Posted by: Debra Kolkka | April 20, 2016


Taormina is probably the most visited town in Sicily. The town is delightful. The lively streets are lined with interesting shops and inviting restaurants and cafes, making for a delightful stroll from Porta Messina to Porta Catania. Music comes from all directions and flowers spill from balconies…just what you expect of a southern Italian town by the sea.





The clock tower is the gateway to the medieval part of town. The streets become narrower, but no less interesting.


Taormina has a huge Greek/Roman theatre carved out of the hillside. The Greeks designed the theatre in the 3rd century BC, but the Romans redesigned it in the 1st century AD. They sacrificed some of the seats and part of the stage to accommodate gladiator games.


Wandering through the ancient structure is mind boggling. Those people knew a thing or two about building big things.

For the best views in town go to the top of the theatre and stand in the middle.


It was a bit hazy, but we could see Etna in the distance.


There is a beautiful garden created by English woman, Florence Trevelyan. It is well maintained and offers a cool green oasis, in the town. I’m sure it would be lovely to stroll here on a warm summer evening.

There are gorgeous shops in Taormina, especially for sweets.




…and ceramics.



We had a granita (one of many) in a great spot called Bam Bar in Via Giovanni di Giovanni.


There was another wonderful looking place just around the corner…spoiled for choice.


Isola Bella would have to be one of the most photographed beaches in the world. A little rocky island sits just off the curved beach. At low tide a walkway appears and you can cross to the island.

Isola Bella Taormina


Isola Bella Taormina

I can see that the beach would be very popular in the warmer months. Even in April a few sun seekers were out and about. A couple of boats offer excursions around the coast, but it was windy and the water was choppy the day we were there so we declined.

…a note of caution. The steps to the beach are long and steep. The beach is a pebble beach, so you will need your best plastic sea slippers to enjoy a stroll or a swim. Most people seemed happy to be lying on a beach bed in the sun.

We made the mistake of taking the Hop on Hop off bus tour of Taormina. This has to be the worst bus tour I have ever taken. It cost €40 for the 2 of us. We were dragged for almost 2 hours through some of the ugliest suburbs I have ever seen. Mazzaro and Giardini-Naxos are supposed to be 2 of the best beaches in Sicily, but I must have blinked and missed something, because I didn’t find them attractive at all. If you want to see a good beach Google  Noosa, Bondi or Coogee. ( I know I sound like a cranky old tourist right now, and yes, I know the beaches in Australia are different, but I didn’t like these beaches.)

The tourist bus also takes you up to the village above Taormini, called Castelmolo. The ruins of a castle sit right at the top of town offering some spectacular views. A sign along the way says it is one of the most beautiful villages in Italy…it isn’t.



The local bus goes to Isola Bella for €1 a head, a much better prospect. There is a funicular to Isola Bella, but it isn’t operating right now. The local bus takes you to Castelmolo for €1.90. Do not take the tourist bus!

Taormina is beautiful!



  1. Taormina I remember it well. probably the highlight of Sicily for us, back in the late 90’s. Your photos capture it all so well.

    • It is a beautiful place. We are now off to Siracusa.

  2. Oh – my! I’ve been glued to my desk and my !#$#!@ computer for two days – battling the IT demons – how lovely it was to immerse myself in your photos and take a wonderful walk with you in Taormina.

    • Computers are great when they work and diabolical when they don’t.

  3. Thank you, Debra. We are planning to do the same trip next year, so we are taking notes based on your recommendations. Those cannoli look mouthwatering.
    See you in Bagni in a couple of weeks!

    • The cannoli are good, but I have been won over by granite.

  4. Gorgeous photos. One of these days I must get to explore Italy. I have only been to Trieste..

    • You must visit Italy!

  5. I must say Debra , spending time in our “villa” in an Italian cultured Melbourne , is not even remotely quite like traveling in the “real deal ” is it ?
    I do miss my ol’Italy friends , but get my “fix” following your adventures there —- say hello to the Ponte Ser. Crew on your return please .

    • You are missed in Bagni di Lucca, you must return. I will pass on your thoughts.

  6. Really enjoyed your photos, brought back some very happy memories, 2006 I was last in Sicily spent many happy days swimming in the sea and sunbathing at Isola Bella, thanks as always for sharing Debra.

    • Isola Bella is very bella indeed.

  7. It is a gorgeous spot indeed.

    • Taormina is lovely. We had great weather…high helps.

  8. Thanks for the advice!

    • The bus was really awful, and expensive.

  9. I think next time, southern Italy is a must for us.

    • It is quite different from the north, both are great.

  10. I definitely need to make this a stop next Spring when I visit Sicily. Thanks for sharing these amazing pictures and your tip to avoid the tour bus!

