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5 days in Taormina - what to do?

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London, UK
posts: 1,365
reviews: 150
5 days in Taormina - what to do?

We will be staying for 4 nights (5 days) in Taormina next May. Our hotel does not have a pool, and we are more sightseeing people than beach people.

How would you recommend we spend those 5 days please?

Thank you for your help.

home sweet home
posts: 137
1. Re: 5 days in Taormina - what to do?

Hi worltdtraveller. My husband and I have only been to Sicily once, but Taormina was our first stop. Mind you now, I had terrible bronchitis when we arrived, but hubby went off to local pharmacy and brought back good medicine. Then I got bitten in the night by some strange critter and had nasty little red bumps hear and there. Having said all this, I was STILL enchanted by Taormina and would love to go back. I could have wandered the streets for five days, I think, We had a guide show us some Greek ruins, and I got a v-necked sunburn. Remember to take good sunscreen. I remember the lemon trees growing profusely. It was just a beautiful place. I think you will make it before all the tourists come for the beaches. I haven't been very helpful, have I, but I just saw your post and remembered this trip. We also had to purchase a new piece of luggage in Taormina, Our zippper had broken in flight, and a little guy who looked very much like Danny DeVito tried for 45 min. to fix it. The new bag met the same fate in early November when we took it to Barbados! When I'm in Italy, I love to people watch; I like to sit in a little park or cafe and listen, really listen, to see what bits of conversation I might pick up, I'll ask my hubby later for more practical tips! Ciao from Chatty Cathey{smile}

2. Re: 5 days in Taormina - what to do?

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London, UK
posts: 1,365
reviews: 150
3. Re: 5 days in Taormina - what to do?

Thank you both. This stay is the end of 2 weeks touring the island.

We are already staying in Syracuse to see the places in the SE of the island, and going to the Roman Villa on our way there from Agrigento.

The jeep tour sounds great - how do we book this please?

Any other Taormina suggestions? (We shall definitely be seeing the greek theatre too).

Thank you again

UK
posts: 4,601
reviews: 6
4. Re: 5 days in Taormina - what to do?

Hi Worldtraveller99 !

We stayed in Taormina for two weeks and toured the area by public transport... we also spent alternate days at the beach... so I'm sure you can do some serious sightseeing in five days if you're not beach lovers !

We stayed at Hotel Condor, Via dietro Cappuccini, in Taormina, it's just a short walk on the edge of town, so quiet and out of the main 'tourist' traffic. Idyllic setting with sea views - check out the reviews on this Tripadvisor site - I posted one with photographs. It doesn't have a pool either.

Taormina is small, one long central high street (Corso Umberto) on the flat, and tiny alleyways, mostly stepped, going up or downhill on either side of it. There's no call for a bus within the town itself - the high street is semi-pedestrianised and walkable. There are things 'palaces' to see in the town itself, not to mention the romano-greco arenas... It's set up high on the mountain and Giardini Naxos is the beach down beneath it - buses run regularly to Giardini Naxos (heartstopping hairpin bends on a steep road on stilts up the mountain ! The bus has to go right over onto the wrong side othe road to get round them - scary at night !). The funivia (cablecar) goes down to another two beaches below Taormina: Mazzaro and Isola Bella, and takes fifteen minutes.

You can get to those beaches on a bus too. There's also a beach shuttle bus going in the other direction, fifteen minutes to the beach at Letojanni. Letojanni is a sort of 'onehorse town' holiday resort with shops, a church, and 'real Sicilians' who actually live there - especially out of season... before the real tourists turn up.

Now to the bit that interests you more !

The 'Interbus' public bus service is cheap, efficient and comfortable with air-conditioning. We used the buses to visit Acireale, Castelmola (above Taormina with magnificent views down to the sea and over Taormina immediately below- and views of Etna), and other places. You can also get a train from Giardini Naxos (Taormina) railway station - part of the national network.

