TAORMINA – SICILY
The first time we went to Sicily was about 7 years ago, we went to Siracusa for 2 weeks. While we were there we visited Taormina for a day and said we would return there for a holiday in the future.
So we returned there last June for a week’s holiday. We were 6 months pregnant so a nice relaxing holiday with lots of good food and early nights was on the cards and Taormin didn’t disappoint. The town itself is up on the mountain so the main mode of transport is the cable car. We’re beach people so we stayed in Taormina Mazzaro which is a lovely beach area just 5 mins by cable car from the town. I would recommend staying in this area if you are going for the beach or else stay in the town as the cable car closes around 2am. You can get a taxi after that but it will set you back €20 each time.
Our hotel Villa Sant Andrea www.framonhotels.com or for really good pictures try www.booking.com (search Sicily) was right on the beach with fabulous views, a friend of ours in Sunways booked it for us so we had a huge terrace overlooking the beach. The hotel itself was very quaint and traditionally decorated and the gardens were fabulous. At night they lit candles throughout the gardens and the walkways – very romantic! It’s a perfect hotel for couples and weddings. We ate in the restaurant one night, it was a bit expensive and once again the food was only average. Italians don’t do haute cuisine very well, they just seem to lose the flavour! The restaurant itself overlooks the beach and I would definitely recommend having dinner there one night just for the setting and the atmosphere alone but get the visa card ready.
If you are looking for a family hotel, Bru’s mom had stayed in Taormina the week before us and she stayed in Letojanni in the Hotel Antares www.sunways.ie . She said the food was very good and there was nightly entertainment for the family. Taormina was accessible by cable car also so it is a good location.
Taormina itself is really quaint and very traditional with it’s little side streets and archways and the big church in the centre. It’s a very popular place for weddings, there are a few cafes beside the church and you could spend hours just sitting there watching everybody , most of the weddings seemed to be Italian.
There are a great selection of restaurants in the town, most of them are down the little side streets and alleyways. There are 2 very good restaurants near the church www.ristorantealduomo.it and our favourite L’orologgio which was up the steps beside the church and the Wunderbar cafe. We actually ate there twice, it’s a family run restaurant with great food especially the fish and the antipasti buffet. Swordfish is a speciality of Sicily and they serve it fresh everyday, make sure to try the smoked version as a starter. The prosciutto melone was one of the best I’ve had in Italy. It’s such a simple dish but so tasty.
There are a lot of bars along the main street Corso Umberto, but don’t be afraid to wander down the steps that lead off it. You’ll find a great selection of really nice bars to have an aperitif or a few bevies. All the bars serve a great selection of cocktails, spirits and beers. We’re a bit partial to Bombay gin and tonic but I unfortunately wasn’t able to drink it this time, but Bru had a couple extra for me. He’s so sweet sometimes!!
We love our gelato as I’ve mentioned before, there is a big bright orange gelateria on the main street with the best display you’ve ever seen and of course the ice-cream was only average. Go into one of the smaller, traditional shops and I can guarantee there is no comparison in the quality and flavour. Needless to say in my condition I consumed quite a few gelati!!!
The great thing about Taormina is that there are a lot of sight-seeing excursions from there, a visit to Mt Etna is a must. You can also get the ferry to Malta, we went on our first trip and loved it. Malta has 2 sides to it, the commercial part and the old town which is really quaint and traditional. The casino is a great option as it stays open all night if you prefer to stay away from the bar scene which is quite touristy and lively.
If anyone else has a restaurant recommendation or anything extra to add, please do in the comments section. I’m sure there are a lot of people travelling there this summer and it’s great to know a few places before you arrive.
p.s. We had to stay in the Capotaormina hotel for 2 nights and I wouldn’t recommend it as it’s in a really bad location. There is no access to the cable car so you have to get a taxi home every night.