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Taormina, Sicily

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Hi, I am 18 years old and I will be traveling to Taormina, Sicily this June. I was wondering what the best places are to take my family of 5 to eat dinner/lunch at? They can be total "hole in the walls."

Also, are there any places you would suggest to do day trips to? Beaches, shopping areas…ect?
Thanks

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    How long will you be based in Taormina?

    I stayed there several days and did nice easy day trips to Catania - a nice large city; Mt Vesuvius - taking the chair lift and 4-wheelers to the crater (near Catania - can take a bus and or train and bus to Philosopher's Tower where the chair lifts begin (if my memory is right) - peering into the active crater was awesome - there is access to the crater closer to Taormina with buses going from and to from there but it is not nearly as awesome a vantage point as from Philosophers Tower I believe; Syracuse - just beyond Catania - direct train from Taormina's sea level train station - neat old town with astounding Roman relics like a huge pit slaves used to work in - those are three easy enough to reach day trips from Taormina, which to me is only a watering hole - a nice one at that but often overrun with tourists - it does have a stellar Roman theatre/arena though but other than restaurants or gift shops,etc not much in town, pleasant as it may be, like at night with many folks out on a stroll.

    Trains are rather old style but run frequently to Catania, Syracuse and points north - like to Messina for ferries to the mainland of the boot of Italy - these are regional trains with a flat fare and no discounts I believe for buying in advance and are dirt cheap - never sell out I think- for lots on Sicily by train check www.ricksteves.com; www.seat61.comand www.budgeteuropetravel.com- check the latter's free online European Planning & Rail Guide for more day trips by train possible from Taormina.

    To escape the tourist ghetto and restaurants take the stairs or cble way down to Naxos-Giardini (sp?) the long seaside beach town under Taormina - loaded with seaside eateries appealing to the many Italians who flock there in summer.

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    If you are fully committed to Taormina, then you might consider Osteria Nero D'Avola. It's been a while since I dined there, but it was fabulous and it still gets great reviews. :-)

    I must admit that while the views from Taormina are stunning, I found the crowds during the day so unpleasant that I didn't want to be there. One alternative, with very similar views, is Castelmola, which is even higher on the same hill. Just a thought!

    There's a (pebble) beach below Taormina at Giardini Naxos which you can reach by funicular. Taormina's main street is packed with high-end shops.

    You would do well to consider getting, or consulting, a few good guide books -- you will learn things you never even knew to ask.

    Hope that helps!

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