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Boys sitting on steps of Greek theater in Taormina, Sicily, looking at Mount Etna in the distance.

One Day in Taormina with Kids + Ideas for a Longer Stay

One of the things I love most about visiting Taormina is that it’s a compact and easy place to visit with children.  There aren’t a lot of kid-focused activities, but in my experience, kids are happy running around the piazzas, checking out the views of Mount Etna, window-shopping, exploring the Greek Theater, and of course, playing with the local kids at the playground. 

That, and the fact that Taormina is relaxing and beautiful for parents too makes it an excellent stop for the entire family.

I’ve put together this easy one-day itinerary for a day in Taormina with kids.  There are a couple of options for the afternoon, depending on what time of year you visit and what your kids like to do.

I’ve also added additional things to do (if you have more time) and given some of our tips for having fun with kids in Taormina. 

Divertitevi – have fun!

Want to know more about planning a trip to Taormina?  Check out our Guide to Taormina!

Map of One Day in Taormina with Kids

Taormina is on the coast of eastern Sicily, about halfway between Messina and Catania.

One Day Itinerary for Taormina with Kids

Park and Walk to the Center of Taormina

Park in the Porta Catania Parking Garage.  It’s the least stressful parking experience and the most convenient parking garage for getting into and out of the town center. 

Walk Down Corso Umberto

Boy looking at puppets at a toy shop in Taormina, Sicily.
Puppets at D’Agata Giocattoli

Corso Umberto is Taormina’s main pedestrian street and it runs for 800 meters from Porta Catania (western side of town) to Porta Messina (eastern side of town).  It has shops, restaurants, narrow side streets, and picturesque piazzas.   

There are a couple of toy stores, including a Pinocchio shop and the D’Agata Giocattoli toy shop (Corso Umberto, 111) with its amazing puppets!  Our boys also love eyeing the marzapane (marzipan) sweets, especially fruits.  

Be sure to stop to find the minotaur/centaur in Piazza Duomo (on top of the fountain). 

And all kids will want to squeeze their way up the Vicolo Stretto (narrow alley).

Boy on the Vicolo Stretto in Taormina, Sicily.

See the Greek Theatre

Boys framed by arch in Greek Theater in Taormina, Sicily.

My five-year-old just saw this incredible theater – built in the 3rd century BC and later repaired and expanded upon by the Romans – and his first impression made the ‘excited to share history with my son’ part of me laugh.  “This isn’t a theater, mamma.  It’s all broken.”

Still, my boys had fun exploring the ruins, seeing Mount Etna in the distance, and playing tour guide for my dad.

An audio guide is available, but you could also watch a short video or read about the theater before you visit. 

If you’re coming with a baby, know that the theater ruins are not stroller-friendly (lots of stairs and uneven ground).  You can enter with your stroller, but you’ll want a carrier if you want to walk around the theater grounds. 

Good To Know:  There are some steep drop-offs, and there aren’t always railings or fencing. 

Helpful Tip:  Buy tickets in advance, so you don’t have to wait in the long line at the ticket office.

Good To Know:  There’s a café with bathrooms and a lovely terrace in the upper rear of the ruins. 

Get Lunch Supplies

You can enjoy a leisurely lunch in Taormina, but grab something quick if your kids are restless like mine.  We like the arancini at L’Arco-About Pizza (also has pizza) and making a picnic with supplies from an alimentari or the Decò grocery store.

Take the Cable Car to the Beach

The funivia runs between Taormina (via Luigi Pirandello) and Mazzarò and takes just a few minutes.  When you get off in Mazzarò, walk to the Isola Bella beach (about 500 meters away). 

Explore Isola Bella

While not the only Isola Bella in Italy, this definitely is a beautiful island (and a WWF nature reserve).  However, it’s not an island full of wildlife, so don’t have high expectations.  Also, if you have small kids, they may be happy to skip the island and just play on the stony beach and walk on the small strip of land that connects the island to the mainland. 

Good To Know:  Isola Bella gets very crowded in the summer months.

Helpful Tip:  Skip Isola Bella if you’re visiting in the winter or the weather isn’t nice. 

