The city of Catania, on Sicily’s east coast, is the island’s commercial and historic hub. The area also offers an attractive selection of spectacular beaches, with Mount Etna acting as a magnificent backdrop. These beaches are more than merely stretches of sand, trust me. They’re also places where memories can be made.
Whether you’re planning a family vacation for four or a romantic retreat for two, Catania’s beaches cater to everyone. Head here for an enticing blend of natural beauty, appealing leisure activities, and a relaxing ambiance. In other words, the perfect vacation.
This guide to the best beaches in Catania will show you where to go when you’re craving a slice of life by the sea. Covered here is how to get there, where to stay and eat, and what to do in the local area, as well as a rundown of the top Catania beaches. Read to discover your ideal vacation destination.
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Table of Contents
How to Get to Catania
There are several ways to reach Catania in Sicily, and which to use depends on your starting point, budget and preferences. Here are the main options.
- Flying: Most travelers get to Catania via commercial airlines. The flight to Catania arrives at Catania Fontanarossa International Airport (CTA), just a few miles from the city.
- Ferry: There are ferries to Catania from both Naples and Malta. Arriving by boat is cheaper than flying, but the trip will take longer.
- Train: Trains run between Rome and Catania, but the journey takes around 10 hours. This option involves taking the train onto a ferry at the Straits of Messina.
- Bus: Interbus offers a direct, air-conditioned, non-stop bus service from Palermo to Catania, and the trip takes about two-and-a-half hours.
For the best flight deals to get to Sicily, I recommend checking out some bundle deals on Expedia.com
Getting Around Catania
Once you arrive in Catania, you can use various means of transport to explore the city and surrounding area.
- Bus: Buses are cheap, reliable, and stop at many local points of interest.
- Metro: The Catania Metro has limited stops, but more terminals are under construction.
- Rental car: A rental car allows you to explore Catania and its surroundings at your own pace. However, driving in Sicily can be challenging, due to chaotic traffic and unmarked lanes. Keep in mind that traffic in Catania can be slow in most of the city – or quicker on the one-way streets and unmarked lanes.
Best Time to Visit the Beaches in Catania
For the best experience, the timing of your visit to Catania’s beaches can be key. The best months are typically between late May and early September. It’s sunny and warm, and the Mediterranean Sea is particularly inviting at this time of year.
August is the warmest month, but can also be the most crowded. For those looking for relative peace while enjoying pleasant weather, late September or early October can be ideal. You can enjoy a more relaxed experience then, outside of the peak summer season.
A Brief Guide to the Best Beaches in Catania for Families
For families, Catania’s coastline is a treasure trove combining fun with a laid-back vibe. La Playa’s golden sands, for example, are paradisiacal for both kids and parents. The calm waters are safe for swimming, while a plethora of beach clubs and playgrounds ensures endless entertainment for everyone.
Praiola Beach is known for its gentle waves and shallow waters, and is thus perfect for younger children. Here, families can enjoy picnics, building sandcastles and simply basking in the Sicilian sun. All the amenities you might indeed are also within easy reach.
The family-friendly beaches of Catania tend to offer great facilities, including the following:
- Beach clubs: Many beaches in Catania have well-equipped beach clubs with showers, changing rooms, and restaurants.
- Swimming pools: Some beaches, like Lido Arcobaleno, offer swimming pools, providing families with an additional entertainment option.
- Playgrounds: Many beaches have children’s parks, ensuring access to a fun and safe place to play.
- Sports facilities: Some beaches offer sports facilities, such as volleyball courts, that families can use.
- Campsites: Along Catania’s La Playa coast, there are family-friendly campsites catering to families who prefer a more natural beach experience.
- Cafes and restaurants: Various Catania beaches have cafes or restaurants close by, which can provide beach-goers with snacks, meals and drinks.
- Snorkeling-friendly: Some beaches, like Fondachello Beach, are perfect for snorkeling, allowing families to explore the local underwater marine life.
The 9 Best Catania Beaches for Families
- Playa di Catania: The main sandy beach in Catania, offering a variety of kiosks, lidos, restaurants, beach clubs, and watersports for adults and kids alike. The water is mainly shallow, making it ideal for kids to play safely.
