What to see in Catania and surroundings in 7 days

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Martí Micolau

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

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Catania, on the east coast of Sicily, is a very interesting destination: historical attractions, wild beauties and the scent of the sea.
Also, it is located in a strategic position to quickly reach renowned locations such as Taormina and Noto, without forgetting the thrill of admiring the imposing Etna volcano or venturing onto its slopes for an adrenaline-fueled naturalistic experience!

Here are all our tips on what to see in Catania and surroundings in 7 days!


  1. 1 day
  2. 2 day
  3. 3 day
  4. 4 day
  5. 5 day
  6. 6 day
  7. 7 day
  8. How much does a week cost in Catania
  9. Before leaving: useful tips
  10. User questions and comments

1 day

The visit of the city can only start from Piazza Duomo, where several important attractions are gathered: the much-photographed Elephant Fountain, called U Liotru and the Cathedral of Sant'Agata, dedicated to the patron saint who rests inside, next to the funeral monument in memory of the famous Catania composer Vincenzo Bellini. The Duomo is open from 7:00 to 12:00 and from 16:00 to 19:00.
The Diocesan Museum and the Achilliane Baths, in the underground part of the square, are also worth a visit. They are open from Monday to Friday from 9:00 to 14:00, Tuesday and Thursday also from 15:00 to 18:00, Saturday from 9:00 to 13:00.
You are very close to Piscaria. Take a tour in the lively fish market which takes place in the alleys southwest of the Piazza del Duomo (every day from dawn until exhaustion).

Have lunch at the Osteria Antica Marina (average cost per person € 20,00).
After lunch, return to Piazza Duomo to visit the Church of the Badia di Sant'Agata, at least to get on dome from which you can enjoy a magnificent view of the city. You can access from 9:30 to 12:30 and from 15:00 to 18:00.
Continue by visiting the Greek-Roman Theater complex incorporated into the urban fabric in the adjacent (and minor) Odeon, open from 9:00 to 17:00, Sunday until 13:00.
Finally, we suggest a visit to the nearby and fascinating Benedictine monastery (only guided tour starting at the beginning of each hour, held from 11:00 to 18:00), a baroque jewel with two cloisters.

For dinner, stop at the Vico San Barnabà restaurant (average cost per person € 30,00).

In summary:

  • Distance traveled: 2 km / 26 min
  • Places visited: Piazza Duomo (free), Cathedral of S. Agata (free), Diocesan Museum and Thermal Baths (€ 10,00), a 'Piscaria (free), Dome Church of the Abbey of Sant'Agata (€ 3,00), Theater and Odeon (€ 6,00), Benedictine Monastery (€ 8,00)
  • Daily shopping: € 80,00
  • Catania walking tour 2 hour private walking tour street food tour
  • Lunch at Osteria Antica Marina (Get directions), Dinner at Vico San Barnabà Restaurant (Get directions)

2 day

Departure again from Piazza Duomo.
Continue to Via Museo Biscari to visit the superlative Palazzo Biscari, a private palace, one of the oldest and most beautiful, belonging to the current principles of Biscari who personally accompany visitors on a guided tour. Visiting times are from 7:00 to 13:00 and from 15:00 to 19:00, by appointment also until 22:00.
Head to this point in via Crociferi, the most beautiful street in the city, triumph of marvelous Baroque buildings culminating in Villa Cerami, the seat of Law.
Small detour for reach the tiny Church of S. Gaetano alle Grotte (in piazza Carlo Alberto, open from 9:30 to 12:00 and from 17:00 to 19:30), particularly interesting for the deep and suggestive lava cave, the first burial place of Sant'Agata.

Lunch at the Polpetteria (average cost per person € 20,00) and then off to Villa Bellini, huge public garden which, with its over 70.000 square meters, represents the green lung of the city. Enjoy a nice walk and climb to the top. From the terrace of the park, in fact, you can enjoy one of the best city views of Etna.

Now you just have to reach the long and elegant Via Etna, where big designer shops and beautiful buildings follow one another. For dinner we suggest Restaurant Km.0 which offers Sicilian recipes in a minimal setting (average cost per person € 50,00).

In summary:

  • Distance traveled: 2,9 km / 38 min
  • Places visited: Palazzo Biscari (€ 10,00), Via Crociferi (free), Church of S. Gaetano alle Grotte (free), Villa Bellini (free), Via Etnea (free)
  • Daily shopping: € 80,00
  • 2 hour private walking tour Catania street food tour like a local: customized private walking tour
  • Lunch at Polpetteria (Get directions), Dinner at Km.0 Restaurant (Get directions)

3 day

Etna excursion. Rather challenging but a must do once in a lifetime experience. You can reach the park with the bus that leaves every morning from Piazza Papa Giovanni XXIII (the only bus that leaves at 8:15 and returns to Catania leaving at 16:30 from Rifugio Sapienza, cost a / r € 6,60). If, on the other hand, you have a car you will not have time constraints and you can take the A-18. The highly recommended alternative is to participate in an organized half-day morning excursion.

