Catania in 2 Days: everything you need to know

If you want to make a weekend getaway to Sicily, I recommend you to choose Catania, one of the most populated cities in Italy where you can live a unique experience.

Camilla Graciano

Camilla Graciano

9 min read

Catania in 2 Days: everything you need to know

Catania | ©John Menard

Catania, located on the east coast of Sicily, is a city full of activities and things to see and do, with lots of history, culture and natural beauty. The perfect combination and for all tastes!

Here is the itinerary of sights to see and things to do in Catania for 2 days.

Day 1: Local flavors, historical monuments and a seaside promenade

La Pescheria| ©jim
La Pescheria| ©jim

On your first day in the stunning city of Catania, I invite you to sample its local flavors and fresh produce at the city's most renowned market, see Catania's most important Cathedral and Theater, and stroll along its incredible beaches.

Explore La Pescheria Market

Catania's Fish Market, also known as La Pescheria, is a place of great cultural and gastronomic importance where you can live a sensory experience that combines local life and Sicilian gastronomy. Here you can find all kinds of fresh fish, seafood, fruits, vegetables and typical products of the region.

In this market you will have the hustle and bustle of local life and you can experience the energy and animation of the traders and customers mingling in the market. You can get to know it on your own or by taking a gastronomic tour of Catania. In addition, there are fresh fish and seafood, stores selling typical products such as olive oil, spices, cheeses and more.

It is a great culinary experience where you can try some of the typical dishes of the region in the food stalls and local restaurants of the market, and get to know its ancient architecture dating back to medieval times, with its baroque and neoclassical style.

All this makes the Catania Fish Market a must for food and culture lovers.

Book the gastronomic tour of Catania

Visit the Cathedral of Saint Agatha

Just a few meters from the market, you will come across this historical and religious monument that honors the patron saint of Catania. The cathedral is known for its baroque architecture and for housing some of the most precious objects of the Sicilian Catholic church. A good way to get to know it is by taking a tour of Catania, many of them include it in their itinerary.

The Cathedral of Saint Agatha offers many interesting things to see such as its baroque architecture, with its impressive arches and columns, its high ceilings and its ornamental details. In addition, you can discover the subway church that houses the ruins of an ancient Roman temple and find relics such as the tunic and veil of Catania's patron saint.

Its art collection includes frescoes, sculptures and other objects of artistic and cultural value, and you can learn more about the life and history of Saint Agatha, a Christian saint who lived in the region in the 3rd century.

If you are traveling to Catania at Christmas time, don't forget to check out the special Christmas program offered by this church so you can get to know it at that time of the year.

Visit the Bellini Theater

Massimo Bellini Theater| ©Marco Verch
Massimo Bellini Theater| ©Marco Verch

About 6 blocks from the cathedral, you will find the historic theater that hosts some of the best plays and operas in Italy. Teatro Bellini is one of the oldest and most famous theaters in Italy, with a rich history and many interesting things to see. What will strike you first is its architecture, with its decorative details and imposing facade.

The theater's history dates back to medieval times and has been restored and renovated several times over the centuries. There you can also attend one of the theatrical performances or a concert to experience the unique atmosphere of this place.

Also, its art collection is worth appreciating, including sculptures, frescoes and other objects of artistic and cultural value. The Bellini Theater is an impressive place that combines history, art and culture in one place.

Enjoy the Sand Beach Promenade

The Promenade to the Sand Beach in Catania is a popular place to spend a day outdoors and enjoy the beautiful views of the sea. On this walk you can enjoy a wide variety of activities:

  • The sandy beaches: relax on the sandy beach and enjoy the sun and the sea.
  • Promenade: walk along the promenade and enjoy the panoramic views of the sea and the coast.
  • Parks and gardens: visit nearby parks and gardens, such as Bellini Park, to enjoy some greenery and a view of the city.
  • Local culture: experience the local culture and gastronomy at the food stalls and restaurants near the promenade.
  • Water activities: practice water sports such as surfing, windsurfing or kitesurfing at the Arena beach.

The Sand Beach Promenade is an ideal place to enjoy a day outdoors and nature in Catania and the perfect place to end your first day in the city.

Day 2: An exclusion to Mount Etna, enjoy the outdoors in one of the best parks in the city, a bit of history and typical food

Mount Etna| ©Paul OLIVIER
Mount Etna| ©Paul OLIVIER

The tour of the second and last day in Catania has everything you need to help you finish getting to know the must-see sights of the city and will leave you wanting more so you can start planning your next visit.

An excursion to Mount Etna

To start your second day in Catania, I bring you a classic: an excursion to Mount Etna. These hikes come in various lengths and many are day hikes, but if you choose one that is less than 5 hours, you will have plenty of time to do other activities on the way back.

Mount Etna is one of the major tourist attractions of the city of Catania. At 3329 meters high, it is the highest and most active volcano in Europe. You can take guided excursions to the crater, on foot or by jeep, to admire the panoramic views of the coast and the city.

Etna is known for its frequent eruptions, which are an impressive spectacle of nature. In addition, the trails surrounding the volcano are full of vegetation, flowers and animals, making it a perfect place to walk and enjoy nature. There are several hiking trails available, from short walks to full day hikes, depending on the ability and interest of visitors.

