Best tours of Taormina

Taormina is a city with a wide range of activities to do. In order not to miss any of them, I invite you to know several tours with different options to have fun.

Ana Caballero

Ana Caballero

10 min read

Best tours of Taormina

Ancient Theater of Taormina | ©Radek Kucharski

Taormina is an area in the region of Sicily that is home to natural landscapes, delicious food, places full of history and culture, boat trips and many more options for you to enjoy. Moreover, being on top of a cliff, the way to move around the city is quite simple, making it easy to connect with every activity.

Here is a list of the best tours of Taormina, covering various activities such as culinary classes, gastronomic tours, walks by the sea, visits to the historic center and its landmarks, etc.. All with the aim of making sure you don't miss any of the best things to do in Taormina.

1. Gastronomic classes to learn how to prepare the typical food of Taormina

Sicilian Cannoli| ©Eduardo Feo
Sicilian Cannoli| ©Eduardo Feo

One of my favorite options, and I hope it can be yours too, is to sign up for a tour with gastronomy classes, in order to learn how to prepare typical food of the region. These are the best cooking classes in Taormina. You can choose between a workshop focused only on desserts or opt for classes to prepare savory dishes.

Option 1: Private workshop for dessert lovers

One of the attractions of Taormina is its gastronomy, especially when it comes to desserts. For this reason, it is possible to find different pastry shops throughout the city. However, the chefs who make life in the area have decided to take the experience to another level.

Learn how to prepare the famous cannolis, a classic dessert of the region, which consists of a fried dough filled with cream and ricotta cheese. All this, with the guidance of a private chef, who will guide you through each of the steps of this delicious recipe. At the end, you will be able to taste everything prepared, accompanied by a cup of coffee or tea.

Option 2: Typical Sicilian Cooking Lessons

If you want to challenge yourself much more on a gastronomic level, choose this option which consists of a class to prepare a homemade lunch. The experience is quite immersive and usually starts with a meeting in Corso Umberto I with the chef to visit the Taormina market to buy the ingredients.

During the tour, you will learn how to choose the best products and how to handle them correctly. Afterwards, you will go to the restaurant and get down to work. You will prepare fresh pasta, the renowned Sicilian caponata and other local dishes such as zucchini flowers and fresh sardines. At the end, it's time to taste everything, accompanied by regional wines and liqueurs.

Details of interest

  • Price: if you opt for the dessert option, the average price is around €50, while if you choose the second option, the investment extends to approximately €85.
  • Duration: the first option can last for two hours, while the classes of the second option, including the visit to the market, can last about five hours.

Book cooking classes in Taormina

2. Tour of the historic center of Taormina and its most important places

Porta Catania| ©Fabrizio Pivari
Porta Catania| ©Fabrizio Pivari

Getting to know Taormina is easier than other cities, because many of its main attractions are located in the historic center. So if you plan to spend 1 day in Taormina, you can take this tour, which passes through the heart of the city and visits iconic places such as the Corvaja Palace or the Ancient Theater.

The start of this tour is usually scheduled from the southern part of the city, at Porta Catania, one of the fortresses of Taormina, built around 1440. Thus, the idea is to contemplate all the architectural samples that make this a medieval city.

Among other essential places chosen for this tour are:

  • Taormina Cathedral, the main catholic place of worship in the city.
  • Piazza IX Aprile, a historic square from where you can see the Gulf of Taormina in all its splendor.
  • Corvaja Palace, a fortress built in stone that represents the Arab influence in the region during the ninth century.
  • Ancient Theater, built in the third century BC, which has served as a space for artistic presentations of the Greeks and as a fighting arena for the Romans.

You will also see the Town Hall Building, the Church of Santa Caterina, the ancient Roman Naumachie Gymnasium, the Odeon, as well as the many pottery stores, markets, craft stalls, bars and cafes to experience the local cuisine and have a drink.

