3 Day in Catania – Ultimate 3-Day Catania Itinerary

Catania Itinerary 3 Days

3-Day Catania Itinerary

Find out what to see in Catania in 3 days in this article that will accompany you both to discover the historic center of the “black city”, than the seaside fishing villages in the surroundings and the majesty of Etna.

White limestone and black lava make up its historic center and from the first stages of this itinerary you will see with your own eyes why it is called the black city.

In fact, the ground on which you will walk is made up of large black rocks, which darken more on rainy days.

But don’t think that the surprises are over: you must also know that this is a city that has been destroyed and rebuilt 9 times and today stands on the remains of the Roman city.

What do you say, would you like to read this article and find out what are the things to see in Catania and its surroundings in 3 days? Well, then I’d say let’s get to work right away!

Day 1: Walking itinerary in Catania

Catania is a city that can be visited with complete peace of mind on foot, also because driving in these streets is well .. something you will not soon forget! But don’t worry if I’m used to it, you can easily do it too.

Here is what to see in Catania and the itinerary map that I suggest you follow for your first time in the city (don’t worry about saving the map now, you will find the link to open it on Google Maps at the end of the article):

1: Piazza Duomo

Once through Porta Uzeda, the Piazza del Duomo will open up in front of you, making you immediately understand its beauty.

At the center of the vast square made of black lava rock and declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the Elephant fountain (called “Liotru”): it is not known why an elephant is the symbol of the city, but surely you can indulge yourself in reading legends about it on the web.

You must also know that the elephant is dominated by an Egyptian obelisk, but the really important thing is that it protects the city from the fury of Etna! Around the square you cannot fail to notice magnificent buildings in Sicilian Baroque style in black and white colors.

One of these is the church of Sant’Agata.

Catania Itinerary 3 days

If you want to enjoy maximum practicality, it is right in the vicinity of the Piazza del Duomo where you should stay.

This is a  strategic position that will allow you not to have the slightest problem if you want to move from one attraction to another on foot (thus leaving your car in the closest parking lot).

Take a look at the prices for your dates at the Duomo Bed & Breakfast  located in a truly excellent position for visiting the city, right in Piazza del Duomo.

2: Cathedral of Sant’Agata

The cathedral of Sant’Agata is the largest and most majestic building that surrounds the Piazza del Duomo.

You will probably be pleased to know that this place of worship was built right on the spot where in 251 Saint Agatha, the patron saint of Catania, died as a martyr.

You can visit the Cathedral on your own, but I suggest you take a look at the times of the masses to respect the prayer time.

BONUS: if you want to attend the celebrations of Sant’Agata you should organize your trip between February 3rd and 5th, but remember to book your accommodation well in advance.


3: La Pescheria, the fish market: something to see in Catania

From Piazza del Duomo you cannot fail to notice the Fontana dell’Amenano: to reach the fish market you will have to pass next to it and then behind it.

Immediately after turning, you will notice the first stalls, some outdoors and others under the arcades.

At this point get ready to witness an almost theatrical open-air show, immersed in screams, noises, smells and colors.

You can visit the fish market from Monday to Saturday from around 07:00 to 14:00, but I suggest you get there early enough in the morning to see the stalls brimming with fish and fruit for yourself.

To fully savor the delicacies of Catania, you can take part in a street food tour.

4: Ursino Castle

Once the visit to the Pescheria is over, the time has come to get lost in the alleys of Catania to reach the Ursino Castle.

Before leaving for this stage, however, you must know that the Ursino Castle survived the devastating earthquake of 1693 and the volcanic eruption of 1669. You will probably find it hard to believe it, but this castle was built overhanging the sea, but the casting lava from Etna that reached his feet removed him from the sea.

Today the castle houses the Civic Museum of Catania and can be visited.


5: Roman Theater

After visiting the Ursino Castle, continue through the streets of Catania and, in the middle of the residential district, you will see the inscription Teatro Romano.

Yes, it’s all true: once you cross the threshold of the ticket office you can cross walkways and see the lava rock steps and the seats of the ancient marble theater.

The steps are lava (lava rock), while the orchestra and rows of seats are covered in marble.

Tickets cost around €6 and the theater is open until 4.30pm.


6: Via Crociferi: one thing to see in Catania

After the visit of the Roman Theater, venture into Via Crociferi.

This street is literally surrounded by baroque style churches: the Church of San Francesco Borgia, the Church of San Benedetto, the Church of San Francesco d’Assisi and the Church of San Giuliana.

In particular, the Church of San Benedetto with its magnificent frescoes is definitely worth a visit.

3 day Catania itinerary

7: Via Etnea: the street from which to admire Etna

This street starts from Piazza Duomo and is the main shopping street in Catania, but the really noteworthy thing is Etna.

On clear days, in fact, it is possible to admire the majesty of the largest volcano in Europe along its entire length and, perhaps, even see it puffing.

Via Etnea is surrounded by elegant buildings, beautiful squares, such as Piazza dell’Università, and places where you can indulge in strictly pistachio ice cream.


8: Underground Catania

At a certain point along Via Etnea, you will be able to admire the remains of the black Colosseum of Catania, second in size only to that of Rome.

