Lively Catania is Sicily’s second city. Squeezed between the Ionian Sea and the dark slopes of Mount Etna, it’s full of beautiful Baroque architecture and incredible foodie finds.
Catania holidays offer beaches, ancient sites and museums rolled into one gorgeous package. The historic centre is a world heritage wonder packed with elegant architecture. Out of town, the coastline hosts volcanic beaches and the countryside offers rivers, canyons and wineries. Wherever you wander you’ll feel the dramatic presence of Mount Etna, which looms large over the city.
Outdoor adventures in Catania
Ancient history may be all the rage but the Catania region is primed for outdoor adventures. Keen on water sports? There’s everything from water skiing to windsurfing to sailing. Prefer dry land? You can explore woods, vineyards and coastal paths, by bike, on foot or on horseback. Top of the list is hiking the slopes of Mount Etna.
Why book Catania holidays
Lush natural wonders
Amazing views of Mount Etna? Yes please!
Cultural hotspot not to miss
The Cathedral of Saint Agatha shows off Catania's impressive architecture
Piazza del Duomo is home to the famous Elephant Fountain - the symbol of Catania
Must-visit historical sites
Check out the Roman Amphitheatre of Catania and Palazzo Biscari
Art & culture
Watch a show at Teatro Massimo Bellini
Chiosco Bellini is stunning garden grounds, perfect for romantic strolls with your partner
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Your guide to Catania holidays
Catania holidays offer plenty of variety, whether you’re a history buff, a foodie or an outdoorsy type.
- Spend a day wandering the streets of central Catania. They’re an enticing mix of grand piazzas, world heritage sites and quirky museums. Highlights include the Duomo di Catania, the city’s Cathedral.
- Catania’s most famous street, Via Etna, is the place to head for fashion and local crafts. Even better? It’s lined with Baroque churches and palazzi. And Mount Etna looms large in the background.
- Head for Gole dell’Alcantara, where the Alcantara River runs through a series of dramatic gorges. You can go body rafting, river trekking and swimming in the cool waters.
- Don your hiking boots and tackle Mount Etna, one of the world’s most active volcanoes. To reach the top you’ll hike through lunar landscapes. But you can opt to let a cable car do the hard work instead.
- Catania is a town that likes to party, thanks to its large student population. Try the bars, clubs and restaurants around Teatro Massimo. Or make for the promenade for drinks with stunning sea views.
Explore history in Catania
Catania’s ancient sites tell the story of a city that has felt many influences. From the Phoenicians, to the Greeks to the Romans.
- The most elegant example of Baroque architecture in town is Palazzo Biscari. This lavish palace has hundreds of rooms full of frescoes, gold leaf and limestone sculpture.
- The Benedictine Monastery complex is one of Europe’s best and it’s a UNESCO world heritage site. Built in 1558, it includes a marble cloister and an atmospheric Basilica.
- Storybook 13th century Castello Ursino housses the archaeological collection of a local aristocratic family. For a trip back to Norman times, visit the lava stone castle in nearby Aci Castello.
- Perched on a hillside overlooking the sea, Taormina is famed for its ancient Greek theatre. It’s beautifully preserved and has views over Mount Etna and beyond.
- For a taste of ancient Roman Catania, check out Teatro Romano. This open air amphitheatre dates to the 3rd century BC. It’s slightly overgrown but that just adds to the romance.
Most popular Catania hotels
Your Catania questions answered
To be close to the action and public transport, stay in the historical centre. The historic seaside village of Aci Castello, ten minutes north of Catania, offers a quieter alternative.
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Prices last checked at 00:30 20 January 2021