- San Giovanni Li Cuti: This beach is known for its dark sand, clear waters and family-friendly atmosphere.
- Le Capannine: A beach club and lido that’s popular with locals and tourists alike. Find a vast stretch of golden sand here, plus various beach clubs.
- Lido Azzurro Beach Resort: A family-friendly beach resort offering a wide range of amenities, including a pool, cabanas and a bar-restaurant.
- La Playa: This iconic Catania beach stretches for over 11 miles (or 18 kilometers) and offers a range of areas, campsites, and play facilities.
- Santa Tecla Beach: A beautiful but rocky beach with crystal-clear waters, which is good for families looking for a relaxing day by the sea.
- San Marco Beach: Located around 25 miles (or 40 kilometers) from Catania, San Marco Beach offers a picturesque setting and clear water for swimming.
- Santa Maria la Scala : A traditional fishing village with a landscape shaped by past lava flow. The crystalline sea is perfect for families who enjoy snorkeling.
- AciTrezza: This beach on the Cyclops Riviera offers a unique beach experience, with volcanic cliffs. It has no sand, but there are rocks to settle down on, plus crystal-clear waters.
Accommodation Close to Catania Beaches
Luxury and Beachfront Hotels
For those seeking luxury, Catania boasts several beachfront hotels and deluxe resorts, offering top-level services by the sea as well as inland.
Romano Palace Luxury Hotel – 4*
Located near the city and airport as well as La Playa beach, the Romano Palace offers elegant accommodation with direct beach access. It’s got spacious gardens with a large pool, a restaurant serving Sicilian and Italian cuisine, and a range of single, double and family rooms and suites.
Four Points by Sheraton Catania Hotel – 4*
This deluxe property combines modern amenities with stunning sea and Mount Etna views. There’s several bars and eateries, a spa and wellness center, a pool and access to a small, rocky stretch of beach.
NH Catania Parco Degli Aragonesi – 4*
A highly-rated hotel with a beachfront location, offering a relaxing atmosphere and a range of amenities. These include a pool set among attractive gardens, a gym, access to a private beach, and a restaurant and bar. All rooms come with a balcony.
Hotel Nettuno – 4*
This family-friendly property by the beach offers comfortable rooms and a variety of services including a sun terrace, a pool, a lounge bar, a restaurant and access to a private beach.
Airone City Hotel – 4*
Though it’s not a beachfront property, Airone City Hotel offers accommodations within a historic building. The property has a snack bar, a pool, and free parking, and serves a yummy breakfast daily. You can also rent bikes here.
Duomo Suites & SPA – 4*
Duomo Suites & SPA is a design hotel in central Catania with a four star rating. It offers air conditioned accommodation with Smart TV, and offers room service and a spa and wellness center.
Budget and Family-Friendly Catania Accommodations
Families and budget travelers can also find a range of options in the Catania area.
Hotel Lachea – 3*
This property in AciTrezza provides affordable, family-friendly accommodations within walking distance of the beach. It offers a pool, pleasant gardens, a restaurant and a 24-hour bar.
This charming bed and breakfast offers a cozy atmosphere and a range of amenities including pretty gardens, an outdoor pool and a bar and restaurant.
La Casa di Luigi
A family-friendly B&B housed in a historic villa, with pleasant gardens. It’s right by the beach, and boasts air conditioned accommodations, barbecue facilities, free parking and a shared lounge and kitchen.
A beachfront B&B offering comfortable rooms and a range of amenities for families such as free parking, a delicious daily breakfast, air conditioning and free WiFi.
SolSicily is around 15 minutes on foot from the beach. It has individually styled rooms with heating, air conditioning and balcony, and serves a sweet and savory breakfast to guests each day.
Etna Suite is a travel proud, pet-friendly property in Catania offering modern accommodation, a bar, room service and a great breakfast.
A – MARE Home Catania
This cozy beachfront property has a garden and free parking, plus rooms with flat screen TV and a coffee machine. Stays include access to a private beach area.
Casa Levante Sea View Apartment
This two bedroom apartment in a beachfront position has two bedrooms, a fully-equipped kitchen and a lovely seaview terrace with dining furniture.
