Where to stay in Catania with a comparative table
Wondering where to stay in Catania?
After my recent visit, I can say with confidence that choosing the right area to stay in Catania can make or break your experience in this beautiful city.
What happened? Well, we arrived in the middle of the night, or better say early morning, and the area we selected was very welcoming and safe. That is how you want to start a breakaway.
You can really find everything in Catania, from the stunning historical centre to the beautiful vibe of the charming street full of street art. That is why this city is one of my favourite places to stay in Sicily.
Catania has also a few unsafe neighbourhoods (more on this later), however, keep reading this guide and you will see how to avoid them.
With my last trip to Catania, I have organised a table to easily and quickly compare all the areas highlighting the best and worst of each neighbourhood
But let’s dive into it.
Where to stay in Catania – In a nutshell with a table
The table below compares the best areas of Catania based on average cost ($-$$$$$), bars/restaurants, history/beach and other factors (1-5 with 1 being the lowest score). I added also links to suggested hotels in the area.
Click on the area name to read much more information about it, with an extended list of pros and cons of booking there, besides tips on hotels, cafes, restaurants etc.
|Where to stay in Catania for history, character and attractions||Historical|
|$$-$$$$$||Scuto Home or|
B&B Palazzo Bruca
|Where to stay in Catania for the local life (budget)||Picanello||$-$$$||Seascape Rooms||3||3||4||2|
|Where to stay in Catania on a budget and practical||Central|
|Where not to stay in Catania||Borgo|
|Where to stay in Catania for the beach||Giardini|
|$-$$$||Casa di Laura||3||4||3||2|
Here below a map to easily navigate through the areas
And I forgot to mention how Catania is such a great base to visit on a day trip the Etna volcano.
Although I highly suggest staying in Taormina with its lovely areas to stay, you could potentially make it also as a day trip.
- 🌎 Best area to stay in Catania for first-time visitor 🏩 Scuto Home is the recommended accommodation in the area
- 👍 Pros: history, character, plenty of places to see at your doorstep, practical (not too far from the bus and train station), bars, restaurants, nightlife. Great for both couples and families. Short or long stay.
- 👎 Cons: a few streets are noisy (the hotels selected in this post are safe), more expensive (although still good value), busy streets.
- 🍷 Best restaurants and bars: A Putia Dell’Ostello (unique)
Let’s start with the historical centre, one of my favourite areas in Catania.
It’s no wonder that this area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as it’s packed with stunning baroque architecture, picturesque narrow streets, and beautiful squares that come alive with street performers and musicians in the evenings.
One of my most memorable experiences in the historical centre was visiting the stunning Duomo di Catania, a beautiful cathedral that dates back to the 11th century.
Unfortunately, the cathedral was closed on my first visit during lunchtime and I had to go back later in the day. I hope they are going to extend the opening time to the entire day in future, being such a popular attraction.
The fish market is another must-see on your bucket list. Plan it as the first thing in the morning to experience more of the local life.
It’s actually quite amazing to see how this part of the city is still genuinely frequented by “Catanesi” people and not tourists only.
Around the market, you will find a ton of restaurants and bars to have a late breakfast or lunch.
The Ursino Castle, a medieval fortress that now houses a museum of local history and art, is also a must-visit attraction in the historical centre.
If you’re looking for a more modern and lively atmosphere, Via Etnea, right in the heart of the Historical Centre, is the perfect destination for you.
On my last visit to Catania, I loved spending my evenings wandering down this bustling avenue, lined with designer boutiques, cafés, gelaterias and local restaurants.
It’s an ideal spot for people-watching and soaking up the local vibe, with the locals out for a “passeggiata” (walk).
Another must-visit street is Via Crociferi, also in the heart of Catania.
It’s like stepping into a time machine with all the gorgeous Baroque buildings, churches, and palaces lining the way.
You can’t help but feel like walking in an open-air museum.
