Where to go from Catania
Ideas and routes for independent travel in Italy. Where to go for a day trip from Catania and what to see in the surroundings: Etna, Taormina, Syracuse and other interesting travel destinations.
Catania is convenient to use as a starting point for traveling around Sicily. Many airlines fly here as well as ferries and trains from the Italian mainland. However, tourists tend not to stay here for long, preferring to go straight to the many Sicilian resorts. Nevertheless, in our opinion, Catania is not worth ignoring. The city itself is of considerable interest. Moreover, based in Catania, you can visit many attractions of Sicily. This way of organizing a trip is especially convenient for traveling by public transport. For those who prefer to travel by car, the following ideas may also be useful with the difference that in this case you can not stay in Catania but somewhere in its immediate vicinity. As for Catania, in addition to an overview of routes, we recommend reading the article “Where to stay in Catania”.
Before moving on to reviewing travel destinations from Catania, let’s pay some attention to transportation. If you are planning to travel around Sicily by car, don’t hesitate to read the reviews of auto-travelers. Renting a car is not a problem – you can go directly to Catania Airport (see www.rentalcars.com, www.economybookings.com and similar sites) – but there are a lot of nuances related to roads, gas stations and parking lots. If you will travel by public transport, it is better to give preference to the railroads (here and below, see www.trenitalia.com). But you can hardly do without buses. So be prepared for the fact that buses in Sicily are not punctual. Sometimes the official timetable doesn’t match the actual timetable, though popular routes like Catania – Taormina are fine in this regard.
Let’s move on to the itineraries. So, where can you go from Catania for a day?
Etna is Sicily’s main calling card, and Catania is the best place to take a day trip to this still-extinct volcano. There are different options.
The easiest you can think of is a trip around Etna on the narrow-gauge Ferrovia Circumetnea railroad (see www.circumetnea.it), which, generally speaking, can be considered a separate attraction (there are few such roads left in Italy). You can not get to the top of the volcano, of course, but you have a great opportunity to visit small but very colorful small towns, villages, located on the slopes of Etna. The most famous of them is Randazzo, a walk through which is worth spending a couple of hours. But there are others: Maletto, Adrano, Paterno’ etc. You’ll find something interesting in all of them (e.g. Norman castles). But beware, trains don’t run very often. If you don’t gallop, you can visit maximum two or three towns in a day.
The railroad station Cercumetnea in Catania is combined with the Catania Borgo metro station and is located at some distance from the city center. You can get here by city buses (see www.amt.ct.it) or by metro (the only Catania metro line has 6 stations: Borgo – Giuffrida – Italia – Galatea – Stazione F.S. – Porto). By the way, you can return to Catania not by Circumetnea, but by Trenitalia trains from Giarre-Riposto station. This is both faster and cheaper.
Another option is to go directly to the craters of Etna . In this case, it is more convenient to go by car, but there are also public transportation. From Catania you can get to Etna in two hours with bus AST (see the schedule at www.aziendasicilianatrasporti.it under Linee e orari; the starting point is Catania, the end point is Etna). The buses leave from Piazza Papa Giovanni XXIII (opposite the Catania train station) and go almost to the Funivia dell’Etna cable car station (see funiviaetna.com). Here you can continue in various ways. Perhaps the most interesting thing is to buy a guided tour with special equipment (so you can go up to where everyone else is not allowed, but it’s not cheap). Funicular will take you to a height of about 2500 meters. Then – by special all-terrain buses, and then even higher – on foot. An alternative is to find a guide in Catania, who will not only take you to the volcano, but also will tell you many interesting things (there is, for example, this option, but if you want you can look for others).
Taormina is one of the most beautiful cities in Sicily, and one of the most popular. It is very popular especially during the summer vacations, as many visitors come here for the day trips from nearby beach resorts. Nevertheless, despite the crowds (and the summer heat, if you plan to go to Sicily in summer), a visit to Taormina is worthwhile. It’s a picturesque place, and there are some great sights, among which the Greek theater, with Etna as a backdrop, stands out. The neighboring village of Castelmola, which climbs a high rock and offers a beautiful view over Taormina (with the Ionian Sea as a backdrop), is also worth a visit.
