A must-see destination for sailing cruisers. Make sure to anchor in Taormina Bay to seriously enjoy some incredibly amazing sights. Read my review below to see just why this is one stop that cannot be missed.
Just below the ancient city of Taormina, which is below the ancient town of Castelmola, there is a lovely bay that offers great holding and during the summer season, you’ll find first-class mooring buoys.
The water is crystal clear, the amazing views include the volcano, Mount Etna, a clifftop Norman castle, a spectacular coastline filled with cliffs, caves, and mountainside, a train that weaves its way along the coast, Taormina main street up above and the town of Giardina Naxos down along the beachfront.
This bay is definitely a hot spot during the summer but it’s worth a visit.
Locals often swarm to the magnificent bay during the weekends so I suggest a mid-week visit is best. Once anchored in the bay or tied onto a mooring buoy you’ll have loads of options on how to spend your time.
Aside from swimming and sunning yourself, you can take your dinghy along the coast and explore caves, massive rocks, and land formations. The coastline truly is breathtaking due to the contrast between the blue sea, the dark cliff walls, the black caves, and then the greenery above (grass, trees, and countryside).
Furthermore, there are some impressive building structures – new and old.
When facing land, if you take your dingy to the left, just past a concrete wall you’ll find an area where you can beach your boat in Giardini Naxos. There are large boulders to navigate between but they’re clearly visible. Once your dingy is secured on the beach, it’s worth visiting the bakeries, café’s, restaurants, and grocery stores.
If you walk towards the beautiful train station (get off your dingy and head right) you’ll have to follow a very tiny sidewalk up under a bridge, over a bridge and then you’ll get to an amazing butcher. The butcher owns a farm nearby and all the meats are local, fresh, and outstanding in quality and taste. If you see meatballs on offer, BUY THEM!
They are the best meatballs I’ve ever had in my life.
Just after the butchers, there’s a rotisserie chicken shop – Oh-my-gosh…the smell of rotisserie chicken gets me every time. I just have to buy one (or two so that I can enjoy one all to myself and give the other to hubby and my daughter!)
And speaking of indulgence, there’s also a low-cost alcohol shop directly across from the beach where you’ll need to leave your dinghy. I discovered a bottle of Sicilian white wine in the shop for €2.60 so I purchased a couple to serve during a boat party we had one evening.
Not only did the guests enjoy the wine, but I did too!
Not all cheap Sicilian wine is good but I’d have to say that most of it is!
The day after eating too much rotisserie chicken and drinking far too much wine, you might want to take a nice 45-minute walk down to the main area of Giardina Naxos. You’ll find even more amenities with large busy beautiful beaches there.
No matter what, however, get yourself on a bus up to Taormina to see the incredible Greek and Roman amphitheater and ruins. I’ve seen loads of amphitheater – this one has the best backdrop EVER (see picture on the top of this article).
You look out through Greek/Roman ruins to see the sea in the background and it’s one of those views you wish that could bottle.
Unfortunately, the fee to see the amphitheater is high. I think it was around €20 each. AND…they use the venue for proper concerts so the seating area is covered with plastic seats. Furthermore, during the summer this place is packed! And I mean jam-packed. Expect crowds.
The town is beautiful but it’s one of those places that is 100% touristic.
Every shop has tourist items, there are beggars and you’ll find people at every corning selling the latest ‘made in China’ strange toy. Your best bet is to visit the area off-season but failing that, I think the ruins and the views from the main street are truly amazing.
After a tour of Taormina, you can also go up a little further on the hill and visit Castelmola.
We enjoyed a few Sicilian delights at the restaurant while taking in moor amazing views. The cobbled streets are lovely and the tourist goods seemed more authentic than Taormina. We tried to get up to the castle but it’s closed. After asking around it seems as if it’s been close for quite a bit of time so unfortunately, it’s not open to the public.
Aside from visiting Giardina Naxos, Taormina and Castelmola you can also take a train to a variety of destinations. The train weaves along the coast and it’s a great way to see the coastline from land rather than from the sea.
For €8 I took the train to and from Catania with some girlfriends to visit the market.
Fortunately for me, there were several boats in Taormina Bay that I knew. After wintering in Marina di Ragusa we made many friends. So…during our last stay in Taormina bay, I joined a Canadian, Brit, Turkish and Dutch woman on a girls day out to Sicily’s second-largest city, Catania.
We had the best day enjoying the massive Catania market
They have €1 tables where everything is €1 – I found loads of designer clothes for only one euro! All us girls tried things on, threw items to others that we thought would look good, and were full of giggles.
I’ve written about Catania and Mount Etna in my ‘Top 12 Day Trips – Visiting Sicily…‘ article so check that out if you’re interested.
Things to know about Taormina Bay…
…the bay seems to have a current run through between 10 am and 11 am that brings cold water and the odd jellyfish. During those times, keep an eye out before you take a dip. I have seen a few jellyfish float by but they’ve been few and far between.
When the wind blows from the NW – N a swell will arrive. The swell is NOT NICE – I’ve experienced it
Even when there is no swell this anchorage seems to make the boat rock back and forth throughout the day and night. Without the swell, the rocking is acceptable. With the swell, it’s worth moving over to the other side of the bay where the main town of Giradina Naxos is.
On land, you’ll find trash bins along the road to the right, an ATM near the town square to the left (not far) and near the square, you’ll also find a shop to top up your internet if you’re using an Italian carrier. And there are loads of restaurants. Right across from the fishing harbor a bunch of us enjoyed pizza at the restaurant and it was excellent.
Taormina Bay in Sicily is definitely worth a visit! If you’ve been there before, I’d love to hear what you thought of the destination – leave a comment below 🙂
Check Out Some Other Areas In Sicily & The Mediterranian
If you’d like a good summary of our time in Sicily, read Visiting Sicily. And if you’d like a breakdown of all the places we’ve visited while sailing the Mediterranean please read our destination overview: Sailing The Mediterranean. Otherwise, check out more posts about our time spent in Sicily.
- Malta to Sicily
- 12 Day Trips To Take In Sicily
- Marina di Ragusa Review
- Sailing To Catania
- Riposto Marina Review
- Sailing Around Stromboli
- Salina Island
- Sicily to Corfu