Catania Itinerary: Top Things To Do In 3 days

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Looking for a perfect Catania itinerary? 3 days in Catania is a fair amount of time to see this one of the most interesting places to visit in Sicily. Here’s how you can spend 3 days in Catania and make the most out of your trip.

Catania is a historical heaven on Sicily’s east coast. If you are already here, you must either have heard about the city or know that it has just not embraced the history made here gracefully but it is also a city with culture and character. This bustling city has plenty of things and places to explore. Catania is the second largest city of Sicily. It is not as chaotic as it seems. You will find charming palazzos, Baroque style architecture and beautiful buildings at many spots in the city.

Here’s a useful itinerary for you to help you spend those perfect 3 days in Catania.

Catania Itinerary : 3 Days In Catania

Day 1 : Cathedral of Saint Agatha, Piazza del Duomo, Catania Fish Market, Roman Theatre

Cattedrale di Sant’Agata (Cathedral of Saint Agatha)

Cathedral of Saint Agatha - Catania Itinerary
Cathedral of Saint Agatha – Catania Itinerary

The tall Romanesque style building in the middle of Catania is the best place to kick start your trip in this beautiful city. Catania has a rich historical significance. Hence, every single architecture here is the standing piece of evidence of its long-lasting culture and tradition. One of its many pieces of evidence is the Cathedral. The tall white washed walls with its unique style tell an intriguing tale. As you enter you would find golden bordered walls with fine frescoes on the ceiling. There is a sense of serenity in the cathedral as you walk down towards the aisle.

At the end, you will find the idol cozily adorned with lovely colors and other sculptures protecting it from all angles. It is a beautiful sight to watch. You can also climb up a narrow stairway towards the dome to see a lovely panoramic view of the city. Visiting the Cathedral is one of the most wonderful things to do in your Catania itinerary.

Piazza del Duomo

The Cathedral of Saint Agatha is located in Piazza del Duomo. The duomo is one of the most picturesque places in all of Catania. It is not only architecturally beautiful but the landscape on which it is built is just as astounding as Italian history. Talking about its history, the Piazza was built on the land of a Roman Thermae. So, you can imagine the land that you share today with hundreds of tourists and thousands of locals was once a common communal place for people to meet and get rid of their daily tiredness.

You will also spot a charming black lava elephant fountain in the center of the piazza. It was inspired by Bernini’s elephant obelisk in Rome.

Join a Catania street food tour to taste the local specialties and sweet treats through the enchanting alleys of the historic center.

Catania Fish Market

Catania Fish Market is defined as the slice of Sicilian Life. It is located adjacent to the Piazza di Duomo. It has the most variety of fish shops and other eateries open in a regional area. The shops all lined closely on the crowded street is what will captivate your eyes. However, don’t forget to miss the colorful umbrella adorned top of the street that will offer you the perfect shade if you visit the place under scorching sun heat.

You will find all kinds of fishes here. Italian cuisine is known for its variety of sea food and lip-smacking taste. Here, in this market you will know the origins of many dishes and food items. Don’t forget to click pictures because the entire street looks aesthetically pleasing.

Roman Theatre and the Odeon

Roman Theatre - Catania Itinerary
Roman Theatre – Catania Itinerary

Catania has always been important to the regional people. It has history, tradition and culture imbibed into it throughout centuries. One of the keys to look in the past is the Odeon which is built entirely of lava. And this should be your next spot-on Day 1 of your Catania itinerary. The reason it is an Odeon and not a generic Roman Theatre is it has a semi open roof specially built to enhance the orchestra played in the theatre.

There are very few theatres left intact with such construction for the visitors. But that is not the only attribute to witness at this place. Located near the Odeon is the Roman Theatre. The huge arena and the design left untouched from the ancient Roman rule is another feature that can make you stop and spend some time here. The number of stairs, the huge stage and the small opening to the stage would take you back to the old Rome. You will remember the scenes from Russel Crowe’s Gladiator, Troy or the series Rome itself.

