Taormina has long been the kind of place people go to really relax, so with three days in Taormina, you shouldn’t feel guilty if lounging at the beach is at the top of your to-do list. Of course, the city has some sights you may want to check out during your stay and offers plenty of excellent day trip options that may entice you away from the sand. Here's how to make the most of your time in Taormina.Day 1: Intro to Taormina
Get to know Taormina on your first day. That means—in no particular order—meandering up and down the Corso Umberto I to get an idea of what souvenirs you might want to buy later, walking up to the Greek Theatre to see the city’s most famous attraction, and taking the Funivia (cable car) down to Lido Mazzaro to while away a sunny day lying on the beach.
If you’re not the sunbathing type, or if you just want another something to do during your first day, this is a great time to take a walking tour or other guided tour of Taormina. You’ll start your visit with important information from a local expert guide, including historic context and probably some restaurant recommendations, too.
Punctuate this day with stops for gelato, coffee, and other assorted snacks—not to mention a healthy amount of people-watching in the pretty piazzas in the Medieval Quarter—and you’re sure to fall in love with Taormina in your first 24 hours.
Day 2: Take a Day Trip from Taormina
Your second day is a perfect opportunity to take a day trip from Taormina to one of the many attractions and destinations in the surrounding area.
Visiting Mt Etna, Europe’s largest active volcano, is a popular excursion—but if the weather isn’t good, you won’t be able to hike up very far or see very much. So if the volcano is on your must-see list, you might want to remain flexible on which day you get to Mt Etna in order to have the best chances of good weather.
Other day trip options include the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Siracusa’s historic center and the spectacular ancient Greek ruins in the Valley of the Temples near Agrigento. You could also check out what other beaches in Sicily are like with a trip to the Cyclops Riviera or even up to Cefalu outside Palermo.
Day 3: Active or Relaxed
Day three in Taormina can be another relaxed day close to the city, or can be a chance to take in yet another day trip destination, depending on where else your Sicily itinerary is taking you.
Maybe you’d like to see one of the day trip options listed above—Mt Etna, Siracusa, the Valley of the Temples, or the Cyclops Riviera—because you can’t quite fathom the idea of only seeing one of those destinations. Maybe you’ve got another spot in mind—the Baroque towns of the Val di Noto, for instance, or the Aeolian Islands.
If you want to stay closer to Taormina, there are more beaches to explore. Just below Taormina is the small nature reserve of Isola Bella and the beach-lined bay that surrounds it, and a bit to the south is the beautiful beach resort of Giardini-Naxos. And if you’re not enthused about more beaches, then you might like to hike up the hill above Taormina to tiny Castelmola for a 360-degree view, or take a cooking class for the kind of souvenir that will last a lifetime.