The beaches of Taormina are also worth seeing. First of all the pebbly beach Isola Bella, which owes its name to the small island that is so fortunately moored here. Generally speaking, it is possible to combine sightseeing and beach holidays in Taormina. In other words, if it’s the sea and the beaches that interest you in Sicily and you see trips to the countryside as extra fun, then it makes sense to stay in Taormina instead of Catania. (Read here for the best place to stay in Taormina.) There is one disadvantage: hotels here are considerably more expensive than in Catania. You can save if you settle in the neighboring towns Giardini Naxos and Letojanni. The beaches are at least as good as those in Taormina: there are both pebbly and sandy beaches.
You can get from Catania to Taormina by train. It takes only 40-50 minutes. However, the train station Taormina-Giardini (common for Taormina and Giardini-Naxos) is at some distance from the city center, at the foot of the cliff. On arrival, you must either take a bus or take a cab (it’s a long and uncomfortable walk). Buses from Catania (see www.etnatrasporti.it) go directly to the center of Taormina, but it’s a bit longer: about 1 hour 10 minutes.
Acireale is another seaside resort town. It is hardly superior to Taormina in any way, but a walk through the historic center of Acireale is also interesting. The most popular amongst tourists is the Cathedral of Achireale, which resembles a castle, and the adjoining Cathedral Square (Piazza del Duomo) as well as St. Peter and Paul’s Basilica, which faces the same square. There are other churches and several museums. In short, there are enough attractions for a trip of a few hours.
From Catania to Acireale you can take the Trenitalia train in just 10-15 minutes. However, then you have to walk to the city center for 20-30 minutes through the not too picturesque streets. If you take the bus, the road will take about 50 minutes (see www.etnatrasporti.it and www.aziendasicilianatrasporti.it), but you can go directly to Cathedral Square.
If you wish, you can also visit the town of Acicastello . It is best known for its Norman castle, perched on a rock that juts into the sea. It is easily reached by bus: it takes 20 minutes from Accireale to Acicastello and 30 minutes from Catania (see www.aziendasicilianatrasporti.it). There’s also the AMT bus (Linea 534, see www.amt.ct.it) between Catania and Acicastello.
Siracusa is a must see city. You can get here from Catania by train in about an hour. The Syracuse train station is within walking distance of all the major sights. Among them, I must say, there are many interesting things. These are and archaeological park Neapolis (here, in particular, you can see the impressive size Greek theater), and early Christian catacombs of San Giovanni, and especially Ortigia – a small island connected to the mainland by two bridges (the place itself is extremely picturesque and has many sights). Generally, it makes sense to stay in Syracuse for a few days (more about it here), and it’s a good base for visiting Baroque cities of Val di Noto: Noto, Scicli, Modica, Ragusa and others. (However, if you want to visit all these cities, you should ideally stay in one of them, such as Modica.) But even in the format of a day tour in Syracuse you can see a lot. Just decide beforehand what exactly you are interested in, because it is hardly possible to do everything at once.
Caltagirone, like Noto, Chicli, Modica and Ragusa, as well as Palazzolo Acreide, Militello in Val di Catania and Catania itself, are on the list of Sicilian Baroque towns included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. All were actually rebuilt (in late Baroque style, that is why they are called “Baroque”) after the devastating earthquake of 1693. All of them are worthy of attention in one way or another. But when it comes to day trips from Catania, the most convenient way to get out is either in Caltagirone or in Militello in Val di Catania . Caltagirone, whose main attraction is the staircase decorated with colorful majolica, in our opinion, is more interesting. But theoretically, it is possible to compose the itinerary so as to combine a visit to both of these cities in one trip.
As for transport, from Catania to Caltagirone can be reached by train. But electric trains in this direction are rare, and the journey takes almost two hours (Militello, by the way, is on the same railway line an hour away from Catania). Therefore, it makes sense to pay attention to the buses (see www.etnatrasporti.it): they run more often, and go surprisingly fast – about an hour and a half to Caltagirone (just over an hour to Militello).
All the largest and busiest cities in Sicily are on the coast. It would seem that Enna, located almost in the center of the island, is a wilderness, and the tourist has nothing to do here. However, from here – from more than 900 meters above sea level – you can enjoy a breathtaking view of the surrounding countryside. Secondly, in Enna there are at least two interesting sights: the fortress Castello di Lombardia, which offers the best views and the Duomo, the interior of which can amaze even the most experienced travelers. In short, Enna is a wonderful destination for a half-day trip.
