Day Trips From Taormina Sicily image of Taormina Sicily

Unforgettable Day Trips from Taormina, Sicily

Let’s embark on an unforgettable journey through Sicily’s wonders with 2TravelingAfter1. Read about how to do day trips from Taormina to Catania, Messina, and Syracuse, where ancient ruins and vibrant cultures await exploration. Each destination offers a captivating blend of history, architecture, and culinary delights, from Catania’s bustling streets to Syracuse’s ancient Greek theater.

Venture further into Sicily’s heartland with day trips to Mount Etna, Villa Romana del Casale and Caltagirone, and the Valley of the Temples and Agrigento. Ascend Europe’s most active volcano, marvel at intricate mosaics, and wander among ancient Greek temples. Whether you’re drawn to volcanic landscapes or ancient ruins, Sicily promises a rich tapestry of experiences that will leave you enchanted and inspired.

 

Here are our top picks for day trips from Taormina. Whether you have a full day or just a few hours, we have some great options for exploring Sicily.

Table of Contents

Day Trip to Catania

Trains from Taormina-Giardini Station in Taormina Sicily are great for day trips from Taormina

 

Cicero often hailed Catania as “the greatest Greek city and the most beautiful of them all”, a testament to Sicily’s rich history and enduring allure. Located just a short train ride from the charming town of Taormina, Catania beckons travelers with its energy, historic landmarks, and fresh and authentic Sicilian cuisine, making it an ideal day trip destination.

 

 

Hop on a train from Taormina and embark on a short (approximately 35 minutes) roundtrip journey for around $33 USD. Arrive at Catania Centrale station, stress-free and ready to explore. Don’t miss the ornate Baroque architecture that adorns the city’s streets, which is evidence of its rich cultural heritage. Wander through La Pescheria; this hectic and bustling market is a must-do attraction in Catania and one of the largest fish markets in Sicily. Immerse yourself in the vibrant rhythms of daily life and taste some of the freshest seafood and vegetables you’ve ever tasted.

 

Plates of fresh seafood on a street cart at the market in Catania Sicily
2 Traveling After 1 at the Catania market seated under a colorful canopy of upside down umbrellas in bright colors

 

Catania’s history and city center invite visitors to delve into its past, with landmarks such as the imposing Catania Cathedral and the ancient Greek and Roman Amphitheaters offering glimpses into its storied history. Stroll along Via Etnea, lined with boutiques and cafes, before heading to the bustling Piazza del Duomo, the heart of Catania’s social scene. Whether you’re savoring Sicilian delicacies at a local trattoria or admiring the majestic beauty of Mount Etna looming in the distance, Catania promises a day filled with unforgettable experiences that capture the essence of Sicily’s charm and beauty.

 

Day Trip to Messina

 

Nestled along the northeastern coast of Sicily, Messina emerges as one of the most captivating day trips from Taormina. Not only is it easily accessible by train to Messina Centrale station (approximately 45 minutes) but also only $18.44 per person roundtrip. With its rich history, vibrant culture, and bustling port, Messina offers a fascinating blend of ancient charm and contemporary vibrancy, making it an ideal excursion for travelers seeking to delve deeper into Sicily’s diverse tapestry.

As you journey from Taormina to Messina by train, you’ll be treated to incredible views of the Ionian Sea and lush landscapes, setting the stage for a rewarding adventure. Upon arrival, the city’s contemporary ambiance, its bustling streets, modern amenities, and thriving port serve as a gateway to the Mediterranean and mainland Italy. Explore the historic heart of Messina, where ancient landmarks such as the Cathedral of Messina with its bell tower contain one of the most impressive astronomical clocks in the world.

It is worth trying to be there a few minutes before noon, where you will see a rooster flap its wings, raise its head, and crow three times. Also, at the top of the tower, the crowned lion (symbol of the Province of Messina) carries Messina’s flag.

At midday, it waves the flag, moves its tail, turns its head, and roars three times. Directly adjacent to the cathedral is the Fountain of Orion, this grand 16th-century fountain with statues of mythological figures was built to celebrate running water, standing in stark contrast to the city’s dynamic energy.

