Discover the lovely Italian island of Sicily during holidays in Catania.
The historic city on the east coast of the island sits in the imposing shadow of Europe's biggest volcano, Mount Etna. Etna's fury has reshaped this destination on a number of occasions, so you'll see an interesting mix of architecture and styles during Catania holidays.
Facing the Ionian Sea, the city of Catania looks like it's also receiving the full force of an Italian kick, situated as it is at the tip of the toes of boot-shaped Italy.
But there's nothing to fear in this pleasant and welcoming destination. The days are warm, the sun shines plenty, the beaches are pleasant, and the city is buzzing with just enough life to make a break here really worthwhile.
And don't be put off by the grey tinge on some of the city's grand buildings. This is a very clean place and it's just the volcanic dust that Etna coughs up every now and then.
The buildings themselves are a fine mix of Baroque-style mansions and imposing structures, such as the Cathedral of Catania. The 13th-century Castello Ursino is worth exploring, and there are a handful of churches that are perfect for cooling off in, even if you're not that interested in celestial architecture. San Giuliano and San Nicolo are two lovely examples.
Roman and Greek history in particular have played their part in Catania, and you can't go far without stumbling across yet another relic of ancient history. The Roman odeon and amphitheatre should be seen, and you should definitely discover the history of the elephant statue in Piazza Duomo. It has an interesting tale to tell.
Beach lovers will find a number of sandy stretches of coastline just to the south of the city, but Catania is mostly a heavenly city-break destination. If you crave more time on the sand, there are many excellent beaches dotted around Sicily, and car hire is a great idea if you fancy taking off from your base in Catania to find some of the island's beach gems.
Catania is also a wise choice as a base to enable exploration of the coastal cities and towns of Sicily, with the beaches and history of popular Taormina and Syracuse nearby, plus the harbour town of Augusta. Messina is a busy bustling port with shopping and great eating out. You will also find ferries from here over to the mainland or out to the Aeolian Islands.
You can fly direct into Catania from the UK, with flights arriving into Catania-Vincenzo Bellini Airport (CTA). The flight time is around three hours.
All types of holidaymakers will love pretty Catania, though city-break and history lovers will forge extra special memories in this popular Italian destination.
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Catania enjoys a Mediterranean climate with hot summer days and mild winters. Spring and autumn are great times to visit too, with average temperatures around 18C. Summer temperatures can reach past 30C, but the island benefits from a cooling breeze that doesn't allow things to get too hot and steamy. Winter is a nice time to visit, as the days are mild, though rainfall is highest in December, January and February.
Skiing; winter: Who fancies the thrill of taking to the slopes of Europe's largest volcano? Beginners will find skiing on Mount Etna a particular joy. Catania is a good base to enjoy the action of the piste.
Sant'Agata Festival; February: Saint Agatha is celebrated during this annual event, when tens of thousands of Sicilians turn out in the city to attend services, before fireworks light the night sky and parties fuel the attendees. It's a surreal and magical time to be in Catania.
Catania Tango Festival; August: The sultry art of dancing the tango seems particularly fitting in this sexy city. Visitors with two left feet can either watch the entertainment, or take a lesson from a professional.