Taormina

Photo © meli04

Travel Guide Europe Italy Sicily Taormina

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Introduction

Amphitheatre, Taormina

Amphitheatre, Taormina

© All Rights Reserved davidx

Taormina, along with Agrigento, Siracusa and Monreale is considered one of Sicily's greatest gems. Rightly so for it presents unsurpassed views of exotic flowers, a splendid ancient amphitheatre, a picturesque coast and mountains including the Etna volcano all at the same time. Not surprisingly it is not one of the cheaper places to stay; indeed you may prefer to stay at Naxos down below on the coast and visit Taormina from there, using the funicular.

The main town of Taormina, which is what you've come to see, straggles along a hillside, 2 km up a hairpin road from the coast. The main access road is Via Luigi Pirandello (SP10), which leads to the bus station and Porta Messina at the east end of town. The pedestrianised high street Corso Umberto I stretches from here to Porta Messina at the west end. Bypass roads above and below carry the town traffic, while unseen and unheard deep beneath, the Messina-Catania Autostrada burrows through the mountain.

Above the main town, Via Leonardo da Vinci (SP10) continues to zigzag upwards, to Sanctuario Madonna della Rocca and the castle. And on it climbs, to end at the hilltop village of Castelmola. This is actually a separate township but it's such a tiny place, reached only by this road, that its facilities (such as they are) are described on this page.

The name "Taormina" is also loosely applied to the strip along the coast road SS114 below, notably to the railway station Taormina-Giardini-Naxos. Taormina town limits include the beach area of Mazzaro at the foot of the cable-car, and the tip of the peninsula where Via Pirandello starts its climb. Most package tourists stay down there, or in nearby resorts such as Giardini Naxos and Letojanni. Hoteliers down on the coast invoke the T-word to boost their prices, but for practical purposes - and considering the feel and identity of the place - they're altogether somewhere else. Stay in Taormina itself if you can.

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Sights and Activities

  • Greek amphitheatre, most of whose features are actually of Roman design
  • Castle
  • Palazzo Santo Stefano
  • The Duomo (Cathedral), 13th century
  • Palazzo Corvaja
  • Baroque fountain
  • Church of San Domenico

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Getting There

By Plane

Catania-Fontanarossa International Airport near Catania is the closest airport. See the Catania article for details about airlines and destinations.

By Train

There are trains roughly hourly from Messina to the north and Catania to the south, both taking just under an hour. The problem is that the railway station Taormina-Giardini 2 is down on the seafront, a steep 2 km below the main town along a hair-pinning, busy road. You'd have to transfer to the ASM bus or Interbus: the station is equally far from the cable-car.

By Car

The exit from the Autostrada is just north of town. Follow road signs onto V Garipoli, which climbs to the long-stay parking lot of Parcheggio Lumbi, a five-minute uphill walk to the east gate of Porta Messina. Ascending V Pirandello from the coast road comes to the same place. There is a free shuttle bus (as of June 2018) from the car park into town. Parking costs €2 for 1.5 hours.

Or, from the Giardini area further south on the coast road, you can ascend V Crocefisso, leading to the other long-stay lot Parcheggio Porta Catania just below the west gate of Porta Catania.

If your accommodation is outside the pedestrianised area, you may drive on to reach it, by the anti-clockwise one-way system. (Miss your turn-off and you'll have to make another 3 km circuit.) If it's within, ring ahead for advice: it may be okay for you to come to the hotel and drop off, otherwise park in the closest long-stay and schlep. Parking tariffs are about 50 cents per hour up to 48 hours, thereafter 6 euros a day.

By Bus

Bus is the best public transport option, as this will bring you up the hill to the town centre bus station, Via Luigi Pirandello. The Interbus from the airport runs via central Catania (80 mins; fares approx €5 single, €8 return). Four buses a day run direct to Taormina from Messina (just under 2 hours, fares €4.30 single, €6.80 return).

By Boat

Cruise ships occasionally moor offshore or at nearby ports, and bus their customers up to Taormina. But these are tour itineraries, and not available to book for point-to-point travel.

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Getting Around

By Public Transport

ASM runs four local bus lines:

  • Linea verde (the "Green Line") runs between Madonna della Rocca next to the castle at the top of town; down through the centre, main bus station, and Lumbi car park; on down to the foot of the cable-car at Mazzaro; then south along the coast past the railway station, then a final turn uphill to St Vincent's Hospital. There are 8 services on Sundays but only four the rest of the week.
  • Trappitello runs from central Taormina past Lumbi car park to the coast road and railway station, then south to the village of Trappitello. Five times a day Mon-Fri.
  • Circolare rossa (the "Red Circle") loops round town centre and Lumbi car park. Roughly hourly Sunday, no mid-morning or afternoon buses midweek.
  • Beachbus runs from central Taormina down to the coast, then north to Mazzeo, a short walk from Letojanni. Seven per day.

The cable car runs every 15 mins between Taormina town centre and Mazarro down on the beach. (It was closed over winter 2017/18, but re-opened in March.) €3 single.

By Foot

Most of the centre of Taormina is pedestrianised, making it easy to wander around by foot.

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Sleep

View our map of accommodation in Taormina or use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)

Booking.com

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Keep Connected

Internet

Almost all towns and cities in Italy have internet cafes. A growing number of budget hostels and nicer hotels have free Wifi. By law all public-access internet points must keep records of web sites viewed by customers, and even the customer's ID: expect to be refused access if you don't provide identification. Hotels providing Internet access are not required to record IDs if the connection is provided in the guest's room, although if the connection is offered in the main public hall then IDs are required. Publicly available wireless access without user identification is illegal, so open Wi-Fi hotspots (like the ones you might expect to find in a mall or cafée) all have some form of (generally one-time) registration.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

The main networks are TIM (Telecom Italia Mobile, part of Telecom Italia, formerly state controlled), Vodafone, Wind, and 3 (only UMTS cellphones). Best advice is to buy a prepaid SIM card (from € 10 upwards) and a cheap mobile phone (€ 19 upwards) to put it in (if you don't have a cellphone already that you can use). It will be much more practical. All land line numbers start with 0. Mobile numbers start with 3. Numbers starting with 89 are high-fee services. In case of emergency call the appropriate number from the list below. Such calls are usually free and calls to 112, 113 (police), 115 (fire), 118 (health) can be made from payphones for free without the need of inserting coins. 112 (standard emergency number in GSM specification) can be dialed in any case for free from any mobile phone.

Post

Post Italiane is the national postal services of Italy and has quite an efficient network of postal offices and reliable postal services. Standard letters and postcards (up to 20 grams) cost €0.39 to send within Europe and the Mediterranean countries outside Europe and €0.41 to all other destinations throughout the country. Up to 50 grams, prices start at €0.52 for Europe, €0.62 for other areas. Packages start at €1.55 within Europe, and around €2.50 for other countries. Post office business hours in Italy are from 8:30am to 2:00pm from Monday to Friday, with closing times at Saturday and the last day of the month at 12 noon. In general, larger post offices in bigger cities and in tourist areas keep longer hours than those in local towns. Also note that business hours in the south might be different than the north, with longer hours at night, especially in summer! If you want to send packages you might try faster and more reliable/efficient private courier companies like TNT, UPS or DHL.

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Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: 37.8530665
  • Longitude: 15.2879163

Accommodation in Taormina

We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Taormina searchable right here on Travellerspoint. You can use our map to quickly compare budget, mid-range or top of the range accommodation in Taormina and areas nearby.

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This is version 16. Last edited at 14:47 on Nov 9, 18 by Utrecht. 6 articles link to this page.

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