We also took the Interbus coach to the nearest station on the Circumetnea railway - and did the circuit of Mt Etna on the train. This is a private railway and gave me the impression of a train journey in the Wild West ! It's a single track railway with 'passing' tracks. The rattling windows and the views of 'prickly pear' cactus, not to mention the bells jangling at level crossings .... like something out of a spaghetti western !! The landscape of lava flows, heaped up on themselves like melted layers of treacle or liquorice is incredible ! Some of them stop just short of the railway, and certainly just short of some of the buildings. The train is not air-conditioned...unless you count wide open windows ! I understand the journey round Etna can be done on the buses too. We stopped half way round the railway system at Randazzo - where we visited the town (churches built out of lava stone) and ate a wonderful meal at 'Osteria degli Antichi Sapori' - near the Palazzo Comunale (town hall). There was no menu - you let the waiter guide you as to what to have ("sorry, no fish, we're at five hundred metres above sea level !") and try the 'antipasto' which is different from the usual plate of assorted meats and other goodies... at this place, you get tasters of about ten different vegetable antipasti - cooked individually and presented consecutively on little saucers as soon as you've swallowed the previous morsel ! Items such as battered zucchini flowers, tiny spinach fritters, peperonata, grilled zucchini, grilled aubergines... you would just get one zucchini flower each, one slice of grilled aubergine each, one tablespoonful of peperonata each, etc. and the cannoli were the best I'd eaten - they were fresh tasting and delicious - not so over sweet and cloying as those elsewhere. Do you know any Italian ? If not, I think you would just have to hope they may speak a little English.. but don't worry - just let them serve you 'food'... ! If you know the words for the foods you don't like - you could just show them those words written in Italian on a bit of paper (non mi piace = I don't like ; non ci piace = we don't like) and ask them to serve you whatever they suggest apart from those things !

We didn't need a car and were there for two weeks ! If you want to travel further afield, then you might need to consider a two-centre holiday - we found it would take too long or awkward to get to places like Syracuse from Taormina on buses. There were coach tours arranged to other cities and up Mt. Etna - but we wanted a restful holiday, and I didn't fancy getting up at dawn to leave the bus station on a coach at six in the morning !!! Presumably, you'd have to leave just as early if you were driving a rental car to the same places or going on the jeep tours mentioned elsewhere. .

If you lead a stressful life - you just want to take it easy on holiday !! Hope you enjoy the area as much as we did... Best wishes, Nolana

UK
posts: 4,601
reviews: 6
5. Re: 5 days in Taormina - what to do?

Just remembered.... about the jeep tours up Etna.... if you go into the main high street in Taormina, you'll find the Tourist Information office in one of the important historic 'palazzi' - I forget which one... it did have a name.... but it's not far into the high street and you'll see the signs. It's alongside a church.

The palazzo was also interesting to visit. The tourist office will give you full details of all sorts of public transport and private tours .... further up the high street, the ordinary blue buses company that serves the area with public transport - has its own offices and they also offer tours on the buses or with jeeps up to Etna.

Someone else who is local, may be able to give you the websites - I can't remember now what the company names were to look them up for you ! .

London, UK
posts: 1,365
reviews: 150
6. Re: 5 days in Taormina - what to do?

Thank you very much Nolana that is very helpful. They all sound really good, especially Randazzo & Castelmola.

I don't speak much Italian at the moment, but hope to brush it up before we go in May!

United Kingdom
posts: 407
reviews: 15
7. Re: 5 days in Taormina - what to do?

A few more ideas:

Take the bus up to Castelmola and explore the village and castle.Eat in one of the little restauants, then WALK down to Taormina.The walk was one of the highlights of our week in Taormina.

The Greek Theatre took up another afternoon.Takes time to explore it all.

Walking about Taormina was a pleasure in itself.It is so full of history.We bought a guide book in one of the local shops.It was in English and had lots of photos and notes, so we enjoyed looking for Norman architecture ,Roman remains, Greek influence etc.

We took a bus to Giardini Naxos so we could visit Naxos where the Greeks first landed.There is a fascinating little museum there with displays of Greek pots etc found on the site. We did not find Giardini itself very interesting ,but the local bus took us quickly back to Taormina.

On another day the cable car took us down to the beach level and although we are not beach lovers we enjoyed our visit to Isola Bella.You cannot walk around this "island" though,only sit on the little beach area once you have crossed over, the rest is private....a little disappointing if you are unaware of that as we were.

Hope this is of help.You will not lack things to do!

carlow
posts: 6
8. Re: 5 days in Taormina - what to do?

Oh you lucky person going to Taorminia,,,we were just there in June for two weeks, absolutely fabalous place, you'll have a ball...definitely go to the Greek theatre, and if you are a person who loves gardens, there is a fab garden right beside The Hotel Diodoro, free of charge to walk around, beautiful...to just walk the streets and eat some gelati [icecream] is heavenly in Taorminia, the people are gorgeous, and the food is fantastic....at the bottom of the hill the prices are a good bit cheaper in the shops, and then as you go up the hill into the beautiful town it is bit more expensive, beautiful Churches to look at....you'll have a fab time just soaking it all in...I'll definitely be going back..Enjoy every moment...Ciao! x

Dublin, Ireland
posts: 240
reviews: 87
9. Re: 5 days in Taormina - what to do?

Check out Ristorante Da Lorenzo , Via Roma, 12.

10. Re: 5 days in Taormina - what to do?

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TripAdvisor staff removed this post because it did not meet TripAdvisor's forum posting guidelines with prohibiting self-promotional advertising or solicitation.

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Removed on: 4:30 am, December 09, 2007