We are going on the Sicilian Odyssey trip in Sept 2024 and thinking of adding an extra day at end in Taormina. Wondering if this is worth it as the hotel is very expensive and if there is enough to do to make it worth the extra money addition?


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    We did hear that the Belmond hotels in Sicily are excellent and decided to book the extra night, definitely the most I have ever paid for one night in a hotel by a longshot. I understand there is a shuttle between the Timeo and the sister property below along the beach, and that if you are a guest at one you can use both facilities. Also, if you are a "Godfather" fan, taking a tour of the locations of the movie sets is very popular for this area. But given the cost of the hotel, if we have nice weather you will find me at the pool!

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    Geckor one more thing, Rick Steves has a comprehensive guide book on Sicily with a chapter on Taormina. Maybe your local library has it.

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    We were in Taormina last April . The thing to see is Teatro Antico Di Taormina high up on a hillside. We had great views of the beach and sea below. I love Roman ruins and this is one of my favorites. The town has narrow streets with many shops. It was absolutely packed with people when we were there, in part because the second ‘White Lotus’ T V show was filmed at the Four Seasons hotel at the far end of the town. We did not quite walk that far, but those in our group who tried to go to the bar there could only get in by paying a $50 charge each just to get in. I think this is the main reason the hotels are so expensive at the moment.

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    We visited Taormina on the ‘Treasure of the Med. Isles’ small boat tour. I felt a bit rushed on the free time in town, so I guess I would have liked to have more time to wander. I’m not sure that I would spend a bunch of money to spend an extra day there, but I would have liked to have more time there. The other choice was Mt. Etna and we have been there before. Taormina was more interesting.

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    We have visited Taormina twice. The first time was about 6 years ago on a cruise ship excursion. I loved it and vowed that we would return to Sicily on a land tour. We took the Sicilian Odyssey tour in 2022, and it was one of my favorite Tauck trips.

    Our group stayed at the "sister" hotel on the beach, the Sant' Andrea. It was beautiful and I would have liked to have another day there, to enjoy the water, and perhaps some hiking in the hills above the town.

    We did take the Mt. Etna excursion and I liked it, although it was overcast on the mountain, so we did not have views at the higher elevations. It did take up most of the day, although we had around 3 hours to enjoy the Hotel prior to the farewell cocktail party. Those who did not take the Etna tour spent time at the Hotel or up in town. A couple of the men took the excursion and their spouses did their own thing in Taormina.
    We did not take a bus up. Rather, the group went in a small convoy of comfortable suv-type vehicles, no more than 4 per car. We stopped at a cafe for coffee/bathroom. Then we stopped below the tree line for views and explanations, then up to a crater area to walk around, then down to the winery/restaurant.

    On the previous day, after arrival in Taormina, we headed up to town for the Theatre tour at 4:00 p.m.. it was not crowded at that time and we had a nice, leisurely tour. Most of the group then had an aperitif at a cafe. Dinner was on our own. We had plenty of time to wander around town before dinner because we did not make an early dinner reservation. I think that was a great time to enjoy the ambience of that beautiful town, after the cruise ship crowds had departed. We dined at 7:30 at Rossi did Vino, which is at the furthest end of the town. It was one of the restaurants recommended by our TD, and we had a lovely meal in the courtyard.

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    I wanted to post the following information here in the Taormina discussion which I just put on the Cefalu thread--sorry for not making it a separate thread altogether:

    For anyone else interested, I got confirmation from Tauck today that the Etna activity is included in the tour for 2024. There are 4-passenger Range Rover SUV's that pick us up from the hotel to Rifugio Sapienza, at around 6,000 feet. This is the level where the car park is located plus retail services and the entrance to the gondola. Access to the Silvestri craters is at this level. The gondola goes up another 2,000 or so feet and is not included in the tour due to lack of time. My understanding is that from there you can take a shuttle bus then a short hike to as close to the top as you can get, which is around 9,000 feet, but that extra piece from Rifugio Sapienza requires around 3 hours. Weather can be quite changeable up there but I read there are jackets available for rent.

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    When we went, not on a tour, we stayed at a great, inexpensive (relatively speaking) small hotel at the top, down an alley, in the town. The residents hang out till 11PM drinking and kids playing and riding little bikes. Nice experience to just sit and watch the real life going on.

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