Top Catania Beaches: Your Guide to the Best Spots for Swimming

In this guide, I’ll explain what beach access really looks like in Catania. If you opt for accommodation in the heart of the city, such as near Piazza del Duomo or Piazza Stesicoro, you’ll find that the sea is quite far away. The idea of stepping out of your hotel in a swimsuit, towel wrapped around your hips, and a flamingo under your arm, only to find yourself on golden sands within a few minutes, might quickly turn into a disappointment. Depending on the available transportation options – your own car or public transport – access to the beach can vary significantly.

Plaja di Catania: beach fun and attractions

Plaja di Catania is Catania’s longest sandy beach, stretching south of the city along Viale Kennedy for about 18 km. It offers both public, free sections (spiaggia libera) where you can bring your own towel and umbrella, and paid LIDO sections with sun loungers, umbrellas, restaurants, and bars. In the summer months (from June to September), the beach is particularly crowded on weekends, and local bars and nightclubs host evening parties. In the off-season, although the beach might be less clean due to sea debris and litter left by locals, it remains an excellent spot for peaceful walks with a beautiful view of Mount Etna.

Getting to Plaja di Catania

Reaching Plaja di Catania from the city center can be challenging, especially on foot, as the beach is on the outskirts and the route passes through a less appealing area. You can get there by bus ‘D’ from Piazza Borsellino. The bus runs along the coast and has several stops. The Viale Kennedy area, while ideal for those seeking proximity to the beach, may offer fewer attractions in winter, as many places are then closed.

Oasi del Simeto: a hidden gem near Catania

If you have a car, a few kilometers south of Plaja is the Simeto River Reserve, another famous Catania beach where the river flows into the sea. There is hardly anyone in the reserve, even in high season and the beach is sandy. Of course, you will not find any bars, toilets, restaurants or sunbeds there. Public transport is also not available there.

San Giovanni Lì Cuti and Scogliera di Catania: Catania’s picturesque lava shoreline

San Giovanni Lì Cuti is a charming district of Catania, located a short distance from the city center. Its defining feature is a volcanic beach with black sand and impressive lava boulders. In the summer, wooden platforms are installed on the beach to facilitate access to the water. The district also offers several gastronomic attractions, such as the Cutilisci restaurant and other atmospheric spots, making it a popular place among Catania’s residents. To get there, simply disembark at the Galatea metro station and continue walking for about 15 minutes.

San Giovanni Lì Cuti is also part of a larger area known as Lungomare di Catania or Scogliera di Catania, the lava shoreline of the city. In the summer, wooden platforms are placed along the coast, allowing comfortable beach access. However, this is not a typical sandy beach as one might expect in seaside resorts, making it a unique place to visit during holidays. For those looking for comfort on the beach, below you’ll find several popular LIDO along the Lungomare di Catania and Aci Castello:

  • Lido Scogliera d’Armisi – This lido is located near Catania Central Station, making it easily accessible.
  • Lido La Risacca – Known for its excellent location and high-quality services.
  • Lido Aquarius – Offers a variety of beach and relaxation services.
  • Lido Grotta Smeralda – This lido stands out for its unique setting and crystal-clear water.
  • Lido Esagono – A popular place with great amenities and beach attractions.

These lidos not only provide access to the sea but also a variety of amenities such as sun loungers, umbrellas, bars, and restaurants, making them an ideal choice for those wishing to spend a day at the beach in full comfort.

Aci Trezza and Aci Castello: discover the Cyclops Riviera

Located a few kilometers north of Catania, Aci Castello and Aci Trezza are picturesque seaside towns known as the Riviera Dei Ciclopi, or Cyclops Riviera. This unique, volcanic coastline offers not only spectacular landscapes but also wooden solariums, perfect for relaxation. Both towns are about 10 km from the center of Catania. Access by city bus (AMT line 534) or the tourist “Hop on Hop off” bus is the most convenient transportation option. Remember that local buses may not arrive according to the schedule.

Additionally, for those looking for more exclusive beach options, I recommend Lido dei Ciclopi in Aci Castello, which offers well-equipped beach facilities and excellent conditions for relaxation amid volcanic landscapes.

Beaches in Calatabiano, Fondachello, and Marina di Cottone

About 30 km north of Catania stretch the stunning beaches of Calatabiano (Spiaggia di San Marco), Fondachello, and Marina di Cottone in Fiumefreddo di Sicilia. These extensive, gravel beaches stretch for several kilometers and offer both private sections with facilities and accessible public beach segments. For those traveling by car, these areas are particularly attractive, though reaching them by public transport may be challenging.

Discover the beaches of Giardini Naxos, Taormina, and Letojanni

Another town offering beach access, located outside Catania but relatively close, is Giardini Naxos. You can easily get there by bus Interbus Etna Trasporti (Interbus) or by train Trenitalia (Trenitalia). In the center of Giardini Naxos, you will find beaches with fine sand and gravel. I especially recommend the Recanati district, where just a few dozen meters from the bus stop, you’ll find spacious, gravel beaches.

Additionally, you can also travel to picturesque Taormina from Catania by bus or train. At its foothills lies the famous Isola Bella beach, which attracts large crowds in the summer. Due to the stony coastline, I recommend getting rubber beach shoes for greater comfort during walks. Don’t forget snorkeling masks either, to admire the underwater landscapes around Isola Bella, which are truly stunning.

If you’re looking for a less crowded alternative to the popular beaches in Giardini Naxos and Taormina, consider visiting Letojanni. This town, located just a few kilometers north of Taormina, is known for its long beaches with fine gravel and crystal-clear water. Letojanni offers a relaxing atmosphere perfect for families and couples looking for peaceful rest.

You can easily travel to Letojanni by train from Catania. Information on timetables and ticket prices can be found on the official Trenitalia website (Trenitalia). It’s a perfect place to escape the urban hustle and bustle, where you can enjoy the sun and sea without crowds. The town also hosts many charming restaurants and cafes that serve local specialties, giving tourists a chance to experience authentic Sicilian cuisine.

In summary, Catania and its surroundings offer a variety of beach options, tailored to tastes and needs. From the bustling Plaja di Catania, through the quiet and picturesque beaches such as Oasi del Simeto, to the iconic Isola Bella in Taormina or the extensive coastline of Letojanni—there is something for everyone.

With a wide range of options, both in the city center and in more remote locations, visitors can choose the perfect place for a relaxing afternoon in the sun or an active holiday full of water sports and exploration. It’s important to remember that the availability of transportation to these places may vary, so when planning a trip to the beach, it’s good to check the options for getting there by bus, train, or car.

I hope this information has helped clarify what beach options Catania and its surroundings offer, making it easier to plan a vacation in this sunny part of Sicily. Whether you’re looking for a quick getaway to a beach near the city center or prefer longer trips to scenic coastlines, this region has much to offer.