Sicily is a beautiful Italian island full of charming towns and fishing villages. Taormina and Cefalù are two popular destinations on the island and it can be hard to choose between the two. Both destinations have a lot to offer and you will definitely enjoy your stay in whatever town you choose.
Both Cefalù and Taormina have stunning beaches and historical sites but, Taormina has more options for activities. There are also more historical sites in Taormina and if you like the vibrant nightlife, you’ll enjoy this hilltop town. But, if you are a beach lover, Cefalù is the place to be.
If you are planning to visit Sicily soon and don’t know which place to go to, this article will talk about some of the things that can affect your decision when choosing between Cefalù and Taormina. If you are ready to choose between the North Coast or the East Coast, read until the end!
Should You Visit Cefalù Or Taormina?
Cefalù and Taormina are both popular tourist destinations in Sicily.
Cefalù is a coastal town located on the north coast of Sicily and is home to some of the best beaches in Italy. The nearest airport in Cefalù is in Palermo and the city is about an hour away from Cefalù.
Taormina, on the other hand, is located on the east coast of Sicily and is part of the Metropolitan City of Messina. The nearest airport in Taormina is Catania Airport and it is about a 45-minute drive from Catania to Taormina. Taormina is also a coastal resort town in Sicily and has been a popular destination since the Roman times.
It can definitely be hard to choose between these two towns as they both have a lot to offer. There are several factors that can affect your decision in choosing between Taormina and Cefalù. But, at the end of the day, it will all depend on your personal preference and travel style.
Here are some of the factors that will help you decide which is better, Cefalù or Taormina.
Both Cefalù and Taormina are coastal towns so expect to see stunning beaches along its coastline. Both towns have free beaches that are open to the public as well as lidos (beach clubs) that are only accessible if you pay an entrance fee.
Cefalù boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in Sicily such as Cefalu Beach, Kalura Beach, Sant’Ambrogio Beach, and Finale di Pollina. The beaches in Cefalù either have white fine sands, pebbled shores, or a mix of both.
While Taormina is also a seaside resort town, it also sits on top of a hill and it is also a hilltop town. You won’t see a lot of beaches in the town itself but, there are several beaches near Taormina such as Isola Bella Beach and Mazzaro Beach. Like in Cefalù, Taormina has pebbled and sandy beaches.
You will definitely find beach resorts and clubs in both towns. But, if you are a beach lover, definitely go to Cefalù as it is more popular than Taormina when it comes to beaches.
Both Taormina and Cefalù have their share of historic sites and both are good destinations because of their rich histories.
Cefalù boasts of its cathedral which was built during the 12th century in the Norman style. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is the main Roman Catholic church in Cefalù. Another historical site in Cefalù is Lavatoio Medievale which dates back to medieval times during 1514. It is an ancient washhouse and if you are curious about how laundry was done in medieval times, this site will be an interesting visit for you.
Taormina is also home to some historical attractions in Sicily. The Teatro Antico di Taormina, an ancient theatre in Taormina, was built in the third century B.C. and it is an open ancient Greek theatre with Mount Etna in the background. Aside from the ancient amphitheater, Taormina also has several historic monuments such as The Odeon, Badia Vecchia, and The Antiquarium.
If you are a lover of ancient sites, Taormina has a lot more to offer than Cefalù.
There are plenty of outdoor activities that you can do in Cefalù and Taormina.
In Cefalù, you can follow the hiking trails in La Rocca and visit other historical sites such as Castello di Cefalù and Tempio di Diana. You can also take in a bird’s eye view of Cefalù and fly over the northern coast of Sicily by doing a tandem paragliding adventure.
In Taormina, you can do a day trip to Mount Etna which is the highest active volcano in Europe. There are day trip tours that you can join in or you can also opt to book a private tour to Mount Etna to see its impressive beauty up close. You can also do tandem paragliding in Taormina if you want to fly over the east coast of Sicily.
If you are looking for vibrant and active nightlife in Sicily, both Cefalù and Taormina can be great destinations for partying. There are several bars, nightclubs, and even lidos in Cefalù where you can party all night long. But if you want more options, Taormina might be a better choice. Taormina has more options if you are looking for an evening party scene and there are more lounges, dance clubs, and bars in Taormina compared to Cefalù.
When it comes to shopping, Taormina has more designer boutiques that carry high-end Italian brands. You will also find more artisan shops and art galleries in Taormina. If you are a lover of designer brands, Taormina is the town for you. Cefalù, on the other hand, offers more local shops that sell traditional Sicilian products and handmade local crafts.
Taormina is considered a luxurious destination so it can be more expensive than Cefalù in terms of food, luxury accommodation, and shopping. However, both towns have luxury hotels and villas that can make your trip more expensive. You can definitely travel on a budget but you will have to compromise on your hotel accommodation. You can opt to stay in apartment rentals, bed and breakfast places, and eat at reasonably-priced restaurants that offer great local food. If you are on a budget and are torn between choosing Taormina or Cefalu, it may be best to go to Cefalù as it can be more affordable.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Should I Spend More Time In Taormina Or Cefalù?
It takes about 2 and a half hours to drive from Cefalù to Taormina and vice versa so it might be best to choose one destination, especially if you are not staying long in Sicily. Taormina has more options for activities so you might want to spend more time there. Cefalù is also a small town so you might not need to spend a lot of time in Cefalù. But, 2 to 3 days can be enough in either town and you can definitely extend your stay if you have more time to spare.
Is Cefalù Or Taormina Better For Families?
If you are traveling with your family, Cefalù is a great option as it is more family-oriented while Taormina has more of a vibrant nightlife and shopping experience. However, that is not to say that you should not go to Taormina with your family. There are still activities in Taormina that you can enjoy as a family such as seeing historical sites or relaxing at the beach.
There are a lot of things that both Taormina and Cefalù have to offer. Choosing the best destination to visit can be hard, especially if you have a tight schedule. This article compares both towns to give you an idea about what they have to offer.
If you are a beach lover and are looking for a relaxing atmosphere, definitely go to Cefalù. However, if you are keen on shopping and enjoying an active nightlife, Taormina is for you. At the end of the day, the decision will depend on your travel style and personal preference. If you have any other questions, let us know!