    • I usually find the hop on/off buses good to get my bearings in a new place, but not this one.

  11. Just beautiful Debra. The south has so much to offer.

    • It does. I lived in the south over 40 years ago, on the Amalfi Coast. I love it.

  12. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!! Now do you see why when I write about Sicilia it is written of as a seperate land from Italy? A totally different entity? I’m not yet the poet to put to words what La Sicilia does to body, mind and soul… There are three or more lifetime’s of sights and sounds to experience in the big cities, now wait until the small towns away from tourists are traveled, it becomes a voyage back in time; this is why serveral writers have stated that Sicily is fifty years behind Italy… Thankfully so much of the island doesn’t have the hoards of tourists yet… From your fantastic photos I know what you’re experiencing, Debra, it’s called magic!!! ~ ~Gian Banchero, Berkeley, California

    • I lived in the south many years ago. The village seemed to me to be very much living in the past. I loved it, that is where my love affair with Italy started.

  13. Know what you mean about beaches. Aussies are spoilt. Nothing compares.

    • I come to Italy for other things.

  14. Ah, brings back some memories!

    • I’m sure they are happy memories.

      • Indeed!

  15. I just loved the balconies in Taormina with the ceramics and as you mentioned flowers. Pretty little town but has you say our beaches are golden.
    If you get a chance go and visit Casa Cuseni Fine Art & History and also B&B very interesting.. You will have to book.
    Enjoy la Sicilia

    • Thanks for the tip, but we have moved on to Ortigia…next time.

  16. We spent 5 hours there … part of a cruise ship tour docked in Messina. A delightful place. … and thanks for sharing your outstanding images.

    • 5 hours would be a good start. We would go back.

  17. We felt the same about Taormina. Delightful.

    • It is a very pretty town.

  18. Debra, your photos are so inviting…I have not been to Taormina but I know i’d love the history and ambience.

    • I’m sure you would love it there.

  19. How gorgeous! And it seems it is still cool enough for you to enjoy your visit – good timing!

  20. It looks very pretty. Unfortunate about the frustrations….just part of travel in Italy I presume.

  21. You are lucky you visited a bit off season. About now it will start to become filled with giant umbrella following tour groups, cruise ship stops and overpriced tourist menu food. What you won’t see In Taormina is Sicilians. I have to drag my husband there if I want to go. It is gorgeous but a day there is more than enough. Time is better spent in an out of the small villages and out of the way places. We certainly agree about Giardini Naxos and that area. The beaches in the southeast area – Siracusa and Ragusa provinces are really the finest

    • I would never travel to popular places at busy times, and, as I hate to be hot, I don’t go anywhere in summer. We will definitely return to beautiful Sicily, probably next spring.

  22. Much of my best traveling in Sicily has been done during winter and during the island’s wondrous springtime; springtime is when everything mythic comes to be… Over the years for a summer visit because the heat and humidity are horrific I’ve found it best to stay in one small town near the water and live the slow life of just observing everything about the locals: food, dialect, how much of their ancient past they’ve retained (keep your eyes open because they HAVE retained much). Mostly I spend the days in appreciation of the Sicilian’s generosity of heart. Sicily is defiantly NOT main-land Italy…

    • We were there in spring, the perfect time to visit. It wasn’t too hot or cruised. We loved driving through the centre of Sicily where the wildflowers were as high as the car.

  23. Beautiful photos! Taormina has to be one of my favourite places in the world. We visited in September last year and the food, stunning views and weather were all amazing.

    For more on my top 10 reasons why Taormina is a perfect summer holiday destination check out my post 🙂

    • Thank you for you suggestions. I would prefer to go in spring to avoid the heat and crowds. We went in April and it was perfect.

  24. I love Taormina, and really want to visit again. I loved seeing your pictures and your post, as they brought back wonderful memories of this gorgeous place.

    • We loved it too, we will definitely return.

  25. Thanks for your tips – I’m going to Taormina next week and you’ve whetted my appetite! X

    • I’m sure you will love it. I hope you go to nearby Ortigia too.

  26. […] ferry to Sicily proved to be remarkably easy to find and use and soon we were in Taormina, probably the prettiest town in Sicily. It has an incredible ancient theatre with views of […]

  27. […] via Taormina — Bagni di Lucca and Beyond […]

  28. Thanks for sharing this. I am off to Sicily soon so this has got me in the mood for my holiday. I have been a couple of times but am going to a different part this time. I have just started a poetry blog here on WordPress in case you are interested in taking a look? Have a good day, Sam 🙂

  29. […] trip to Sicily would not be complete without a visit to Ortigia, the town I enjoyed the most on our last […]

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