Air Travel to Catania, Sicily
You should arrive by plane to Catania, Sicily (Aeroporto di Catania-Fontanarossa; http://www.aeroporto.catania.it/?lang=en). Catania is located a one hour bus ride from Taormina. The airport located in Palermo, Sicily, is a 4.5 hour drive to Taormina with your own personal rental car, and from Palermo there are no options for direct public transportation. Make sure you fly to Catania!
Bus Transportation to Taormina
Once you arrive to Catania, Sicily, then we recommend that you take a public bus to Taormina (10 euros). During this time of year the buses will depart the airport to Taormina every 30 minutes and it takes about 1 hour to arrive in Taormina. The airport is small and it is very easy to find your way to the bus, buy a ticket, and arrive in Taormina. (For international travelers outside the EU, the airport has opportunities to exchange currency for Euros and several ATM.)
Taormina is a small town located on a steep hillside. The buses will stop at a bus station below the city center. From here you will have a 15 – 20 minute walk up hill to the conference venue or one of the many hotel options surrounding the conference venue. I didn’t find the walk too demanding, but if you have a lot of luggage or you just don’t feel like walking, then there are many cabs that are waiting at the bus station. The cabs will take you to most hotels for around 15 to 25 euros.
The last bus leaves the airport at 19:30. If your flight arrives later than this time, then please contact us at (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we will attempt to organize transportation for any group of travelers in this situation. We might be able to organize a small van, that would cost much less than a taxi (which is about 120 euros).
Taxi to Taormina
I was told that a private Taxi costs between 100 to 120 euros from the Catania Airport to Taormina. If you want to take this option, you might be able to arrange a taxi with your hotel before you arrive. I know at least one hotel that offered a taxi service for 80 euros one-way and 150 euros return.
Renting a Car and driving to Taormina
Driving to Taormina and then finding your hotel can be incredibly difficult. The roads are not well marked, the streets are steep and narrow, and the Sicilian’s have their own informal “rules of the road”. Driving to Taormina can be a daunting challenge, especially after a long international flight. That said, if you decide to rent a car, I recommend that you make sure that your hotel has parking.