Catania According to a Local
Sicily’s second largest city is lively and beautiful with a Unesco-listed historic centre. It’s a university town too, meaning its hundreds of bars, clubs and restaurants are all budget-friendly. If you’re visiting Catania in Sicily and you’re looking for tips from a local, here are some recommendations on where to stay, what to eat and how to make the most of your time on the island:
Getting from the Airport
Take the Alibus into the city – it’ll take just 10 minutes and costs €4 one-way and €8 return. There’s free wi-fi on board and the stops are convenient in Cathedral Square and the main bus/train station. Alternatively, a taxi costs €20 into town during the day time or €25 at night.
Where to Stay
I recommend a B&B located right behind the Cathedral Square called Casa Fredusko (an XVIII century palace renovated), they offer double rooms with double-beds starting at around €50 a night. Plus, it’s within walking distance to all of the popular tourist spots.
Foods to Try
Caponata (A mixture of roasted veggies in a sweet and sour sauce). Arancino (A ball of rice filled with ham, cheese, minced meat, mushrooms, spinach and cheese). Spaghetti al Nero di Seppia: Pasta with squid sauce and black ink.Spaghetti al Rici di Mare: Pasta with Urchin sauce. Cannolo: A typical Sicilian pastry filled with Ricotta cheese, custard, chocolate, pistachio and cream.
Where to Eat
- Osterial Bell Antonio:(pricey but very good, they do really good pizzas and foccacia using excellent ingredients)
- FUD : a delicious gourmet burger restaurant
- Al Vicolo: great pizzeria and also good quality
- Savia: Best arancino in Catania in my opinion
7 Must Sees
- The Duomo: The Duomo is dedicated to Catania’s patron saint, Agata and dates back to the 11th century.
- Pescheria: It’s one of the largest and most colourful fish markets in Sicily.
- Stesicoro Market: It’s set on a beautiful plaza – you’ll find both food and clothes on sale.
- Etna Volcano: You definitely can’t miss this!
- Acicastello: You have to climb around 70 steps to get to the Norman castle but the view from the top is fantastic. In addition to the castle and amazing views, there’s a small geological museum.
- Acitrezza: This small fisherman’s village is located around 10km from Catania. There are three small islands on its shores that are said to be the same ones thrown at Odysseus in The Odyssey.
- Villa Bellini: Dating back to 1883, the Villa Bellini is the largest and most beautiful park in the centre of Catania. Take a stroll and you’ll see a number of statues of famous people from Catania as well as a botanical garden.
Towns to Visit
If you plan to rent a car and you’d like to see more of the island, you should make an effort to check out Siracusa (a 50-minute drive from Catania) and Taormina (a 1 hour drive from Catania).
Like all big cities you should be careful with your personal belongings and use your common sense. Don’t leave your luggage inside your rental car as you risk it being stolen. Don’t give money to locals who ask you for money when you park in public streets, many people have reported this scam.
Alfredo is a member of Ryanair’s cabin crew based in Catania