What to do on holiday in Catania - Etna and Catania Harbour
Last updated: 15 November 2021

What to do on holiday in Catania

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What to do on holiday in Catania? Here are 10 things you need to jot down in your travel notebook!

Are you planning your holiday in Catania and the list of things to do is still uncertain? Indeed, there are many activities to which you can dedicate yourself, wonders to know and beauties to admire. For this reason, to help you clearly define what you must necessarily do on holiday in Catania, here we have set out 10 precious guidelines. Shall we set off?

What to do on holiday in Catania

Here is your list:

  1. Cultural Tour in the center of Catania
  2. Try the local street food
  3. Take a stroll around “A Fera o Luni” and “La Pescheria”
  4. Enjoy an excursion on Etna
  5. Do you love sport? In Catania you have so much to choose from
  6. Relax at Riviera dei Ciclopi
  7. Enjoy the magic of a sunset in Catania
  8. Explore the coast
  9. Visit the villages at the foot of the volcano
  10. Enjoy a day of pure fun

It will be a pleasant combination of history, culture, cuisine, sport and nature. After all, Catania is this perfect match.

1. Cultural Tour in the center of Catania

If you love art, history, culture and architecture, you must plan an unforgettable tour to discover the wonders that Catania holds. Walking through the center, you can admire churches, buildings, squares, fountains and streets that will give you a myriad of emotions.

Do not miss the Cathedral of Saint Agatha, whose artistic expression represents a sort of synthesis and sublimation of nine centuries of history and culture. Erected above the Roman baths of Achilles, it is dedicated to the patron saint of the city. In the apses and side chapels you can admire examples of Norman art and architecture, in some Swabian columns and in the three naves the Baroque style, also visible in the façade overlooking Piazza Duomo.

And Piazza Duomo, the main one of the city, is the hub of your cultural tour to discover Catania. From here the three most important Catania roads extend (via Etna, via Giuseppe Garibaldi and via vittorio Emanuele II) and here you will find many wonders to be admired. In addition to the Church of Saint Agatha, a must is the Elephant Fountain, located in the center of the square, which represents three ancient civilizations: Punic (symbolized by the elephant), Egyptian (symbolized by the obelisk) and Christian (symbolized by the cross).

What to do on holiday in Catania - Cathedral of Sant'Agata in Piazza Duomo

Another unmissable emblem of Sicilian Baroque is the Badia di Sant’Agata and not far away you can admire the Amenano Fountain. On the large shell-shaped basin made with Carrara marble stands the statue of a young man, symbol of the river god Amenanos according to Greek mythology.

Also wonderful is the view of the Ursino Castle, built by Frederick II of Swabia in the 13th century, now home to the city’s civic museum. The perfectly symmetrical structure with a quadrangular plan and surrounded by towers on all four sides expresses the characteristics of Federician architecture.

And, again, if you are on holiday in Catania and want to discover the true soul of the city, you cannot miss Villa Bellini, which houses one of the oldest and largest gardens in the Sicilian city, full of beautiful sculptures and a luxuriant vegetation on the north side.

Also not to be missed is the Roman Theater, an open-air theater built in marble and lava stone; the Odeon, a semicircular building that was once a stage for dance performances; and then the lava galleries, crypts and sepulchres.

2. Enjoy the local street food

Do you want to discover the true soul of Catania? Then immerse yourself in the streets and enjoy the typical dishes of Catania, typically street food, without hesitation. Try things like tasty horse meat and arancino, the undisputed king of the city, with its typical shape that celebrates Etna and its unique explosion of goodness.

What to do on holiday in Catania - Arancino

You must also try the real pistachio, that of Bronte, produced in a village not far from Catania and of which the city is full. To learn more, we recommend that you read: What to eat in Catania: the 10 marvels you must try!

3. Go for a stroll around “A Fera o Luni” and “La Pescheria”

What better place to discover the culture of a city than its typical markets? The cries of the merchants, the colors, the aromas, the bargaining and the friendships: folklore is commonly found in A Fera o Luni and La Pescheria. In Fera o Luni and La Pescheria are the two largest and most important markets in Catania, one dedicated to fish, the other of a general nature.

A walk in these characteristic places is a total immersion in the Catania tradition.

4.Enjoy an excursion on Mt. Etna

You can choose quad biking, paragliding, helicopter, horse or donkey: there are many ways to experience an unforgettable excursion on Mt. Etna. The ancient forests of the Etna park, the woods, the extinct lateral craters, the four summit craters at about 2,000 meters high, the lava flows and, also, the tourist resorts of the past, today destroyed by volcanic eruptions, the recent lava fields, the lava volcanic cave: here the show to admire is really out of this world. Worth experiencing!

Do you want to organize a tour? Discover more by reading Excursion on Mt. Etna: tips for organizing the best tour.

5. Do you love sport? In Catania you have so much to choose from

Catania is the ideal tourist destination for sports lovers. If you love cycling, go ahead and get on a bike; if you love water sports, choose from snorkeling, diving, body rafting, kayaking, canoeing and windsurfing. Or you can admire Catania from above thanks to paragliding and hang gliding. Or, again, you can discover its most hidden wonders by hiking or climbing.

You can learn more by reading the post What sports to practice in Catania?.

6. Relax at Riviera dei Ciclopi

What to do on holiday in Catania - Acitrezza

Riviera dei Ciclopi is a wonderful coastal stretch, where the sea meets land and nature embraces history. Acicastello and Aci Trezza give you a show not to be missed.

Aci Castello is famous, indeed, for its castle built on a lava stone and overlooking the sea. Open every day, here you can admire the beautiful panoramic terrace, the museum, the chapel and the botanical garden.

Aci Trezza is the seaside village part of Aci Castello and will win you over with its eight stacks that stand out against the blue sea.

7. Enjoy the sunset in Catania

The Catania sunset, with its bright colors and its descent into the abyss of the sea, will give you truly unique emotions. There are two places in particular where we recommend you go in order to enjoy it: at the port of Catania (at the Molo di Levante) and at the small and delightful port of San Giovanni Li Cuti..
You will be able to enjoy an aperitif at sunset that you will certainly not forget.

8. Explore the coast

There is another new and impressive viewpoint from which to admire the city of Catania: the sea. A wonderful boat excursion will allow you to marvel in front of the coast and to enjoy the scenic spectacle that the earth gives when it meets the sea. An absolute must-see.

9. Visit the villages at the foot of the volcano

What to do on holiday in Catania - Paesini Piedimontani

The villages at the foot of the volcano, such as Milo, Zafferana and Trecastagni, still live some of the aspects of the history and culture of Catania. The ancient alleys, the churches, the old buildings, the squares and the aromas that spread from the houses to the streets of the town are a spectacle in which we advise you to immerse yourself with an open heart. The inhabitants of these villages will know how to welcome you.

10. Enjoy a day of pure fun

If you want to have fun and/or enjoy a different day with your family, the Adventure Parks located on Mt. Etna are the ideal place to have an experience you will never forget. Surrounded by greenery and full of fun and adventures, they are one of the 10 things to do on holiday in Catania.

Our journey together has now come to an end.
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What to do on holiday in Catania - Etna and Catania Harbour

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Inside you will find:
The route to follow for a perfect 'cultural walk
The list of must-see sights
Recommended restaurants and venues for street food and aperitifs
Catania's most beautiful neighbourhoods, beaches and surroundings
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