Catania is Sicily’s second largest city and a center for history and culture. Tips on how to navigate its transportation including taxis, trains, busses and ferries will get you smoothly to it all.
Getting to Catania – Trains, Planes & Ferries
Most travelers get to Catania via commercial airline or ferry. There is a train service that runs from Rome but it takes over 10 hours. Although the experience of riding on a train that goes onto a ferry (at the Straits of Messina) is interesting, it isn’t worth the length of the trip.
The flight to Catania gives wonderful views. All flights arrive at Catania Fontanarossa International Airport (CTA). It is Italy’s third largest in terms of passenger traffic. This explains the crowds you’re likely to find in the departure hall. Be prepared for a noisy, messy and somewhat colorful place, and for lots of delays.
There are ferries to Catania from both Naples and Malta. Arriving by boat is cheaper than flying but takes longer. Many passengers have complained of a very bumpy ride. Bring seasickness medication. Schedules vary depending on the day of the week. Early morning boats may depart before busses start running. Confirm you have a ride or you will be forced to drag your suitcase to the dock! Trips can be cancelled due to bad weather so confirm the schedule the day before. Tickets should be purchased in advanced.
From the Airport to the City
From the Airport you can get to the city center by bus, taxi, or rental car. The AMT Alibus #457 is inexpensive and runs every 20 minutes from five a.m. to midnight. Tickets are available at any newspaper stand. You must buy tickets before boarding or you’ll have to wait for the next bus! Taxis are readily available at the airport and charge a flat fee to the city center. It is a 20 to 30 minute ride depending on traffic. Many car rental agencies are located outside the airport terminal but driving in Sicily is not for the faint-hearted! Take a look at the fenders and bumpers of all the local cars…and then, if you do rent, pay the extra for the collision damage waiver!
Around town – Bus, Subway and Driving
Once you’ve made it to town, busses, the Metro, and rental cars will get you around. The bus is reliable, cheap, and stops at many key downtown highlights. The Catania Metro is limited with only seven stops; more terminals are under construction. Rental cars will take you anywhere, but to drive in Sicily, you must keep in mind the rule is: ‘there is no rule.’ The traffic is excruciatingly slow in most of the city and hair-raisingly fast on the highways and wherever possible. Those new to Catania’s one-way streets and unmarked lanes may find driving too chaotic.
Editor’s note: The information contained on this page was compiled using real traveler reviews about Catania Transportation.
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