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Pocket Guide: Taormina

Chic, beautiful Taormina is in an unbeatable setting high on Monte Tauro, overlooking the Ionian Sea. Greek and Roman ruins mingle with Medieval and Renaissance architecture in narrow, flower-filled streets, and everywhere you look are breathtaking views of the sea. It’s easy to see why it’s Sicily’s best-known resort.

What to See in Taormina

Start in Corso Umberto, Taormina’s pedestrianised main thoroughfare, filled with boutiques and palaces dating from the 15th-century. You can’t get better people-watching than from the street’s café tables. If you’re not distracted by all the little lanes leading off the Corso, carry on towards the Piazza del Duomo and the ornate 13th-century cathedral. Along the way, take in the sweeping views of Mount Etna and the sea from the large piazza in front of San Giuseppe church.

Taormina’s biggest draw is the Teatro Greco, a third-century BC Greek theatre with the most extraordinary view of the sea and Mount Etna. It’s hard to find a more dramatic setting for the outdoor performances and festivals that are regularly staged there.

Where to Stay in Taormina

There’s an excellent choice of hotels in Taormina, ranging from historic palaces with swimming pools to cosy B&Bs in the Medieval centre. As the streets wind and twist down towards the sea, hotels along the way offer some wonderful views of the sea from their terraces. A few places to stay cluster along Taormina’s beaches, too. There’s also a wide selection of hotels in the nearby beach resort of Giardini Naxos to the south of Taormina.

Taormina’s Beaches

Ride the little cable car – the funivia – to Taormina’s beaches at Mazzarò. Isola Bella is the bigger of the two beaches tucked in bays surrounding a small peninsula. Baia di Mazzarò is more intimate, and both beaches have plenty of cafés and places to rent sun loungers, umbrellas and pedalos.

Buses from Taormina can take you to neighbouring beaches along the coast, including the string of spots to the north, including Spisone, Mazzeo and Letojanni. The longest in the area is Giardini Naxos, one of the biggest beach resorts in Sicily.