Etna is the highest active volcano in Europe, surrounded by an extraordinary landscape that extends for 59.000 hectares. With its woods, paths and unrepeatable landscapes, it is a unique environment in the world and, not surprisingly, it is declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The activities to do on Etna are many, there are numerous naturalistic itineraries that wind through the reserve of the Etna Park up to an altitude of 2.000 meters. Once you reach the craters at the top from Nicolosi, the best thing is to visit the area and discover the history of the volcano with an expert guide. It is also possible to take part in a cable car and jeep excursion.

Packed lunch is obviously recommended for the day, enjoying a wonderful view from the top of Etna over all the surroundings. For dinner, back in the city, we suggest the Trattoria del Cavaliere (€ 23,00).

In summary:

  • Distance traveled: 108 km / 2 h 17 min by car including transfer from / to Catania
  • Places visited: Etna Park (free, bus ticket € 6,60)
  • Daily shopping: € 30,00 + possible tours to Etna starting from € 55,00
  • From Catania: half day morning excursion to Mount Etna
  • packed lunch, Dinner at Trattoria del Cavaliere (Get directions)

4 day

Excursion to Noto and Modica. Day dedicated to the Baroque. From Catania to Noto you have to take the bus towards Ispica, travel time an hour and a half, ticket cost € 9,00 each way, or by car (1 hour) via E-45 (best solution). Alternatively, you can take part in an organized tour of Noto, Modica and Ragusa, so you don't have to worry about transport.

Noto is known as the stone city famous for its splendid Baroque heritage. After the disastrous earthquake of 1693, it was rebuilt on the Meti plateau. In the morning visit the Royal Gate, the Church of S. Chiara and the Benedictine convent, the Cathedral and Palazzo Nicolaci.

Then reach Modica by regional train (1 hour and 10 min, ticket cost € 9,00 each way), bus (1 hour and 45 min, ticket cost € 6,00) or by car via SS115 (40 min).
For lunch we recommend the Trattoria L'Arco (€ 20,00) and then start exploring the city.
Modica is the oldest chocolate factory in Sicily. The city also boasts a rich history and a wonderful architectural heritage. Explore the historic center, admire the cathedrals of San Giorgio and San Pietro and do not miss a visit to the delicious Chocolate Museum, open from 9:00 to 20:00.

Upon returning to Catania you can dine in the Etnea area at the Trattoria Don Mimmo (average cost per person € 18,00).

In summary:

  • Distance traveled: 262 km / 3 h 45 min by car including transfer from / to Catania
  • Places visited: in Noto Chiesa S. Chiara (free), Benedictine convent (free), Cathedral (free), Palazzo Nicolaci (free); in Modica historic center (free), Cathedrals of St. George and St. Peter (free), Museum of Chocolate (€ 2,50)
  • Daily shopping: € 75,00
  • From Catania: Baroque tour of Noto, Modica and Ragusa
  • Lunch at Trattoria L'Arco (Get directions), Dinner at Trattoria Don Mimmo (Get directions)

5 day

Matches towards aci castello and aci trezza. Bus 534 takes you to your destination in an hour (53 stops), from Piazza Borsellino to Via Provinciale 6 / c.

The main attraction of Aci Castello is the Norman-Swabian Castle. It was built by the Normans in 1076 on a lava promontory entirely surrounded by the sea. Inside you can visit the Civic Museum, open from 9:00 to 13:00 and from 16:30 to 20:30.
After the visit, take bus 534 to reach Aci Trezza, which can also be reached by walking for 2 km.
Aci Trezza is a small fishing village so bewitching that it inspired Homer in the Odyssey and where Giovanni Verga set I Malavoglia.

Have lunch at Il Covo Marino (€ 25,00) with a panoramic view on the famous 8 stacks.
After lunch enjoy a walk along the marina and enter the village. Visit the Casa del Nespolo, typical Sicilian residence coeval with the events of the Malavoglia. Open every day from 9:30 to 12:30 and from 16:00 to 19:00.
Return to Catania by evening e visit the famous Ursino Castle, open until late, with the following times: from 10:00 to 19:00, Saturday and Sunday until 20:30. Built at the behest of Frederick II, Castello Ursino is part of the defensive project of the eastern Sicilian coasts. Today it houses the Civic Museum of the city.

End the evening with a dinner at Borgo di Federico (average cost per person € 15,00).

In summary:

  • Distance traveled: 15,8 km / 36 min by car
  • Places visited: Norman-Swabian Castle of Aci Castello (€ 3,00), Aci Trezza (free), Casa del Nespolo (€ 1,50), Ursino Castle (€ 10,00)
  • Daily shopping: € 65,00
  • half day boat trip to Aci Trezza boat trip to Aci Trezza with lunch Etna, Acireale and Acitrezza: tour from Catania
  • Lunch at Il Covo Marino (Get directions), Dinner at Il Borgo di Federico (Get directions)

6 day

Start this morning by visiting some interesting Museum of the Landing in Sicily - 1943, dedicated to the historical event during World War II, which started Sicily and the whole of Italy towards liberation from German occupation. This is a milestone in the war. Open from 10:00 to 18:00.

