Where to stay in Taormina
It’s a good idea to learn a bit about Taormina’s geography before you book accommodation, as hotels, B&BS and holiday apartments are scattered over a variety of locations in the area, and these will offer very different holiday experiences. Where to stay in Taormina really depends on what kind of holiday you’re planning, and your budget. There are hotels, B&Bs and holiday apartments in the historic centre, in picturesque spots further afield, and in locations by the sea nearby. On this page you’ll find a guide to the accommodation options and a selection of the best places to stay.
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Taormina is one of Italy’s smartest tourist destinations, and there are several very grand and long-established hotels in the town, as well as smart and expensive modern hotels offering a luxury experience. There are also cheaper options including simpler hotels and B&Bs. As this is a very popular resort, though, the prices are generally higher than you’ll find elsewhere in Sicily, so it pays to plan and book well in advance to find the best affordable options.
Taormina is a fairly expensive place to stay, but shopping around in advance can find you some affordable accommodation options – especially if you avoid the peak summer season. Staying in spring or autumn means you could enjoy good weather without the crowds and at cheaper prices. If you’re staying on a budget, note that cheaper accommodation may not offer much in the way of breakfast, or of pleasant areas for relaxing, though the town itself has plenty of bars and public spaces to compensate. Restaurants are uncommon in Italian hotels, so proximity to the town centre makes evening dining easier. B&Bs and apartments can offer good-value independent accommodation, but do make sure these establishments have plenty of positive reviews, and read the small print regarding arrival times, left luggage availability and any extra charges. If you have a car, check whether hotels offer parking and if there is an extra charge for this.
Where to stay
The historic centre
The historic centre (centro storico) of Taormina is located on a saddle in the hills high above the sea. The old town was once walled and fairly narrow, with a town gateway (still standing) at each end of the long main street. This picturesque street, Corso Umberto, is still the most important and lively thoroughfare. Largely pedestrianised, it’s picturesque and lined with shops, cafés, restaurants and galleries. Staying in the historic centre is the best way to enjoy the elegant and lively resort atmosphere of Taormina. Once the daytrippers have gone, the lanes become much less crowded, with a more ‘exclusive’ feel, as residents and those spending the night in Taormina mingle in an evening passeggiata.
This is my favourite area to stay in Taormina, to get the full experience of the town. The drawbacks are that it’s less convenient for driving and for public transport (you’ll have to walk out of the town gates to pick up buses and taxis), the old buildings and narrow lanes mean you won’t always get balconies and big views and you might hear noise from restaurants and bars. There aren’t many hotels right in the heart of the historic centre; there are more B&Bs and apartments. Although this is generally the most expensive area to stay in, there are cheaper options. A selection including a good budget hotel is listed further down this page.
Outside the centre
Modern Taormina sprawls along any available bit of slope that’s not too steep either side of the historic centre. Roads wind off through residential areas, and you’ll find larger, more modern hotels in these areas as well as B&Bs. Many are still in comfortable walking distance of the historic centre, so if you’re getting better facilities and cheaper prices, they will make a good compromise as an accommodation choice. Others are further afield, and it’s a good idea to both look at the location map provided in hotel listings, and read the comments of previous guests to get an idea of how convenient the position really is. Some roads are busy and routes may be steep, which will make a difference to walkability. A location at the north-eastern end of town (outside the Porta Messina town gate) will be more convenient for public transport and for taking the cable-car down to the beach.
By the seaside
Although Taormina has excellent views over the Ionian Sea, it is located high above sea level. Staying down by the sea will give you a very different type of vacation: a beach holiday with the opportunity to pay visits to Taormina taking the bus, cable-car or taxi. There are walking routes between Giardini Naxos (the station area) and Taormina and Mazzarò and Taormina, but only suitable for energetic walkers (and at my last visit the Giardini footpath was blocked by landslides).
