stretches across the island to the snow capped peak of Mount Etna.

View of Mount Etna from Taormina
The peak of Mount Etna is clearly visible from Taormina

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The Teatro Greco of Taormina

Taormina is full of historic buildings, including several churches and the palazzi of the Piazza del Duomo.  

Church of San Giuseppe, Taormina
The church of San Giuseppe

But, for many visitors, the main attraction is the Teatro Greco, a massive open air theatre of Roman design (probably built on the site of an earlier Greek theatre). It stands on the highest point of the town, and the location was obviously chosen for its commanding views of the surrounding countryside. The theatre is still used today for film festivals and other performances.  

Amphitheatre, Taormina
Open air seating at the Teatro Greco

When you have had enough of sightseeing, take a walk down the Corso Umberto I, the main street of Taormina. Ideal for people watching, it is full of smart shops, restaurants and cafés. Spend some time browsing the shops for the ceramics that Sicily is famous for, or just sit in a café and end your visit with an ice cream or some cannoli (Sicilian pastry tubes filled with cream).

Taormina, Sicily
Watching the world go by from outside a cafe
Ice cream in Taormina
Don’t forget to try the ice cream!

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8 thoughts on “What to See and Do in Taormina, Sicily”

  1. thebrisdionblog.com

    Oh my, this looks so beautiful, I wish I had known about it when I visited Italy! And of course, the ice cream looks divine.. Not sure I was convinced by the canoli though!

  2. One day I will get further south in Italy than Rome! Sicily looks like a lovely spot – plus we have an old friend there, so no cost for accommodation. If only Europe would allow us more than 90 days we would travel ALL of it over a period of 2-3 years… As it stands the Schengen-region is a no-go-zone for us due to the stupid 90 days (and the fact that we overstayed last time).

  3. I know it's a problem if you are limited to how long you can stay, but do try to get to Italy again if you can. The south of the country is less visited than the cities of the north, but definitely worth the effort.

  4. This place looks amazing! My girlfriend and I are trying to plan our upcoming trip to Europe and this has almost convinced me to visit – could be cold in November though!

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About Karen

WorldWideWriter is owned and managed by Karen Warren. I have been writing and travelling for many years (almost 60 countries at the last count). I’ve visited every continent except Antarctica (I still hope to get there one day…), and my current favourite destinations are Italy, Spain and North America. This website is my attempt to inform and inspire other travellers, and to share some of the things I’ve discovered along the way.

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