Taormina is a medieval town where you will find fascinating historical monuments and stunning natural areas. Moreover, due to its privileged location on the east coast of Sicily, during your stay you can plan an excursion to one of the nearby towns and incorporate it into your itinerary of the best things to do in Taormina.
There are several excursions from Taormina, but it all depends on your tastes and needs. For example, you can travel to Catania for a gastronomic experience or tour Savoca and Forza D'Agrò in search of some of the locations of the movie Il Padrino. You also have the option to travel to Mount Etna or the Aeolian archipelago, among other destinations, which I will tell you about in a moment.
1. Discover Mount Etna from Taormina: walk through the lava caves, lunch and wine tasting
During your stay you can't miss the opportunity to visit Mount Etna. Join one of the best day trips from Taormina to this historic active volcano and discover its amazing natural scenery, gastronomy and wine culture.
Forest and lava caves
Once you are on Mount Etna, you will follow the professional guide for a hike in the small mountains surrounding the volcano. You will also explore some of the region's craters and lava fields. All of them, produced by ancient eruptions.
Next, you will walk through the ancient pine forests of Mount Etna and take the experience to the maximum by exploring the natural lava caves underground. In this way, you will get an amazing scenic contrast. All this, while the guide tells you the history of the place.
Lunch and wine tasting
Before continuing with the excursion, you will stop at one of the restaurants in the region to taste a traditional Sicilian lunch (appetizer, pasta and a delicious dessert). In addition, you will taste some local wines and learn about Etna's wine culture.
The tour of Mount Etna from Taormina continues with a visit to the Alcantara Gorge. This is an area naturally excavated by lava flow from past eruptions, which lies below the cliffs and will give you breathtaking views.
Details of interest
- Price: the average price of this activity is 98€ per person.
- Duration: the activity usually lasts 10 hours (Approx.)
- Means of transportation: minibus or van.
- Advantages of this option: the excursion includes a professional guide and all the safety equipment (helmet, walking stick, gloves) necessary for the hiking route.
- Disadvantages of this option: this activity is not suitable for pregnant women or people with limited mobility.
2. Visit Catania from Taormina and discover its gastronomic culture
If you are enthusiastic about food and you have already taken some of the best cooking classes in Taormina then you should explore other options. To do so, you can take a trip to the ancient port of Catania, approximately 54 minutes away by car, and discover new flavors and aromas.
Upon arrival in Catania you will start a walking tour through its streets, where you will find several gastronomic options. Some of them are:
- Il Gambero Pazzo, a restaurant specialized in fish and seafood.
- A Putia Do Calabrisi, with Italian, Sicilian and Mediterranean food.
- Trattoria U Fucularu, where the main dish is usually pasta (linguine ai frutti di mare, pasta alla Norma, etc).
- Pasticceria Ficarra Luigi, with marzipan, tiramisu, cannolis, homemade cookies, marzipan fruit, brioche (sweet bread), sheep's milk ricotta, among others.
Also, you should visit the picturesque La Pescheria fish market with the best street food in Catania. You will find dozens of stalls with fresh fish and seafood ready to taste. You will have the opportunity to try grilled and dehydrated vegetables such as eggplants, artichokes, zucchini, among others.
- Price: the average price of the excursion starts at 60€ per person.
- Duration: the activity usually lasts approximately 6 hours.
- Means of transportation: private car or vans.
- Advantages of this option: you will be able to discover the gastronomic culture of an important Sicilian town just a few minutes from Taormina.
- Disadvantages of this option: this activity usually incorporates a limited number of tastings.
3. See the iconic locations of the movie Il Padrino in Savoca and Forza D'Agrò from Taormina
From Taormina you can visit the town of Savoca and Forza D'Agrò, where you will not only find amazing natural landscapes. You can also visit the places chosen by the filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola in 1971 for the filming of Il Padrino.
