Taormina is an area in the region of Sicily that is home to natural landscapes, delicious food, places full of history and culture, boat trips and many more options for you to enjoy. Also, being on top of a cliff, the way to move around the city is quite simple, which makes it easy to connect with every activity.
Here is a list of the best tours in Taormina, covering various activities such as culinary classes, gastronomic tours, walks by the sea, visits to the historic centre and its landmarks, etc.. All with the aim of making sure you don't miss out on any of the best things to do in Taormina.
1. Gastronomic classes to learn how to prepare the typical food of Taormina
One of my favourite options, and I hope it can be yours too, is to sign up for the gastronomy class tour, in order to learn how to prepare typical food of the region. These are the best cooking classes in Taormina. You can choose between a workshop focused only on desserts or opt for classes to prepare savoury dishes.
Option 1: Private workshop for dessert lovers
One of the attractions of Taormina is its gastronomy, especially when it comes to desserts. For this reason, it is possible to find different pastry shops around the city. However, the chefs who make life in the area have decided to take the experience to another level.
Learn how to prepare the famous cannoli, a classic dessert of the region, which consists of a fried dough filled with cream and ricotta cheese. All this with the guidance of a private chef, who will guide you through every step of this delicious recipe. At the end, you will be able to taste everything you have prepared, accompanied by a coffee or tea.
Option 2: Typical Sicilian Cooking Lessons
If you want to challenge yourself even more on a gastronomic level, choose this option which consists of a class to prepare a homemade lunch. The experience is quite immersive and usually starts with a meeting in Corso Umberto I with the chef to visit the Taormina market to buy the ingredients.
During the tour, you will learn how to choose the best products and how to handle them correctly. Afterwards, you will go to the restaurant and get down to work. You'll prepare fresh pasta, the renowned Sicilian caponata and other local dishes such as courgette flowers and fresh sardines. At the end, it's time to taste everything, accompanied by regional wines and liqueurs.
Details of interest
- Price: if you opt for the dessert option, the average price is around €50, while if you choose the second option, the investment extends to around €85.
- Duration: the first option can be spread over two hours, while the second option's classes, including the market visit, can last around five hours.
2. Tour of the historic centre of Taormina and its most important places
Getting to know Taormina is easier than other cities, because many of its main attractions are located in the historic centre. So if you plan to spend 1 day in Taormina you can take this tour, which passes through the heart of the city and visits iconic places such as the Corvaja Palace or the ancient theatre.
The start of this tour is usually scheduled from the southern part of the city, at Porta Catania, one of Taormina's fortresses, built around 1440. Thus, the idea is to contemplate all the architectural features that make this a medieval city.
Other essential places chosen for this tour include:
- Taormina Cathedral, the main catholic place of worship in the city.
- Piazza IX Aprile, a historic square from where you can see the Gulf of Taormina in all its splendour.
- Palazzo Corvaja, a stone fortress representing the Arab influence in the region during the 9th century.
- Ancient Theatre, built in the 3rd century BC, which has served as a venue for artistic performances by the Greeks and as a wrestling arena for the Romans.
You will also see the Town Hall Building, the Church of Santa Caterina, the ancient Roman Naumachie Gymnasium, the Odeon, as well as the many pottery shops, markets, craft stalls, bars and cafes to experience the local gastronomy and have a drink.
Details of interest
- Price: the cost of this tour is usually around €10, as it is not an open-ended or self-paced tour, but one designed for small groups. Of course, you can do the tour on your own, but if you do it with a guide you will save time and it will be easier to choose where you want to go.
- Duration: 2 hours (approx.)
- Means of transport: on foot.
- Advantages of this option: you will see all the must-see sights of Taormina while listening to its history.
- Disadvantages of this option: it does not include entry to any of the tourist destinations visited.
3. Boat trip along the coast of Taormina to the bay of Giardini Naxos
Taormina is a cliff-side town bathed by the Ionian Sea, an arm of the Mediterranean. For this reason, it is possible to do various water activities in its surroundings. So I recommend this boat trip along the coast of Taormina to the bay of Giardini Naxos, which is always included among the best day trips from Taormina.
During this tour, which lasts about a couple of hours, you will be delighted by the breathtaking views of Taormina and Isola Bella from the sea and you will be accompanied by professional guides ready to help you in any way you need.
As you make your way along the coast, you will see:
- The cave of love and the blue cave, two famous caves in the bay of Isola Bella.
- The Hotel Capotaormina, a well-known hotel in town with a striking structure and architecture.
- The Grotta di Sant'Andrea, near the fishing village Baia delle Sirene.
- The Scoglio dell'elefante, a huge 20-metre high rock shaped like an elephant.
Afterwards, you will stop to enjoy the waters of the Mediterranean, so you can do various water activities such as swimming, snorkelling, photography and a different perspective of the city from the boat you are sailing on.
- Price: the price of the activity is approximately 50€ per person.
- Duration: 2 hours (approx.).
- Means of transport: boat.
- Advantages of this option: you will discover beautiful natural scenery along the coast of Taormina.
- Disadvantages of this option: access for wheelchair users is limited.
4. Photographic experience through the most picturesque places of Taormina
If you are a content creator, a student or lover of photography or simply want to capture the best images of your trip to Taormina, this experience is the ideal choice for you. It is a tour of the most charming places in the city, accompanied by a professional, who will teach you the basics of photography.