The beach resort of Giardini Naxos is an established seaside town with its own character, a long narrow beach, cheaper places to stay and buses up to Taormina. You won’t find the best beaches in Sicily along this coastline, but there are small stretches of sand and pebbles, with beach establishments hiring out sunbeds and parasols as well as ‘free beach’ areas. The sandiest areas are at Giardini Naxos and Recanati, to its south, and north of Taormina along the coast around Letojanni.
More directly below Taormina, there are headlands and a couple of small bays, with hotels and other buildings grouped around them. The Isola Bella cove is pretty with its little island and beach, and a short walk to the north is Mazzarò, a settlement around another bay. Staying along this stretch of shore will give you easy sea access, the possibility of picturesque sea views and proximity to the coast road. Although these bays aren’t big and are pebbly, they have the best access to Taormina via a cable-car from Mazzarò, and by bus.
The best places to stay in Taormina – a selection
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Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo
An extremely special place to stay, this is an ideal choice if you’re really looking to splash out and enjoy some olde-world five-star luxury. Situated centrally, on the lane that leads to the Greco-Roman amphitheatre, the elegant historic hotel has terraces, gardens and a pool, with glorious views over the sea and Etna. A shuttle takes guests to the beach.
This three-star boutique hotel is at the Porta Catania end of Corso Umberto. It’s a little place with a rooftop terrace, stylish bedrooms and helpful staff. A convenient option for seeing the sights and also enjoying views.
The two-star Hotel Victoria is good, cheap option, in a perfect central location directly on Corso Umberto. This is a comfortable family-run place to stay with good bedrooms.
Casa Cuseni Maison de Charme
A really special B&B in an elegant historic villa filled with works of art, Casa Cuseni has views over Taormina and the sea. Staying here, you’ll be following in the footsteps of artists and writers and maybe feeling some of the atmosphere of the Taormina of days gone by. Located a little above the historic centre at the Porta Catania end of town.
Tao Apartments – Casa Vittoria
I’ve stayed in one of the Casa Vittoria apartments, right on Corso Umberto in a perfect location for enjoying Taormina. Very comfortable, with a big terrace overlooking the street from high above, and good value for money if you’re travelling as a group or a family. Lots of stairs to climb, though.
Outside the centre
A popular one-star on the Via Pirandello, the road leading down from Taormina to the sea, the Astoria is a good-value choice which is only a short walk from the historic centre (although you will be walking uphill to get there). The hotel, a handsome red villa with sea views, is opposite the bus terminal and close to the cable-car, making it very convenient for travellers using public transport.
Located on a street which winds below the centro storico, the four-star Villa Belvedere is still within walking distance of the sights, with the advantage of sea views, smart rooms and studio apartments, and a swimming pool on a panoramic terrace.
Hotel Villa Ducale
Villa Ducale is a comfortable four-star hotel set in a splendid villa with wide views and offering a touch of luxury. It’s a little way out of town on the road leading inland from Taormina, and offers a shuttle service into town.
Casa Lucia Apartments
Self-catering apartments a short walk from the historic centre, with parking spaces, Casa Lucia will be a practical option for those with cars or wanting an independent stay.
By the sea
A popular four-star hotel on the headland between Isola Bella and Giardini Naxos, the Capotaormina has a swimming pool built into the rock, and a small private beach accessed by a lift inside the cliff. It’s a picturesque place to stay and relax, with terraces, balconies and views towards Etna. The hotel has a shuttle bus operating a few times a day up to Taormina. A good place to stay if you want to be by the sea.
Panoramic Hotel is a modern four-star hotel near the beach, with views over Isola Bella. Taormina can be reached using the cable-car nearby. The hotel is a practical place to stay, with lovely views, although it is near the busy coastal road. It is highly-rated by past guests.
The suggestions above are only a small selection of the accommodation options in Taormina. The resort has a large number of places to stay, and there are many very high-quality and well-reviewed options. Search for availability and prices, read the most up-to-date reviews, and start holiday planning!
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