LATEST TRAVELS

Weekend Getaway: Taormina, Sicily

Last June my husband had a work conference in a sunny Sicilian city called Taormina, so we decided to tag along. And I am so happy that we did! It was sunny, bright, warm and beautiful… which are all great excuses for a gelato everyday, right?

Known as the ‘pearl of the Mediterranean’ Taormina is simply idyllic. In addition to delicious food and lovely weather, there are pretty little side streets with medieval buildings to explore. Taormina is a small postcard-picture-perfect city in Sicily with Mount Etna in the distance, cerulean blue waters, gorgeous rocky beaches, and jaw-dropping vistas down to the sea. Then just a short drive away into the mountains, you can visit epic wineries and quaint little towns. It is a lovely place for a family holiday!

While my husband worked the first few days, my two sidekicks and I explored. We loved the pace of the city — slow and steady and very Sicilian. We didn’t go into cultural overdrive; instead we opted for walking, eating, and swimming. And frequent gelato intermissions. Joseph’s first gelato had to happen. So did his tenth and eleventh! 🙂

Pre-trip planning :

  • Transportation — we wouldn’t recommend hiring a car unless you have plans for several day trips. Streets are very narrow, and parking is limited. We used a taxi to and from the airport instead. So easy! Most come with carseats if you book in advance.
  • Weather — It was super hot in June, and the heat quickly builds into the summer months, so prepare correctly depending on what time of year you visit. I packed mainly linen clothes when we had them and thank goodness I did, because they are designed for staying really cool. And hats!
  • Buggies — I wouldn’t recommend it for the most part. Unless you are staying right in the town. I used our baby carrier exclusively and it worked best. There are so many steps and uneven surfaces, I think a buggy is more hassle than it is worth.  

Visit

  • Teatro Greco or Ampitheatre — This is the cultural part of the trip I wouldn’t pass up. It is amazing! Even if it is just for the 360 degree views of water, volcano, and more! We happened to arrive just before a free evening concert began, so we quickly had some dinner nearby then enjoyed music sitting in the outdoor ampitheatre as the sun set after a wonderful day. It was goose bump worthy. You must visit! 
  • Ceramic Street — It is a cute little meandering alley with a million stairs but it is worth it for a quick photo and perhaps a souvenir!
  • Kids’ Shop — My Doll is a little gem of a shop. Sicily has a long tradition of puppets, including the Pinocchio puppet figurines, and this shop had such a cute display! A lovely woman working who was also eager to help.
  • Piazza IX Aprile — the Piazza for wandering, watching people, and taking in the sights.
  • Beach — La Isola Bella is a beautiful beach. Slightly crowded on the weekend, go early in the morning and take a cable car.
  • Il Sandato Caprese – a sweet shop for homemade sandals! Great gifts for mamas to give themselves. 🙂

Food 

  • Maffei’s — A comfortable place to eat with great service and a pretty courtyard! Plus they don’t mind toddlers who practice eating pasta by slurping, they encourage it.
  • Gelato — Look for the freshest ones, always ask for a sample before committing to a whole cone, and well, keep trying until you find your place! 🙂
  • Stecco Natura — Wonderful and fresh ice lollies in every flavour under the sun! Somehow they seem more healthy since they are every colour of the fruit filled rainbow! 🙂
  • Sicilians have amazing pasta, especially Pasta alla Norma, an aubergine pasta, wonderful seafood, and cannoli too! So much to enjoy.

Stay 

  • Dream big! This would be the ultimate place to stay in Taormina, which isn’t where we stayed, but… goals, right? Belmond Grand, also great for a quick water break or drink too! 🙂
  • We visited the San Domenic for work reasons, and loved the pool, gardens, and views. It is not a casual or relaxed place to stay, but very interesting and unique.
  • Find a hotel with a pool. You will need it! Even if you think you prefer beaches, unless you stay directly adjacent to the beach everything takes time to get to. Basically you have to walk down hundreds of steps to get to beaches, along with all of your beach gear! And depending on where you stay in Taormina, you might even need to take the cable car to the beach — which the kids loved. I would recommend staying in town, not by the beach. The action is in town. Also, don’t miss the tradition of la passeggiata, which means a leisurely walk or stroll, especially one taken in the evening for the purpose of socialising. Very Sicilian and not to be missed!

As you can see, we had a wonderful time, especially when my husband was able to join us after his work was finished! Sicily is an easy place to visit, and a family-friendly place too. The warmth from Mediterraneans and their love for little toddlers and children, well, it makes everything easier when travelling. See our other favourite weekend getaways in CampaniaRome and Positano too!

Enjoy Taormina… and if you have any tips, please share. We always love to hear them.
Ciao!
Lara  x


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Comments (2)

Danielle Downey
May 25, 2018

I lived for one year in Taormina and like you say nothing short if idyllic. One MUST visit Bam Bar for the magical Sicilian breakfast of granita and brioche. Also the landscaped villa (park) with view of Mt Etna and even nightime puppet show in summer.


Lara in London
May 25, 2018

Thank you Danielle. That is great info! Now I might just have to visit again to try out your recommendations 🙂


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