Day 2 : Castello Ursino, Villa Bellini, The Monastery Of San Nicolo l’Arena, Mercato di Piazza Carlo Alberto

Castello Ursino

Castello Ursino - Catania Itinerary
Castello Ursino – Catania Itinerary

To start your second day with Catania history, you need to visit a castle. But only the oldest castle has a history emerging from the 11th and 12th century. The walls of the Castello Ursino had seen all kinds of kings residing there. It has been a witness to thousands of reigns, good and bad. Today, this old castle has been converted into a museum. It has sculptures, old testaments of treaties, weapons, evidence of everyday life in Italy and much more. Everything under one roof where part of these things converted into making of history.

The museum has two floors with documents on the ground floor, sarcophagus on the second floor and weapons on the third floor. You will be amazed by the facts and history found at the museum. Some documents are printed on the stones and not even papers.

Villa Bellini

Villa Bellini - Catania Itinerary
Villa Bellini – Catania Itinerary

After getting your eyes pleased by the history of Italy, you need something green, open and refreshing. So, to your service is Villa Bellini, also known as Chiosco Bellini. It is known as the oldest urban park of Catania. Gorgeous trees trimmed and maintained to suit the Italian landscape with the patches of marble embedded floor throughout the garden makes for a perfectly serene place to hang out, especially during the hotter days. You can click as many pictures as you want here because the captivating beauty of the surroundings would compel you to do just the same.

Every landscape is poetry in itself under the Italian sky. It was a garden maze or a labyrinth before it opened for public visitation or public viewing. As you will visit it, you will find it is the perfect place for the same. You can stroll through the same routes that were once strolled by the prince of Biscari. The gardens are breezy and it is a good place to escape from the scorching heat during summers. Make sure you have your sun hat and sunblock with you.

This city highlight walking tour is the best way to see Villa Bellini, Castello Ursino and learn about the other famous sites of Catania.

The Monastery Of San Nicolo l’Arena

Monastery Of San Nicolo l’Arena - Catania Itinerary
Monastery Of San Nicolo l’Arena – Catania Itinerary

What could be more beautiful and peaceful than visiting an Italian monastery? The Monastery of San Nicolo l’Arena is simply gorgeous but the real magic of the place can only be felt once you enter it. It is said that it was built by the volcanic soil present in the area and the saints living in the monastery service the church of San Nicolo which is just next to it.

Though it was first built in the fifteenth century. The earthquake in this region along with the tsunamis has caused major redoing to its design throughout the years. So, whoever has touched the monastery has left a mark of their design and style to the place. Hence, you would find a lot of interesting designs from various centuries when it was restored and maintained again and again.

The Monastery of San Nicolo l’Arena is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and definitely a must visit place in your Catania itinerary.

Mercato di Piazza Carlo Alberto

While you spent your first day at the fish market. It is high time to explore other markets in Catania. The Carlo Alberto market is not your regular Italian market. Small shops and the smell of fresh organic fruits and vegetables is going to infatuate you and you would keep asking for more. You would find a lot of local shopkeepers here selling you homemade Italian dishes that you can keep and enjoy.

You will find age old shopkeepers here. Families that have been selling goods and doing trades through the generations. And if you ask the people here, there is no surprise for them as the roots of the market goes back to the Middle Ages. You would be buying things from the people whose ancestors served the founding fathers of this land and participated significantly in the flourishing of the state and land.

Day 3 : Day Trip To Mount Etna / Visit To Palazzo Biscari, Via dei Crociferi, First Lounge Bar

On your day 3 of Catania itinerary, you can either opt for a day trip to Mount Etna or explore other attractions of the city.

A Day Trip To Mount Etna

On the third day, you can visit Mt Etna which is the most seeked out place to visit around Catania. People might set out on a solo trip to visit the volcano. But, a guide is always recommended to make the most out of the trip. You can only visit the mountain by 2900m all by yourself. But to climb further, a guide is always recommended. The total height you need to go would be 3300 meters.

The rules for the guides are maintained to take care of the safety for the tourists. The views from the top are astounding. Many people love to look at the landscape as it feels like they have come to see a different part of the city from up there. The price for Etna Cable Cart is 30 Euros. It may vary according to the season and merchants.

