Sicily is a big island and it is important in which part a person will stay. The hotel can be closer to Catania, Siracusa and Taormina, or to Palermo and Cefalu.
With a rental car you can look at the whole island in detail, but if the hotels do not change, a significant part of the time will go on a trip. Sicily is a triangle and each side of it is washed by a different sea. I usually travel organized with a travel agency and I prefer the hotel to be in or near the village. This way one can go alone and visit some of the sights without committing and paying for additional excursions.
Taormina is one of the most picturesque and romantic Italian cities I have ever seen. With its atmosphere and architecture it does not give way to Florence and Verona, but it has the advantage of being located by the sea and providing stunning views of bays that look like painted.
Taormina is built on high rocks. There are two options for accommodation - in the city itself, far from the beach or by the beach, far from the city. We chose the second and we were just below the rocks in the Mazarro neighborhood.
The beaches of Taormina are rocky. At the information meeting on the first day I asked for a sandy beach, but it turned out that there was only one in the nearby town of Giardini Naxos.
It was possible to get there by public transport, but we never went. The most picturesque and overcrowded beach in Mazarro, which is present on most of the cards, is Isola Bella, called the small picturesque island that can be reached by sinking in shallow water.
There are many stones there. I emphasize that under the stones I do not mean small, round, rounded and harmless pebbles, but large, sharp, stinging stones that in some places grow into huge rocks. To get into the water, you have to have bathing shoes.
From experience I can say that barefoot does not happen, nor ordinary flip-flops. They sell rubber shoes nearby, but it's good to be prepared. Apart from this, the water is warm and clear, and the view from the island to the vertical rocks of Taormina is incredible.
Isola Bela has a diving and sailing museum with an entrance fee of 3-4 euros, but the reviews on the Internet were that it was not much, and we missed it. Just next door, the next bay is the beach of Hotel Ipanema, a few kilometers outside the city.
We went once and although it was nice and the stones were thinner, then we continued to walk to the nearest beach. I remember Mazaro as a nice place, but certainly dangerous. The streets were so narrow that there were no sidewalks at all, and we had to walk very carefully along the buildings and railings.
There are many sharp bends in the area, so catastrophes are likely to happen often. One of the constant sounds we used to get was the siren of the passing ambulances - several times a day, every day. This created a sinister atmosphere, though the explanation was harmless.
Another interesting excursion you can take is Sicilia Alcantara Etna and of course Siracusa. However, you must find a local guide.