The tour usually starts somewhere along Corso Umberto, such as Porta Catania. From there you will start the process of visual creation, analysing the space, the shots, the colours, the use of light and much more, to capture professional quality images.
As you progress through the photo session, you will be able to contemplate and capture different locations, such as:
- Corso Umberto I, which is the main artery of the city and contains a vast amount of monuments, fortresses, statues, shops, restaurants and bars.
- Palazzo Corvaja, an ancient stone building that still retains some of the most noticeable traces of Moorish influence in its structure.
- Piazza IX Aprile, which functions as a sort of public terrace from where you can enjoy incredible panoramic views of the Gulf and the volcano Etna.
- Villa Comunale historical garden, to capture images of various exotic flowers, typical plants of the region and staircases.
As a final result of this activity, you will receive the photographic work done in high resolution, to share them on your social networks or in any way you wish, with your friends, family and acquaintances.
Details of interest
- Price: the experience usually has an average cost of €399 per person.
- Duration: 2 hours (approx.).
- Means of transport: on foot.
- Advantages of this option: you will get professional quality images of several important places in Taormina.
- Disadvantages of this option: transfer for wheelchair users is limited.
5. Gastronomic and wine tour through the bars and restaurants of Taormina
Taormina, like all the small towns that make up the region of Sicily, has an important culinary tradition. Therefore, one of the essential activities when visiting the city is to take a gastronomic and wine tour through some of the bars and restaurants. In them, you will taste classic Italian recipes with Mediterranean products and exclusive drinks.
Most probably, the starting point of this tour will be Corso Umberto I, as it concentrates the largest number of places to eat and drink. Also, as many of the places included in this tour are open in the evening, visitors often include it among the things to do in Taormina at night.
The tour usually includes a visit to the following venues:
- Franco Wine bar & Typical Sicilian Food, with delicious salads, lasagne and many more. Also, desserts such as tiramisu, parfait and, to drink, an extensive wine list.
- Shaker Caffe', where you can try the popular cannolis, Sicilian pastries and enjoy a delicious craft beer.
- Osteria Il Vicoletto, with exceptional wine service, vegetarian food and the classic Italian dishes: pasta and pizza.
- Amigos bar, an ideal place to enjoy drinks such as beer or a good cappuccino, accompanied by pastries or cannolis.
- Ristorante Badia, a restaurant specialising in seafood, where you can enjoy pasta with seafood, tuna pizza and an incredible swordfish recipe.
Once this tour is over, you will be ready to return to the hotel and rest, or pick up your bags for your return flight using a transfer service to Taormina airport.
- Price: generally, the value of this tour is from 79€ per person.
- Duration: 3 hours (approx.).
- Means of transport: on foot.
- Advantages of this option: you will taste delicious dishes prepared with fresh ingredients produced in the region.
- Disadvantages of this option: as this is a walking tour, wheelchair access may be limited.
6. Ride the Taormina funicular to admire the aerial views of the area and visit the Isola Bella beach
Alternatively, for aerial views of Taormina, the bay and the surrounding area, you can take a ride on the funicular railway. This is one of the most popular means of transport in the area as it connects the upper and lower parts of the area.
The Taormina - Mazzaró cable car completes its journey in just 2 minutes and will connect you to Mazzaró, giving you access to the coast and the beach at your own pace.
If you want to sunbathe, admire the sunset, swim or just sit and watch the waves, you can do so once you arrive in Mazzaró and walk for about 10 minutes to the beach of Isola Bella.
Also, if you want to explore the town a little, there are plenty of options for you to do so. For example, you can take a quick tour of the Regional Naturalistic Museum of Isola Bella. You can also take advantage of your presence in the area to enjoy traditional snacks, food and drinks in the surrounding restaurants and bars.
- Price: the entrance ticket to the funicular costs approximately €3 per person.
- Duration: funicular ride 2 minutes and exploration of Mazzaró and Isola Bella beach 2 hours (approx.).
- Means of transport: funicular.
- Advantages of this option: you will have unique views of the city, the Ionian Sea and the bay in a quick ride.
- Disadvantages of this option: meals and drinks are not included.
What will I see on this type of Taormina tour?
On this type of Taormina tour you will see a wide variety of things. Initially, the tours focus on showing the beauty of the landscape, which is made up of panoramic views of the city and nearby areas, such as the Ionian Sea and Mount Etna.
You will also see a range of medieval buildings that were prominent in the corresponding period. You will see the influence of Arab culture in this region, which once belonged to the East.
On top of that, you will see and taste a variety of Sicilian and Italian dishes, including classic pastas and pizzas, along with more authentic preparations made with local produce, such as seafood and various types of fish.
Tips for a tour of Taormina
When making your trip to Taormina, there are a few things to keep in mind. For example, if you have travelled in your own or rented car, it is best to leave it in a car park, as this is a cliff-top city with a large number of pedestrian streets.
Since the best option is to move around on foot, it is recommended to wear closed shoes or, otherwise, to be very careful when walking, as the streets are cobbled and uneven and you might get hurt.
According to the season of the year in which you are going on the tour, you should select the right clothes to move around the city. For example, in summer you will need short , breathable, cotton clothes, as the weather is hot, dry and muggy. Winter, on the other hand, is windy and cloudy, so clothes should be sturdy and warm.