After the visit, head towards San Giovanni Li Cuti. Its peculiarity? It is a small fishing village, right in the heart of the Catania seafront. It has survived modernization, here you will feel like you are stepping back in time. Immediately recognizable also from its beach of black volcanic sand. The name Li Cuti derives from the Catania dialect to indicate the rocks.

Have lunch at Acqua & Farina Pizzeria by the sea (average cost per person € 18,00).
Visit the majestic war memorial and then relax on the unique black beach and stroll along the picturesque harbor where it is possible to admire the ancient wooden boats called Licutiani.

End the day with a sea view dinner at Andrew's Faro (average cost per person € 30,00).

In summary:

  • Distance traveled: 2,7 km / 33 min
  • Places visited: Museum of the Landing in Sicily - 1943 (€ 4,00), San Giovanni Li Cuti (free), Monument to the Fallen (free), Black beach of San Giovanni Li Cuti (free)
  • Daily shopping: € 55,00
  • Lunch at Acqua & Farina Pizzeria on the sea (Get directions), Dinner at Andrew's Faro (Get directions)

7 day

Castelmola and Taormina day tour. You can reach Castelmola by Bus from Catania piazza Michelangelo to Taormina Bus Terminal (1 hour, ticket cost € 7,00), Re train (1 hour, ticket cost € 8,00) or Intercity (30 min, ticket cost € 20,00) ) or by own vehicle (50 min) via E-45. We recommend an organized tour to have a guide available.

Castelmola is a medieval town at 530 meters above sea level. You can stroll through the characteristic streets and its boulevards but, above all, admire the panoramic view of the sea.
Then head towards Taormina, just 5 km from Castelmola. Unless you have a car you have to take a taxi (€ 14,00).

Once you arrive in Taormina, stop for lunch at the Osteria da Rita (average cost per person € 50,00).
Often referred to as the Pearl of the Mediterranean, Taormina is a chic and refined town that offers breathtaking views, starting with the iconic terrace with checkerboard floor. The authentic side of Taormina is revealed little by little through alleys, stairways, ceramic shops and pastry shops of Sicilian delicacies. The most famous and important historical attraction in the city is the Ancient Theater, open from 9:00 to 19:00.
After visiting the theater and the historic center, go down towards the coast and reach the isola bella beach to admire a splendid sunset over the sea!

End the day with a dinner with a magnificent view of Isola Bella at the Da Giovanni Restaurant (average cost per person € 20,00).

In summary:

  • Distance traveled: 119 km / 2h 7 min by car including transfer from / to Catania
  • Places visited: Castelmola, Taormina, Greek Theater (€ 10,00)
  • Daily shopping: € 100,00
  • Panoramic tour of Castelmola and Taormina The best of Taormina and Castelmola: private tour Excursion to Taormina, Castelmola and Naxos
  • Lunch at Osteria da Rita (Get directions), Dinner at Ristorante Da Giovanni (Get directions)

How much does a week cost in Catania

NB: The prices expressed in the table above are to be intended "per person".
Catania is an economic destination. Easily accessible thanks to the airport connected to the rest of Italy by low cost airlines (from € 23,00). To stay there are various options, from hostels for € 15,00 to more elegant and luxurious accommodations that however do not reach exorbitant figures.
To eat, the city is full of cafes or bars that offer exceptional street-food at low prices, eg. € 1,50 for an arancino. For a proper dinner, however, there is no shortage of restaurants of a certain level.

If you want to make excursions outside the city, you need to take the means (however expensive) or buy an organized tour. In that case, to make sure you are not spending too much, you can opt for the Catania Pass: free or reduced access to museums, unlimited use of means of transport, special discounts at shops, restaurants and affiliated activities.

  • starting from € 40,00 -
  • Hotel and b & b starting from € 40,00 per room -
  • From Catania: Baroque tour of Noto, Modica and Ragusa half-day morning excursion to Mount Etna street food tour
  • Total cost of a week, flight included: from € 720,00 per person

Before leaving: useful tips

  • When to visit Catania: Mediterranean climate. therefore it can be visited all year round, in winter it never drops below zero; however, the months from October to February are the wettest - find out more
  • the airport is 10 km from the center, reachable by the AMT company Alibus (20 minutes, ticket cost € 4,00) or by taxi (minimum € 18,00)
  • Via Etnea, a safe area in the center; Via Crociferi area, central but quiet; Corso Italia area, more modern and with offices therefore not very lively in the evening; Lungomare, only if you go to the beach because the center is far away (half an hour on foot)
  • Getting around: the historic center can be easily explored on foot. The means are used only to move out of the city: bus (single ride € 1,00, day ticket € 2,50), metro (single ride € 1,00, day ticket € 2,00) - find out more
  • Recommended cards and passes: Catania Pass, includes free or reduced access to museums, unlimited use of means of transport, special discounts at shops, restaurants and affiliated activities. Duration from 1, 3 or 5 days with standard or family formula from € 12,50 to € 38,00

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