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Isola Bella is a small, picturesque island located near the town of Taormina on the eastern coast of Sicily, Italy. It is renowned for its natural beauty and historical significance and is often referred to as the “Pearl of the Ionian Sea.”

 This tiny island covers an area of just about 0.3 acres. It is connected to the mainland by a narrow strip of land, which is usually submerged at high tide but becomes a sandy pathway during low tide.

The small rocky islet is bordered by clear blue water, and has one of the most beautiful coastal landscapes in Sicily.  Isola Bella is famous for its beautiful pebble beaches and crystal-clear waters.

Its seabed and abundant marine fauna, which includes parrotfish, groupers and large schools of saddled seabream. Don’t miss this snorkeling spot if you visit eastern Sicily. Water access from the shore is easy and free.

Isola Bella, Taormina
Isola Bella, Taormina.

How to get to the Isola Bella snorkeling spot

Isola Bella (sometimes called the Pearl of the Mediterranean) is located at the foot of the town of Taormina, on the east coast of Sicily. It is just under an hour’s drive south of Messina. It can be easily reached by car, and several car parks are available nearby.

The beach is almost entirely private except for the small area of sand and rocks located near the island, which is often crowded. You can rent deck chairs here.

Isola Bella snorkeling map, Taormina

Water entrance for snorkeling Isola Bella

It is advised to enter the water from the sandy point facing the island.

Isola Bella snorkeling exploration tips

The ideal way to explore this spot is to snorkel all around Isola Bella. It is on the outskirts of the island, in the rocky areas, that you will see the most fish. There’s also a lot to see near the beach.

Dusky grouper in Isola Bella
Dusky groupers are frequently seen at this location.

The tour around the island is about 550 yards and there are no particular difficulties. Be aware that you have to be able to snorkel nonstop for about an hour because there is no beach to rest and the sea is pretty deep (up to 30 ft). If you don’t want to engage in such a long snorkeling time, you can just snorkel along the rocks on one side or the other of the island.

Parrotfish in Isola Bella, Sicily
A group of Mediterranean parrotfish, including a terminal phase individual (bright red and yellow), noted on a rock drop-off.

Isola Bella snorkeling location, featuring large rock formations, offers very beautiful underwater atmospheres. An abundant farine fauna can be spotted in the shallows.  There are large communities of wrasse, sargo, mullets, salema and saddled seabream, sometimes seen in large schools. Iconic species such as dusky grouper and Mediterranean parrotfish are also common sightings, making this spot one of the best on this part of the coast.

Ornate wrasse
Ornate wrasse is a common sighting in rock areas.

The presence of small jellyfish is often reported, especially in summer.

Restaurants and accommodation nearby

The La Plage Resort (5-Star) is located opposite the island, and allows you to fully enjoy the spot if you wish to stay for several days. There is a choice of restaurants on the private beach and on the main road, on the other side of the railway.


  • Level required Beginner
  • Protected areaRiserva Naturale Orientata Isola Bella
  • Maximum depth30 ft/10 m on the rock drop offs
  • Water entranceFrom a pebble beach
  • Visitor numbersHigh
  • Access costsFree
  • Restaurants nearbyYes, on the beach

MAP Spot

These snorkeling spots are accessible to beginners and kids. You will enter the water gradually from a beach, or in a less than 3ft. deep area. The sea is generally calm, shallow, with almost no waves or currents. These spots are usually located in marked and/or monitored swimming areas. It is not necessary to swim long distances to discover the sea life.

This level only apply when the spot experiences optimal sea and/or weather conditions. It is not applicable if the sea and/or weather conditions deteriorate, in particular in the presence of rough sea, rain, strong wind, unusual current, large tides, waves and/or swell. You can find more details about the definition of our snorkeling levels on our snorkeling safety page.