When planning a trip to Italy, most people tend to think of Rome and its ancient buildings, the verdant green landscapes of Tuscany, or even Milan with all its glitz and glamor. But did you know that the east coast of Sicily is home to an absolute gem of a place known as Catania?

Perched by the edge of the Ionian Sea, Catania is filled with natural wonders, quaint cobbled streets, amazing eats, and Baroque buildings.

Home to the Etna volcano, this area offers plenty of outdoor pursuits as well, whether it’s hiking, skiing down the snowy slopes in the winter, or snorkeling in the ocean.

To ensure that you get the best bang for your buck, though, it’s important to find a neighborhood that matches both your budget and expectations. So, let’s guide you precisely on where to stay in Catania.

A cityscape with a volcano in the background in Catania, Sicily.
You’re about to head on a cultural journey.

Top 3 Recommendations for Where to Stay in Catania

It’s no secret that Italy is absolutely bursting with various types of attractions for just about every traveler! Whether you’re backpacking Italy, embarking on a foodie adventure, or just planning a quick visit, here are my recommendations for where to stay in Catania!

Best Hotel in Catania – Hotel Villa Dorata

A queen room in the Hotel Villa Dorata Catania

Live like royalty in the Hotel Villa Dorata which is literally located in a former royal residence!

Perfect for travelers who want to explore the most beautiful Catania neighborhoods, this hotel features numerous room configurations to accommodate up to four guests.

There’s plenty to do onsite, with a library area and a lounge bar. If you’re visiting in the winter, you’ll be glad to learn that the ski slopes are just 1km away.

Best Airbnb in Catania – Lachea Seaview Penthouse

A room in Lachea Seaview Penthouse Catania

Offering plenty of space for up to four guests, this apartment has everything you need for hours of fun.

You’ll get easy beach access, sun-soaked quarters, and a furnished terrace with unblemished views of the marina!

With a well-equipped kitchen, this space lies close to the Roman Amphitheatre and the nearby village of San Giovanni Li Cuti. You can also take advantage of the corner barbecue area crafted from lava stone.

Best Hostel in Catania – Casa Verdi – House of Travelers

A queen room in Casa Verdi - House of Travelers Catania

Comfortable accommodation doesn’t need to burn a hole in your pocket – as evidenced by the Casa Verdi hostel!

Located less than a mile from the city center, this hostel features mixed dorms, quadruple, and triple rooms.

Guests can also take advantage of onsite amenities like a shared kitchen, onsite yoga classes, and bike hire. You’ll be just a short distance from the Fontana dei Malavoglia and the Catania Amphitheatre.

Catania Neighborhood Guide – Places to Stay in Catania

FIRST TIME IN CATANIA
Nicolosi Catania
FIRST TIME IN CATANIA

Nicolosi

Okay, let’s kick this off with one of the absolute best places to stay in Catania! In my opinion, there’s truly no better place to stay than Nicolosi, especially if you’ve never visited the city before.

ON A BUDGET
Roman Amphitheatre Catania
ON A BUDGET

Catania City Center

If you ask me, no trip to Catania would be complete without a visit to the city center! One of Catania’s liveliest neighborhoods, the center is awash with retail, dining, and entertainment opportunities.

NIGHTLIFE
Via Etnea Catania
NIGHTLIFE

Via Etnea

Wondering where to stay in Catania for the nightlife? Via Etnea, of course!

COOLEST PLACE TO STAY
The small sea village of Santa Maria al Scala in Sicily with lush trees and buildings
COOLEST PLACE TO STAY

Acireale

If you’re looking for the coolest places to stay in Catania, you can always consider staying in Acireale, a seaside town known for its striking Baroque architecture and amazing eats.

FOR FAMILIES
Aci Castello Catania
FOR FAMILIES

Aci Castello

Let’s wrap up our list of places to stay in Catania with one of the best family-friendly destinations in the country!

Catania is one of the best places in Italy. The Metropolitan City encompasses the city proper as well as 57 municipalities – so there’s plenty to explore!

If you’re short on time, I can absolutely recommend a visit to Nicolosi, a charming commune filled with natural wonders.

An excellent home base for first-time visitors, this commune offers proximity to Mount Etna and the 14th-century Monastery of San Nicolò l’Arena, around which the town was built.

Are you a first-time visitor? Then there’s truly no better place to stay than in the exceptionally lively and animated Catania City Center. Not only is this area famous for its historical landmarks, but it also affords cheap accommodations for budget travelers.

