Perched on the chalky cliffs of Sicily’s east coast, Taormina has attracted fervent holidaymakers since the 19th Century, and its illustrious charms continues to attract the rich and famous. A celebrity hangout with a rich culture exacerbated by a superb ocean view, this chic resort town brims with high rollers, and provides amazing views of Mount Etna. Traces of its 4th Century beginnings are still evident, and visitors should take the opportunity to enjoy a performance in the unique setting of the Greek theatre during the summer months. With a handful of cultural sites to explore, you can blend culture with beach time, and squeeze in a bit of shopping in between times.
Location: A Sicilian jewel
Taormina’s enviable location on the Sicily coast overlooking the cobalt seas in the Gulf of Naxos is easily reached by road or rail. Wedged in between Messina and Catania, a regular rail service is available, and the town is also served by a route from Rome. The nearest international airport is Catania, the busiest on the island.
Culture: Remnants of ancient Rome and Greece
A walk through the picturesque streets of the medieval quarter is enough to make visitors swoon and fall in love at first sight with Taormina. Roman and Greek ruins may be difficult to tell apart, but still inspire the romanticists to imagine what it must have been like to live in such cultured company. Even the lively Old Town of Corso Umberto, lined with modern bars and boutiques, does not drown the historical charm, and offers one of the best ocean views from Piazza IX Aprile. To learn more about the ancient ruins, pop into the regional Archaeological Museum to see what they looked like in their full glory. The views on offer at the ruins of the Medieval Castle and Madonna della Rocca are worth the trip alone.
Activities: Relax in natural beauty
Although the centre of Taormina stands on the cliff top, the beaches and coves below present perfect spots to relax and cool down in the gentle luke-warm waters of the Mediterranean Sea. Don’t pass over the opportunity to visit the Isola Bella nature reserve, a stunning spot across a slither of land. Day tours to Etna are rife if you want to brave a climb to the summit, or alternatively take one of the hiking trails along the scenic Ferrovia Circumetnea railway.