One Day in Taormina Itinerary – The Best Things to Do

If you have only one day in Taormina, don’t worry, I’ve got you covered! I personally did Taormina in one day and it was enough to do all the best things Taormina has to offer. I even managed to go to Savoca where Godfather was filmed, so at the end of this blog I will share alternative options for your one day in Taormina, so you can plan your itinerary how it suits you best.

One Day in Taormina Itinerary - The Best Things to Do

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Short on time? Here are my absolute must-haves for your one day in Taormina 👇

🚘 Rent a car: easiest way to explore not only Taormina, but the whole of Sicily

🏩 Grand Hotel San Pietro: affordable luxury stay in Taormina

🍝 Il Baccanale: the best restaurant in Taormina

🏛️ Teatro Antico di Taormina: buy tickets online to skip the line

🎬 Best Godfather guided tour with lunch: don’t skip this if you’re a movie fan

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How to get to Taormina

Unfortunately there are no direct flights to Taormina, so the closest city to get to is Catania. Catania Airport is only about 66 km (41 miles) from Taormina, which is approximately a 50 min drive. With that, to get to Taormina you will either need to rent a car, take a train or bus or hire a private and/or shared transfer.

By car

My personal advice is to rent a car and drive yourself. I did a 10 days road trip through Sicily and it was the best thing ever! The roads are pretty good in Sicily, they are wide and the traffic is not that bad. Also, it’s very easy to find a parking space and usually doesn’t cost much.

By bus

You can easily get to Taormina with Interbus. The drive will take you around 85 minutes, the bus goes every often (sometimes even every 15 minutes) and it is one of the cheapest options.

By train

Pretty much the same price as the bus is the Trenitalia. The train goes every 30 minutes to an hour and the ride takes about an hour, so it’s slightly faster than the bus.

By private and/or shared transfer

If you’re travelling with a larger group of people or simply want to have more comfort and reach Taormina as fast as you can without renting a car and driving yourself, then private transfer is the best option for you. It is also the most expensive one, but if you’re travelling with someone else, then you can just split the costs.

Cheaper and alternative option is to hire a shared transfer, but then expect to be with other people and also you may have to wait until they’re dropped off first before the driver leaves you at your hotel (or you can be the first one, I guess you can never really know that 🙃).

Taormina, Greek Theatre, Sicily

How to get around Taormina

Taormina is a pretty walkable town and there’s no need to use any public transportation while being there. Of course, this will largely depend on the location of your hotel or apartment, but I suggest not being further away from the city centre than the 30 min by foot. If you’re further away and especially down the hill, because Taormina is 204 metres (669 feet) above the sea level, you will need to either take a cab or drive there (if you rented a car ofc.).

Where to stay in Taormina

As mentioned, it is easiest if you rent a hotel in the centre of Taormina, especially if you’re not having your own car there.

These are my top suggestions, from luxury hotels to affordable ones:

It is perfect for those looking for a combination of luxury and history because The Garden Wing dates back from the 15th century, whereas The Grand Hotel Wing was added in the 19th century.

Another one for all the history buffs, not this hotel was built in the 19th century in the Moorish-style, but is also next to the Ancient Greek Theatre of Taormina. It’s actually bordered by the remnants of a Greco-Roman wall! 🤩

When to visit Taormina

Even though you can visit Taormina all year round, I personally think the summer time is the best time to visit! Why? Well, it’s just the ultimate summer destination! 😍

The Ionian Sea is just there and therefore there are many beautiful beaches in Taormina, including the Isolla Bella, which is the most famous and what many consider the best beach in Taormina. And trust me, when you see the colour of that sea and million sparkles, you’d want to dip in. Average temperature in summer is 32 celsius (90 F), but it can go as high as 48 celsius (119 F)!, and as low as 19 C (66) F, which are ofc. extremes that happen on rare occasions.

Most people prefer the months of April to June and September to October because the temperatures are higher (June and September are practically having the summer temperatures), but it is still not that busy.

During the winter months you can expect temperatures to drop below 10 degrees celsius (50 F) which is pretty cold (it’s London cold..). Also, I read from so many people how many restaurants don’t even work during the winter months nor some hotels/apartments. Yes, there are fewer crowds then, but if you ask me, you want the sun, hustle & bustle of warmer months.

Ionian Sea, Taormina, Sicily

Just look at this water 😍

Is one day in Taormina enough

I know we are all limited with time and budget and sometimes we can’t spend days, weeks or months at the location. While 2 days in Taormina would be ideal, you can do A LOT with only one day in Taormina! Trust me, been there, done that!