Details of interest

  • Price: the cost of this tour is usually around 10€, as it is not an open tour or at your own pace, but one designed for small groups. Of course, you can do the tour on your own, but if you do it with a guide you will save time and it will be easier to choose where to go.
  • Duration: 2 hours (Approx.)
  • Means of transportation: on foot.
  • Advantages of this option: you will get to know all the must-see places of Taormina while listening to its history.
  • Disadvantages of this option: it does not include entrance to any of the tourist destinations visited.

3. Boat trip along the coast of Taormina to the bay of Giardini Naxos

Boat trip from Taormina| ©s9-4pr
Boat trip from Taormina| ©s9-4pr

Taormina is a cliff town bathed by the Ionian Sea, an arm of the Mediterranean. Therefore, it is possible to perform various water activities in its surroundings. So I recommend this boat trip along the coast of Taormina to the bay of Giardini Naxos, which is always included among the best day trips from Taormina.

During this tour, which lasts about a couple of hours, you will be delighted by the breathtaking views of Taormina and Isola Bella from the sea and you will be accompanied by professional guides ready to help you with whatever you need.

As you progress along the coast, you will see:

  • The cave of love and the blue cave, two famous caves in the bay of Isola Bella.
  • The Hotel Capotaormina, a well-known hotel in town with a striking structure and architecture.
  • The Grotta di Sant'Andrea, near the fishing village Baia delle Sirene.
  • The Scoglio dell 'elefante, a huge rock 20 meters high whose shape is similar to that of an elephant.

Next, you will stop to enjoy the waters of the Mediterranean, so you can do various water activities such as swimming, snorkeling, taking pictures and contemplate a different perspective of the city from the boat in which you sail.

Details of interest

  • Price: the price of the activity is approximately 50€ per person.
  • Duration: 2 hours (Approx.).
  • Means of transport: boat.
  • Advantages of this option: you will discover natural scenery of great beauty along the coast of Taormina.
  • Disadvantages of this option: access for wheelchair users is limited.

Book the best day trip from Taormina

4. Photographic experience through the most picturesque places of Taormina

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

If you are a content creator, student or lover of photography or simply want to capture the best images of your trip to Taormina, this experience is the ideal choice for you. It is a tour of the most charming places in the city, accompanied by a professional, who will teach you the basics of taking pictures.

Generally, the tour starts somewhere in Corso Umberto, such as Porta Catania. From there you will start the process of visual creation, analyzing the space, the shots, the colors, the use of light and much more, to capture images with professional quality.

As you progress through the photo session, you will be able to contemplate and capture different places, such as:

  • Corso Umberto I, which is the main artery of the city and contains a vast amount of monuments, fortresses, statues, stores, restaurants and bars.
  • Palazzo Corvaja, an ancient stone building that still retains notable traces of Moorish influence in its structure.
  • Piazza IX Aprile, which functions as a kind of public terrace from where you can enjoy incredible panoramic views of the Gulf and the volcano Etna.
  • Villa Comunale historical garden, to capture images of various exotic flowers, typical plants of the region and staircases.

As a final result of this activity, you will receive the photographic work done in high resolution, to share them on your social networks or in any way you want, with your friends, family and acquaintances.

Details of interest

  • Price: the experience usually has an average cost of 399€ per person.
  • Duration: 2 hours (Approx.).
  • Means of transportation: on foot.
  • Advantages of this option: you will get professional quality images of several important places in Taormina.
  • Disadvantages of this option: the transfer for wheelchair users is limited.

5. Gastronomic and wine tour through the bars and restaurants of Taormina

Tiramisu in Taormina| ©Moveable Feasting
Tiramisu in Taormina| ©Moveable Feasting

Taormina, like all the small towns that make up the region of Sicily, has an important culinary tradition. Therefore, one of the must-do activities when visiting the city is to take a gastronomic and wine tour through some bars and restaurants. In them, you will taste classic Italian recipes with Mediterranean products and exclusive drinks.

Most likely, the starting point of this tour will be in Corso Umberto I, as it concentrates the largest number of places to eat and drink. In addition, as many of the places included in this tour are open in the evening, visitors often include it among the things to do in Taormina at night.