Then you add plenty of cafes, bars and restaurants to explore and enjoy.
Together with Via Etnea, Via Crociferi is one of the most beautiful streets in Catania, all within walking distance, right in the heart of the Historical Centre.
Another must-visit is San Berillo, a small grunge area of the Historical Centre that becomes alive at night with plenty of street restaurants offering food at very affordable prices.
Make a point to book dinner (very well in advance) at A Putia Dell’Ostello , where you can have a table next to an underground river/stream (check out my video on the most unusual place to experience in Sicily to see what happened there)
The Historical Centre is an excellent area to stay in Catania if you want to be in the heart of the action and experience the historical side of the city.
I totally recommended it as the best place to stay in Catania on a first-time visit.
If you travel with just your partner, or with kids, and you are still wondering where to stay in Catania for a few days then the Historical Centre has to be.
I would personally consider any other area I mentioned in this post only for a second visit or for a long stay where the main attractions don’t have to be within walking distance.
You will be also within walking distance of the train and bus station which helps if you are planning an itinerary in Sicily.
Scuto Home offers comfortable and stylish rooms at a very reasonable price, still in the heart of the city, enough hidden from the hustle and bustle of the city.
It is a great choice for travellers looking for outstanding value for money.
B&B Palazzo Bruca is located in a beautiful historic building with spacious rooms, elegantly decorated, and very comfortable.
It’s the perfect base for exploring Catania’s many attractions on foot. I highly recommend this delightful B&B for a truly authentic Sicilian experience.
If you’re looking for a luxurious and relaxing accommodation option in Catania, look no further than Duomo Luxury Suite.
With a private hot tub, it’s the perfect way to unwind after a busy day of sightseeing.
Overall, it’s a perfect choice for those seeking a little indulgence during their stay in Catania.
- 🌎 Best area to stay in Catania to experience the local life 🏩 Seascape Rooms is the recommended accommodation in the area
- 👍 Pros: quiet, local experience, well-prized accommodations, great for a long stay and/or secluded stay, boutique beach, connected to the Central Station
- 👎 Cons: 20-30 minutes walk to the Historical Centre, it may be too quiet for the young travellers
- 🍷 Best restaurants and bars: Il braciere di Franco, Sciara
Picanello is definitely a great option if you’re looking for the quieter side of Catania and/or for a long stay.
This charming neighbourhood is perfect for travellers who want to experience the local life of the city and stay in budget-friendly accommodations.
Picanello is more of a residential area than a tourist neighbourhood and you will not find historical attractions as such, it’s more about feeling and tasting the Sicilian culture.
While it’s about a 30-minute walk to the historical centre of Catania, you can easily hop on a bus and be there in just 20 minutes.
One of my favourite things about Picanello is the small beach on the eastern side of the neighbourhood.
It’s a great spot to relax and take a dip in the sea, and it’s not as crowded. It must be said that the sandy area is limited and the beach is mostly dominated by black lava stones.
Accommodations in Picanello are also quite affordable, so you can save some money without sacrificing comfort.
You’ll find a range of options, from hotels to guesthouses and apartments.
A few are within walking distance of the beach and the train station with connections to the main Central Station which is quite handy if you want to save some time on your commuting.
Now, let’s talk about food. If you’re a foodie like me, you’ll be happy to know that there are some fantastic restaurants in Picanello.
Il braciere di Franco is one of my favourites for traditional Sicilian cuisine, while Sciara offers amazing pizza and classic dishes with a modern twist.
But really, you can’t go wrong with any of the dining options in the neighbourhood.
Overall, Picanello is a great choice for travellers who want to experience the local flavour of Catania, relax on a small beach, and stay in affordable accommodations
Seascape Rooms is my favourite spot here in Picanello. The rooms have just been refurbished and the breakfast at the local bar is definitely a real local treat.
However, the highlight is really the view of both the water, on one side, and the Etna on the other. You can’t ask for more than that.