Taormina has a population of only 10,000 people, so it’s actually a pretty small town! Most sights are one next to the other, so if planned properly, you can cover all the best places in Taormina, and you can even squeeze in one half-day trip if you’d like to!

So, yes, one day in Taormina is enough for your first time visit. And then, you can always come back if you fall in love with it. 🥰

One day in Taormina itinerary

Taormina is a small Mediterranean town in eastern Sicily where tourists keep coming since the 19th century making it a very popular tourist destination! And there’s a reason for it – it’s simply so beautiful and has a lot of historical and cultural heritage that draws tourists into visiting it.

Let’s see what you can do with your one day in Taormina! 😉

BamBar

Start your day with breakfast at the most famous breakfast place in the whole of Taormina, BamBar. It’s particularly popular for its granita, just bear in mind that because of its popularity it can be quite busy there and you might queue before you get your table!

BamBar Taormina

Corso Umberto

Corso Umberto is the most popular and main street of Taormina. The street follows the route of the ancient Consolare Valeria, the main thoroughfare in the original Greco-Roman settlements. I also call it the heart of Taormina because it’s its liveliest street.

Here you will find many different shops selling everything you can imagine: from souvenirs to Dior luxury bags! There will be street musicians, tourists and locals alike. Don’t forget to look up – there are so many beautiful houses with cute balconies. Every corner is so photogenic here.

P. S. Try to find the tiniest street intersecting with Corso Umberto and see if you can fit in!

Piazza IX Aprile

As you walk down Corso Umberto street, at the very end of it, you will reach Piazza IX Aprile, the most beautiful and famous square of Taormina.

It’s called Piazza IX Aprile because apparently on that day the masses got to the square to announce that Garibaldi landed in Marsala to begin his conquest of Sicily which will end with the unification with the rest of Italy. Today we know that Garibaldi actually came to Sicily one month later, but the locals wanted to keep that name because it was when they received the news.

Surely, the name behind the square has an interesting history, but the best thing about it are the views. Because Taormina is on the hill (as you remember), Piazza IX Aprile is at the very edge of it, so stunning views are guaranteed! On one side you will have great views of Mount Etna, and on the other one gorgeous views of the sea! 😍

Taormina, Sicily, Piazza IX Aprile

You will find the little church there, Chiesa di San Giuseppe. It’s very pretty and free to visit, so make sure to make a quick stop there. There are great views from there too.

Piazza del Duomo

If this is not your first time in Italy, then I am quite sure that by now you have visited many other cities and towns with the Piazza del Duomo square! So, yes, Taormina has one too and it is its main square.

It’s pretty, but I loved Piazza IX Aprile too. Unfortunately the cathedral was closed when I was there, so I am not sure what it looks like inside, but it’s very cute from the outside.

The most beautiful part of the square is the baroque Fountain of Piazza Duomo. It’s called 4 Fountains because of the 4 small columns supporting basins which are located at the corners of the central basin. There are 4 mythological ponies that overlook the basins and from whose mouths fountain water flows. The central part consists of two basins and above this is Minotaur, half human and half horse, which is the emblem of the city of Taormina. Depicted in the female version, it has two arms holding an orb and sceptre, symbols of power.

Lunch Time

By now you must be hungry, so I’ve got a really great restaurant for you.

Il Baccanale not only makes great pasta, but it is also on the more affordable side! In general, Sicily is more budget-friendly than the rest of Italy, especially the north, but as Taormina is the most popular town there, the prices are about 30% higher than in other places in Sicily.

I recommend seafood pasta with pistachio, sooo goood! 😋

Teatro Antico di Taormina

Taormina’s history dates back from Ancient Greece when they established their first colony on Sicily in 734 BC. called Magna Graecia. Dionysius I of Syracuse destroyed nearby Naxos in 403 BC. He ordered Sicels, an Indo-European tribe who inhabited eastern Sicily, to build a new settlement on the nearby Mount Taurus which gradually grew up into the city of Tauromenium. It was later conquered by Romans in 263 BC.

Therefore the best and oldest sight in Taormina is the Ancient Theatre of Taormina which was built by Greeks in the 3rd century BC. The theatre was later expanded during the Roman times in the 2nd century AD.

The theatre could seat 10,000 people and is the 2nd biggest theatre in Sicily, after Syracuse.

The ticket is about €12 pp and it’s better to buy online than waiting in the long line (we have actually bought it online WHILE queuing! 🤣, which saved us a lot of time!).