For the best restaurants, late-evening gelato shops, and nightlife, you can always consider staying in Via Etnea which extends from Piazza del Duomo to end at the Etna foothills. As the city’s main shopping hub, this area tends to be quite animated on Friday and Saturday evenings.

Acireale, on the other hand, may not have as many nighttime pursuits, but it’s definitely a cool area to stay since it places you smack between the city center, the sea, and Mount Etna volcano.

In my opinion, this is the ideal neighborhood for munching your way through Sicily’s famously delicious cuisine while admiring the gorgeous baroque buildings.

Aci Castello is, undoubtedly, one of the best family-friendly neighborhoods in Catania. It’s a coastal destination that’s famous for its volcanic rock beaches.

This area is also home to the beautiful Lido Aci Trezza beach, the protected Marine Park of Cyclops, and a beach promenade lined with gelato vendors.

Once that trip is secured, jump up to the beautiful Taormina. It’s around 45 minutes to an hour drive from Catania and it has the best neighborhoods to stay in for a weekend.

5 Best Areas to Stay in Catania

Now that you’ve got the 101 on the best spots in Catania, let’s take a deep dive into each neighborhood!

1. Nicolosi – Where to Stay in Catania for First-Timers

Craters Silvestri of the volcano Etna in Nicolosi, Catania
This is Craters Silvestri of the volcano Etna, and it’s stunning!

Okay, let’s kick this off with one of the absolute best places to stay in Catania! In my opinion, there’s truly no better place to stay than Nicolosi, especially if you’ve never visited the city before.

Not only is this mountainside area awash with natural beauty, but it lies smack in the middle of everything fun and exciting in Catania!

Nature lovers will feel right at home there since Nicolosi is an area of unparalleled beauty. On the other hand, history buffs will no doubt enjoy strolling about the quaint neighborhood. It’s dotted with ancient buildings, including a 14th-century Benedictine monastery.

One of the best things about staying in Nicolosi is that it has quite a relaxing vibe. It’s perfect for travelers who want to escape the hustle and bustle of the downtown area.

While you’ll still be close enough to downtown, you’ll also enjoy proximity to other attractions like the Museo Dell’Etna and the iconic Mount Etna volcano. Its known for its scenic hiking trails and cable car rides to the summit.

Best Hotel in Nicolosi – Hotel Villa Dorata

A queen room in Hotel Villa Dorata Catania

Live like royalty in the Hotel Villa Dorata which is literally located in a former royal residence!

Perfect for a weekend in Italy, this hotel features numerous room configurations to accommodate up to four guests.

There’s plenty to do onsite, with a library area and a lounge bar. If you’re visiting in the winter, you’ll be glad to learn that the ski slopes are just a kilometer away.

Best Airbnb in Nicolosi – Gorgeous Chalet in Etna UNESCO Park

Living area in a chalet in Etna UNESCO Park Catania

Located smack in the heart of Etna UNESCO Park, this ridiculously charming chalet comfortably sleeps six in two bedrooms.

While this lush oasis commands a great location in the middle of nature, you’ll still be just a quick ride from Catania’s popular wine cellars.

The chalet also offers proximity to the Botanical Garden and Astrophysical Observatory.

Ideal for families and groups of friends, this chalet features a delightfully rustic fireplace and a well-equipped kitchen.

Best Hostel in Nicolosi – Polifemo Etna

A room in Polifemo Etna hostel, Catania

Set in a vintage mountain residence, Polifemo Etna features comfortable rooms just a short distance from Mount Etna and the coast.

After exploring the surroundings, you can always take advantage of onsite facilities, including a cellar with tasting sessions. Best of all, you’ll be treated to a scrumptious breakfast every morning!

There are many more great hostels in Sicily to check out for cooler experiences!

Things to Do in Nicolosi

Dense forest with purple trees in Mount Etna Catania
We’re close to Narnia!
  1. Summit Mount Etna.
  2. Hit the scenic ski slopes in the winter.
  3. Visit the Etna Adventure Park, an area that’s awash with thrilling activities like rope courses and zip lining.
  4. Visit a local wine cellar and sample some of the best brews in the area.
  5. Grab your best hiking shoes and explore the many hiking trails that await at Etna Regional Park.
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2. Catania City Center – Where to Stay in Catania on a Budget

Ruins of open-air Roman Amphitheatre of Catania
 Ruins of open-air Roman Theatre of Catania

If you ask me, no trip to Catania would be complete without a visit to the city center! One of Sicily’s liveliest neighborhoods, Catania city center, is awash with retail, dining, and entertainment opportunities.

