The beautiful city of Catania is situated on the coast of the Ionian Sea in Sicily and a wonderful travel destination for business, sightseeing or leisure. With a warm climate and pristine beaches, you can spend all day relaxing on the sand or use the transportation system to move around the city and visit all of the main tourist attractions. It has a fantastic culinary scene offering delicious dishes, and one thing is for sure; it is a city that you don't want to miss out on visiting.
As the second largest city in Sicily, Catania offers lots of areas to explore and many places to stay. There is an abundance of things for you to do while you are visiting and the location of your hotel can play a large part in your vacation and what you do. Although it can be hard to decide where to book your hotel we are here to make it easier by introducing some of the city's main neighborhoods so you can choose the place that is best suited to you.
Traveler tip: If you want to go out and discover a new neighborhood, don't drag your luggage on the excursion. Keep your things close by at a luggage locker in Catania and once you choose your next accommodation, pick them up at your convenience.
Where to stay in Central Catania
Many people recommend that you stay in central Catania if you are visiting the city for the first time. This is because it is where most of the tourist attractions and landmarks are located, so if you want to see the very best of the old town you might as well stay nearby! It is also convenient if you are only in the city for a couple of days since it is close to the Catania airport.
There is much to do in Catania Centro and two of the most popular sites are the Piazza Stesicoro and the Piazza del Duomo, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. While you are near the Piazza Stesicoro you should stop to visit the Roman Amphitheatre. The whole city centre has beautifully designed buildings and the main squares mentioned above both have pretty fountains, like the famous elephant fountain in Piazza Duomo.
Most of the main attractions are within walking distance from this neighborhood so you can see the historical landmarks of Catania just outside of your hotel room. One of the top landmarks in the city centre is the Catania Cathedral which was built in dedication to Saint Agatha. Also, visit the ancient Ursino Castle from the 13th century. If you want to visit other neighborhoods you will be close by to the train station and bus station.
This is where most of the hotels in Catania are located since it is the most popular spot for tourists. A good budget friendly hotel is the Hotel Valentino, and the Hotel Catania Town is just a bit more expensive as a mid-range place to stay. If you want to treat yourself to a luxury vacation in Catania you can stay at the Hotel Villa Romeo or the Art & Jazz Hotel. Consider staying at the NH Catania Parco Degli Aragonesi which is located just by the Fontanarossa Airport.
Where to stay in Aci Castello
Aci Castello is situated on the coast of the sea and is a lovely location for people who just want to relax on their vacation. This seaside village is calm and it can be a nice break from the bustling central area of Catania, so make sure you dedicate a day of your trip to visiting this part of the city whether you book a hotel here or not.
If you choose to stay here you will spend most of your time by the water enjoying the sea breeze. You can go for walks along the beach during the day and at night there are bars and restaurants for dining and having a drink. There are two nearby beaches for you to choose from and one of them even has a cliff made out of lava rock, which is pretty interesting to see in person.
Get some sightseeing in by visiting the monuments in this neighborhood, like the beautiful Norman castle that dates back to the 11th century. This part of town is not close to the historic centre of Catania but you can still move between the areas using the bus system.
The popular hotels in this neighborhood include the Ognina Residence which is a small hotel but has all of the necessary accommodations plus access to a garden. Check out the Hotel Nettuno with amazing views of the sea as well as a sun terrace with deck chairs and beach umbrellas. The Romano Palace Luxury Hotel is rated five stars and is the perfect hotel for a luxury getaway, or stay at the Four Points by Sheraton Catania Hotel which is situated just by the water.
Where to stay in Nicolosi
Nicolosi is inland from the city of Catania and close to Mount Etna. People say that this is the perfect place for nature lovers to stay since you can easily go out to admire the natural landscape. In the heart of this neighborhood is a 14th century Benedictine monastery which the town was been built around. Although it has gone through a tough time with the occasional volcanic eruption and earthquakes from Mount Etna, it still stands strong today.
There is quite a lot to do in this part of town and it is a terrific place to stay in Catania. If you are interested in learning more about the volcano looming over the city and how it has impacted the region you can head to the Museo Dell'Etna. Stargazers can visit the observatory where you can see the stars in the night sky up close. If you really want to get out in nature you can take a guided tour of Mount Etna or go on a hike through the wilderness.