 

View of astronomic clock tower and Messina Cathedral, Basilica Cathedral di Santa Maria Assunta

 

Messina’s importance as a contemporary city is underscored by its bustling port, which serves as a vital hub for trade and transportation in the region. Watch from the Viale Principe Umberto Scenic Overlook and see the cruise ships and ferries navigate the Strait of Messina, connecting Sicily to mainland Italy and beyond.

Directly across the street from this impressive viewpoint is the Tempio Votivo di Cristo Re (Votive Temple of Christ the King), a large tower holding a bell that is one of the largest in Italy. Whether you’re admiring the intricate details of the Astronomical Clock Tower or indulging in fresh seafood on the waterfront, Messina offers a captivating blend of old-world charm and modern sophistication that promises to enchant every visitor.

 

Day Trip to Syracuse

 

Another can’t-miss day trip from Taormina is a slightly longer but equally unforgettable train trip from Taormina to Syracuse. This convenient and comfortable trip takes you through Sicily’s picturesque landscapes and is a wonderful way to reach this historic gem.

Upon arrival in Syracuse, the train station is a short walk from Ortigia. Step back as you explore the enchanting Old Town, the Island of Ortigia. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is brimming with ancient ruins and charming streets. Wander through winding alleyways lined with quaint cafes and boutiques, partaking in a sea of Granita shops, beautiful shops, and the city’s timeless atmosphere.

No visit to Syracuse is complete without a stroll through the bustling fresh food market, Ortigia Street Market (open every day except Sunday). Vibrant stalls overflow with locally sourced produce, cheeses, and seafood. Indulge your senses as you sample Sicily’s delights, engage with local vendors who talk as much with their hands as their mouths, and gain insight into the island’s vibrant gastronomic culture.

 

View down the street with stalls lining both sides of the Syracuse Market in Sicily

 

For a glimpse into Syracuse’s storied past, venture to the imposing Castel Maniace, a medieval fortress overlooking the shimmering waters of the Mediterranean. Climb its ancient ramparts for panoramic views of Ortiga island and the sea, offering breathtaking views and unforgettable memories.

 

Interior view of Castel Maniace in Ortigia Sicily with large archways to the right, fortress walls in the distance

 

On your day trip from Taormina, explore Syracuse. Be sure to visit the legendary Arethusa Spring, a natural wonder steeped in myth and history. According to ancient legend, the nymph Arethusa transformed into a freshwater spring to escape the advances of the river god Alpheus. Today, this picturesque oasis invites visitors to admire the lush vegetation and crystal-clear waters that have captivated travelers for centuries.

 

Ancient fountain next to the ocean with many papyrus plants in Syracuse Sicily

 

Continue your journey through Syracuse’s historic heart with a visit to the iconic Piazza del Duomo, a bustling square surrounded by architectural marvels. Marvel at the grandeur of the Cathedral of Syracuse, a stunning example of Baroque architecture adorned with intricate carvings and frescoes. Nearby, the ornate façade of the Archbishop’s Palace and the elegant columns of the Church of Santa Lucia offer further glimpses into the city’s rich heritage.

 

View of large stone wall and cutouts looking into the ancient quarry in the Neapolis Site in Syracuse Sicily

 

For a deeper dive into Syracuse’s ancient past, head to the Neapolis Archaeological Park, where millennia of history come to life amid the ruins of ancient Greek and Roman civilizations. Explore the sprawling amphitheater, where gladiators once battled for glory, and marvel at the well-preserved Greek theater, still used today for performances against the backdrop of the Mediterranean Sea. From ancient quarries to the Ear of Dionysius, a cave renowned for its exceptional acoustics, the Neapolis Archaeological Park offers a fascinating journey through Syracuse’s storied past.

 

Historic greek outdoor stone theater

 

Syracuse promises an unforgettable day trip from Taormina with its captivating natural landscapes, rich history, and archaeological treasures.

Day Trip to Mt Etna

Embark on an exhilarating day trip from Taormina to the majestic Mount Etna, where the journey is as breathtaking as the destination. Opting for a rental car excursion offers the freedom to explore at your own pace, allowing you to stop and soak in the awe-inspiring sights along the way. It is also possible to take the bus from Catania

View driving down the highway with Mount Etna in the distance

 

After a scenic drive from Taormina, we arrived at the base of Mount Etna and prepared for an adventure unlike any other. We boarded the gondola lift, which provided a thrilling ascent through what is best described as a lunar landscape. The lift offered panoramic views of the surrounding Sicilian countryside.

