Holidays to Taormina Mare are a heady mix of ancient architecture, a bright beach and flower-strewn views of volcanic Mount Etna.

Views for days

On the coast of north-east Sicily, Taormina Mare perfectly captures the heart and soul of Italy's largest island. There's an ancient Greco-Roman amphitheatre, ocean views, bougainvillea-lined terraces and cosy cafés, not to mention bars and restaurants – all with Mount Etna brooding in the distance.

Town-centre buzz

The lively town's the pulse of this place. And Corso Umberto I, an elegant pedestrianised street through the centre, is where you'll want to hang out. Open-air restaurants are full of authentic tastes and smells – like 'tonno in agradolce', a sweet-and-sour tuna dish. The shops range from fashionable boutiques to smaller storefronts with antiques and handmade ceramics on show.

Sunloungers and snorkels

Composed of twin crescent-shaped coves, Taormina Mare's main Isola Bella Beach is named for the sweet nature reserve that occupies a tiny island just off the coast. Rent a sunlounger and pick a spot on the rocky shore. Clear waters make this a top spot for snorkelling, while land-lovers can cross the sandbar to the wild island and try to spot a kingfisher or two.

Good neighbours

Taormina Mare's well-placed for little daytrips. Within half an hour's drive to the north, Messina's got a good-eating rep for its swordfish and crystalline sugared ice cones – and the Norman cathedral's not too shabby, either. In Catania, a 40-minute drive to the south, impressive Baroque architecture's on show.

At a Glance

  • Stroll around the Greco-Roman amphitheatre
  • Hop between the shops of Corso Umberto I
  • Head over to Messina or Catania for a day