Click here to book your Mount Etna day trip from Catania now. This trip will be inclusive of a round trip hotel transfer, light guided trek, sampling of local Sicilian products, visit to lava flow cave and safety helmet.

Palazzo Biscari

If you are not looking for an adventurous day at Mt Etna. There are other peaceful options present in Catania. One of them is to have a visit at the royal palace where the prince of the city once resided. Palazzo Biscari or the Palace of the Biscari is as neatly maintained and restored as it once was when the royals used this as their homes. The huge walls, fine frescoes and lighting are still intact for your viewing and experiences. You would be left speechless by the beauty of the palace.

Guided tours are always available to the palace. So that you can dive deep into the rich history of the palace.

Walking Through The Streets Of Via dei Crociferi

There is nothing like walking through the gorgeous and historical streets of Catania. The arched ceilings, the Romanesque palaces on both sides and cobbled streets not only make for a perfect place for a peaceful walk, but they serve as the perfect aesthetic to click a lot of shots for that street photographer in you.

Party In First Lounge Bar

You can’t leave Catania without being served the Italian nightlife to you. So, to have the utmost joy on your last day at this place, First Lounge Bar comes as the first name for the best recommendation. Though there are other clubs, this one is tried and tested. You will find a variety of food, drinks and cultural talks in the club with bang on music and lively people to keep you company.

General Information On Catania

Where To Stay For 3 Days In Catania

The best place to stay in Catania for visitors is undoubtedly its charming historic center. This will allow you to be in close proximity to all the major attractions. The streets are walkable and hence exploring the city would be convenient from this prime location. This area is also only 10 kms from the Catania airport. Below are some of our top recommendations of hotels in Catania for every budget.

Budget-friendly (Upto €60): I Vespri is a steal deal for budget travelers. Featuring spacious rooms with private balcony, there is also a shared kitchen while you can also opt for the delicious breakfast as a part of your stay. It is very near to the Greek-Roman Amphitheatre and the Duomo Cathedral. Click here to book your stay at I Vespri in Catania.

Mid Range (60 – 150) : Hotel Biscari is a mid range hotel set in a historic building in the heart of Catania. This hotel features spacious rooms with balcony showing off the views of the city and the Mediterranean sea. More facilities include a scenic roof top, garden, bar and airport shuttle. Click here to see prices and availability at Hotel Biscari.

Luxury (150+) : Palazzo Marletta Luxury House Hotel is a lavish option for visitors looking for a memorable place to stay in Catania. It is just a few steps away from the Sant’Agata Cathedral and the iconic Elephant Fountain. Rooms are stunning and have luxurious amenities. The hotel also serves continental and buffet breakfast options for guests. You can also enjoy various activities in the hotel. Staying at this property is an experience in itself that you wouldn’t want to miss. Check out prices and availability at Palazzo Marletta Luxury House Hotel here.

How To Get Around In Catania

As a tourist you will be in the historic center of Catania which has all the major attractions that you would want to visit. Since it is best explored by foot, you will be walking most of the time. Thankfully, Catania also has a comprehensive public transport system which includes its metro line and the bus routes. The buses cover every tourist place and would be the most convenient mode of transportation for you if you do not prefer walking. Ticket cost for a single ride on a public bus is €1 which stays valid for 90 minutes.

Alternatively you can also hire taxis which are easily available on the streets of Catania. Though taxis are a safe mode of transportation, it might get very expensive for travelers on budget.

Currency In Catania

The currency used in Catania is Euros (€). Make sure that you carry euros handy to avoid any extra charges on conversion.

So here you have your Catania itinerary. We hope that this 3 day Catania itinerary would help you in exploring everything this city has to offer.

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Anjali Wadhwa (cheerfultrails) is a travel consultant and enthusiast who has traveled to 15+ countries. She shares about her explorations through her writings. You will find detailed itineraries, best travel tips and well experienced recommendations for food, transportation and hotels on her blog.

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