There are bigger cities in Sicily, but Taormina is often the first stop for rail travellers arriving on the island. This pretty town on a hillside overlooking Sicily’s east coast has some striking Greek and Roman ruins. Mount Etna makes a beautiful backdrop to the south. Taormina is a picture-postcard spot. It is the ideal place to pause, relax and come to terms with the slow Sicilian way of life.
The town is easily reached by train, the only drawback being that the railway station (called Taormina Giardini) is on the coast way below the town itself. But you’ll be rewarded for your effort in climbing up to the town by breathtaking views. And, if you don’t fancy the climb, there’s a useful shuttle bus that connects the station with the centre of Taormina.
Going by train to Sicily is always something special. The main-line trains from Rome, Naples and other Italian cities are shipped onto a ferry for the ride across the Strait of Messina – that’s the name of the stretch of water which divides the toe of the Italian mainland from Sicily. It is a mark of Taormina’s status that it has direct trains from the mainland. There are direct daytime services from Rome and Naples. Or you can hop on an overnight train in Milan, Genoa, Rome or Naples and sleep your way south to Sicily.
Taormina is an excellent jumping-off point for exploring Sicily. There are direct trains from Taormina Giardini to Catania and Syracuse, which both have slow onward connections on minor railways into the interior of Sicily. The island’s largest town at Palermo is about five hours from Taormina by train. No-one goes to Sicily for fast travel.
Travel to Taormina by train from anywhere in the UK or across Europe
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