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Idyllic, cliff top Taormina, with its wonderfully restored medieval treasures, spectacular view across to Etna, and visiting 'beautiful people', had been Sicily's most popular summer destination since the 18th Century, when it was part of the Grand Tour. Even now, the best places to stay in Taormina evoke memories of this period with plenty of period features and classic luxury.
As well as the recommendations from Goethe, Gustav Klimt, Oscar Wilde and Federico Fellini, Taormina also boasts winding, but beautiful streets, complete with bars, restaurants and boutiques. Which might be what sold Taormina to Elizabeth Taylor, who also lends it her recommendation.
In addition to the beauty and life of modern Taormina, this town boasts some pretty spectacular ruins. And lovely cove-like beaches which you can reach by cable car. This is a very civilised sort of a resort town.
Busy with Italians enjoying their own backyard in July and August, Taormina is better visited outside the Italian school holidays.
Our pick of the best places to stay in Taormina are all luxurious options, ideally situated for enjoying this fascinating town and its stunning views. For those looking for a self catering apartment in the city, we recommend the selection with our online partner, Booking.com.
Founded in the 4th Century BC, Taormina grew, and grew wealthy, under the Greeks, developing a citrus farming culture, then fell into obscurity under the Normans. A real microcosm of the whole island, Taormina has some of the best of Sicily's sights:
- A very special Greek Theatre, which has a backdrop of smoking Mt. Etna.
- The medieval main street, the Corso Umberto I, at the end of which is the Palazzo Corvaja, a sublime mix of Arab, Gothic and Norman architecture, and the town's 'castle'. These days its party used as an art museum, and it partly the local tourist office.
- At the other end of the Corso is the Piazza del Duomo, compete with a 13th Century cathedral and impressive courtyards and fountains.
The beach is about 2kms below the town, and the coastline is dotted with seaside resorts in both directions. In between long sandy stretches, broken up by rocky coves. Off the coast is a scattering of pretty, but rocky islands, just to add to the postcard-perfection of your surroundings. And to make for an interesting day trip on the water.
- For some of the best views, it's worth the 20minute climb up to the top of Mount Tauro;
- or the stroll up Via Leonardo da Vinci, to the hilltop village of Castelmola. Which also has a gracefully decaying castle right on the top of the hill.
Don't forget that it's very busy here during the peak summer months, so if you want to guarantee a room in one of the best places to stay in Taormina in July or August, you'll need to plan well ahead and book early.
For sheer luxury
- If you're looking for somewhere historic and luxurious, consider 14th Century monastery conversion, San Domenico Palace. Once austere, the accommodation here is now five star, and the 21st Century luxuries run all the way to a Michelin starred restaurant.
- If that doesn't sound luxurious enough, The Ashbee Hotel is for you. Worthy of any of Taormina's famous fans, this sumptuous old villa is one of the best places to stay in Taormina for elegance, glamour and indulgence.
For spectacular sea views
- The Hotel Villa Angela's glamour is slightly dated, but in a charming way! but its amazing panoramic views of the Ionian Sea and Mt. Etna never, ever age.
- As well as views over the sea, the Grand Hotel Timeo also has spectacular views over Taormina. And it's just opposite the Greek Theatre.
Taormina's romance is well documented, this was, after all, the place where D.H. Lawrence penned his 1928 novel 'Lady Chatterly's Lover'. Our choice of the best places to stay in Taormina for a spot of romance include:
- The Hotel Villa Carlotta, a beautiful, luxury villa overlooking the Ionian Sea. Each room and suite has a private terrace, and the vibe is romantic yet un-fussy.
- If your idea of romance includes Michelin starred dining and clean, modern lines, the Hotel Metropole is perfect for your getaway for two.
For a holiday apartment or villa
- If you're travelleing with extended family or in a group of friends, a villa or apartment might be a better option. We recommend the selection with our online partner, Booking.com.
Best Hotels in Taormina
Hotel Villa Angela 23 rooms from $125Taormina
Stunning views over the Ionian sea from a cliff top. Romantic rooms and suites have delicate four poster beds and linens. Gorgeous pool and good restaurant. A great choice for romantic break in a film star setting.Views - Amazing views of the Ionian Sea and Mount EtnaRomantic BreakSights nearby - Located near the old centre of TaorminaLocal markets - Good for local colour.Recommended by - Sawdays
Hotel Villa Carlotta 23 rooms from $156Taormina
A beautiful luxury villa on the cliff tops over the Ionian sea. Sumptuous rooms, suites and apartments all with private terraces. Rooms have stone floors, delicate watercolours and rich fabrics. Fantastic restaurant and pool. Utterly romantic, but still very accommodating for families or groups.FoodiesFamiliesHoneymoonsGroupsRecommended by - I Escape, Small Luxury Hotels
San Domenico Palace 97 rooms from $169Taormina
Elegant, historic Grande dame of Taomina, magnificent views, luxurious rooms and suites and michelin starred restaurant. 5 star luxury created from a 14th century monastery. Antiques and original features balance perfectly with 21st century comforts and top notch service.Foodies - Enjoy the gourmet food at Principe Cerami with its two Michelin starsViews - Stunning views over both Mount Etna and Taormina BayPrivate Hot Tub - Garden suites come with private hot tubs on their terracesSwimming Pool - Lovely Outdoor Pool
Hotel Villa Ducale 17 rooms from $280Taormina
La dolce vita in a romantic Sicilian villa overlooking the bay. Sensational views, frescoed walls, Italianate furnishings, rose-clad terraces, candlelit dinners, and a spa. Not far from the beach. The perfect choice for a honeymoon. Full of character and utterly romantic.Luxury - Traditional luxury includeds frescoed walls, brightly painted walls, trailing roses, hot tubs.Views - The terraces offer sensational bay views.Romantic - Good for couples.Romantic Break
Grand Hotel Timeo 70 rooms from $333Taormina
Timeless Sicilian elegance and classic luxury. Panoramic views from the romantic terraces, bar, restaurant and private balconies. Rooms and suites in creams with elegant furniture, and some with jacuzzis. A perfect spot for a honeymoon, romantic break or wedding.Views - Outstanding views across the sea and to Mount EtnaLuxuryRemote - Off the beaten track.Romantic BreakRecommended by - CN Traveller
Hotel Metropole 23 rooms from $367Taormina
Fantastic Five Star luxury, Michelin star restaurant, and contemporary Italian interior design. Seamless rooms and suites with stand alone bathtubs, private balconies, and ethereal linens. Wonderful pool and spa area. Romantic, gourmet, and close to the beach.Foodies - Michelin starred restaurant.Views - Outstanding panoramic views5* Luxury - Very high service standards.Romantic BreakRecommended by - Tablet, CN Traveller, Kiwi Collection
The Ashbee Hotel 25 rooms from $438Taormina
Spectacular grand villa with views to match. Sumptuous, elegant rooms and suites that ooze refined glamour. Floor to ceiling windows, parquet floors, designer furniture, rich wallpapers, private jacuzzis. Film star terraces, excellent restaurant and swimming pool. Indulgent romance.Views - Fabulous views up the coastRomantic BreakHoneymoonsSights nearby - Greek amphitheatre.Recommended by - I Escape, Tablet