During our holiday in Sicily, we rented a car. We can definitely recommend that because most cities are too far to reach by bus or train.
Taormina is the first city that we have visited by car. First of all, the city is well known by sun lovers because of her beautiful bay, but there’s also an ancient Greek theater in the old city center of Taormina which attracts a lot of tourists to the city. All in all: a must-see city!
How to get to Taormina?
First of all, we suggest traveling to Taormina by car. The city is located on top of a mountain and the road to the city center is filled with a lot of hairpin bends. Make sure your car has enough power.
Life hack:If it’s hard to get up, turn off your AC. This gives your car about 10% more power.
You can also reach the city by public transport. The train will take you from Catania to Taormina in 45 minutes. However, you have to walk an extra 45 minutes uphill from the Taormina station to get to the bay. When you’ve reached the bay, you can take a cable car to the city center of Taormina. This will cost you about €3,50 ($4).
The highway from Catania to Taormina is a toll road. You have to pay €1,50 ($1.80) for a one-way ticket. It’s important to remember that the lanes with the sign TELEPASS are only accessible for Italians who have a special sticker on their car.
We do have a free tip for you: make sure you choose a lane with an occupied booth. Once, we made the mistake to choose a lane with an automated booth which only accepted billets. Unfortunately, we only had coins in our possession. The result: a lot of angry Italians who had to back up their cars…
Parking in Taormina
First of all, there are different types of parking areas. We have parked in a secured parking, close to Via Luigi Pirandello, which is next to the viewpoint over Isola Bella. You have to pay €2 ($2,40) per hour, which is one euro cheaper than parking in a parking garage. Here, it’s a fifteen-minute walk to the old city center of Taormina.
Top highlight of Taormina: the Greek theater
First of all, Taormina is well known for her Greek theater. For us, this is the highlight of the city. However, there a lot of tourists who want to visit this place. To get the best experience, we recommend visiting the theater as early as possible.
The theater dates from the third century B.C. and has a diameter of 120 meters. Therefore, the Greek theater of Taormina is the second biggest theater in Sicily. Initially, the theater was build for a variety of performances. The stage is still decorated with enormous pillars. One myth is the arrival of slaves by ship, who then had to drag the pillars all the way up the mountain. Talk about heavy manual labor!
During the Roman period, the theater serves another purpose: gladiator fights! The stands for approximately 5400 visitors is carved in the rocks. When we wander such ancient and enormous structures we get overwhelmed with amazement. We see it as a real privilege to be able to still walk there, where innumerable feet have walked before.
Older than 25: €10 ($12)
Younger than 25: €5 ($6, however, only for tourist from the EU)
Under 18: free
Audio tour: €5 ($6)
1 January – 15 February: 9am – 4pm
16 February – 28 February: 9am – 4:30pm
1 March – 15 March: 9am – 5pm
16 March – 31 March: 9am – 5:30pm
1 April – 30 April: 9am – 6:30pm
1 May – 31 August: 9am – 7pm
1 September – 15 September: 9am – 6:30pm
16 September – 30 September: 9am – 6pm
1 October – 15 October: 9am – 5:30pm
16 October – 31 October: 9am – 5pm
1 November – 31 December: 9am – 4pm
Afterwards, we descend to the bay Isola Bella (“Beautiful Island”). However, island? Yes, a really small peninsula is located in the bay. At the moment, the peninsula is a protected nature reserve. The peninsula is reachable by a small sandy path, which is must of the time submerged by the sea.
The bay is an oasis for sun lovers and the beach is made up of small rocks. However, there is a possibility to rent sunbeds (around €20/$24 for 2 sunbeds in combination with a parasol).
Useful tip: the car can be parked along the road for free!
Enjoying the rich culture in the morning, combined with enjoying the sun in the afternoon? This is in our opinions one of the best combinations possible while on vacation!