The city center is quite compact, making it easy for you to see most of the main attractions in one day. You’ll find plenty of historical landmarks, including the 13th century Ursino Castle and the Catania Cathedral.

One of the best things to do in the city center is to simply kick back in the Cathedral Square, which was built way back in the 11th century. This area is something of a gathering place for tourists and locals alike, so it’s always fun to chill in one of the surrounding cafes and just take in that lively atmosphere.  

In addition to its many restaurants, the city center also features antique masterpieces like the Fontana dell’Amenano, sculpted from Carrera marble in 1867.  

Best Hotel in Catania City Center – Art & Jazz Hotel

A queen room from Art & Jazz Hotel in Catanie

Commanding an excellent location near the historical city center, the Art & Jazz Hotel offers Comfort and Split-Level rooms to accommodate one to two guests. Family rooms are also available for parents traveling with children.

When it’s time to explore, you can always check out nearby spots like Ursino Castle and the Piazza Dante.

Best Airbnb in Catania City Center – Mareclà Apartments for Two

A queen room in Mareclà Apartments in Catania

Travelers looking for comfortable yet inexpensive places to stay in Catania may wish to check out the Mareclà apartment, which is found in a former noble palace.

Ideal for solo travelers or couples, this incredible Italian Airbnb features a kitchen, a cozy living area, and a private balcony. Popular landmarks like the Catania Cathedral lie just 100 meters away.

Best Hostel in Catania City Center – Casa Verdi – House of Travelers

A queen room in Casa Verdi - House of Travelers Catania

Comfortable accommodation doesn’t need to burn a hole in your pocket, as evidenced by the Casa Verdi hostel!

Located less than a mile from the city center, this hostel features mixed dorms, quadruple, and triple rooms.

Guests can also use onsite amenities like a shared kitchen, onsite yoga classes, and bike hire. You’ll be just a short distance from the Fontana dei Malavoglia and the Catania Amphitheatre.

Things to Do in Catania City Center

Elephant Statue fountain, Cathedral of Santa Agatha, and walking people on Piazza del Duomo square in Catania historical city centre of Sicily
It can’t get more Italian here!
  1. Take a Sicilian cooking class so you can replicate those scrumptious dishes back home!
  2. Relax in the Cathedral Square, a vibrant area surrounded by historic buildings like the Catania Cathedral and the Elephant Fountain.
  3. Enjoy a relaxing stroll through the Orto Botanico di Catania, home to a diverse collection of flora.
  4. Be awed by the ruins of the Roman Amphitheatre.
  5. Venture underground to see Catania from a whole other perspective.

3. Via Etnea – Where to Stay in Catania for Nightlife

Newly recovered San Berillo pedestrian district in the heart of Catania, Italy

Wondering where to stay in Catania for the nightlife? Via Etnea, of course!

Not only does this place offer easy access to some of the best nightspots in Catania, but it’s also said to be the main shopping street in the city.

Friday and Saturday nights are especially crowded, so don’t be surprised to see large gaggles of tourists and locals alike. Via Etnea is also popular among college students since it’s quite close to Catania University.

Stretching over 3 kilometers long, Via Etnea actually extends from the Piazza del Duomo to end at the Etna foothills. As such, this lane splits the city into two sections, so you’ll be close to the lively pavement pubs as well as less crowded spots like the Giardino Bellini gardens.

Best Hotel in Via Etnea – Palazzo Marletta Luxury House Hotel

Balcony views of a queen room in Palazzo Marletta Luxury House Hotel and cityscape

Nestled right at the heart of the city, this hotel features standard, deluxe, or superior double rooms. Absolutely perfect for solo travelers or couples.

Not only is this elegant hotel directly connected to a shopping center, but it’s also located near the beach.

In addition, guests will be close to nighttime venues like the Teatro Massimo Bellini, which regularly hosts operas.

Best Airbnb in Via Etnea – The House at the Theater

Living area in the House at the Theater Catania

Perfect for couples and small families, The House at the Theater provides a beautifully furnished bedroom with a double bed and a crib.

All the comforts of home await, including a kitchen, but with some of Catania’s best eateries practically on your doorstep, why muck about with cooking, right?

In addition to numerous restaurants and cafes, the house offers proximity to the Benedictine Monastery, the Cathedral, and the famous Fish Market.

