Hello! I am excited to do another travel blog post. With covid-19, I am having extreme travel withdraws, so this has been great to relive so many of my memories. Next up is Taormina, Sicily in Italy! I spent a week in Taormina after spending a year living and travelling Asia, so this was a great place to return to western culture and spend most of my time at the beach.
This city was also very easy to get to from the airport. There were shuttle bus services every hour that took you to the bus station in Taormina. I don’t remember the exact price, but it was under 10 Euros each way and was pretty self explanatory (even for me, because I am terrible at public transport).
The food was absolutely incredible! I don’t really plan out my meals and which restaurants I am going to go. It’s all about what I come across along the way because I don’t want to feel pressured about having to be at a specific place or holding to a schedule. That being said, I usually ask my hostel or any people I meet who have been there for awhile if they have any recommendations (which they usually do) and go from there. I mean, it is Italy, odds are you are going to find great pasta, gelato, cannolis, and pizza just about everywhere!
What to see and do?
Whenever I am someplace on the coast, my main purpose of my trip is to lay around on the beach. It is my absolute favorite place to be and I will forego other touristy activities in favor of this. That being said, there are three main beaches I went too.
Isola Bella beach is the closest to the city center and therefore the most crowded. It is very beautiful and easily accessible, though you do need to climb down a million and one stairs, so please keep that in mind with your footwear. The main problems I had with this beach was obviously the amount of people there (though who am I to complain when I am one of those people?) and the fact that it was a pebble beach. Now I know many people like this because you don’t have to deal with sand, but unless you have water shoes and a chair (I didn’t) you will not be sitting very comfortably.
Mazzarò beach is a little more north and seems to be a bit more resort like with lots of umbrellas and chairs for rent. I walked here and it was about a 45 minute walk down the coast from the city center. This beach was sand and the waves were so calm. I literally sat in the water where the waves were breaking and read.
Giardini Naxos was my favorite beach! I wish you didn’t have to take a bus to get there from the city center because I would have spent everyday there after whatever activities I did in the morning. It had a a rockier sand, calm, very blue waters, and nearby food shops. Though, I hardly ate anything, but gelato during my beach time lol.
The Teatro Antico di Taormina is an amazing Greek theater near the city center. It was very cool to check out. As a history nerd, it is so amazing to see this! You really only need an hour or two max there to see everything. Also, the views from the top of it are magical!
Take a day trip to Mount Etna and do a wine tasting! I did this through a day trip tour where they picked us up in a passenger van and drove us to spots all around the volcano were we could get out and hike. The rocks were black and sparkly! It was also much much colder here than down in the city, please dress warmly. I did not come prepared. After hiking around the volcano, we were taken to a winery where we were fed a cheese plate, pasta, and dessert with three corresponding wines. I admit, I am not the biggest wine person, but this was so cool! The whole day trip cost around 80 Euros, which I think is a fabulous price considering everything we got that day.
Visit Castemola. Castemola is a little city not to far from Taormina. I actually met up with a group of people from my hostel and we walked there. It was quite a walk with a lot of hills so don’t do it at night like we did. We actually didn’t plan to end up here but we just kept going lol. This little city is so cute! There is a cute piazza in the center, churches, touristy shops, local shops, and restaurants with patio seating. We ate and drank at Turrisi Bar, which is a dick themed restaurant, I kid you not! Please take your family to this bar and don’t tell them what it is about and see the shock on their faces lol.
Lastly, don’t forget to walk around the City Center. The architecture is beautiful and I would often wonder through it looking at all the different shops and eating at various restaurants and cafes. Please note, that many places have a minimum you must spend to use your credit card. As a solo traveler, this is a big deal because one meal doesn’t usually equal that so bring some cash. You can also tell by my picture how crowded it was. I was here at the end of August, so definitely very crowded. Keep that in mind when planning your trip.
This is just about what I did. There is obviously much more to do in Taormina, but I usually try to limit the amount of stuff I do in each city so I can really enjoy it and relax without feeling rushed from destination to destination. There is also a Godfather Tour, nightlife, more that you can look into.
How to get around?
I found this little city so unbelievable cute! I love walking in new cities and try to avoid public transport whenever possible because a) walking is the best way to really see a new city, b) you get to find new gems that you may not have seen otherwise, and c) I am not that great with public transport so I find it a bit stressful. However, the public transport in the city was fairly easy and just involved hopping on a bus.
Where I Stayed?
I stayed in a little hostel right near the city center called Hostel Taormina ‘Homstel.‘ This place was great and I met quite a few cool people that I explored with a lot of my time there. The biggest downside was that they did NOT have enough bathrooms for the amount of people who stayed there so I often found myself waiting around to pee or take a shower. The rooms were spacious and had lockers. I don’t cook in hostels, but they did have a kitchen. The absolute best part of this hostel was the patio they had! It was at the top of the hill over looking the beach and city center. I would wake up and have a coffee and some fruit in the morning and just really take it all in.
Overall, I absolutely loved my time in Taormina, Sicily. It was a great kick off to the 2 months I was spending around Europe. I spent about a week here, but this obviously one small part of Sicily, so you could spend a month exploring and not see everything. I ate my weight in gelato, got an incredible tan, and overall just enjoyed this beautiful city. I can’t recommend it enough.