Catania is an ancient port city located on the Italian island of Sicily, close to Mount Etna. Thanks to its baroque beauty, historic character and mild climate, Catania is one of the most popular destinations in Sicily.
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Find out more about Catania:
The stunning Cathedral of Sant'Agata in Catania overlooking the port
Catania ferry port
Catania benefits from its strategic position in the Mediterranean and for centuries has been considered a port of great importance.
Located about 2 km from the city center, the port of Catania is easily reachable either on foot or by bus in 20 minutes.
Ferries from Catania port: schedules and tickets
For some years now, ferry connections from the port of Catania to Italy and abroad have been suspended.
However, Catania is only 1 hour away from the port cities of Milazzo and Messina, which offer many connections (even to the Aeolian Islands). You could therefore spend a few days in Catania with Milazzo or Messina as an intermediate stop.
Specifically, you can reach Messina from the ports of Reggio Calabria, Villa San Giovanni and Salerno. Ferries to Milazzo depart from Naples, Vibo Valentia and Reggio Calabria. Take a look at the ferry routes below:
- Villa San Giovanni - Messina ferry
- Reggio Calabria - Messina ferry
- Salerno - Messina ferry
- Naples - Milazzo ferry
- Vibo Valentia - Milazzo ferry
- Reggio Calabria - Milazzo ferry
Messina and its port, one of the main ones in Sicily
Holidays in Catania
Catania is famous for its baroque style, beautiful beaches and tasty food. You can also admire the imposing Mount Etna. Stroll through Piazza Duomo, Via Etnea and Via dei Crociferi; get lost among the stalls of the vibrant La Pescheria market and admire the lava stone monuments around the city!
The city of Catania is perfect for holidays regardless of the season, combining art, culture, sea and adventure.
How to get to Catania
Catania can be easily reached by car, train, bus and plane.
If you are already in Sicily, you can drive to Catania or use the SAIS bus lines which connect it to most cities. Trains to Sicily depart from all over Italy and cross the Strait on their way to Catania.
The airport of Catania is located just 5 km from the center and offers both national and international flight connections.
Another solution is to get to Catania by taking the ferry to Palermo, Messina or Milazzo. These cities are in fact well connected to many Italian ports and allow you to bring along your ferry and plan a road trip around Sicily.
A quaint residential street in the historic center of Catania
What to do in Catania
Catania is a mix of culture, top-tier hospitality, mountains, sea and folklore.
The first thing to do once you arrive in Catania is to visit its historic center. Admire the baroque buildings, let yourself be carried away by the atmosphere of the local markets and take a tasty break in a pastry shop. Don't miss out on walking along the city seafront and, if the weather allows it, diving into the sea of Catania with a view of Etna!
During your trip to Catania, it is also advisable to plan an excursion to the volcano and a visit to the nearby villages.
Arrive in Sicily by ferry, reach Catania and stay at least 2-3 days in this magnificent city!
Beaches in Catania
The coast of Catania offers a rather long public beach with various establishments. Then, in the surrounding areas of Catania, you can reach additional swimming spots that are worth your time!
Here are 5 must-visit beaches in Catania:
- Playa di Catania: symbol of Catania and much loved by its citizens, it is 18 km long. Here, you can find free-to-access stretches, equipped segments, clubs, campsites, and many more establishments. The beach also offers a view of the majestic Etna in all its beauty.
- San Giovanni Li Cuti Beach: located 3 km from the center of Catania, it is a small beach in the seaside village of the same name. It has volcanic origins and is characterized by black rocks. Its waters are clear and cold, with deep seabeds already a few meters from the shore. Within walking distance, you will find the village’s seafront, various restaurants and ice cream parlors.
- Riviera dei Ciclopi: this 12 km long stretch of coast is located north of Catania and overlooks Acireale, Aci Castello and Acitrezza. Its sea is home to the 8 rocks which, according to legend, were thrown by Polyphemus in an attempt to stop Ulysses' escape. The entire area is full of incredible beauty and there are both free-to-access and equipped parts.
- Foce Simeto Beach: set in the nature reserve of the same name, it is a large river beach with white sand. You can park close to the reserve and then resume your journey on foot along a small riverside road. The true highlight of the area is the surrounding vegetation and fauna, much loved by birdwatching enthusiasts.
- Agnone Bagni Beach: located 30 km from Catania (near the town of Augusta), it is a large beach with alternating free-to-access and equipped parts. It is surrounded by eucalyptus trees, has a clean blue sea, and is very scenic.