The tour usually includes a visit to the following places:

  • Franco Wine bar & Typical Sicilian Food, with delicious salads, lasagna and many more. Also, desserts such as tiramisu, parfait and, to drink, an extensive wine list.
  • Shaker Caffe', where you will taste the popular cannolis, Sicilian buns and enjoy a delicious craft beer.
  • Osteria Il Vicoletto, with an exceptional wine service, vegetarian food and the classic Italian dishes: pasta and pizza.
  • Amigos bar, an ideal place to enjoy drinks such as beer or a good cappuccino, accompanied by pastries or cannolis.
  • Ristorante Badia, a restaurant specialized in seafood, where you can taste pasta with seafood, tuna pizza and an incredible swordfish recipe.

Once this tour is over, you will be ready to return to the hotel and rest, or pick up your bags for your return flight using a transfer service to Taormina airport.

Details of interest

  • Price: generally, the value of this tour is from 79€ per person.
  • Duration: 3 hours (approx.).
  • Means of transport: on foot.
  • Advantages of this option: you will taste delicious dishes prepared with fresh ingredients produced in the region.
  • Disadvantages of this option: as it is a walking tour, wheelchair circulation may be limited.

Book a Taormina airport transfer service

6. Ride the Taormina funicular to admire the aerial views of the area and visit Isola Bella beach

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

As an alternative to get aerial views of Taormina, the bay and its surroundings, you can take a ride on the funicular of the city. This is one of the most used means of transportation in the area, as it connects the upper part with the lower part of the area.

The Taormina - Mazzaró cable car completes its journey in just 2 minutes and will connect you to Mazzaró, to give you access to the coast and walk along the beach at your own pace.

If you want to sunbathe, admire the sunset, swim or just sit and watch the waves, you can do so once you reach Mazzaro and walk for about 10 minutes to the beach of Isola Bella.

Also, if you want to explore a little of the town, there is no shortage of options. For example, you can take a quick tour of the Regional Naturalistic Museum of Isola Bella. You can also take advantage of your presence in the area to enjoy snacks, meals and traditional drinks in the surrounding restaurants and bars.

Details of interest

  • Price: the entrance ticket to access the funicular costs about €3 per person.
  • Duration: ride on the funicular 2 minutes and exploration in Mazzarò and Isola Bella beach 2 hours (approx.).
  • Means of transport: funicular.
  • Advantages of this option: you can have unique views of the city, the Ionian Sea and the bay in a fast ride.
  • Disadvantages of this option: meals and drinks are not included.

What will I see on this type of Taormina tours?

Getting to know Taormina| ©vic15
Getting to know Taormina| ©vic15

On this type of Taormina tours you will see a wide variety of things. Initially, the tours focus on showing the beauty of the landscape, which is composed of panoramic views of the city and nearby areas, such is the case of the Ionian Sea and Mount Etna.

Also, you will see a range of medieval buildings that were protagonists in the corresponding era. You will contemplate the influence of Arab culture in this region, which once belonged to the East.

As if that were not enough, you will see and taste a variety of Sicilian and Italian dishes, including classic pastas and pizzas, along with more authentic preparations made with local products, such as seafood and various types of fish.

Tips for a tour to Taormina

Comfortable shoes| ©Alexandra Tran
Comfortable shoes| ©Alexandra Tran

When making your trip to Taormina, there are a few things to take into consideration. For example, if you have traveled by car or rental car, it is best to leave it in a parking lot, as this is a cliff city with a large number of pedestrian streets.

Since the best option is to move on foot, it is recommended to wear closed shoes or, otherwise, be very careful when walking, as the streets are cobblestone and uneven and you could get hurt.

According to the season of the year in which you make the tour, you should select the right clothes to move in the city. For example, in summer you will need cotton, breathable and short clothes, since the weather is hot, dry and muggy. Winter, on the other hand, is windy and cloudy, so clothing should be sturdy and warm.