It is better to go to Enna by car, although you can also use public transport. And at first glance it seems that it is not difficult, if you take the railroads. Enna is halfway between Catania and Palermo. From Catania, it’s no more than an hour and a half. But it is not so easy. The railway station is about 5 km from the center of Enna (Enna Alta). You can travel this distance by local bus (see www.saisautolinee.it), but they rarely run, which is very inconvenient. Walking – uphill and for the most part along a scenic but completely unsuitable for pedestrians road – is also difficult. Fortunately, there is a bus service between Enna and Catania (see here, the route Enna – Outlet Dittaino – Catania, about an hour and a half). You can take the bus directly to the upper (old) part of Enna.
Alternatively, you can consider Enna as a stopping point on the way from Catania to Palermo. There are more than a handful of hotels here (e.g. Hotel Sicilia Enna and Hotel Bristol), but there are excellent apartments (in particular Una Casa al Belvedere). Theoretically in Enna you can stay not just for one but for a few days, because there are a lot of nice and unspoiled by mass tourism places like Nicosia and Sperlinga nearby. Some may also be interested in Sicilia Outlet Village. As for Palermo, for travel itineraries around Palermo, read the article “Where to go from Palermo”.
When choosing a hotel or apartment in Italy in general and in Catania in particular, use not only booking sites, but also services for comparing prices. We recommend Roomguru.ru.
Similarly, when searching for airline tickets. Pay attention, for example, on Momondo.ru.
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Best excursions from Catania in Russian | Top 5
Excursions from Catania to Sicily in Russian: prices, reviews and descriptions
Small Catania attracts tourists from all over the world one of its main attractions – the volcano Etna, at the foot of which stretches the second largest city in Sicily. But besides the dangerous natural masterpiece, and in the city and in its vicinity, there is a lot to see, if only to find good excursions from Catania.
With the search for excellent author programs to explore the city, we will definitely help (but a little later), but in the meantime – a small business card of Catania. The port was founded by the Greeks in 729, so it’s not surprising that you can find traces of the ancient past here. The town is small, and every Italian of the 300 thousand living, will share its hospitality and amazing temperament. Even if you were not lucky enough to live near the historic center, you can stroll through the Cathedral Square and the surrounding streets every day. Just the fountain with an elephant in the Piazza Duomo can take 30 minutes to examine. Impress and the Ferdinand’s Gate with the life-affirming motto: “I rise from the ashes!”, and the ruins of several ancient amphitheaters, and the main Cathedral, and many other urban “pearls”. And we haven’t even traveled out of the city yet…
Where to buy excursions in Catania in Russian
Every sane tourist knows that today is better to plan a trip abroad in advance, and this applies not only to buy a ticket. It is important to think about the cultural and entertainment program, and to order a great program of sightseeing and the most interesting corners of Catania, it is enough to know about Tripster – a popular online portal for tourists.
On it you can not only choose the author’s routes to your taste and wallet, but also book excursions from Catania very inexpensive, giving only 20% of the amount as an advance payment, and the rest – to pay the guide when you meet him. With the guide, you can sign off in advance and discuss all the details: what objects are offered to visit, at what pace will be moving, will there be snacks, and so on. Individual format involves taking into account the wishes of guests, so the program is adjusted to the physical and other capabilities of arriving.
If you want to know more about the charms of Tripster, here is our detailed article about it.
Tour prices in Catania for 2022
Now let’s take a look at how much excursions in Catania cost to put into your vacation budget. On average – 100 euros for an individual program. Short programs for 2-3 hours will be cheaper, and if you plan a trip to the surrounding area, you will have to pay a little more expensive. You can find a group tour for 47 euros per person. Note that if the price on Tripster is listed for the tour, the fixed price can be divided by the number of participants (the maximum number of people is given in the description of each program)
The cheapest cost of the excursion “First Date with Catania” is 63 euros for the program, which can take up to 7 people. The most expensive option is “Catania – daughter of Etna: history, architecture and legends”. You have to pay 150 euros for this excursion.