You will depart from Taormina in a 39-minute drive with a local guide. You will arrive in Savoca, where you will make your first stop. You will stroll through the historic center of this town in search of:
- Palazzo Trimarchi, in piazza Fossiaque. This was the setting that gave life to the famous Bar Vitelli in the movie.
- The Church of San Nicolò, the site of Michael Corleone's wedding.
Next, you will travel 28 minutes by car to Forza D'Aro. This is another small Sicilian town with approximately 889 inhabitants, beautiful natural landscapes, Mediterranean view and historical monuments. There, you will visit the Chiesa SS. Annunziata, which is the baroque church where the fictional character Don Vito Corleone was born.
After exploring Forza D'Aro, you will return to the car to start the route back to the city. You can then continue with the best Taormina tours scheduled in your itinerary.
Details of interest
- Price: this experience usually costs 94€ per person.
- Duration: 5 hours (approx.)
- Means of transport: private car.
- Advantages of this option: you will see some of the main sets used for the movie Il Padrino.
- Disadvantages of this option: the activity does not include lunch or drinks, so you will have to assume these expenses on your own.
4. Be part of a sea and land excursion from Taormina to the Aeolian archipelago
During your stay in Taormina, take part in an excursion to the Aeolian archipelago, where the island of Panarea and Stromboli are located. You will discover beautiful natural landscapes, walk on black sand, dive into the water and, if you are lucky, watch a small eruption.
For this activity, you will travel about an hour by coach with a local guide to the port of Milazzo. There, you will board a motorboat that will take you to Panarea Island, where you will have free time to explore: try the island's gastronomy in a restaurant, buy souvenirs in the local stores, swim and gaze at the sea.
You will then board the motorboat to proceed to the volcanic island of Stromboli. You can walk through the streets of the village and walk along the beach, which stands out for its black sand and lava. In addition, you will take a ride on the boat while you eat some snacks and watch the sunset.
This one-day adventure usually ends at the door of your hotel. This way, you can get some rest before continuing with other activities in the city or, alternatively, take the transfer service to Taormina airport to return home.
Details of interest
- Price: the average price of the excursion is 75€ per person.
- Duration: the activity usually lasts 1 day (including transfer time to and from the airport).
- Means of transport: coach and motorboat.
- Advantages of this option: you will live an experience by land and sea on two important islands of the Aeolian archipelago from Taormina.
- Disadvantages of this option: you may not witness a small eruption of the Stromboli volcano, as this event occurs unexpectedly.
5. Explore the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento from Taormina and see some of Sicily's historical sites
The Valley of the Temples is another must-see destination if you are enthusiastic about archaeology. Therefore, you should dedicate 1 day of your stay in Taormina to make an excursion to this historic site, located on the outskirts of the town of Agrigento.
You should go to the bus terminal of Taormina, Via Pirandello, as it is from where this activity usually starts. There, you will connect with the assigned driver-guide, board a bus and embark on a route of approximately three hours.
You will arrive at the Archaeological Park of the Valley of the Temples and, together with a local guide, you will start touring the temples erected in this region. Such is the case of the Temple of Olympian Zeus, the Temple of Concord, the Temple of Hephaestus, the Temple of Herakles, the Temple of Demeter, among others.
You will then continue the excursion to Piazza Armerina, for which you will travel 1 hour and 30 minutes. There, you will find the Roman villa of Casale, whose history dates back to the fourth century A.D. You can see a series of mosaics with mythological scenes, Homeric, hunting, among other themes. All of them, made by North African craftsmen.
- Price: the excursion has an average cost of 60€ per person.
- Duration: the time established for this activity corresponds to 12 hours (Approx.).
- Means of transport: bus.
- Advantages of this option: you will get to know some of the archaeological treasures of ancient Greece.
- Disadvantages of this option: usually this type of excursions do not include any type of food or drink, being necessary to make these expenses on your own.
