My friends and I talked about a graduation trip throughout the year, mostly when we were in the midst of drowning in our final-year workloads. It was fun to dream about, so much so that we never actually picked a destination until, well, not quite the last minute but we were pushing it. My friend mentioned that Sicily would be her dream holiday. My other friend said why not. Soon after we were googling, airbnbing, and skyscanning, deciding to go for a relaxing holiday in Taormina and a little bit of sightseeing in Catania.
We stayed opposite Isola Bella. The actual town of Taormina is on a hill above the beach and you can walk up to it, take a bus or the cable cars. We were a 5 minute walk from the beach and got to wake up to that view above. Not bad at all.
Isola Bella has a small nature reserve which costs €4 to enter, or €2 if you’re 18-25 and from an EU member country (bye discount). If you want to make the most of your money, go on a sunny day for some great views.
This is the entrance to Taormina's main street Corso Umberto. The town is small but very popular with tourists, so it was pretty bustling while we were there. Its size makes it easy to walk around and see all of the main sites.
Corso Umberto has several cafes, restaurants, and high and low end stores.
There are a lot of stores selling beautiful Maiolica ceramics.
Towards the other end of Corso Umberto is Piazza IX Aprile. The square contains Taormina's clock tower, two churches, and from one side you can see stunning views of the sea and Mount Etna.
The Church of Saint Joseph built in the 17th century.
Teatro Antico is one of Taormina's most famous sites. This ancient Greek Theatre is the second largest in Sicily after Syracuse. It was definitely bigger than I expected it to be.
Sadly our view was slightly spoiled by the big screen put up for Taormina's film festival. Their tag line is 'Think Exclusive'. Not how I like to think but hey, it's not my film festival.
Mount Etna, taken from by Teatro Antico.
The triskelion (or trinacria/trisceli - I wikipedia'd this) can be seen on Sicily's flag. The three legs bend in a triangle shape to represent the shape of Sicily. In the middle is the head of Medusa's. The flag also contains three pieces of wheat but it looks like they were swapped for lemons here.
The Garden of Villa Comunale is also a lovely place to unwind. The bright flowers and beautiful views make it worth going.
People gathering around a restaurant's screens to watch Italy vs. Sweden.
The Odeon is a small theatre behind the Church of Saint Catherine of Alexandria. It was built by the Romans and was being enjoyed by a napping cat when we were there.
Taormina is probably one of the most picturesque towns I've ever been to. It's easy to see why it's so popular. If you're ever in Sicily, it's a beautiful place to visit even if you're just stopping by Isola Bella.
- Taormina is far from cheap. A round trip on the cable cars costs €6. Restaurants are pricey with main dishes usually in the range of €10 and up. If you're on a tight budget, go for an Airbnb where you can make your own food.
- Isola Bella has a rocky beach and can get quite busy. The views are hard to beat though.
- There are lots of interesting places in Taormina. The Hotel Continental website has a great list of things to see and gives you some of the history behind the sites.