If you are one of those who are interested in history and geology, Etna offers the opportunity to learn about volcanic activity and its impact on the region. There are several information centers and museums at the base of the volcano, where you can learn about the history and geology of Etna, as well as view exhibits and videos about past eruptions. Without a doubt, visiting Etna is a unique and unforgettable experience that no one should miss, even if you visit the city for a day.

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Visit the Villa Bellini Urban Park

Once back from your excursion, you can continue the day with some fresh air in a huge park full of greenery with gardens, fountains, rest areas and walking trails. An ideal plan if you plan to visit Catania with children.

Villa Bellini Urban Park is one of the most popular places in the city to spend a day outdoors and enjoy nature. Here you will enjoy gardens, green areas, fountains and sculptures that add a touch of beauty and art to nature.

In addition, you can opt for a bike ride or hiking to enjoy nature and fresh air. Other outdoor activities such as picnics, tennis or soccer games in the park are also recommended. Here you will also find facilities for children such as swings and slides.

Discover the Monastero dei Benedettini

A few meters from Villa Bellini Park, you will find the Monastero dei Benedettini, an impressive place that offers a wide variety of activities for its visitors. The second floor of the monastery houses a library and an exhibition hall that showcases the history and culture of the city of Catania. Here, you will see ancient manuscripts and books, as well as objects and works of art related to the city.

On the second floor, you will find a panoramic view of the city from the terrace of the monastery. In addition, there is a roof garden where you can walk and relax surrounded by beautiful scenery. This place is ideal for a picnic or simply to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city.

The monastery also houses a church, the church of San Nicolò l'Arena, which is a stunning example of Baroque architecture. The church is known for its beautiful frescoes and marble altar, and is a popular spot for visitors seeking a quiet, spiritual place.

Admire the beauty of the Fontana dell'Elefante

Elephant Fountain| ©Leandro Neumann Ciuffo
Elephant Fountain| ©Leandro Neumann Ciuffo

About 5 blocks walking from the Monastero dei Benedettini, you will find a fountain in the shape of an elephant that is one of the most emblematic and characteristic monuments of Catania.

The Fontana dell'Elefante is one of the must-see places in Catania. So, before visiting it I want to tell you some things you should know about the Fontana dell'Elefante and why you should visit it:

  • Location: the Fontana dell'Elefante is located in Piazza del Duomo, in the heart of the old town of Catania.
  • History: the Fontana dell'Elefante is a monument dating back to the 18th century and was created in honor of Saint Agatha, the patron saint of Catania.
  • Elephant sculpture: the sculpture of the elephant is the central element of the fountain and is a symbol of the city.
  • Baroque style: the Fontana dell'Elefante is a perfect example of the Sicilian Baroque style and is an architectural and artistic jewel.

The Fontana dell'Elefante is a must-see for anyone visiting Catania. In addition to being a historical and artistic monument, it is a charming and lively place in the heart of the city.

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Taste the local food in a typical restaurant

To end the second and last day, I think it is an excellent opportunity to try some of the most popular dishes of the region, such as pasta alla Norma or arancini.

So, here are my five favorite restaurants in Catania where you can taste the typical food of the region:

  • Trattoria degli Amici: a traditional restaurant that offers a wide selection of dishes of Sicilian cuisine, including fresh pasta and grilled meats.
  • Osteria del Conte: an elegant restaurant offering fresh fish and seafood.
  • Antica Trattoria dei Pescatori: a restaurant specializing in fish dishes, including rice dishes and stews.
  • Il Ristorante Al Vapore: an elegant and modern restaurant offering a wide selection of Sicilian cuisine, including fresh pasta and grilled meats.
  • Trattoria Pizzeria Da Nino: a casual restaurant offering homemade pizza and Sicilian cuisine, including rice dishes and stews.

These are just a few of the many restaurants in Catania that offer typical food of the region. Any of these restaurants is an excellent choice to sample delicious Sicilian food and experience the gastronomic culture of the region.

Book a food tour of Catania

Best time of the year to visit Catania

Streets of Catania| ©Metro Centric
Streets of Catania| ©Metro Centric

If you still haven't decided on a date for your getaway, the best time to visit Catania is between May and September, when the weather is warm and sunny. During these months, you can enjoy a wide variety of outdoor activities, including beaches, excursions and visits to museums and historical monuments. In addition, the city is full of life during the summer months, with numerous events and festivals taking place in the area.

Another important factor to consider is that summer is also the busiest time for tourists in Catania, so prices may increase and there may be more people in the main tourist spots. However, for those looking for a vibrant and lively atmosphere, this is certainly the perfect time to visit Catania.

The winter months in Catania can be quite cold and rainy, so it is not the most recommended time to visit the city. However, for those looking to avoid the crowds and enjoy a quieter experience, winter can be a good option. Also, during the winter months, prices may be lower and the city may be less crowded, which can be an advantage for those looking for a more authentic and less crowded experience.

As you may have noticed, Catania is a vibrant and diverse city that offers a wealth of options to see and do. So, while two days may not seem like a lot of time, if you organize yourself well and take into account all these tips I give you in this article, you will be able to make the most of your time in this beautiful Sicilian city without missing out on anything.

Enjoy your 2-day stay in Catania!

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