Take the Cable Car Back Up To Taormina

Another quick funivia ride brings you back up to Taormina.  Check your timing.  If you don’t need to leave yet:

Walk to the Giardini della Villa Comunale

Walk down to the Taormina community gardens. 

Thanks to an Englishwoman, Lady Florence Trevelyan, these gardens are shaded with beautiful green plants and trees.  She filled the gardens with follies, or buildings with no purpose (except to be beautiful).

Let your kids wander the paths, find the fountain, and play at the playground. 

Good To Know:  A highlight for kids is the WW2 torpedo.  It’s a human-driven craft (there’s a similar one at the Milan Science Museum).  You can explain that two members of the Italian Navy drove it toward an enemy ship, attached the explosive to the side of the enemy ship, and then quickly drove away.

Say Ciao to Taormina

At this point, you can say goodbye to Taormina and head back to where you’re staying, or you could stay in Taormina for dinner. 

  • Pizzeria Villa Zuccaro – Excellent pizza and typical Sicilian food, sit outside in the courtyard.
  • Ristorante al Saraceno – Spectacular views, and delicious cibo siciliano (Sicilian food).  Seriously, the views during the day or night make this a must-visit restaurant.
  • Gelato– Stecco and Gelatomania

Helpful Tip:  If you decide to stay for dinner, make sure you look out at Etna to see if there’s any orange lava flow.  Seeing lava on Mt. Etna at night was a highlight of visiting Taormina for my boys.

Ideas for a Longer Stay in Taormina with Kids

Activities:

  • Walk (or drive) up to Castelmola – It’s a compact hamlet to walk around, and there’s a great small playground for little kids.  Read more about Visiting Castelmola.
  • Take a cooking class.
  • Find Taormina’s hidden mosaics – The Salita Santippo Mosiac and the Hellenistic Mosaic in Taormina are poorly maintained. Still, it’s a good opportunity to talk to your kids about maintaining important art and monuments.  My boys loved going on the search for the Salita Santippo Mosaic, but they were less than impressed with it. 

Accommodation:

When visiting with kids, staying close to the center of town is important.  Otherwise, you’ll be walking on narrow streets with traffic to get to the town and the main sites.  Read more in our guide to Where to Stay in Taormina.

Things to Do Near Taormina with Kids

Kids walking on the edge of a crater of Mount Etna in Sicily, Italy.
  • Explore Mount Etna – Read more about Visiting Mount Etna with Kids.
  • Visit the Gole dell’Alcantara (Alcantara Gorges) – bring water shoes and arrive early for easy parking; best for older children
  • Cool off at the Spray Park (water playground) in Motta Camastra
  • Play at the Etna Aventure Park – ropes courses and play area for kids ages 2+

When to Visit Taormina with Kids

Taormina is very crowded from late spring through early fall.  It’s a popular resort town for Italians, Europeans, and international visitors.  You can definitely visit during this period – know that lines will be longer and the main pedestrian drag (Corso Umberto) will be packed.

Tips for Visiting Taormina with Kids

Magnets for sale on display in Taormina, Sicily.
  • Bring your stroller but know that there are stairs to side streets.  You’ll be fine if you’re sticking to the main drag (Corso Umberto).  If you want to hike or explore the ruins of the Greek Theatre, you’ll want a baby carrier.
  • Find shade in the Gardens of the Villa Communale.  It’s an oasis in the summer heat, and kids love the simple playground full of local families.
  • Bring sunscreen, hats, etc. 
  • Don’t rush the day.  Taormina is small, but the main pedestrian street is 800 meters long.  That’s long for little legs!  You’ll need time to get from one place to another, even though it seems like you’re visiting a tiny area.
  • You can find diapers and baby supplies at the pharmacy or the Decò grocery store.
  • Have a distraction planned (like a snack) for the walk to and from the theater from Corso Umberto. It’s the street with lots of souvenirs like magnets, coral jewelry, t-shirts, etc – lots of things little kids ‘must have.’

I hope you enjoy your family trip to Taormina!

Taormina with Kids FAQ

Is it worth visiting Giardini Naxos with kids while in Taormina? 

Giardini Naxos is a beach town, but our kids preferred the beach in Cefalù and others like Sampieri and Mondello, near Palermo.