In fact, you must know that this structure could hold up to 15,000 people, but the eruption of Etna in 1669 buried it under a blanket of lava, together with the “old” Catania.

Today it is possible to visit the underground of the black city, above which the current inhabited center develops.

It’s truly amazing to see the wonders that Etna has destroyed, but at the same time, maintained and preserved to this day.

Catania - one thing to do

9: Villa Bellini

Walking further in the direction of Etna, you will reach the gardens of Villa Bellini: this is the perfect place to rest on a bench in the shade, perhaps with a nice hot arancino in hand (at the restaurant just in front of Villa Bellini I bought the my first pistachio arancino. Well.. you never forget your first arancino, right?).

Once here you could also visit Villa Bellini.


10: Church of the Abbey of Sant’Agata

The best advice to complete your 1-day itinerary in Catania is to go back towards Piazza del Duomo and go up to the terrace of the Church of the Badia di Sant’Agata (at a cost of €5): from this exclusive position, you can enjoy the sunset, admire the city in the round, and see Etna in the distance.

Yes, I think there really is no better way to end this day!


Make sure you also take a look at where to stay in Catania, to make sure you choose the best area for you.

Day 2: Excursion to Etna

With its 3326 meters high, Etna is nothing less than the largest active volcano in Europe.

You cannot fail to notice it walking around Catania on clear days and you cannot help but fear it, while feeling that sense of curiosity mixed with amazement.

But you have nothing to fear, the activity of Etna is constantly monitored and if you decide to venture out to discover it you will have to comply with the regulations issued by the civil protection which establishes, based on the activity of the volcano, which maximum altitude can be reached .

The starting point for the excursion that will allow you to reach the summit craters is the Rifugio Sapienza.

Know that it is not possible to reach the summit craters independently for safety reasons: the only way to do this is to entrust yourself to a competent guide by booking the excursion on this page. Before reaching the Sapienza refuge, stop at the Silvestri Craters, located right next to the road.

Alternatively, an excursion that you can do on your own and that I recommend without a doubt, is the back path of the donkey: in just over an hour you can reach the immensity of the Valle del Bove.

This immense black expanse is the lava bed of Etna.

It goes without saying that this is something you shouldn’t miss around Catania!

Small clarification : when I was advised to take this path, they told me to pay close attention because just a few days before some tourists had lost their bearings (due to the very monotonous lava landscape) and had gotten lost.

Personally, I haven’t encountered any problems because the path is well marked, but if you want to be more relaxed, you can join this guided tour.


Day 3: The Seaside Villages of the lava

The Riviera dei Ciclopi extends north of Catania : the porous basaltic rocks of an intense black color (decorated in white on the tip only thanks to the droppings of the seagulls ), the result of the lava flowing out of Etna, emerge from the sea and make this one of the most iconic of all Sicily.

The seagulls use these “lava islets” as a foothold, making the walk along the seafront something unique.

The villages that developed along the coasts were mainly fishing villages, but today tourism is relaunching them, making them a very popular destination for summer holidays (even if the beaches are made up of lava rock).

If you are wondering what to see in Catania, especially in the surroundings, you shouldn’t miss a trip to discover the seaside villages of the lava, respectively: Aci Trezza, Aci Castello and Acireale.

1: Aci Trezza: Something to See around Catania

What will most likely strike you about this fishing village is the historic shipyard : many small colored wooden boats are parked on the shore and it will not be difficult to see fishing boats returning from fishing.

Here the cats live undisturbed and there is no shortage of sea-view restaurants.

You must know that you can also reach Acitrezza from Catania with a boat tour.


2: Aci Castello

This locality is located a short distance from Catania (only 9 km) and, as the name suggests, the main attraction is the large Norman castle, positioned right on the sea and built on a gigantic black rock.

To visit the castle you will need to buy the ticket at the ticket office at the top of the steps.


3: Acireale

It is considered the main city of the Cyclops Riviera.

It spreads over lava terraces that lead it down to the sea, where you can’t help but indulge in a fish-based lunch.

What to do in Catania: 1 Day Trips

Before finishing reading, you should know that this city is also often used as a starting point for numerous trips to eastern Sicily.

This has two advantages: being able to stay in one place without having to constantly change accommodation, and moving comfortably without having to resort to public transport or car rental.

For convenience, I leave you the list of tours departing from Catania, among which you can choose those that may interest you, to extend your stay in the city:

If you prefer to venture on a real road trip starting from Catania, this 7-day itinerary in Eastern Sicily  could be a good starting point to start planning your trip.

I hope this article has helped you understand what to see in Catania and surroundings in 3 days.

As promised, here is the link to the walking itinerary in the city, which can be easily opened on Google Maps.

If you need a hand to customize your itinerary of things to see in Catania, leave your comment and I will be happy to help you.

See you soon and enjoy the (chaotic) black city!

Are you going to Sicily? Read also

Discover all our articles about Sicily: All tips about Sicily are listed here.

Camille L.

Passionate about foreign languages, cooking and writing. I wish to share with you the places, the meetings and the gastronomic discoveries which gave relief to my travels.

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