Taormina in 1 Day: all you need to know

Although Taormina is a small city, it has many tourist attractions. If you plan to tour the city in one day, here are the must-see activities on your itinerary.

Ana Caballero

Ana Caballero

10 min read

Taormina in 1 Day: all you need to know

Taormina | ©Jesús Cabrera

Traveling along the Sicilian coast, specifically along the east side, you will find the town of Taormina. This town was built on a mountain that rises about 200 meters above sea level, in the area of Mount Taurus and close to Mount Etna, which houses a well-known volcano of the region that bears the same name.

If you want to visit Taormina, but you only have one day to do so, do not worry. The city concentrates most of its activities in its historic center, so you can easily visit religious precincts such as the Cathedral or historic sites such as the Greek Theater. Here is a one-day itinerary with all the things to do in Taormina that I consider essential.

1. Walk through the heart of Taormina: Corso Umberto I

Corso Umberto I| ©Adfoto
Corso Umberto I| ©Adfoto

Corso Umberto I is considered the busiest area of Taormina, because it is the central artery of the city. Here you will find a lively life, thanks to the fashion stores, ceramic sales, restaurants and bars that line the streets.

This pedestrian street crosses the entire city from Porta Messina in the northern area to Porta Catania in the southern area. In this way, it connects with the different alleys of Taormina. Moreover, along your walk along Corso Umberto you will be able to see and do several activities. Some of them are:

Visiting the city's fortifications

As you walk along Corso Umberto you cannot fail to stop and admire its system of fortifications composed of three gates:

  • Porta Messina, which represents the entrance or the beginning of the tour. It is the facade of an ancient fortress built by the Arabs to protect the city.
  • The Clock Tower or Porta di Mezzo, which is a building with a history dating back to 1808, located in the middle of the route between Porta Messina and Porta Catania.
  • Porta Catania, which represents the limit of the street on the south side and was built in about 1440.

Shopping for ceramics and other products

In and around Corso Umberto you will find several stores of local manufacturers, offering various items and souvenirs made of ceramics. This material is used to produce various objects with such peculiar designs and colors that they have gained international fame.

Taste the local gastronomy

Corso Umberto is made up of dozens of restaurants, pastry shops and bars, where you can try some local and Mediterranean preparations. Also, Sicilian desserts, delicious coffee, cocktails and a variety of wines. All this, at your own pace.

In addition, if you wish to have a closer experience with Italian gastronomy, in the restaurants of Corso Umberto you have the opportunity to participate in one of the best cooking classes in Taormina. You will learn how to prepare various sweet and savory dishes.

Book one of the best cooking classes in Taormina

2. Visit the Cathedral of Taormina and appreciate its medieval architecture

Taormina Cathedral| ©A S
Taormina Cathedral| ©A S

At the end of your walk along Corso Umberto you can head to the Cathedral of Taormina, which is located at a distance of approximately 180 meters, which you will walk in 3 minutes. This is a religious precinct dedicated to St. Nicholas of Bari, which accumulates historical value and, at the same time, boasts a modest but significant architectural composition.

During the walk you will have the opportunity to contemplate some architectural elements on the stone facade. For example:

  • The ogival-shaped windows, which date back to the Gothic art of the 15th century.
  • The 22 bas-reliefs corresponding to St. Peter, St. Paul, St. Nicholas, St. Pancratius, King David and other evangelists and apostles.
  • A Renaissance-style rose window on the main façade and two others on the sides.
  • The monumental door, which underwent a process of reconstruction of the original door.

Once inside the Cathedral of Taormina, you will notice the Latin cross structure, with the three naves and three apses. Note the front of the majestic altar, which has a sculpture representing the last supper of Christ. You will also see some paintings and sculptures from different periods (Byzantine, Renaissance and Baroque).

General information

  • Price: the entrance to this religious precinct is free of charge.
  • Hours: from 9:00 am to 8:00 pm.
  • Location: Piazza Duomo, 98039 Taormina.

3. Enjoy the view of the Gulf of Taormina from Piazza IX Aprile

IX Aprile Square| ©Terry Pridemore
IX Aprile Square| ©Terry Pridemore

If you walk for about 5 minutes or 290 meters from the Cathedral of Taormina, you will reach Piazza IX Aprile, a place of historical value that captures the attention of those who walk through the area. You can get a beautiful panoramic view of the Gulf of Taormina no matter what time of day you tour.