Best Hostel in Via Etnea – Ostello degli Elefanti

Dorm room in Ostello degli Elefanti Catania

Here’s another great accommodation option that’s housed in a former palace!

Brimming with classic Sicilian art, this hostel offers easy access to the pubs, bistros, and cocktail bars located in Piazza Bellini.

After taking in plenty of that vibrant nightlife, wind down in the comfortable dormitories or private rooms. Oh, and did I mention that you’ll be treated to a complimentary breakfast each morning?

Things to Do in Via Etnea

Basilica della Collegiata Baroque church on Via Etna street in city centre of Catania, Sicily, Italy
Basilica della Collegiata Baroque church. My favorite spot in Via Etnea!
  1. Take advantage of Via Etnea’s bustling boutiques, souvenir shops, and locally owned stores.
  2. Embark on a guided food tour to sample local delicacies.
  3. Treat yourself to an aromatic cocktail with sweeping city views from the Etnea Roof Bar & Restaurant.
  4. Dance the night away at Casa Koloboxter.
  5. Indulge your sweet tooth with a visit to Scardaci Ice Cafè, a popular gelato shop that’s open until late.
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4. Acireale – Coolest Neighborhood in Catania

The small sea village of Santa Maria al Scala in Sicily with lush trees and buildings
Santa Maria al Scala in Sicily

If you’re looking for the coolest places to stay in Catania, you can always consider Acireale, a seaside town known for its striking baroque architecture and amazing eats.

Speaking of baroque architecture, be sure to check out the Cattedrale di Sant’Agata, the Basilica dei Santi Pietro e Paolo, and the Palazzo Musmeci, which used to be a former palace.

Because it’s also close to Mount Etna, Acireale is an excellent home base for travelers planning a trekking expedition up the volcano. Keep your camera at the ready because the volcano is known for its incredible views.

Because this part of Catania is less touristy than, say, the town center, it’s ideal for travelers who want to experience a more authentic Sicilian vibe.

One of the coolest things about staying in Acireale is that you’ll be smack between the beach and the city center. Perfect for making the best of both worlds!

Best Hotel in Acireale – Best Western Hotel Santa Caterina

A queen room view from Western Hotel Santa Caterina

Here’s a pet-friendly hotel that lends itself well to travelers looking to be near some of the most coveted spots in Catania!

With spacious rooms that can accommodate one to three guests, the Best Western Hotel Santa Caterina features sweeping ocean and city views. On-site, you’ll also find a restaurant and an outdoor swimming pool.

Fuel up with a hearty breakfast in the morning before heading out to nearby attractions like La Timpa Nature Reserve.

Best Airbnb in Acireale – Charming Sicilian Home

Charming Sicilian Home Catania

Perfect for couples, this traditional Sicilian house dates back to the 1800s but has since been restored to include modern fittings.

There’s a bedroom to comfortably accommodate two guests, but if you want to have a couple of extra friends over, they can always snooze on the two single beds in the living area.

Boasting a kitchenette and living area, this space lies close to the Pinacoteca Zelantea, home to a Senate Chariot.

Best Hostel in Acireale – The Yard Hostel

Patio views from The Yard Hostel with plenty of windows, soft lighting and trees in Catania, Sicily.

One of the coolest places to stay in Catania, The Yard Hostel offers standard female-only and mixed dormitories.

If you would rather have your own space, you’ll be glad to learn that the hostel also has private rooms.

Onsite amenities include a spacious common room, a shared kitchen, a garden, and a bar. When it’s time to go sightseeing, you can always check out nearby spots like the Piazza del Duomo and Pollina Park.

Things to Do in Acireale

Santa Maria al Scala in Sicily
Each street in Italy is Instagrammable. This one slays!
  1. Explore Acireale’s center, known for its baroque architecture and a hefty dose of history!
  2. Be awed by the Chiesa di San Sebastiano, a historic, Baroque-style church that perfectly embodies Sicilian architecture.
  3. Escape the crowds by visiting the Riserva Naturale Orientata La Timpa nature reserve, which features a lovely rocky beach.
  4. See Catania-style puppets at the Collezione di Pupi Siciliani Museum.
  5. Soak up the sun or swim in the Ionian Sea at nearby beaches like Spiaggia di Santa Maria La Scala.

5. Aci Castello – Where to Stay in Catania for Families

Cityscape of Aci Castello, Catania with historical Castello Normanno castle landmark
Think like a photographer and let those stairs frame your shot!