A great alternative is the B&B I Licutiani, located in the older part of the neighbourhood, in what was once the fishing village (not as many boats left nowadays).
It is so quiet, although the B&B is a stone away from bars and restaurants, and you won’t be too far from the Historical Centre either.
- 🌎 Best area to stay in Catania for practicality 🏩 Armisi B&B is the recommended accommodation in the area
- 👍 Pros: so practical, a stone away from the Central Train Station and next door to the biggest Bus Station. Short stay. Budget accommodations.
- 👎 Cons: 20 minutes walk to the Historical Centre, the area character is not great, it may feel unsafe
The Central Station area is yet another option especially if you’re looking for a practical location to stay, possibly on a budget
It actually works very well if you are planning a short stay and you have an early or late arrival/departure (you will be metres from the train and bus station, with easy connections to the airport)
Plus, it’s within walking distance (20 minutes) from the Historical Centre, so you are not completely lost in an outer area of the city.
However, this isn’t the most characteristic part of Catania, in fact, most of the buildings follow a typical 70s-style architectural guideline (read boring).
It can be a bit rough around the edges, especially at night and in the small dark streets where I would personally not venture (they are indeed a bit dodgy).
But as long as you take the usual precautions that you would in any other big city then you should be fine.
You can check my YouTube video in the first and last minute when I walk in the Central Station Area
There are plenty of cheap eateries around, with both Italian and International options, really something for everyone.
But if you’re looking for a more authentic Sicilian experience, I’d recommend venturing into the historical centre, especially around the fish market area.
Overall, the Central Station area is a practical place to stay for a short stay, especially if you have an early/late departure/arrival.
It is probably the best option in Catania if you are on a tight budget, although it is surely not the most picturesque part of the city
If you move further north you will be in the Corso Italia area, which is more of a residential area.
It may work well if you are on a long stay, otherwise, you will be quite far from the Historical Centre, the Central Station and really all the city has to offer.
Armisi B&B is probably one of the best values for money in Catania. The rooms are spot clean and have a balcony with a view.
They include breakfast also in the price, which makes it a real deal. The location is also perfect, next to the stations and 10 minutes from the Historical Centre.
Tania’s House works better if you are looking for an Airbnb-style accommodation, where you can cook your meals and have your own place.
Clean and spacious. It’s located metres from the bus station, perfect if you arrive/leave by bus.
- 🌎 Not a good area to stay in Catania but I will re-visit it again to see if there will be any change in future
- 👍 Pros: cheap and mostly locals
- 👎 Cons: run down
I read on a few websites how Borgo-Sanzio is a bohemian neighbourhood with an alternative vibe, where you could book your hotel.
This is an area I personally do not suggest booking your accommodation.
It’s actually well connected to the Historical Centre with busses. I was there in September to fix my drone. There is a great IT shop in the area (leave a comment if you need info on it).
In saying that the area can be described as bohemian, in a way that is run down (plenty of rubbish in the street, overgrown green patches etc). You can also say it is alternative, but probably not in the good sense of the word.
One of the most important Sicilian newspapers reported in 2022 the degradation of the area. Hopefully, things will improve soon.
At the moment, I would not suggest staying in Borgo-Sanzio, but I will update this guide if things are going to change.
- 🌎 Best area to stay close to Catania for the beach🏩 Casa di Laura is the recommended accommodation in the area
- 👍 Pros: beautiful beach, amazing location, well connected to Catania by a quick train, close to Taormina too
- 👎 Cons: you are not in Catania and you will miss the real Catania experience but it works well if you are after just a day trip into the city.
If you want to stay at the beach while visiting Catania, then you have to look outside the city.
Catania has a popular beach, Playa di Catania, however, it is a bit of a hit-and-miss.
In the first section, the beach can be very dirty. It is much cleaner in the organised areas, but certainly, it is more of a quick summer escape from the city than a destination by itself.
The best place to be located in my opinion is instead Giardini Naxos.