Individual excursions in Catania in Russian
The benefits of booking individual tours from Catania and the city itself, in general, are clear as a white day. Here you and a personal approach to the entertainment and educational activities, and the opportunity to ask all the questions in the course of visiting a particular site, and the absence of the often annoying “crowd. All in all, we never seem to tire of recommending Tripster, which is intelligently honed for individual vacation formats.
At this wonderful link you can see all the individual programs, and choose the one that exactly meets your expectations. We assure you, the prices of tours fit into even an average vacation budget, so afford a comfortable tour of the city and surroundings can all travelers in Italy.
Group tours from Catania to Sicily
On Tripster there are group sightseeing programs, but not in the case of excursions from Catania to Sicily. So we have carefully found for you another proven portal – GetYourGuide.
There is one shame – there are practically no routes with Russian speaking guide, so, it will be useful for those who 1) understand English, 2) are ready to watch more than to listen, 3) can study history of the place visited by means of Internet, 4) are just looking for fellow travelers, for example, to climb Etna. The programs at GetYourGuid are varied: a few hours and a whole day, with a visit to one Sicilian city with departure from Catania or a mini-tour of several cities, thematic and sightseeing. Prices are quite affordable – from 45 euros per person.
sightseeing tour in Catania in Russian
If in every trip you try to see a maximum of sights, then nothing will help you better than a sightseeing program to see the city. Decent options are at this link, but before you go, we suggest you run through the summaries of excursions that are leading the way in popularity.
The 2.5-hour hike is ideal for first-time visitors to Catania. You will plunge into the atmosphere of the ancient city, get into its history, local customs, traditions and mentality. Under the guidance of an experienced Russian-speaking guide you will visit the main square of the city – the Cathedral Square, and learn what the Elephant symbolizes, and why St. Agatha is the patroness of the city. If you want you can climb to the observation deck on Cathedral Square. Then you can walk through the fish market with an impressive assortment: from traditional sardines to swordfish and all kinds of sea creatures (cuttlefish, mussels and other arthropods).
Along the cozy Crociferi street with its baroque buildings you’ll walk to the medieval Ursino castle and learn about its history and legends. Then a wine tasting in a small shop and straight to the opera house of Massimo Bellini. During a story about the history of the theater and the biography of its founder, you will get the recipe for the perfect Sicilian pasta “Norma” and find out why it is so called. And be sure to try and buy local sweets as souvenirs in the popular cafe on Via Etnea.
In 3 hours you will learn the whole history of the most picturesque city of the east coast, inextricably linked to the sea and the volcano. Stone by stone you will explore the historical center and visit the neighborhoods of Civita, San Berillo and Giudecca. Visit the monasteries, the poor asylums and the university that was once the abode of the Benedictine monks. Be sure to see the medieval castle Ursino, which was founded “by the sea” but somehow ended up in the center of the city. You will also visit the ancient Roman amphitheaters and hear the fascinating myths that have become part of Catania’s culture. And be sure to appreciate the splendor of the Cathedral and the mystery of the Elephant fountain.
Bellini Opera House, the fish market Pescheria, and of course the main attraction of the city – volcano Etna. Climbing the mountain is not included in the program, but you will hear many legends and interesting details about the history of Etna, which are reflected in the minds of local residents and urban culture.
Excursions from Catania to Etna
Excursions to Etna volcano from Catania is a classic of the tourist genre, an offer that almost all holidaymakers try to take advantage of. Therefore, the version of the itinerary that we have selected you will definitely like.
There are still some good programs to visit Etna, but without a Russian guide. On the way you can be accompanied only by an English-speaking guide, but you can read about the history of the volcano on your own. Do you agree?
Tourist reviews about excursions in Catania
Every traveler, regardless of age and hobbies, will find something in Catania that will surprise, inspire or even shock. And in order not to encounter unpleasant surprises when choosing a tour of Catania or its surroundings, it is better to read tourist reviews about this or that tour program even at home. Do you want to get a rating of the most popular routes according to the reviews? Catch the link! Just remember that reviews – a thing subjective, and the nuances that someone was upset, you may seem far-fetched.
We don’t know if you’ll take a city tour or a Catania volcano tour or a sightseeing tour. But we do know one thing for sure: if you plan ahead, your vacation will be a Bellissimo (our neologism: from Italian “bellissimo” – beautiful) experience.