As you take in the view and take pictures, notice the black and white monochromatic checkered tiles. You can also learn about the history of the square, named after the date on which Garibaldi' s arrival in Marsala was announced in order to liberate the population from the Bourbons.

On the other sides of the square, you will see other emblematic landmarks of the city. Such is the case of the Clock Tower and several churches. However, the invitation is to venture out and try a snack or a drink in the surrounding terraces. Afterwards, you can continue to discover the city on your own or through the best tours of Taormina.

General information about Taormina

  • Price: admission is free.
  • Hours: any time of the day.
  • Location: 98039, Taormina.

Book one of the best tours of Taormina

4. Visit the historical chapel Chiesa Madonna della Rocca

Madonna della Rocca Church| ©Helgoland01
Madonna della Rocca Church| ©Helgoland01

At about 800 meters or 16 minutes on foot leaving from the previous square, you will reach the historic chapel Chiesa Madonna della Rocca, a peculiar religious space that venerates the Madonna della Rocca.

Arriving at the place, the first thing you will notice is its relief, as it is located at the top of the mountain, so the way to make the visit is uphill. Also noteworthy is the chapel's roof, which is simply the rock itself, since this Catholic enclosure was built by drilling the stone itself.

On the other hand, the chapel has a small courtyard that is located on the edge of the cliff, which allows it to offer panoramic views of the sea and the city. Thus, you will be able to make out the bay and well-known places of Taormina such as the Greek Theater.

Also, in this grotto you can get away from the noise of the city and have a moment of reflection and contemplation of the surroundings. In fact, you can incorporate this activity among the things to do in Taormina at night and, thus, enjoy the reinforced concrete cross, which is east of the cliff and that every day is illuminated after sunset.

General information about Taormina

  • Price: entrance is free of charge.
  • Hours: from 8:30 am to 7:00 pm.
  • Location: 98039 Taormina.

5. Visit Palazzo Corvaja and see the Arab influence of its structure

Palazzo Corvaja| ©János Korom
Palazzo Corvaja| ©János Korom

When you leave the chapel, you will have to walk about 20 minutes on foot or go 850 meters to reach Palazzo Corvaja. This is another place built in stone, very similar to a fortification. Here you can learn more about the history of Taormina, especially with regard to its Arab influence.

Once you enter the palace, you will see architectural samples of historical importance. Such is the case of:

  • The Arab arched windows and doors, arranged in the inner courtyard of the monument.
  • A 14th century tower, which although it has been rebuilt over the centuries to add secondary spaces, still retains the imprint of Moorish architecture.

Also, during your visit to this 9th century building, you will contemplate some exhibitions of painting and multimedia content, as the place currently serves as an art gallery and museum.

General Information

  • Price: admission is free.
  • Hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm and from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm.
  • Location: Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II, Taormina.

6. Make a stop at the Greek Theater of Taormina

Ancient Theater of Taormina| ©Radek Kucharski
Ancient Theater of Taormina| ©Radek Kucharski

Leaving the Corvaja palace behind, just walk for 6 minutes or about 450 meters, to reach the Greek Theater of Taormina. It is an ancient building (3rd century BC), used for different activities throughout history. Today, it is a main stage for artistic and cultural performances.

During the tour, you will see the orchestra area, a space where the instrumentalists were located in Greek times and which later became the fighting arena in Roman times. You will also see the stalls, which have a rock structure and once had a capacity for 5,000 people.

As you progress, you will see the stage, which retains only the columns of its original construction. When you reach the top of the hill where the theater is located, you can enjoy the panoramic view it offers.

You will glimpse several beaches of other nearby towns and the bay of Naxos, with the Etna volcano in the background, so take the opportunity to take the pictures you want.

General information about Naxos

  • Price: from 10 euros and free admission on the first Sunday of each month.
  • Hours: from 9:00 a.m. all year round. Closing time can vary from 16:00 to 19:00, depending on the month.
  • Location: Via del Teatro Greco, 1, 98039 Taormina.

