If you are on the east coast of Sicily, perhaps in Catania or Messina, you absolutely cannot miss a day trip to Isola Bella! Or why not, you can spend a few days in Taormina, very close to the island, and enjoy this little corner of paradise.
The peculiarity of this place? You can reach the small island on foot, thanks to a strip of sand which connects it to the beach on the mainland. At low tide the strip is visible, at high tide the water will reach your knees. And remember to bring your rubber shoes or slippers, as the beach is made up of gravel and small stones.
If you want to see it in the day or are planning a longer stay, here it is everything you need to know for your visit to Isola Bella, Taormina: how to get there, prices and advice.
- Where is it and how to get there
- Hours and prices
- Tours, guided tours and tickets online
- What to see and how to visit Isola Bella
- Useful tips for visiting the attraction
- Historical notes, curiosities and practical info: what to know in brief
- User questions and comments
Where is it and how to get there
- On foot: reachable on foot from the SS114 state road via a staircase that leads directly to the beach - Get directions
- By bus: from the center of Taormina by bus line 25, travel time about 15 minutes and ticket cost € 1,90; from Catania, by bus on the Interbus Catania-Taormina line (single fare € 5,10, round trip € 8,50, travel time one hour) and from Taormina reach Isola Bella by bus or cable car
- cableway: from Taormina, you can get off at Isola Bella thanks to the Taormina - Mazzarò cable car, which leaves every 15 minutes from 8:00 to 22:00, the single ticket costs € 2,00, the return ticket € 3,50 ; the cable car station is located just 200 meters from the steps to go down to the beach
- By car: from Catania A18 / E45 motorway towards Taormina, Giardini-Naxos exit, continue on the SS114 state road to destination; from Messina A18 / E45 exit Taormina, continue on the SS114; on site there are free parking spaces along the road, otherwise you will have to pay for a private parking, the daily cost is about € 10,00
Hours and prices
The beach on the mainland is free, easily reachable on foot by going down the stairs that connect it to the SS114 state road. Remember that here you will not find fine sand, but mainly pebbles: we recommend that you also bring a mat to put under the towel and slippers or rubber shoes.
The islet that is part of the Isola Bella Nature Reserve it is paid and there are opening and closing times to be respected, from 9:00 until sunset.
- the beach is always accessible; the Isola Bella Oriented Nature Reserve is open from Tuesday to Saturday from 9:00 to sunset
- Best time to avoid queues: early in the morning, before 10:00 you will find fewer people; in summer this area is often very crowded, especially in the afternoon
- free access to the beach, possibility to rent sunbeds for a fee; access to the Isola Bella Nature Reserve € 4,00 (also includes admission to the Naturalistic Museum of Taormina)
- Reduced: € 2,00 (also includes admission to the Naturalistic Museum of Taormina)
Tours, guided tours and tickets online
What to see and how to visit Isola Bella
As already mentioned, here you can devote yourself mainly to two activities: relaxing and bathing on the beach on the mainland, near the access from the highway, or visit the Isola Bella Nature Reserve. To visit the latter, you will have to reach the only access point located in front of the strip of sand that connects it to the beach and enter by paying the ticket of € 4,00. Here no guided tours are organized, you can explore the small island independently, respecting the rules and not causing damage to the plants present. It is in fact a Protected Nature Reserve. The present vegetation is composed of both typical plants of the Mediterranean scrub and tropical plants, which were imported and planted at the behest of the ancient owner, Lady Trevelyn. Thanks to this mix of plants, you can admire a unique landscape in the world.
We also recommend a beautiful cruise along the coast and a swim at Isola Bella. From the east side of the beach, in fact, several boats depart that will take you to discover the surrounding caves, such as the Blue Grotto and the Grotta della Conchiglia and the Bay of Naxos. Excursions cost an average of € 60,00 per person.
Useful tips for visiting the attraction
- Get up early: if you want to find some peace and tranquility, especially in summer, we advise you to arrive by 9:00, even earlier if you can.
- Watch out for restrictions: being a beach, it is forbidden to leave garbage around but to use the appropriate baskets and bins; it is a protected area, so have the utmost respect for the island and nature and do absolutely no damage.
- Minimum time: at least half a day, better in the morning.
- Rocky beach: there is no fine sand, but mainly pebbles and rocks, we advise you to bring a mat to put under the towel and slippers or rubber shoes to walk on the beach and get to the entrance of Isola Bella.
- Boat excursions: from the east side of the beach there are several boat trips that will take you to explore the surroundings, such as the Bay of Naxos, the Blue Grotto and the Grotta della Conchiglia, the average cost is € 10,00 per person.
- Jet ski: if you like sports and adrenaline, here you can have fun with the jet ski, the cost is € 50,00 per half hour for two people.
Historical notes, curiosities and practical info: what to know in brief
The island belonged at the time to the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, until King Ferdinand I of Bourbon gave it to the mayor of Taormina, Pancrazio Ciprioti. In 1890 it was bought by the English noblewoman Florence Trevelyan, which imported several exotic plants that were planted among those already present, typical of the Mediterranean scrub, thus giving today a unique landscape of its kind.
In the following years the island passed from owner to owner, until 1990 when it was bought by the Department of Cultural Heritage and in 1998 it was declared a Nature Reserve.
We advise you to go between 9:00, opening hours, and 10:00, when there will still be few people, which tend to crowd the island from 11am onwards. In summer it is very crowded especially in the afternoon. The entrance to the Isola Bella Nature Reserve is only one and is located right at the end of the beach strip that connects it to the beach on the mainland.
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