Sciara Biscari B&B
Sciara Biscari B&B offers views over the ocean and Biscari Lighthouse. The beach is about 500 meters from the property, which has comfortable rooms, a shared lounge, a garden and a restaurant.
Cultural and Historical Sites Close to Catania Beaches
Combining beach relaxation with cultural exploration is effortless in Catania. The city’s rich history is reflected in its diverse architecture and ancient ruins, providing a perfect contrast to the area’s idyllic beaches.
Some of the top cultural and historical sites close to Catania’s beaches include the following.
- Piazza del Duomo: This historic square in Catania features the Fontana dell’Elefante and the Cathedral of Catania.
- Basilica Cattedrale Sant’Agata V.M. Catania: A beautiful cathedral dedicated to Saint Agatha, Catania’s patron saint.
- Castello Ursino: A 13th century castle by the sea showcasing both breathtaking architecture and the rich local history.
- Roman Theater: The well-preserved ancient theater in Catania was built where an ancient Greek building once stood.
- Baroque Towns: Catania is UNESCO-listed for its late Baroque-era towns. Between them, the eight towns on the list offer some very well-preserved architecture. Astonishingly, all were reconstructed after the 1693 earthquake affecting the area.
Family-Friendly Beach Clubs in Catania
The following beach clubs in Catania provide a comfortable and enjoyable experience for families, offering a range of amenities catering to the needs of both adults and children.
- Lido Azzurro Beach Resort: A clean, well-maintained, and efficiently managed beach club with a pool, sun loungers, cabanas and a bar/restaurant.
- Lido America: A popular beach club with a family-friendly atmosphere, offering sunbeds, parasols, and a restaurant.
- Lido Excelsior: A beach club with a range of amenities, including sunbeds, umbrellas, and a restaurant, catering to families. You can also snorkel here.
- Lido Roma: A family-friendly beach club offering sunbeds, umbrellas, and a restaurant serving a variety of dishes. Check to see if this one is still open for summer 2024.
Best Beach Restaurants in Catania
As well as the restaurants and bars at the beach clubs and lidos, you can dine at some of the best beach restaurants in Catania for families, as follows.
- Don Peppinu Catania: A popular family restaurant offering a variety of dishes, including pizza and pasta.
- Vulcanica Pizza Contemporanea: A family-friendly pizzeria known for its delicious pizzas and casual atmosphere.
- Viagrande Pizzeria Bistrot: A family-friendly bistro offering a range of pizzas and other Italian dishes.
- Etnea Roof Bar & Restaurant by “UNA Cucina”: A rooftop restaurant with a view, offering a family-friendly vibe and a good selection of dishes.
- Ristosnack Pistorio: Pizza, pasta, and seafood are among the specialties of this relaxed Catania restaurant.
- Al Mulino: A popular family restaurant offering a variety of Italian fare, including pizza and pasta.
Travel Tips for Visiting Catania’s Beaches
Navigating the coastal areas of Catania can be an adventure in itself. While some of the beaches are accessible via local public transport, renting a car can offer more flexibility. You’re also more likely to discover hidden gems along the coastline. Make sure you check parking availability and fees near popular beaches in advance, if you want to avoid unpleasant surprises.
Safety is paramount when enjoying Catania’s beaches, particularly with kids. Always swim in designated areas and heed any lifeguard advice. It’s also vital to respect the environment by disposing of waste properly, and trying not to disturb the natural habitats of local flora and fauna.
Catania’s beaches are beautiful – shall we agree to keep them that way for future generations?
Photography and Scenery in Catania
Catania’s beaches are heavenly for photographers. The contrast of black volcanic rock against clear turquoise waters creates stunning shots. Here the early morning or late afternoon light provides the perfect conditions for capturing the coastline’s natural beauty.
Scenic Spots for the Perfect Photo
For the best panoramic views, head to the cliffs overlooking Isola Bella, or check out the vistas from the Lido Azzurro beach club. These locations offer breathtaking views of the sea, and are ideal for capturing Catania’s coastal charm.
I hope you liked our Best Catania Beaches Guide, let us know if we missed any of your favorites in comment below.
Also check out Best Beaches in Taormina