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Overlooked by the imposing Mount Etna, Catania is a Sicilian town with incredible history and architecture that have made it a popular tourist destination for decades. Those that wish to explore the town and its surrounding areas, especially in the great outdoors, can arrange car hire in Catania.
Who to Book With
The majority of Catania car hire companies are located near the airport. This includes Car Hire Catania, Holiday Car Rental, Europ Rent-a-Car and Advantage Rent-a-Car. While there are no car hire companies in the town centre, Avis, Il Il Motonoleggio, Maggiore Rent and Alfa can all be found in the northern suburbs. Most of these companies allow for online reservations to be made in advance for greater savings.
Best time to go
The majority of Catania hotels become full in the summer from June to August. Even outside of this period, however, the climate will still be quite pleasant, which is why some parties opt to visit the area during the winter months.
Need to Know Essentials
To collect a rental car, you must possess the following:
- A valid British driving license or an International Driving Permit
- An additional form of ID
- A valid credit card that was used to make the booking
- Printed confirmation of rental agreement if possible
While Catania town centre is compact enough to walk around, those that wish to venture out to the surrounding small towns or along the coast to destinations such as Acicastello, Acitrezza and Acireale will most definitely need their own transport. Parking can be incredibly difficult to find in the downtown area, so most tourists park their vehicle at their hotel.
Even for such an aged and small town, Catania still has a well-developed network of public transport options. Those who aren't driving can rely on buses, a metro system and taxis if they don't have their own vehicles.
Catania boasts a short metro line that is currently being expanded. It runs from Porto (the port) to Borgo, which is situated near the village close to Mount Etna's slopes. Trains to Catania can be caught from elsewhere in Italy, for example from Taormina, Messina, Naples and Rome. Catania train station is just a 10-minute stroll from the centre of the town.
As mentioned, Catania town centre is small enough to be explored on foot. Those that wish to visit the outlying metropolitan area will require a taxi, however. They can usually be found parked at the Piazza Duomo, and run on a metered basis.
Bus services, supplied by AMT, are available to transport visitors around the city during most hours of the day. Intercity buses are supplied by Interbus and run between Catania and destinations such as Syracuse and Taormina. These buses, which must be caught from outside the Piazza Giovanni XXIII, are remarkably faster than most trains.
Tourists to Catania can enjoy the attractions in the Piazza del Duomo, which include the magnificent Baroque cathedral and the Fountain of the Elephant. Via Crocifieri is laden with mesmerising architecture and contains the Jesuit complex and Piazza San Francesco. Out of town, the main draw is the iconic Mount Etna.
Acitrezza - This is a picturesque coastal village popular by fisherman and their families. Naturally, it is known for outstanding seafood. Sightseers come to gaze at its rocks that lay close to the sea, with legend having it that they were thrown at Ulysses by the Cyclops.
Acicastello - Offers motorists a lovely scenic drive from Catania. Aside from its beach and water, most tourists come to visit Acicastello for its iconic Medieval castle. The town itself is also home to an abundance of lovely cafés and traditional Italian restaurants. Although it can easily be explored in a daytrip from Catania, Acicastello is also a great place to overnight.
Acireale - This is best visited during February, as this is when the town hosts Sicily's most famous carnival. Even in other months, however, the destination still has plenty of appeal for tourists and gives a key insight into typical everyday Sicilian life.