Best things to do in Catania and sightseeing in Catania
La Scogliera - Catania
If you drive or walk along Via Aicastello (street map here) keep your eyes open for paths that lead from the sidewalk down onto the rocks. Any of these are potential free spots for laying out on the rocks and taking a dip in the refreshing water. This spot is a real favorite among the locales. From the road, next to the Lido Bellatrix, there is a small path that will lead you down to a staircase and some easy to walk on boulders that provide a secluded spot for a swim. Find a smooth rock to spread your towel on and watch the locals to see the best way to get in and out of the water.
Aci Castello - Catania
From the main piazza, underneath the castle, is an area of lava rock that forms a flat plateau perfect for sunbathing, fishing and easy access to the sea. Climb down the stairs and ramble over the rocks to find a spot that you like. Here the rocks are pretty bumpy, so good water shoes are a must to protect your feet. The locals love it here too and you'll have the thrill of swimming beneath a Norman castle for a truly unique experience.
Aci Trezza - Catania
In this sweet fishing town the waterfront boardwalk consists of private lidos, a working fishing port and free spots for swimming. Talk a walk along the boardwalk to see what appeals to you. Or, even better, pay a few euros to one of the fishermen at the port to be boated across the bay to the little island known as Isola Lachae. Here the water is crystalline turquoise blue and wonderful for snorkeling. You'll be able to experience the best of the Cyclopes Riviera away from the crowds of the lidos. In the summer many small boats anchor around here to enjoy the beautiful water so do be careful when you are out for your swim.
Acireale - Catania
I debated whether to include this in the top ten or not. Just 5km north of Catania and a short drive from Taormina the town of Acireale doesn’t really offer anything unique in terms of architecture or atmosphere than any other small Sicilian towns nearby. However this small town has become famous for its carnival. It is one of Sicily’s most spectacular cultural events and one of the largest & most frequented carnivals in Italy. With its dizzying array of floats, dancing schools, concerts and confetti parades not to mention lashings of food and wine, the Carnevale di Acireale offers fun for all the family and a fascinating insight into how Sicilians have a good time! The carnival normally runs around January – February or March however we visited in August for Notte Bianca (its a night when all the shops in Acireale and other towns stay open until midnight) and they had the floats and carnival then. If you plan on visiting to see the carnival I would check out Acireale Commune Page via Google first!
Mount Etna - Catania
The most active volcano in Europe and by far the biggest dominating attraction in Eastern Sicily, Mount Etna is a must visit. If you head to Etna Sud you have the option to walk around some of the older craters on foot or take a cable car ride to 2,900m, from there it is a 2-4 hour round trip to the summit craters, although there is no need to go that far to get a good feel for the majesty of the mountain. The other point of departure is Etna Nord (Piano Provenzana) from where you may walk or take 4X4 buses up to the observatory at 2,400m. You may walk to the summit craters from there. I would highly advise to not go venturing to the main craters of Etna without a qualified guide.
Via Ciclope - Catania
This mega lido has been around forever and is much loved by the Catanese. It feels like a little village and does get very crowded in the summer. This lido is just next to Acitrezza and the rocky shore is more pebbly than cliffy, so if cliffs are not appealing to you this might be an easy way for you to enjoy a swim in the sea with all the amenities your heart desires at your fingertips. I used to come here when my son was little because of the swimming pool and playground on the premises. We also enjoyed going on walks along the shaded paths to explore the different sections of the lido, which in addition to the pool include a large seafront area, a fish pond, changing areas, and several bars.