tourist at the syracuse cathedral
Last updated: 15 August 2023

What to see in Syracuse in a day: beaches, Ortigia and itinerary from Catania

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One day is enough to fall in love with Syracuse and Ortigia. Here is the perfect itinerary to visit these locations in a day and all the information on how to get there.

Clients of our flats and suites in Catania often ask us what to see in Syracuse in a day e how to get there from Catania. Thanks to our experience, we have created this guide where we recommend the perfect itinerary for a day trip to Syracuse and Ortigia

You will discover what to see in Syracuse, what to see in Ortigiawhich are the most beautiful beaches but also where and what to eat typically in this wonderful area of Sicily. 

In addition, we will provide you with all the useful information with prices for travelling from Catania to Syracuse in a day. 

Let's start with the best advice on what to see in Syracuse in one day leaving from Catania. 

What to see in Syracuse: 3 places to see in one day

If you decide to do a day trip to Syracuse you must make sure you visit the most evocative places in this part of Sicily. Siracusa is a city rich in history, in fact, it was for centuries the capital city of Sicily until its conquest by the Arabs and was the birthplace of illustrious figures such as Archimedes e Elio Vittorini

Visiting this town on the south-east coast of Sicily is a must. Starting from the town itself, we recommend three unmissable places to include in your itinerary. 

1. Greek Theatre of Syracuse 

syracuse greek theatre

Here one breathes in all the antiquity and majesty of this land. The Greek Theatre of Syracuse is a theatre located within the Neapolis Archaeological Park and is one of the greatest examples in Sicily along with the Greek Theatre of Taormina. It can be visited every day and the entrance ticket costs about 16 euro, but the visit includes the entire archaeological park as well as the theatre. This is a must-see in Syracuse that no tourist should miss. 

2. Euryalus Castle

Another very special archaeological site to visit near Siracusa is the Euryalus Castle. The construction of the castle is due to the military genius of the famous tyrant of Syracuse, Dionysius. The site is located a little outside the city centre but offers breathtaking views. It is also open in the evening until 7.30 p.m., the best time to enjoy the spectacle. 

3. Ear of Dionysus

ear dionysius what to see in syracuse

With the same ticket that grants you access to the theatre in Syracuse you can admire the Ear of Dionysus. It is an artificial cave located in the old stone quarry near the theatre. Legend has it that it was Caravaggioa seventeenth-century painter, who named the inlet after it because of its particular shape. Truly suggestive!

Obviously, you cannot go to Syracuse in a day without getting lost among the characteristic streets of the historic city centre which takes the name of Ortigia, in the next paragraph we recommend what to see there too. Our recommendations on what to see in Syracuse are not yet finished.

Ortigia: what to see and how to get there?

Ortigia is the historic centre of Syracuse. It is very special because it is a small island connected to the rest of the city by a tongue of land but it represents the beating heart of Syracuse. It can all be visited in a day and is easily reached from Catania in about an hour. 

We thought of the perfect itinerary on chat to see in Ortigia in a day. The starting point is definitely the Cathedral of Syracuse (located on the small island of Ortigia). 

cathedral syracuse what to see in ortigia

The Syracuse Cathedral is entirely built with the typical white stone of the area that gives a wonderful visual effect, in fact Ortigia is also called the white city. The full name is Metropolitan Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The cathedral is truly imposing and overlooks one of the most beautiful squares in the whole of Sicily. It can also be visited inside where it hides treasures of painting and sculpture.  

A few steps from the cathedral, down towards the sea, you will find the Source Arethusa. In the Arethusa fountain is set the legend of Arethusa and Alphaeusone of Syracuse's most fascinating myths. Its peculiarity is that papyrus plants can still be seen growing inside. In Ortigia you can also visit the Papyrus Museum which is really interesting because it tells of a technique that has now disappeared and is shrouded in fascination. 

Another stop not to be missed is the Diana's Fountaina true masterpiece of sculpture as you can see from this picture. It is located in the centre of Ortigia and was built in the early 1900s.

diana fountain ortigia

There is much more to see in Ortigia and so we recommend that you lose yourself in its narrow streets to discover crazy views. However, a really important thing to do in this area is to taste the typical food! 

Ortigia Restaurants: Where and what to eat in Ortigia and Syracuse?

La Sicily is the realm of street food of quality, so we can't help but offer you some typical dishes that you can easily find in many places in the area. 

Here are the typical dishes of Ortigia and Syracuse and where you can find them (these are tips from real locals): 

  • The Scacciaor schiacciata, is a kind of stuffed sheet of bread. It is prepared in local bakeries and filled with different toppings such as tomato, mozzarella, aubergine, vegetables, sausage or salami.
  • Syracuse-style fried pastaThis is a typical dish for real locals. The recipe is very simple: spaghetti, good oil, anchovies and roasted breadcrumbs. The pasta is sautéed in a pan until it gets a little crispy and served with a nice sprinkling of breadcrumbs on top. Simple but mouth-watering. It can be found in typical trattorias. 
  • La Matalotta: is the typical fish soup of the Syracuse area. The fish is cooked in wine and then served in its brodetto seasoned with plenty of capers and a few cherry tomatoes. We recommend eating this speciality in one of the many fish restaurants along the seafront in Ortigia. 
  • The Cucchetypical of Syracuse, not very famous in the rest of Sicily, are strips of dough stuffed with sausage and cheese, although today you can find many other flavours. Cucche can easily be found in the city's typical bakeries. 
  • Le CassatelleMoving on to dessert, cassatelle are sweet fried ravioli of Sicilian gastronomy filled with sheep's ricotta cheese. They can be found in breakfast bars or typical pastry shops. 