When you are searching for the perfect hotel in Nicolosi you will have several options. Consider staying at the Hotel Alle Pendici which has a garden, free access to the internet and a daily breakfast of Sicilian pastries. The Etna Special is a good mid-range hotel that offers free parking, and the B&B La Grotta is ideal for families since it has a children's playground and a lounge.
Where to stay in Via Etnea
Via Etnea is the perfect location for tourists and also for people who like to shop. As the main shopping street of Catania, this area is bustling with small boutique shops and salons, and you will see lots of locals and tourists strolling down the street window shopping. This is also where some of the best restaurants in the city are located so we definitely recommend that you stop by for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
If you choose to stay here you will most likely be spending some time shopping in the stores and it is a good spot to find souvenirs. It is also a nice place for taking a walk as the streets are lined with historic houses and buildings. Via Etnea is close to the historical centre of Catania making it easily accessible to most of the same attractions.
This part of Catania has a fairly active nightlife and it is a popular spot for young people to gather, especially because of its close proximity to Catania University. Head to the Villa Bellini park, which was named after the composer Vincenzo Bellini, if you want somewhere nice to take a walk.
This neighborhood is a good starting point for tourists since there is much going on and you can reach most of the other parts of the city from here as well. Some of the best hotels on Via Etnea include the Airone City Hotel which is in the mid-price range, and has free WiFi and an outdoor swimming pool. The Katane Palace Hotel is another excellent choice and is a good hotel for families.
Where to stay in Acireale
If you are someone who loves to try new foods and are hoping to taste some of the local cuisine in Catania then this is where you should stay. Acireale is a seaside town with beautiful Baroque architecture and is located right at the base of the Mount Etna volcano. It has some of the best views in all of Catania so you should make time to stop and admire the landscape.
This part of town is quiet and magnificent if you want to have an authentic experience while visiting Sicily. If you like this area but are looking for somewhere more lively, you can visit during the late wintertime which is when the streets really come alive. This is when the neighborhood puts on its annual festival and the yearly Carnival which include parties, parades and celebrations involving food (including street food) and wine. This event is fun for the whole family and you should stop by if you are in town between February and March.
The best Catania hotels in this neighborhood are the Villa Feluchia if you are traveling on a budget, or the Terraze Bella Epoque which has a terrace and marvelous room service. The Residenza Cavour is also an ideal choice for families.
Where to stay in Via Crociferi
The Via Crociferi is the best spot for a romantic getaway or for people who want to admire the history and architecture of Catania. It is a family friendly neighborhood that is generally quiet, so if you are traveling with kids keep it in mind.
This part of the city does not have as many activities or attractions as some of the others but it is worth visiting nonetheless. We recommend staying here or at least stopping by to visit just for the architecture and beauty of the area on its own. The whole street of Via Crociferi is lined with many of the city's ancient Baroque churches and it is a wonderful place to go for a walk. You will want to take some pictures so make sure that you bring your camera! This neighborhood is also where the San Benedetto Arch is located and it is one structure that you won't want to miss seeing in person.
Via Crociferi has several hotels for you to choose from. The best cheap hotels in the area include the New Hotel Sangiuliano and the Villa Cibele which is close to the beach, and has an outdoor pool and air conditioning to keep you cool during the hot summers of Catania. If you don't mind spending a bit more you can stay at the Liberty Hotel which is modern and has spacious rooms. The Il Principe Hotel is another good choice and has luxury accommodations.
Vacationing in Catania, Italy
Shadowed by the impressive Volcano Etna, this city in Sicily has a fascinating story. It has survived several volcanic eruptions and the city has adopted these struggles as part of its past, building much of the city out of volcanic rock. It is hard to find the best area for a vacation in Catania since each neighborhood has something different to offer.
Travelers who want to see the main sights like the Palazzo Biscari, the Teatro Massimo Bellini or the old Roman theatre can find a hotel in the historic old town, although all of the historical landmarks can be reached from anywhere using the city's public transport. If you want to relax you can find a hotel that is a five minute walk away from a private beach, or just settle for one with a swimming pool.
Book a room just a short walk away from the main square if you are planning to travel around the city often since you will be close to a bus or train station and can easily get around. To see how to navigate the city, or to see outside areas like Siracusa, read our guide to getting around Catania. Whether you are staying in Catania for just one night or a whole week we hope that you have a fantastic trip and enjoy your time in Sicily.