Take a ferry to Catania and visit one of the most popular destinations in Sicily, an ancient port city filled with an air of medieval, Byzantine and Arab times!
Catania is located on the east coast of the island of Sicily, at the foot of Mount Etna. Under the city flow two underground rivers the Amenano, which emerges in a single point south of Piazza Duomo, and the Longane (or Lognina).The history and character of the city are inevitably linked to the powerful presence of Etna, the UNESCO-protected volcano - the largest and the most major currently active volcano in Europe, which with its devastating eruption in 1669 along with a catastrophic earthquake in 1963 caused major disasters and forced Catania to be completely rebuilt from the ashes. Although the fear and daily risk of another Etna volcano eruption is real, for the locals it is a blessing with its fertile soil.However, Catania is still rich in history, baroque style beautiful buildings that date back to the volcano's eruption with lava used in a creative way, but most of all it is rich in folklore. In the 8th century BC, Catania was a Greek colony, subject to the Syracusans and then the Romans. The subsequent Byzantine, Arab and Norman eras have each contributed to its characteristics and culture. Catania is an ideal combination of ancient and modern and undoubtedly a living city with an incredible energy.
When you visit Catania besides the interesting natural and historical sites, palaces, churches and villages, you will discover its famous and beautiful sandy and rocky beaches in a long coastline of 65 km. In the center of Catania a walk through Piazza Duomo, Via Etnea the main shopping street and Via dei Crociferi you can find the stalls of the lively market La Pescheria and admire the monuments of lava stone around the city! This lively city is charming and a bit chaotic probably due to the massive presence of the student population and for this, it is full of bars, clubs and restaurants and is famous for its street food.
Since Catania is one of the best vacation destinations for tourists from all over the world but also for Italians, planning your booking in advance will help you to find the ferry schedule that best suits your needs.
Ferry connections to Catania
Ferry connections to Catania from the Italian ports of Salerno, Naples and Sorrento and from the port of Valletta in Malta are offered all year round and are more frequent during the high season! Every year many travelers can visit the charming city of Catania arriving from mainland Italy and Malta. The ferry type varies from regular overnight car ferries to hydrofoils. The main ferry connections to Catania:
- Ferry Malta (Valletta) to Catania: The crossing operates up to 4 times each week with sailing durations from around 4 hours 15 minutes
- Ferry from Naples to Catania: This ferry route connects Italy with Sicily and the crossing operates up to 7 times each week with sailing durations from around 12 hours
- Ferry Salerno to Catania: The crossing operates up to 6 times weekly and the sailing duration is 13 hours
- Ferry Sorrento to Catania: There is no direct ferry. There is a hydrofoil from Sorrento to Naples port and then from Naples to Catania
Catania ferry port
Catania ferry port is located along the east coast of Sicily. The maritime station Vecchia Dogana is located just 2 km from the city center of Catania and its location is very convenient for tourists due to its nearness to the subway, the railway station (1 km away), and the airport (6.5 km away).The terminal also offers an info point that provides useful information about Sicily. In the port area, restoration work was carried out on the Vecchia Dogana "Old Customs House", which has become a meeting point hosting commercial and cultural activities. Inside the cruise terminal, you will find several facilities, like tourist information wi-fi shops taxi service.
Catania Port to Catania City Center
From Catania port, it is easy to walk to the old city center, as it is about a 20-minute walk. The walking tour of the main streets of the city, which was called "Città Nera" (Black City) because the dark lava from the volcano was a building material, will introduce the visitor to the culture of another era, with many baroque buildings and majestic villas in the center.
Catania Means of Transport
During your stay in Catania there are different means of transport to move, with public buses, metro, taxis and a small tourist train that goes around the city and passes through the most interesting places.
Buses are reliable and an economical option, and in addition, there are many public bus lines with various stops from the port to the city center to key points, the airport, etc. The following transit lines have routes that pass near Vecchia Dogana:
Number: 2-5, 429, 523, 534, 628N, ACIREALE-CATANIA, L-EX
For more detailed information about the schedules and routes, please visit Catania Bus.
The metro of Catania has only one line, with 11 stations with a frequency of 10 minutes and a total travel time from one end to the other of 14 minutes. It has a railway junction in the Galatea station that allows users to visit the coastal region. Stations include the Porto station, which is located near the port.
Taxis are the fastest and most convenient way to reach the city of Catania from the Cruise terminal. There are many Taxi companies you can choose in order to get around Catania. You will find taxi ranks at the train station and at the northwest corner of Piazza del Duomo. The price fare from the cruise port to the city or to the airport is not fixed and we suggest you should always agree upon a price before stepping into the taxi. For hiring a taxi, you can call Radio Taxi Catania or contact (tel. 095-330966) operates 24-hour taxi service.
