Things to think about when deciding where to stay in Taormina; which neighborhood is best for your Taormina stay; where to park your car in Taormina; recommended Taormina, Sicily hotels and apartments for couples and families
Are you planning a trip to Sicily’s chic cliffside town but you aren’t sure where to stay in Taormina?
Maybe you’re thinking about visiting the home of the White Lotus hotel but you’ve heard that Taormina is expensive so you’re thinking of booking a hotel outside of town.
Well, before you reserve anything, read through this helpful guide. I first visited Taormina as a hiking and cycling guide in 2004, and most recently returned with family. I’ve stayed in a few places in town, and while I do provide recommendations below, I also think it’s important to focus on the area you’ll stay in and what you’ll do with your rental car (if you have one).
Check out my general guide to Accommodation Options in Italy – From Agriturismos to Villas
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Things to Keep in Mind When Booking Your Taormina Hotel
Most Accommodation in Taormina Doesn’t Offer Parking
Taormina is very compact – the buildings are close together, the streets are narrow, and cars are parked within inches of each other. So, your hotel or apartment probably won’t have parking for you (there are a few exceptions, noted below). So, you’ll need to book in one of the main garages and walk or take a taxi or bus to your accommodation.
Good To Know: Your hotel or apartment may tell you to park on the street and that you likely won’t get a ticket. That’s a risk you may or may not decide to take. It’s also fairly stressful parking on the narrow, hilly streets of Taormina. For my sanity, I park in one of the garages.
Good To Know: Taormina does technically have a ZTL (zona traffico limitato – limited traffic zone), but it hasn’t been active. You can check in with your accommodation before you arrive because you may be able to drop your luggage off before you park in one of the garages.
What I Do: Arriving in town, I drop luggage (and people) at the accommodation and then drive to a garage and park and walk back. Leaving town, we usually walk (it’s downhill to the garages and we pack light). But, you could also get the car from the garage, pick everyone up, and be on your way!.
Hotel Parking in Taormina Usually Isn’t Free
You will either pay to park in one of the main garages or you’ll pay to park in a hotel’s private parking lot. Include the cost of parking in your nightly accommodation budget. For example, I recently paid around €20 per day for overnight parking (that’s leaving during the day).
The best parking garages to use are the large ones, located on opposite ends of town. I prefer the Porta Catania parking garage because you can take an elevator up and walk into town. You can also park at the Lumbi parking garage, but you’ll need to take a shuttle bus up to town or walk up (about 10 minutes).
You’ll Want to Stay Close to Corso Umberto
Corso Umberto (the main pedestrian street) is the focus of Taormina. It’s where you’ll find most shops, restaurants, and sites. If they aren’t on Corso Umberto, they’re on a side street or nearby.
If you’re going to fork over the euros to stay in Taormina, you should stay nearby and enjoy the lively center.
Taormina Streets are Narrow
Whether you’re driving or walking, keep in mind that the roads are narrow. So, if you decide to book a hotel that’s 500 meters from the town center, you’ll be walking very close to traffic. This is especially important if you’ve got kids with you.
Taormina is Accommodation is Expensive for What You Get
If you pay €200/night for your apartment in Taormina, don’t expect to get a €200/night apartment. It will likely be a little ‘less-polished’ than what you’d expect, but you’re in Taormina! Just check out the views or head out the door into town!
Don’t Leave Taormina for the Day on a Holiday
For example, don’t go on a day trip on New Year’s Day (January 1st), because Taormina is a popular spot for locals when there’s a holiday, and you will not find parking. I’m not exaggerating – the enormous garages fill up with Sicilians and you will spend your holiday driving around town looking for parking. How do I know?…
Instead, take a day trip with a tour, or just plan to spend the day in Taormina.
Other examples of this – Pasquetta (the Monday after Easter), and Santo Stefano (December 26th).
Where to Stay in Taormina – Which Areas
I recommend staying in any of the streets surrounding Corso Umberto. I like to stay just north of Corso Umberto (on the west side of Taormina near Porta Catania Parking Garage) which is uphill from town. You’ll likely get beautiful views of town and the water, and it’s an easy downhill stroll to town (so you won’t get sweaty in the summer – just on the way back to your accommodation).
