Caption: Enjoy a relaxing break in this sunshine-y Sicilian town.
Taormina is one of the most beautiful towns in Sicily. Loved by Sicilians as a summer break destination, the town sits precariously on a hilltop, with the nearby Mount Etna looking over it. The streets are cobbled and lined with historic buildings. Balconies overflow with brightly colored flowers for most of the year thanks to its warm Mediterranean climate. Beside the town, trails drop down to dramatic coves with soft sandy beaches. From these beaches, it’s possible when the tide is right to walk to the incredibly picturesque island of Isola Bella. If this doesn’t sound dreamy, then by all means leave Taormina to the rest of us. However, if your bag is already packed, then here are some tips on where to see in this sparkling Sicilian gem.
Many people flock to Sicily’s largest town, Catania, to visit Mount Etna, but staying at Taormina is even closer to this incredible volcano. The most active volcano in Europe, and the second most active on Earth after Kilauea in Hawaii, a visit to Mount Etna almost guarantees a view of an eruption. Although some may seem scared at the prospect of visiting an active volcano, Mount Etna has not caused damage to any buildings or people in more than one thousand years. If you’d like to visit Mount Etna or Mongibello as called by locals, then the best way is to catch the Funivia cable car from Rifugio Sapienza. The cable car will take you up to a height of 2500 meters from where you can begin your descent. Tour operators organize jeep rides around the volcano or back into town, or you can join guided hikes that will take you on a tour of the Valle del Bove.
Eat by the Beach
For those who want to experience unparalleled views of the Ionian coastline, there is one restaurant that surpasses all. Restaurant Oliviero by the Villa Sant’Andrea is in one of the most idyllic locations in town. Set on its own private bit of coastline, overlooking the water and the dramatic cliffs, this restaurant would be brilliant even if the food was only average. The good news is, the food is as perfect as the view. Local ingredients are allowed to shine at Restaurant Oliviero, with delectable and simple starters such as a selection of expertly prepared raw fish from the market, or delicate main courses like wild sea bass on a bed of just roasted cherry tomatoes, black olives, and sharp, juicy capers. Enjoy lunchtime here in the sunshine and stay in the evening for a cocktail at the bar.
If you’ve had quite enough mountain air for one day then there are several good nightlife locations in Taormina. One of them is the Red Royale Casino which offers poker and roulette, as well as lots of different slot machines. For those who’ve played before it’s easy to dive straight in, but if you’re a little unsure then it’s always a good idea to do some research into how to win at slots before settling in for a game.
Once you’ve had your fun at the casino you can head on to one of Taormina’s picturesque balcony bars. Q Lounge Bar is one of the largest and most popular, perfect if you want to skip the quiet drinks and head straight to the party. A beautiful old tree shades the balcony from the heat of the sun during the day, making this a great lunchtime spot, but the terrace really comes alive at night. You’ll find locals and tourists alike here, with one thing in common, they’ll have a Negroni in hand, and be up for a great night.