The beautiful Playa di Catania with a view of Mount Etna
Sightseeing in Catania
Catania has ancient origins, and in the city, it is possible to admire archaeological remains, Roman ruins and thousand-year-old churches. Its historic center is also a miracle of baroque art and a UNESCO heritage site.
Here are some of the best attractions in Catania:
- The church of the Badia di Sant'Agata, a jewel of Catania baroque
- The Roman Theatre, right in the city center
- The elephant fountain, the lucky symbol of Catania
- Via Etna, the shopping street
- The 4 candelabra of Piazza Università, dedicated to the legends of Catania
- Ursino Castle, an ancient Norman fortress that houses the civic museum
- The church of San Benedetto, a triumph of baroque frescoes
- Villa Bellini, the "green lung" of Catania
- Giovanni Verga House Museum, the birthplace of the famous Italian writer
- San Giovanni li Cuti, a small seaside village in the city
- The church of San Gaetano alle Grotte, with its underground temple hidden under the building
- The Benedictine Monastery, among the largest in Europe and today home to the Faculty of Letters and Philosophy of Catania
- The Museum of the Landing in Sicily 1943, near the central station
- The Massimo Bellini Theatre, with 2000 seats
Nightlife in Catania
Catania is one of the liveliest cities in all of Sicily. Its nightlife is rather vibrant both in summer and in winter with various entertainment options.
The historic center of Catania is the busiest area, especially the streets of Piazza Duomo, Piazza Università and via Penninello. Clubs, wine bars, pubs, bars, and traditional restaurants are scattered around the center, as are must-visit street-food kiosks.
Many venues also organize musical evenings and cultural events. Make sure to check what happenings are taking place during your visit so that you can make the most of your nights in Catania!
Food in Catania
In Sicily, food is a sacred thing and Catania's cuisine is perhaps among the most popular. The gastronomy of Catania is simple, tasty and offers plenty of choice even in terms of street food.
Here are some gastronomic delights to try in Catania:
- Pasta alla Norma
- Fish parcels
- Marinated anchovies
- Caciocavallo cheese
- Horse meat cooked on the grill
- Cassatella di sant'Agat (round-shaped sweets)
- Sicilian cannoli
- Brioche with granita
- Olivette di Sant'Agata (green Sicilian sweets made from almond paste)
A tasty plate of homemade Norma-style pasta
Useful information about Catania
Catania is a city that offers a lot to its visitors. Most of its monuments and visitor services are located in the historic center, which can be easily explored on foot.
To fully enjoy the city atmosphere, we suggest you stroll through the historic markets of Catania (such as the Fera 'o Luni and the Piscaria) and try the street food stalls.
If you decide to stay in Catania for 1-2 days, the best area is certainly the heart of the city, especially if you don't travel by car. An ideal solution for those who have planned an excursion to Etna is the hamlet of Nicolosi.
In Catania and its surroundings, many cultural events, concerts and festivals are organized every year. Among the most famous are Catania Jazz, the Feast of Sant'Agata, the Acireale Carnival, ViniMilo and the Pistachio Festival in Bronte.
Important phone numbers for your stay in Catania
Here are some useful phone numbers for your stay in the port city of Catania:
- Catania tourist information: +3995742 5573
- Emergency medical service: +3995377122
- Municipal police: +3995531333
- SAIS Bus Lines: +39912776999
- Circumetnea railway: +3995534323
- AST-Sicilian Transport Company: +39957230535
- European emergency number: 112
Transportation in Catania
Catania is perfect to visit on foot as its historic center contains most of the attractions. The city also offers an excellent public transport system which serves the surrounding areas as well.
There are more than 50 bus lines that cover the more touristic areas. In Catania, there is also 1 metro line that stops in 11 stations.
The Circumetnea Railway is also widely used, which leaves from the station of Catania Borgo and arrives at the Riposto Station, passing through various villages in the province (such as Bronte and Paternò).
Driving around in Catania is not the most recommended mode of transport, as the city has a high traffic rate. In fact, during rush hour, it is difficult to move around, and the historic center is also a restricted traffic zone. Parking in Catania could therefore be difficult, so we recommend that you rely on the private car parks in the center or park on the blue lines for a fee.
Tip: by purchasing the Catania Pass, you will have unlimited access to all means of transport in the city and you will enjoy free or discounted entry to museums.
The captivating Piazza Duomo in Catania
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Catania ferry timetable
View the complete ferry schedule from and to Catania for the upcoming week. Find up-to-date trip information, including departure and arrival dates and times, ferry operators and ticket prices.