7. Breathe fresh air and relax in the Villa Comunale Gardens

Villa Comunale| ©Rascacielos86
Villa Comunale| ©Rascacielos86

When you're done exploring the theater, travel 650 meters or walk for about 8 minutes to reach the public gardens of the Villa Comunale, also known as Trevelyan Park. This is an extensive structure of land, which was planned on the model of an English garden, with paths full of vegetation, fountains and statues.

Here, you can take a walk at your own pace and take the opportunity to take a break. You can stroll along the intertwining paths and observe the various bronze sculptures.

You will also admire manyexotic flowers**, Mediterranean plants** and water fountains, which further embellish this natural enclosure. In addition, towards the cliff edge, you will see the long road built to delimit the park and a great panoramic view of the bay and Mount Etna.

General information about the park

  • Price: entrance is free of charge.
  • Hours: from 9:00 am to 8:00 pm in winter and until midnight in summer.
  • Location: Via Bagnoli Croci, 98039 Taormina.

8. See the sea and the city from above on the Taormina - Mazzarò Cable Car

Taormina Funicular| ©Anthony Moor
Taormina Funicular| ©Anthony Moor

In case you want to delight yourself with a panoramic view of the sea and the city as the crow flies, then you can choose to take the ride on the Taormina - Mazzarò cable car. This is a means of transport that connects the historic center with Mazzaró.

Since the funicular is used as a means of public and tourist transport, you can get on one every 15 minutes, so you will not have to wait too long to go from one end to the other. In addition, you should know that the cable car ride is only 2 minutes, so you can follow the itinerary without major delays.

Upon arrival at Mazzaró, you can take a walk along the beach, enjoy the sunsetand sunbathe, in case you visit in the morning or at noon. Everything will depend on your preferences and priorities. You can also enjoy water activities and the local gastronomy.

General Information

  • Price: the entrance fee starts at 3€.
  • Hours: from 8:00 to 24:00 hours from Tuesday to Sunday and from 9:00 hours on Mondays. Hours may vary according to the weather season.
  • Location: Via Luigi Pirandello, 22, Taormina.

9. Take a trip to Isola Bella Beach and enjoy the Mediterranean coast

Isola Bella Beach| ©Freebird
Isola Bella Beach| ©Freebird

If you want to have direct contact with the sea, get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and soak up the sun, then you should add one of the excursions from Taormina to Isola Bella beach to your itinerary .

This is an easily accessible destination. Just hop on the funicular and walk about 600 meters from Mazzaro station. You can also reach it by car, in an 8-minute drive along the SS 114 Orientale Sicula.

In this getaway you can lie on the sand and dive into the waters of the Ionian Sea to swim and renew your energy. In addition, you will have the opportunity to do water activities such as paddle surfing. Just connect with a board rental service and an instructor, who will guide you on how to use them.

On this beach you can also taste the dishes of Taormina's gastronomy. For this, you will have a number of restaurants located in the surrounding area, or, if you have the opportunity, you can enter the regional naturalistic museum of Isola Bella and learn about various plant species.

General information about Taormina

  • Price: entrance to the beach is free.
  • Hours: You can go at any time of the day.
  • Location: Isola Bella, Taormina.

Book the best day trip from Taormina

How to get around Taormina in 1 day?

Taormina Bus| ©Andrew Reynolds
Taormina Bus| ©Andrew Reynolds

Taormina is really a small city that does not have large-scale public transportation systems. However, getting around its streets will not be complicated at all during your stay, because the attractions are quite close to each other.

Without a doubt, the best option is to get around Taormina on foot. However, you will find some public transportation options to move around inside the city.

Some of them are:

  • Bus: you will find some bus lines with specific routes, which will take you comfortably to the main beaches of the city.
  • Funicular: this means of transport will give you a panoramic ride and will allow you to access the town of Mazzaró and, therefore, Isola Bella Beach.

Means of transport to visit the area around Taormina

Rented car| ©Brock Wegner
Rented car| ©Brock Wegner

If you wish to take advantage of your stay in the medieval city to visit some of the more remote areas of the city, or to travel to Taormina Airport in comfort and safety, some public services are available: bus and train.

You only need to go to the bus station or the Interbus train terminal on Via Luigi Pirandello. This way, you could visit Taormina in one day and continue your journey to other nearby destinations.

Book a transfer service to Taormina Airport