Tips:  if you want eating like a real person local spending very littlewe advise you to go to the Syracuse Municipal Market in Ortigia. You will find plenty of street food, including fish at low prices, and you can taste typical products, such as local cheeses and cold cuts, directly from the producers. A treat to add to your one-day itinerary in Syracuse. 

Ortigia and Syracuse beaches: the 10 most beautiful

Looking for relaxation and beautiful beaches? Siracusa e Ortigia also offer this. In this area there are Sicily's most beautiful beaches and are suitable for all tastes because the landscapes vary so much. Small sandy coves, nature reserves or cliffs. 

syracuse ortigia beaches

To give you the chance to choose the one that suits you best, we have decided to list here the 10 most beautiful beaches near Syracuse and Ortigia easily accessible: 

  1. Calamosche Beach - Vendicari ReserveThis beach is located in a protected natural area and is the most picturesque in the whole area. To get there, you have to walk a stretch through nature and there are no establishments, bars or restaurants. This beach guarantees you an experience in contact with unspoilt nature. The beach has fine sand and the water is crystal clear.
  2. Eloro Beach - Vendicari ReserveThis place is also within the reserve and is an excellent alternative to the more crowded and touristy beach of Marina di Noto. There is also a small bar and shower areas, but this does not disturb the experience in contact with nature at all. 
  3. San Lorenzo Beach - Vendicari ReserveThe last of the beaches in the nature reserve is San Lorenzo, which is very well known and frequented by young people. The sand is light and fine, resembling a Caribbean landscape. 
  4. Punta delle Formichedescending a little, you will find this beach, which is not very well known to mass tourism but is very picturesque. It is situated between Isola delle Correnti and Capo Passero. 
  5. Playa CarratoisAlso at the furthest tip of Sicily, but still easily accessible from Syracuse, is this stretch of sand with well-equipped lidos offering crazy fish dishes. Being very large, it is suitable for water sports, canoeing and windsurfing. 
  6. Marzamemi Beachclose to one of the most characteristic villages in Sicily, there is a really charming little beach. We recommend you go in the afternoon so you will be ready to have an aperitif afterwards in the typical village of Marzamemi. 
  7. Marina di AvolaA very spacious beach with many establishments. The sand is fine and the sea is not deep. Particularly suitable for families on holiday. 
  8. Gallina Beachalso many local do not yet know this beach. It is located 5 km from Avola and is a small beach of golden sand, which is part of a reserve. 
  9. Jasmine BeachAnother special treat is this beach quite close to Syracuse. It is a free, virgin beach with crystal-clear waters and white sand. An oasis in which to relax and picnic in the pine forest. You can also enter by car, but the entrance costs about 20 euro.
  10. Arenella BeachThis place offers both golden sand and rocks. It is well served and also suitable for families with children. A truly picturesque oasis. 

These are the 10 beaches in Syracuse and Ortigia most impressive and, as you can see, there is something for everyone. If you want to make a one-day visit, you certainly can't see them all, but two or three of them can be visited perfectly because they are not very far apart. If, on the other hand, you just want to relax, you are spoilt for choice. 

How to get to Syracuse from Catania

If you are looking for what to see in Siracusa in one day is probably because you are touring the whole of Sicily or staying in the area. Catania is one of the closest towns in eastern Sicily to Syracuse, and many tourists, including customers of our facilities, set off from here to explore it. 

La distance between Catania and Siracusa is 50 km and there are many means to get there. The average journey time is 1 hour but varies depending on the means. 

To get to Syracuse from Catania in a day, the most common means are: 

  • Car or rental car: By car, the journey from the centre of Catania, where our facilities are located, is approximately 49 minutes. On the way, we stop at suggestive locations. 
  • BusSeveral buses leave daily from Catania for Syracuse. The bus arrives at the Syracuse station - viale Scala Greca. They are comfortable and punctual and the journey takes about 1h. The cost is between 5 and 7 euros. The bus company that operates on this route is called Interbus. Visit the official website for timetables and tickets.
  • Airport busIf you want to go to Syracuse directly from the airport, there is a direct bus departing from Catania Airport. Connections leave every hour, and operate daily. 
  • TrainThere are several trains from Catania to Syracuse that depart daily from the central station. The cost varies between 6 euros for the regional and 12 euros for the intercity. The journey takes approximately 1 hour and 10 minutes. Visit the official Trenitalia website for timetables and tickets.
  • TaxiThe quickest way to get from Catania to Syracuse is to taxi, which costs 140 - 170 Euro and takes 49 min.

Among the various options if you want to see Syracuse in one day and depart from Catania we recommend the machine because you can also move to more places, but if you don't have it, the bus is a good option and takes you right into the heart of Syracuse and Ortigia.

If you are planning your trip to Sicily and still don't know where to stay in Catania, you can book one of our flats or one of our suites in Catania city centre now. We will be happy to find the most suitable solution for you and your family so that you can enjoy an unforgettable, stress-free holiday in Sicily.

To see our facilities, visit our dedicated page or 
contact us at the following addresses: +39 348 1137291 -

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tourist at the syracuse cathedral

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