Taormina has been on my Sicilian travel bucket list for a very long time. It’s one of the most popular tourist destinations and normally is really overcrowded in summer, so after some debate my friends and I decided that it will be very nice to see it now, during the low season.
In my experience small Sicilian tourist towns (such as Cefalu or Isola delle Femmine) tend to change completely depending on the season, and during winter months they are look a bit deserted, but romantic. So if you are thinking whether visiting Sicily in winter is worth the trip, my answer is - definitely yes. It’s not going to be a beach vacation, but also you will not be dying from +40 C heat while exploring the island’s most valuable treasures.
Our trip was wonderful, and wasn’t spoiled even by 3 hour train rides both ways and horrible cold wind in Messina on the way back. We had lots of fun exploring Taormina and everything it has to offer. Also on the way back just by Messina central train station we found a great food truck, where they serve “Messina” beer and sandwiches cost 1 euro, so life was completely wonderful at that point.
So travel tips time!
Sweatshirt - Tezenis, Top - H&M, Jeans - thrifted, Sneakers - Adidas, Backpack - Asos, Necklace - Brigite Bijou
How to get there?
- From Messina or Catania – by bus
- From Palermo :
1) by train (Palermo – Messina – Taormina)
As we were coming from Palermo, we took a ticket straight to Taormina with the change of train in Messina. This way of traveling I really DON’T recommend for one single reason – train stops at Taormina Giardini, by the sea, and to get to Taormina itself you will have to either climb a quiet steep hill or walk for about an hour along the road in the company of numerous cars, buses and even trucks. I didn’t mind the walk, but still I’d rather spend this time relaxing in the garden in Taormina itself then walking along the road.
2) or train Palermo-Messina (or Palermo-Catania) + bus Messina (Catania)-Taormina
This was our way back and we were very happy with it – the bus gives you an opportunity to see more beautiful villages along the coast and also be more free when you arrive to Messina (or Catania). This way you can take a walk around the city, have lunch, see some sights and just manage your time as you prefer. The busses to Taormina both from Catania and Messina stop right in front of central train stations, so everything is very easy to manage.
What to see?
Giardino Comunale – a beautiful park with wooden structures and a wonderful view point. The entrance is free, there are many places to sit down and relax in the shade, and if I lived in Taormina, I would’ve spent all of my time there – reading a book, taking photos and meditating.
Greek theatre (Teatro Grecco) – an ancient Greek theatre, one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever been to. It’s huge and provides an absolutely beautiful view on both sides of the coast. Now I’m really determined to go there in summer, when many concerts are organized in the theatre. I can’t even imagine how beautiful the night view is!
Churches and Duomo – two of the biggest churches and Duomo are located along one path which really helps to see everything in ones.
The view point – provides a great view on the cove and a place to just sit down and relax after all the sightseeing. Also perfect for taking a group photo proving that after 1,5 years on Sicily these lazy asses finally managed to visit the place that tourists normally see in the first 1,5 days.
What to eat?
Arancina alla norma! Yes, on the east coast of Sicily it’s called arancino (which for me is absurd, because apparently I already managed to become super Palermitan), but it was so delicious I don’t really care how it’s called. For those who are new to Sicilian street food – arancina is a deep-fried rice ball with a filling. Alla norma typically mean aubergine+tomato+mozzarella. I am not particularly in love with arancine – normally they are way too oily (and let’s face it – quiet unhealthy) and you can really feel that the rice is not freshly cooked. But the one I ate in Taormina was absolutely delicious and not oily at all. I wish I remembered the place where we had lunch, but the only thing I know for sure – it was by a shoe shop)
I hope you liked this short guide around Taormina. I consider writing something similar about the cities I visited while I was on my blog hiatus last year, and I will try to make these posts more scheduled.
.Let me know if you’re interested in these online tours!