Let’s wrap up our list of places to stay in Catania with one of the best family-friendly destinations for families traveling full-time!

A stunning beach destination, Aci Castello is especially known for its oceanfront cliffs made from volcanic rocks. I can personally vouch for the Lido Aci Trezza beach, whose shallow lagoon lends itself well to families traveling with kids.

If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can always hop on a glass-bottom boat. It will take you to the protected Marine Park of Cyclops, home to colorful marine wildlife and volcanic structures.

In the afternoon, you can always head to the seafront promenade, where you can treat yourself to a gelato while watching the sunset over the ocean.  

Best Hotel in Aci Castello – La Castellese

A queen room from La Castellese Catania

Located less than two kilometers from Acitrezza Beach, La Castellese features spacious double rooms with two beds to sleep up to four guests.

All units feature a kettle and a fridge, perfect for those late-night snacks!

When you’ve had your share of beach fun, you can always check out nearby attractions like the Catania Amphitheatre and Mount Etna.

Best Airbnb in Aci Castello – Lachea Seaview Penthouse

A queen room from Lachea Seaview Penthouse Catania

Offering plenty of space for up to four guests, this apartment has everything you need for hours of fun.

You get easy beach access, sun-soaked quarters, and a furnished terrace with unblemished views of the marina!

With a well-equipped kitchen, this space lies close to the Roman Amphitheatre and the nearby village of San Giovanni Li Cuti. You can also take advantage of the corner barbecue area crafted from lava stone.

Best Hostel in Aci Castello – B&B Doralice

A triple room in B&B Doralice Catania fitted with a balcony.

Located just a short distance from Aci Castello, B&B Doralice is set in a historic building. Families can relax in triple or quadruple rooms fitted with balconies.

There’s plenty to explore in the vicinity, including the Lido Arcobaleno, the Palazzo del Toscano, and Acitrezza Beach.

Families visiting in the winter will enjoy the property’s proximity to the Seggiovia Biposto Monti Silvestri – Capannina ski lift.

Things to Do in Aci Castello

Public gardens at Aci Catello, italy with the sea view iin the background
Perfect spot to read Goethe’s “Italian Journey”…
  1. Explore the Gulf of Catania’s seabed onboard an underwater scooter.
  2. Take a sunset stroll along the picturesque Lungomare dei Ciclopi promenade and admire views of the Cyclops Riviera.
  3. Hop on a boat to the natural reserve of Isola Lachea.
  4. Take a day trip to Aci Trezza, a nearby fishing village known for its Faraglioni rocks.
  5. Mosey around the Castello Normanno, an ancient Italian fortification.
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What To Pack For Catania

Pants, socks, underwear, soap?! Take it from me, packing for a hostel stay is not always quite as straightforward as it seems. Working out what to bring and what to leave at home is an art I have perfected over many years.

Product
Description
Don’t Let Snorers Keep You Awake!
Don’t Let Snorers Keep You Awake!

Ear Plugs

Snoring dorm-mates can ruin your nights rest and seriously damage the hostel experience. This is why I always travel with a pack of decent ear plugs.

Keep your laundry organized and stink free
Keep your laundry organized and stink free

Hanging Laundry Bag

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Stay Dry With a Micro Towel
Stay Dry With a Micro Towel

Sea To Summit Micro Towel

Hostel towels are scummy and take forever to dry. Microfibre towels dry quickly, are compact, lightweight, and can be used as a blanket or yoga mat if need be.

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Reduce Plastic – Bring a Water Bottle!

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Check out my definitive Hotel Packing list for even more top packing tips!

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance for Catania

ALWAYS sort out your backpacker’s insurance before your trip. You hope you don’t need it, but it’s not worth the risk.

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Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Catania

I’m sure by now you’ve realized that Catania has something for everyone! Whether you’re chasing outdoor pursuits, looking to indulge in some shopping, or simply want to take in the local nightlife, finding the right accommodation will no doubt enhance your trip.

I hope this guide helped you figure out where to stay in Catania. But if you’re still undecided, I would suggest dropping anchor in Nicolosi or the city center. As far as accommodation is concerned, I have to say that Hotel Villa Dorata totally has my vote!

Catania cityscape with the view of Etna volcano at sunset in Sicily, Italy.
Look at that design harmony!

And for transparency’s sake, please know that some of the links in our content are affiliate links. That means that if you book your accommodation, buy your gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). That said, we only link to the gear we trust and never recommend services we don’t believe are up to scratch. Again, thank you!