Upon reaching higher altitudes, we transitioned to 4×4 trucks for an exhilarating off-road journey toward the 2002 crater. We navigated rugged terrain, drawing closer to the volcanic wonder that has shaped Sicily’s landscape for millennia.

 

Image of white with a red stripe 4x4 truck used to bring passengers up to the crater of the Mount Etna Volcano in Sicily

 

As you disembark from the trucks, lace up your hiking boots and embark on the final leg of the journey—a guided trek to the crater itself. Traverse surreal snow-covered landscapes marked by volcanic ash and lava formations, feeling the raw power of nature beneath your feet.

Standing at the crater’s edge, we gazed into the abyss and marveled at the sheer magnitude of Mount Etna’s presence. Safety concerns reminded us of this active volcano’s volatile nature while we yearned to venture closer to the 2021 eruption crater.

 

Two Traveling After One standing on the edge of the crater atop Mt Etna volcano in Sicily. Snow in the background
Image of the new peak of Mount Etna volcano in Sicily with wispy clouds surrounding and some smoke coming from the top

 

Though we could not witness the latest eruption firsthand, our experience at Mount Etna was nothing short of otherworldly. As we descended from the summit, our hearts full of wonder and gratitude, we knew this unforgettable day trip would forever be etched in our memories. Don’t miss out on exploring Mount Etna’s awe-inspiring beauty, a testament to the raw power and majesty of the natural world.

The Gondola and 4×4 excursion are purchased separately. You can take just the Gondola or even hike up to where the Gondola drops you off. The Gondola cost 50 euros per person, and the 4×4 excursion and guided tour to the crater cost 38 euros per person. We thought it was worth it to go up to the crater on the 4×4 truck from the Gondola; this was where the truly amazing views were from and where you could see the crater and even feel the steam and warmth coming out of the earth!

 

Day Trip to Villa Romana del Casale and Caltagirone

We embarked on an enriching day trip from Taormina to Villa Romana del Casale and Caltagirone. History, art, and culture converged to offer an unforgettable journey through Sicily’s past and present. While this excursion may require more time, the rewards are boundless, promising a deeper appreciation for the island’s cultural heritage.

Maroon colored sign for the Villa Romano Del Casale in Sicily

 

By setting out on another rental car excursion, you’ll enjoy the flexibility to explore at your own pace, allowing ample time to soak in the sights and immerse yourself in the rich history of each destination. As you traverse the scenic countryside en route to Villa Romana del Casale, marvel at the lush landscapes and picturesque vistas that unfold before you.

 

Sicilian countyside picture with blue skies and mountains in the background

 

Upon arrival at Villa Romana del Casale, step back to the height of the Roman Empire, where this ancient villa once served as a luxurious retreat for Roman nobility. Discover the villa’s famed mosaic tile floors, renowned as some of the world’s best-preserved examples of ancient Roman artistry. From intricate geometric patterns to vivid depictions of mythological scenes, each mosaic offers a glimpse into the opulence and sophistication of Roman life during the fourth century C.E.

 

Exterior image of 4th century Villa Romana villa and estate in Sicily
Multicolored roman mosaic tlle floor from the interior of the 4th century Villa Romana, a villa and estate

 

After exploring the villa’s archaeological wonders, continue your journey to Caltagirone, a charming town celebrated for its artisan ceramics and historic architecture. Stroll along the picturesque streets adorned with colorful ceramic tiles, pausing to admire the intricate designs adorning buildings and monuments throughout the town. Be sure to visit the famous Scala di Santa Maria del Monte, a monumental staircase decorated with vibrant ceramic tiles offering panoramic views of the small town below.

As the day draws to a close, reflect on the cultural treasures you’ve encountered and the memories you’ve made during this immersive day trip from Taormina. While longer than our previous excursions, the journey to Villa Romana del Casale and Caltagirone is a testament to Sicily’s rich heritage and enduring legacy. It offers an experience that will leave a lasting impression on every traveler.

