This wasn’t so much a “why” as it was an “I can’t wait!” I’ve long wanted to go to Sicily ever since my honeymoon during which Nicky and I spent time in Lake Como, Capri, and the Amalfi Coast. The food, culture, wine, and beauty of Italy is unmatched for me. We decided to stay in Taormina, just north of Catania (nearby where White Lotus season 2 was filmed).
Arrival Day – La Plage and Dinner at La Capinera
When we arrived at La Plage Resort in Taormina, we were greeted with some Sicilian sparkling wine and a great view of Isola Bella from beach level. I think La Plage was the only resort that actually had rooms at beach level (in fact, I only saw one other resort and it was a little bit farther back higher up on the cliff.
For Dinner, we went to La Capinera which was a short taxi ride from the hotel. We tried the Sicilian tasting menu with accompanying wine pairing (Sicilians are quick to distinguish “Sicily” from “Italy”). Of course, I wasn’t disappointed and if you want to try a polished meal in a rustic outdoor setting overlooking the water, this place is a must.
Day 2 – Taormina Sightseeing
Nicky and I spent most of the day exploring the town of Taormina, getting photos, and doing a teeny bit of shopping (I ended up buying him two shirts I thought would look great on him – and they did!). Some of the highlights include DUOMO DI TAORMINA, CORSO UMBERTO, NAUMACHIA DI TAORMINA and the Teatro Antico di Taormina (this ancient theater requires ticket purchase for entry).
Make sure you explore the side streets as well! I got a ton of great photos away from the big crowds by taking a few steps off the main road (the alley next to the Dior store is particularly pretty).
Dinner at Kiste Easy Gourmet
Kiste Easy Gourmet is located about a two-minute walk off the main strip and sports a private outdoor patio surrounded by lush green and hanging lights. My pasta was especially good but Nicky got the sea bass and it was a bit small for a single dish. If you go here, maybe stick to the tasting menu or the pastas unless you aren’t very hungry. Otherwise, it was another great dining experience!
Day 3 – Isola Bella, Castelmola and Public Garden of Taormina
Nicky and I went straight from breakfast to the Spiaggia di Isola Bella right outside our hotel for some sun (it was mostly cloudy during our stay, so we had to make the best of what we got – but the coast is still exceptionally pretty regardless of the weather). If you want to go to Isola Bella, which you absolutely should do, make sure you are prepared to get soaked. You have to cross the water precisely where two tides meet (Nicky was drenched head to toe).
Later we took a taxi to Castelmola, a small village situated atop the mountains around Taormina. This place is a must! It’s so pretty and offers a spectacular view of the eastern coast of Sicily. There are some old churches and alleyways that provide photo opportunities, and the restaurants are pretty good here as well.
We ended the afternoon back in Taormina to explore the public garden. The garden is quite big and definitely worth taking the time to walk through in its entirety. Close by is a group of restaurants and one in particular, Ristorante Gourmet 32, had some of the best mussels I’ve had anywhere!
Departure Day and Final Thoughts
One thing I learned is that I’m going to have to come back to Sicily in order to explore more of the best it has to offer. Several people reached out me to recommend towns that were anywhere from 90 minutes to almost 3 hours away and given our finite stay Nicky and I chose to get as much out of Taormina as we could. Perhaps next year we’ll be back! In the meantime, off to Corsica!