Is Catania safe to visit? A comprehensive safety guide
Catania is a city in eastern Sicily, Italy’s autonomous region and the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. It is the island region’s second-largest city, following the capital Palermo, with about 320,000 inhabitants and welcomes up to a million visitors each year.
Nestled at the foot of Mount Etna, Catania is an exuberant city with a spectacular historic center featuring exquisite baroque architecture. The main city square and a UNESCO World Heritage site, Piazza Duomo, is not to be missed. It is surrounded by beautiful baroque churches and palaces, including the magnificent Cathedral of Sant’Agata, also known as the Catania Cathedral, Town Hall (Palazzo degli Elefant) and Porta Uzeda.
The peak tourist season in Catania is from June to August, although the days leading up to Easter are worth planning due to the many celebrations around this time. When you decide to visit the city, part of your travel plan should be finding a place to safely store your luggage in Catania so that you can move freely and conveniently.
Is Catania safe to visit right now?
Catania is a relatively safe city to visit, with a safety score of 71 based on the Travel Safe Abroad Index. Most Catania neighborhoods are safe, but its crime rate is still pretty high and increases each year, so follow your common sense and take the usual precautions no matter where you go.
Tourists don’t risk their lives, and it’s unlikely that you’ll witness or become a victim of violent crime, so you can visit Catania without worries. You could be at risk of pickpocketing, car theft, and scams, which are common in many big cities, but if you stay alert and do not draw attention to yourself, you can have a fun and trouble-free trip to this city located in charming Sicily.
There’s no such thing as the perfect city guide, and while we’ll educate you on ways to remain safe in Catania, the safety of your belongings and your well-being is your responsibility. Do further research even if you’re an experienced traveler, and check your country’s safety guidelines and advisories before heading off on your adventure. As you become more familiar with your destination and follow Catania safety tips and advice, nothing can ruin your Italian holiday!
Top petty crimes and scams in Catania affecting tourists
Catania is one of the most visited cities in Sicily for its breathtaking attractions and historical value. With the many people going in and out of the city every day, the area has become a hotspot for many petty crimes, and tourists are the usual targets. However, as long as you’re aware of what awaits you in the city and always mindful of your belongings, you can avoid being a victim of a petty crime.
Pickpocketing is a major issue in the city of Catania, especially in crowded areas like markets, train stations, and touristy places. Whenever you’re outside, make sure you keep your belongings close to you and don’t leave them unattended.
Also, try not to look like their next target by being easily distracted or wearing expensive jewelry and high-end purses. Leave your essentials in a secure facility like a Bounce luggage locker and cultivate situational awareness and confidence.
Muggers in Catania carry out their crimes while riding a motorcycle. They mainly target mobile phones and handbags that are easy to take away. As much as possible, don’t use your gadgets when you’re in the open. It’s also recommended that you don’t bring too much cash.
Mugging cases are higher at night, so avoid wandering around when it’s already dark, especially when you’re alone. Stay away from poorly lit streets and around the train station at night. Instead of waiting in the dark, taking a taxi to your destination or accommodation is safer.
One of the most common scams in Catania that’s targeted toward most tourists is overpricing of products and services. Frauds take advantage of their limited understanding of the city to charge them higher fees. To avoid this, agree on a price for your purchase in advance. It will also help if you do thorough research and ask trusted locals about the reasonable costs for the product or service you’re paying for.
As with most cities, taxi scams are also present in Catania, with taxi drivers overcharging newcomers. The risk is low, so becoming a victim isn’t as common, but it’s better to be extra careful. Take only registered taxis and always check if the driver turned the meter on. You can also book a ride using your mobile phone, although you’ll have to pay for the distance it took for the driver to get to your location.
Is Catania safe to travel alone
Catania is a safe destination for all visitors, including solo female travelers. With Italy ranking 23rd among the safest travel destinations for women on the Bounce Women Travel Safety Index, you can have an amazing time in this fantastic Sicilian city without experiencing any threat to your safety.
However, with city crowds come opportunistic criminals, like petty thieves and scammers. Sadly, they’re part of big city life, but they’re something a wise traveler can always avoid. Besides the usual warnings of not wandering dark streets or walking alone at night, knowing where you are and where you’re going and understanding what’s appropriate in a particular setting can make a significant difference. That said, avoid reckless behavior like overindulging in alcohol or sharing your private information with someone you just met.
Safest neighborhoods in Catania
You can guarantee that Catania is not a dangerous place for visitors. But with its crime index still high at 64.18 as ranked by Numbeo, visitors must adhere to basic safety rules when visiting the city. As a guide, we’ve listed the safest Catania neighborhoods and mentioned a few areas that require extra caution when explored.
Corso Italia is famed as the most elegant neighborhood in Catania, with many boutiques and cafes lined up in its streets. Despite being near other renowned attractions in the city, it’s not as crowded as other central areas. It’s quiet and calm, especially at night. It has a lot of dining and shopping options for tourists and is relatively safer than most neighborhoods in the city.
If you want a peaceful visit or stay in Catania, Via Croceferi is the place to be. It is one of the oldest areas in the city, loved for its Baroque architecture and beautiful churches. Tourists usually come for a history excursion or sightseeing, but it’s not crowded, as it’s away from the city and nightlife. Via Croceferi is calm, quiet, and safe, making it ideal for tourists who prioritize their security.
Cibali is a family-friendly area with many available accommodations for people of all ages. Compared to other neighborhoods in the city, it’s not very publicly renowned and, therefore, not crowded. It’s not near any famous attractions, but there’s still plenty of you to enjoy.
Whether you’re visiting for the first time or coming back to discover some hidden gems, it’s best to stay away from certain areas like San Giovanni Galermo, San Cristoforo, Picanello, and San Berillo. If possible, avoid Librino, which is infamous for being one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Catania. It’s a tough place with low-income housing areas, a high crime rate, and drug trafficking problems.
Is Catania public transportation safe?
Catania’s public transportation system is efficient and reasonably safe and comfortable. It serves the historic center and the surrounding area. There’s no reason to be concerned about your safety when taking public transport, but you still need to keep an eye on your belongings, as pickpockets and thieves lurk around crowded train stations. They will target those that are visibly out of place and lost or swamped with huge bags.
It's not recommended to take public transportation late at night, so hail a cab instead. Check to ensure that you’re getting on a registered cab from a reputable taxi company. Besides being aware of taxi scams, watch out for crazy drivers who don’t follow traffic laws.
Important emergency numbers in Catania
It’s important to have the numbers of the proper authority when you visit Sicily and any of the region’s cities, including Catania—that way, you know whom to call when you find yourself in an unsafe or risky situation. Also, be sure to have your embassy’s contact details when you plan a trip outside your country.
- Italy country code: +39
- Catania area code: 95
- Emergency number: 112
- State Police: 113
- Fire Brigade: 115
- Urgent and emergency medical service: 118
Plan a safe trip to Catania
Whether you travel often or are getting ready for your first Italian adventure, your safety should be at the top of your priority list. Although it may not be the safest city in Italy, Catania can provide you with the most delightful travel experience if you follow safety rules and avoid dangerous neighborhoods and streets.
As one of the region’s major cities, navigating Catania can be tricky, especially for first-time visitors. If you need help, check out the tips on How to Get Around Catania, as well as our guide on Where to Stay in Catania: The Ultimate Guide, to know where to go in the city.