Catania Fontanarossa Airport to Catania Cruise Port
Catania Fontanarossa Airport is located just 7 km from the city and 4.9 km from Catania cruise port. You can choose different public buses, airport taxes or private airport transfers to reach your destination. The AMT Alibus leaves every 20 minutes and makes several stops on the way to the center of Catania. The travel time from Catania airport to the city center is 20 minutes.
You can easily find a taxi in the designated lines outside the airport. The journey takes only 15 minutes and the driver will take you to the address you have indicated. For a comfortable and stress-free transfer from Catania airport, you can book a private airport transfer. In this option the price of the transfer is a fixed amount.
Vacations in Catania
Once you travel to Sicily you must visit the oldest city on the island, and enjoy your vacations in Catania charming city. No one can remain indifferent to this city with its unique grey landscape due to lava under the shadow of Mount Etna which is a must to have a tour to this famous volcano. The second largest city in Sicily, Catania, is an architectural uprising that comes from the presence of Etna . The city was rebuilt with lava bricks in a baroque style that makes this grey city unique in the world.
Moreover, Catania is the place for fish lovers, as the fish market, the Pescheria, is the beating heart of the city. Also, like everywhere else in Italy, the land of pasta, Catania has its own distinctive pasta sauce. It's called alla Norma, which is a tomato sauce with eggplant and ricotta cheese, found on menus everywhere.
Catania is worth a visit for its baroque art center, its art treasures, its church museums, its Greek theaters, its Roman ruins, its unique villages like Zafferana Etnea where the main lava flow stopped after a massive eruption in 1991, its beautiful beaches, its good food and its liveliness!
Highlights in Catania
Please, find below some some recommendations about the highlights in Catania:
- Mount Etna
- Piazza del Duomo
- Via Etnea
- Via dei Crociferi
- Parco Archeologico Greco Romano di Catania
- Basilica Cattedrale di Sant'Agata
- Palazzo Biscari
- Monastero dei Benedettini
- La Pescheria
- Giardini Bellini & Parco Maestranze
- Fontana dell'Elefante
- Amphitheater of Catania
- Ursino Castle
- Civic Museum of Catania
- Teatro Romano
- Porta Garibaldi
- Aci Castello
Beaches in Catania
Beautiful beaches in Catania , others with long miles of golden soft sand with breathtaking views of Etna and others with black pebbles that contrast with the blue of the Ionian Sea! Find below the most famous beaches near Catania:
- La playa - local’s favourite. It is a long sandy beach extending for about 3 kilometers in the south of the city.
- Cyclops’ Riviera - pebble beach (area Aci Trezza)
- Spiaggia Praiola - pebble beach
- Lido Azzurro - beautiful sandy beach which is located approx. 15 minutes to the south of Catania in close proximity to the port and harbour.
- San Giovanni Li Cuti - this beach is a natural phenomenon with black volcanic sands, ash and a multitude of volcanic rocks.
- Spiaggia di Fondachello - beach spread along an expanse of pebbles and coarse sand and is one of the most popular seaside resorts of eastern Sicily.
- Spiaggia di Santa Tecla - located 22 km from Catania, is characterized by a wonderful coastline of rocks and bays among which you can dive into a beautiful blue and clear sea.
- Spiaggia del Mulino di Acireale - it is a beach where the sea is joined to the dry land by pebbles
- Spiaggia di Marina di Cottone - an isolated wide pebble beach is located between Etna and Taormina, and due to the clearness of its waters has been awarded the blue flag for 6 consecutive years. Definitely one of the most beautiful coastlines of Sicily.
- Spiaggia di San Marco Calatabiano - It is a long beach of 2 km and the shore consists of pebbles and sand. Most of the beach is free and isolated.
Hotels in Catania
Catania offers a wide range of accommodation options to guarantee you relaxing and fascinating vacations. You can choose between a villa in the Etna Park, a cozy hotel in the wonderful baroque old town, or a seaside resort. Check below an indicative list of hotels in Catania:
- Duomo Suites and Spa
- Sheraton Catania Hotel
- B&B Palazzo Bruca Catania
- Palace Catania | Una Esperienze
- Il Principe Hotel Catania
- Airone City Hotel
- Donna Carmela
- Zash – Country Boutique Hotel
- Monaci delle Terre Nere
- Ramo d'Aria Country Hotel
Day trips from Catania
We recommend day trips from Catania to places of unique beauty and historical value that in no case the traveler should miss:
- Etna Hiking tour and a visit to Lava Cave
- A tour to Alcantar Park and Gorges
- A visit to amazing Taormina
- Syracuse Ortigia and Noto
- Villa Romana Del Casale in Piazza Armerina and Valley Of Temples in Agrigento
- A visit to Savoca, Castelmola, Zafferana Etnea
- A visit to Giardini Naxos