Day Trip to Valley of the Temples and Agrigento

Another of  our day trips from Taormina to the Valley of the Temples, Agrigento, and the breathtaking Turkish Steps on the coast. While this excursion may be our longest drive and day trip, it is an absolute must-do, offering a profound exploration of Sicily’s ancient history and stunning coastal beauty.

When you rent a car in Sicily, you’ll have the freedom to chart your course and allow ample time to fully immerse yourself in the wonders of each location. As you traverse the scenic countryside en route to Agrigento, marvel at the rolling hills and picturesque vistas that unfold before you, setting the stage for a day of discovery and adventure.

empty two lane road in Sicily with a curve to the right and a mountain in the background

Upon arrival at the Valley of the Temples, prepare to be transported back to ancient Greece, where majestic temples and awe-inspiring ruins stand as testaments to the island’s rich heritage. Wander among the towering columns of the Temple of Concordia, marvel at the intricate carvings of the Temple of Olympian Zeus, and contemplate the mysteries of the past as you explore this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Ancient temple in the ruins of Akragas city in the Valley of the Temples, Agrigento Sicily

 

After exploring the Valley of the Temples, continue your journey to Agrigento’s stunning coastline, where the Turkish Steps await. Carved by nature over a millennium, these striking white cliffs cascade down to meet the azure waters of the Mediterranean, creating a dramatic backdrop for sun-soaked relaxation or invigorating exploration.

As your day ends, reflect on the wonders you’ve encountered and the memories you’ve made during this remarkable day trip. While it may be our longest excursion yet, the journey to the Valley of the Temples, Agrigento, and the Turkish Steps is an amazing experience for any traveler seeking to uncover Sicily’s timeless beauty and rich history.

 

The Historic Spendors and Natural Wonders of Day Trips from Taormina

We hope you enjoyed our journey through Sicily’s history and natural beauty with us. It has been great reflecting on our experiences, filled with unforgettable memories from our day trips from Taormina. From Catania’s ancient ruins to Messina’s vibrant streets, each destination has offered a unique blend of history, culture, and food we will never forget. Venturing further to Syracuse, we were captivated by the island’s rich past and charming people, while the majestic Mount Etna reminded us of nature’s awe-inspiring power. Exploring Villa Romana del Casale and Caltagirone allowed us to delve deeper into Sicily’s cultural heritage. At the same time, the Valley of the Temples and Agrigento offered a profound journey through ancient history and breathtaking coastal beauty. As our travels come to a close, we’re filled with gratitude for the memories we’ve made and the experiences we’ve shared, knowing that Sicily will forever linger in our hearts and minds.

How to Get There and The Cost

Train 

For most of our day trips from Taormina, we took the train from Taormina- Giardini station. Tickets can be bought at the station or booked online in advance through Tren Italia. Tickets require check in prior to boarding the train by clicking the link in the confirmation email. Save the QR code to your phone with a screenshot and then show it to the ticket takers on the train when asked for them to scan. 

Ticket prices depend on travel date, time and destination and can be viewed on Tren Italia’s website. For two people, we paid between $30 and $60 USD for round trip tickets.

Getting from Taormina to the Train Station

There are three ways to get to Taormina-Giardini station from Taormina. 

  • Walking – a 1.5km walk taking around 26min. The walk is down hill on a path. We would’t recommend doing it with suitcases and the end of the path is dirt. The path offers scenic views and was a fairly easy walk down to the station. 
  • Taxi – Grab a taxi and any of the taxi stands in town. It’s a 15 -25 minute drive depending on your starting point and traffic. The ride will cost between 20 and 30 euros.
  • Bus – Look for the Fermat Signs that indicate bus stops. Tickets may be bought onboard and cost 1.90 euro per person. Schedules can be found here
Car

To do day trips from Taormina on your own, do a one-day or a multi-day rental to get better pricing. There are rental car and scooter places all over town and also some of the major car rental companies. We rented from California Rent Car. The cost was 85 euro per day for a compact car with all insurance included. Cars can be reserved online through their website. One of the reasons we used this provider is that they offer overnight parking in Taormina so doing a multi day rental was easy. Parking in Taomina is very difficult! 

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