True it is not Catania at all, you will be around 50km north of it, but there is a quick 30mins train that will take you there in no time from the Taormina-Giardini Train Station.
The location is absolutely amazing. You’ve got the beautiful Mediterranean Sea on the east side and the impressive Mount Etna on the other (a tour there is a must-do experience).
And speaking of the sea, the beach in Giardini Naxos is just awesome. The sand is soft and the water is crystal clear, a world apart from Playa di Catania.
The other great bonus is of course that you are next door to Taormina, a charming town with stunning views and some seriously impressive ancient ruins.
If you’re looking for a relaxing beach vacation with the added bonus of being able to quickly explore Catania and Taormina, with their own differences, then this is the place for you.
Giardini Naxos might be small, but it’s got everything you need for a relaxing holiday.
There are plenty of great restaurants, cafes, and bars to choose from, offering both local and international cuisine.
And if you’re in the mood for a little adventure, you can rent a boat or go on a boat tour from the small harbour.
All in all, Giardini Naxos is an amazing alternative to staying in the city.
You get the best of both worlds: a beautiful beach and easy access to Catania and Taormina.
The biggest drawback, in my opinion, is that you will easily get so relaxed that you may skip Catania altogether.
Moreover, you will not be able to experience Catania during both the day and night, You will probably miss the early hours at the fish market and possibly the evening walk in Via Etnea, not to talk about dining at one of the amazing restaurants that Catania is well known for.
In a few words, Giardini Naxos is not Catania, but it will be very easy to organise day trips to it, which is perfect if you do not really fancy staying in the city.
Casa di Laura is an exceptionally clean 1 bedroom house metres from both the beach and the Taormina-Giardi Train Station.
They also have private parking which is great if you are driving around Sicily by car.
Frequently Asked Questions about where to stay in Catania
Where is the best area to stay in Catania?
The Historical Centre, with its charming streets and proximity to attractions, is the best area to stay in Catania.
Is it safe to stay in Catania?
Yes, Catania is generally safe, but visitors should take basic safety precautions to avoid pickpocketing and petty theft.
What are the best budget-friendly places to stay in Catania?
Hostels in the Historic Centre or budget accommodations in the Central Station area offer affordable options for budget-conscious travelers.
Where can I stay near Catania’s airport?
Hotels are available near Catania Fontanarossa Airport. Etna Parking is a clean and well-organised place with 24/7 free shuttle services to and from the airport.
What are the best luxury hotels in Catania?
You will find 4* and 5* hotels mostly in the Historical Centre.The Naca Suite and the Terra d’Amuri Hotel, offer luxurious amenities and services.
Are there any bed and breakfast options in Catania?
Yes, there are plenty of bed and breakfasts in the historic center, offering a more intimate and personalized stay. The B&B Palazzo Bruca is a fantastic option, for example
Can I stay near a beach in Catania?
There is a boutique beach in Picanello (San Giovanni Li Cuti), otherwise I would not suggest staying in Catania for that. Stay instead in Giardini Naxos (superb beach) and grab a 30 minutes train to the city
What are the best family-friendly places to stay in Catania?
I personally suggest staying in the Historical Centre, within walking distance of all the attractions and places to see. So easy going.
Where to stay in Catania for couples?
Once again, the Historical Centre delivers for everyone. I particularly love the boutique and inespesive restaurants around San Berillo
What are the unsafe areas of Catania?
The areas I have mentioned in this post are safe, besides basic safety precautions to avoid pickpocketing and petty theft. You want definitely to avoid going to Librino, Nesima, Villaggio Sant’Agata, San Giuseppe la Rena and San Giorgio
Is it a good idea to travel next to Palermo
Palermo and Catania are two amazing cities with their own pros and cons. I would personally stay at least a week exploring the west coast (Catania, Taormina, Siracusa, Noto) and then move west. Palermo has some amazing areas to stay, including the biggest Old Centre in Europe.