I avoid staying too far north, so not on the other side of the Autostrada (you can see on a Google Map). This is downhill from town, so you’ll have to walk uphill to get to Corso Umberto and you’ll also have to walk on some narrow, trafficked roads.
You can also stay near Corso Umberto but on the eastern side, but the convenient parking garage on this side is Lumbi, and you’ll need to take a bus to get to and from it, or there’s a 10-minute walk you can do (but it’s not lit well at night). However, many of these hotels have spectacular views.
I’m often asked if it’s worth staying below town at the beach. Sure, you can do that, but I think the beauty of Taormina lies in being in town – strolling Corso Umberto, having aperitivo in town, gazing at Mount Etna from the Greek Theatre, and checking out the view from Piazza IX Aprile. And, there are plenty of other beautiful beaches you can visit in Sicily.
Map of Where to Stay in Taormina – The Best Taormina, Sicily Hotels
Best Luxury Hotels in Taormina
Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo
Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo – Spectacular views, lovely staff, manicured gardens and beautiful pool; breakfast on the patio is a delight and I’d happily return; convenient location next to the ancient theatre; paid parking available
San Domenico Palace, A Four Seasons Hotel
San Domenico Palace, A Four Seasons Hotel – Yes, this is the White Lotus hotel! Lives up to its Four Seasons name; revamped in 2021; gorgeous views; paid parking available; you won’t want to leave the swimming pool (or even your room)
Best Mid-Range Hotels in Taormina
Hotel Villa Taormina
Hotel Villa Taormina – Boutique hotel with sea view; kind and helpful staff; conveniently located just above Corso Umberto and near the Porta Catania parking garage
Hotel Villa Schuler
Hotel Villa Schuler – Small, family-run hotel with spectacular views; steps from the Taormina public gardens; has its own small, fair-priced, on-site parking garage
Best Apartment Rentals in Taormina
Taormina Castle and Sea View
Taormina Castle & Sea View – Apartment with views of the Ionian Sea and Taormina’s castle ruins; we loved sitting on the balcony in the morning and evening; super location near Corso Umberto, the best grocery store in Taormina (Decò), and the Porta Catania parking garage
Diana – Taormina Minerva Luxury Apartment
Diana – Taormina Minerva Luxury Apartment – Prime location a short walk from Corso Umberto; new apartment; modern furnishings; pool and terrace; close to grocery store and Porta Catania parking garage
Best Family Hotels and Apartments in Taormina
CasaNica Taormina – Beautiful, clean apartment with cribs and high chair available; convenient location near the Taormina playground (but uphill walk to Corso Umberto and Lumbi is best parking lot)
Taormina Castle and Sea View
Taormina Castle & Sea View (same as above) – Apartment with views of the Ionian Sea and Taormina’s castle ruins; we loved sitting on the balcony in the morning and evening; washing machine, crib, high chair; super location near Corso Umberto, the best grocery store in Taormina (Decò), and the Porta Catania Parking Garage
You may want to read about how to spend One Day in Taormina with Kids
I hope this has helped give you an idea of where you want to stay in Taormina, and maybe you’ve even been able to book your accommodation. Enjoy Taormina!
Where to Stay in Taormina FAQ
You can visit Isola Bella easily from Taormina by taking the cable car from town down to the beach. You can also drive, but I wouldn’t recommend it, because it gets crowded and parking can be challenging.
Yes, if your hotel has a view of Mount Etna, and there is currently lava flow, you’ll be able to see it glowing orange at night. We saw it on our visit in January of 2023. And, if you don’t have a view of Mount Etna from your hotel room, don’t fret! You can see Mount Etna from many places in town, including the black and white terrace of Piazza IX Aprile and the terrace by the Porta Catania parking garage.
Taormina hotels feel expensive for what you get, but you’re paying to stay in the action of Taormina, and it’s worth it!
Grand Hotel Timeo is located far from the beach – it’s in the center of Taormina, next to the ancient theatre. However, Grand Hotel Timeo’s offers shuttles to its nearby sister hotel, Villa Sant’Andrea, which has a private beach.