6. Join a guided excursion to Monti Peloritani and Montalbano Elicona from Taormina
A trip to Monti Peloritani and Montalbano Elicona from Taormina, will allow you to enjoy suggestive natural landscapes. Join a guided tour of these villages in the province of Messina in the region of Sicily and discover their history. You will return to the city after sunset, to continue your itinerary of things to do in Taormina by night.
You will travel by bus in the direction of northeastern Sicily from Taormina city center, taking about an hour's drive to the first stop at Monti Peloritani. There, accompanied by your guide, you will walk along the 1400 meters high mountain range and see the beautiful landscape of the place.
You will be able to contemplate unique panoramic views of the Ionian Sea and the Mediterranean Sea, as well as the Peloritani forest, the town of Calabria, Messina, Etna and the Aeolian Islands.
To continue with the activity, you will have to get on the bus to Montalbano Elicona (less than 3 hours).
In this small medieval village you will find some interesting tourist destinations:
- Basilica Minore di Santa Maria Assunta and San Nicolò Vescovo, considered the main Catholic place of worship in the town.
- Castello Di Montalbano Elicona, a monument that preserves an important part of the town's history.
- Medieval Museum, where you will contemplate a series of costumes (replicas) used during the Middle Ages.
Details of interest
- Price: the excursion has an approximate cost of 65€ per person.
- Duration: 10 hours (Approx.)
- Means of transport: bus or minivan.
- Advantages of this option: you will explore two towns in the province of Messina in the region of Sicily and enjoy beautiful landscapes and historical monuments.
- Disadvantages of this option: meals and drinks are not usually included in this activity.
7. Spend a full day touring the city of Syracuse and Noto from Taormina
Among the must-see destinations to visit from Taormina is the city of Syracuse, noted for its characteristic Greek ruins. Also, a few minutes away is the town of Noto Antica, recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
Sicilian city of Syracuse
You will travel from Taormina by car to the Sicilian city of Syracuse, traveling a route of about 1 hour and 30 minutes. There, together with the driver-guide that accompanies you, you can visit the ancient Greek ruins of the city.
Among the ruins that you will contemplate are:
- Neapolis, this is an archaeological park that preserves important sites (The Ear of Dionysus, The Tomb of Archimedes, among others).
- The Greco Theater, a monumental Greco-Roman amphitheater located in the Archaeological Park of Neapolis and whose history dates back to the 5th century BC.
City of Noto Antica
After finishing the tour in Syracuse, the excursion continues to the city of Noto Antica (approximately 50 minutes by car). This city is basically an open-air archaeological museum, which will allow you to go back in time, as it preserves a series of ruins more than 300 years old.
Details of interest
- Price: the cost of the excursion starts at 95€ per person.
- Duration: the activity generally lasts 10 hours.
- Means of transport: private car or bus (according to the number of people participating in the excursion).
- Advantages of this option: you will visit a large number of archaeological ruins of great historical importance.
- Disadvantages of this option: the activity is usually not suitable for people with limited mobility, in wheelchairs or strollers.
Duration of excursions from Taormina
Excursions from Taormina usually last from half a day (about 6 hours) to a full day (about 12 hours). Everything will depend on the distance between the city and the place selected for the activity.
In addition, you should take into consideration that some destinations offer excursions with different activities, which conditions the duration time.
Such is the case of Mount Etna, where you can embark on a 6-hour bike tour or enjoy a 10-hour experience that includes lunch, wine tasting, a walk through the woods, lava caves and the Alcantara Gorge.
What are the towns I should not miss on an excursion from Taormina?
From the medieval town of Taormina it is possible to visit a number of Sicilian villages of great scenic beauty and historical importance. Some of them are:
- Mount Etna: a natural park where the active volcano Etna is located.
- Catania: this is a picturesque port located at the foot of Mount Etna.
- Siracuso and Noto: which stand out for the ancient ruins they house.
- The Aeolian archipelago: where the island Panarea is located, a small archipelago with aquatic activities. Also, the island of Stromboli, noted for its black sand beach and active volcano.