What’s cool about the Greek Theatre is that the concerts are still being held there, so double check if something interesting is happening during your visit. 🙂

💡FUN FACT: The theatre was also used as a filming location for the popular TV series White Lotus and in Woody Allen’s movie Mighty Aphrodite.

Villa Communale di Taormina

Villa Communale are beautiful public gardens built in the mid-19th century by Lady Florence Trevelyan. Lady Florence was exiled from England on accusations that she was having an affair with Queen Victoria’s firstborn son Edward VII. When Lady Florence got to Taormina, she married a wealthy-man and mayor Salvatore Cacciola. Together they built these gorgeous gardens now open to the public.

Dinner Time

Conclude your one day in Taormina with a nice dinner. I recommend Osteria da Rita (dal 1991). It’s a very popular restaurant with amazing Google reviews! Just a heads up that you might wait to get your table, but it is totally worth it!

One day in Taormina – Alternative options

Depending on the season and your travel pace, you can alternate the above One day in Taormina itinerary and skip some of the above and instead do some of the following, but equally cool things!

Let’s see the alternative options in Taormina and the surrounding area! 🙂

Savoca: Godfather filming locations

Savoca is a small, beautiful village of 1700 population. It is 21 km (13 miles) away from Taormina, so the drive there will take around 40 minutes. The village is popular because it was used as a filming location for Godfather 1!

Start by visiting Bar Vitelli where Michael had his coffee. The interior is pretty cool because it’s full of photos from the movie set! 🤩

After you had your coffee (or lunch/snack), walk towards the Chiesa di San Nicolo where Michael and Apollonia got married. There’s a corner there where you can also see the clothes and other things from the set! While going towards the church, you will also walk the famous Godfather Wedding Walk.

This private guided tour with lunch is great for learning about the Sicilian Mafia while visiting the Godfather movie locations!

If you don’t mind the bigger groups and don’t think you need the exclusivity of a private group with lunch, then this one is another great option!

If you’re renting a car and already know a lot about the Sicilian Mafia and Godfather, then you can also do this on your own.

Watch my TikTok video to see how this tour/trip is going to look like:

Isola Bella

If you’re visiting during the summer months, I highly recommend to enjoy the Ionian Sea in Taormina. The water is so beautiful and so refreshing!

Isola Bella Beach is the most famous and the best beach in Taormina. It is a nature reserve, administered by the Italian branch of the World Wide Fund for Nature.

You can reach Isola Bella with the cable car from Taormina city centre.

This Boat Tour with Aperitif is a great way of spending a couple of hours at the Ionian Sea exploring the Bay of Giardini Naxos and swimming at Isola Bella.

While the first tour is more of a morning/day activity, if you’d like to finish off your day with the beautiful sunset at the sea (because who can resist the sunsets at the seaside, right? 😍), then this Sunset Tour at Isola Bella is a perfect way to end your one day in Taormina.

White Lotus Tour

Popular TV Show White Lotus filmed some of the scenes in Taormina, so if you’re a fan, why not take a White Lotus Tour to check some of the filming locations?

Cooking Class with Chef Mimmo

Sicily has the best food in Italy. THE END. If you’re a big foodie like me, why not doing a famous cooking class with Chef Mimmo, so you can prepare some of your favourite Sicilian meals at home?

Palazzo Corvaja

Palazzo Corvaja is a medieval castle in Taormina. It was built at the end of the 14th century and is named after one of the oldest and most famous families of Taormina, which owned it from 1538 to 1945.

The castle is located in Piazza Badia, very close to the Church of Saint Catherine of Alexandria and Porta Messina.

Is Taormina worth visiting

Taormina will definitely be the busiest place in Sicily because it’s been a popular tourist destination since the 19th century! Therefore, it will also be the most expensive place in Sicily… However, it is often nicknamed the Pearl of the Ionian Sea, and trust me, for a reason! It is such a beautiful Mediterranean town with lots of history from the Ancient Greeks to Romans, Arabs, Normans and Bourbons who all left a huge remark and cultural heritage in Taormina.

So, yes, Taormina is very much worth visiting. ❤️

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Megi Vorera

Hello! I’m Magdalena, a Travel Blogger based in London. Originally from Croatia, I moved to London in 2018 to pursue my dreams. From teaching History and Croatian Language & Literature, to working as a Recruiter in Tech, I am now a full-time Travel Blogger & Freelance Content Writer. Being a History Buff, I love exploring historical places and their cultural heritage, so if you’re into Culture Travel, you have come to the right place. I have been to 23 countries across 4 continents and I love sharing my travel stories with you to hopefully educate you, help you plan your travel and inspire you for your next destination.