LIVING LIKE A SICILIAN: CATANIA AIRBNB REVIEW
This article contains referral links which means that if you book your first Airbnb stay using the link provided you’ll receive £25 discount and I’ll also earn a small commission towards my future travels. I call this win win!
I’ve been planning my trip to Sicily for a long time and when I finally visited the island earlier this summer with my mum is totally exceeded my expectations. The natural beauty, the tumultuous history, stunning architecture and amazing food make Sicily a unique destination which should be on everyone’s bucket list but it’s the people that really made it one of my favourite trips in a long time.
In this post, I wanted to share with you where we stayed in Catania and hopefully inspire you to plan your own Sicilian getaway.
Whenever I travel for longer than just a long weekend I usually choose an Airbnb apartment over a hotel as it allows you to live amongst locals, in a residential part of the city and offers a more authentic experience. I also really enjoy the freedom of not having to eat my breakfast at a specified time every day and being able to cook my own meals if I want.
The apartment we picked for our stay in Catania is located in the Borgo-Sanzio neighbourhood in the north of the city. This area has a very residential feel with mostly apartment blocks, a few local cafes and restaurants and three supermarkets within walking distance from the apartment. At the same time it’s really well connected with the city centre thanks to Borgo train and metro stations being just a couple of minutes walk away. Also, even though the neighbourhood is much quieter than the centre of Catania we never felt unsafe and we often walked home from the city centre late in the evening.
A tip: to reach the apartment from Borgo metro station you need to walk over onto the train station platform, turn right along the platform and then right again onto the car park. Then walk through the car park and voila! you’re right outside of the apartment block. Keep in mind that the car park is only open when the metro is running (until approx 9:30pm Monday to Saturday) so you wouldn’t be able to use this route outside of those times.
Catania has only one metro line which makes using it really straightforward and you can get from Borgo station to the main train station or the historic centre in just 10 minutes. Outside of the metro running hours you have the option to take a bus (the nearest bus stop is a short walk from the apartment) or walk (approx. 20 mins leisurely stroll will take you to the city centre).
The apartment is hosted by Valentina, a Catania local, who is one of the nicest and kindest people I’ve ever met! Even before we arrived she gave us lots of recommendations for places to eat and drink and various dishes to try and also offered her honest opinion on my own restaurant choices (I’m obsessed with holiday planning and always carry out extensive research ahead of my travels). She also left us some delicious pastries, jams, yoghurts, water and local wine in the kitchen so we didn’t have to look for a supermarket on our first day or worry about finding a place to have breakfast.
Her thoughtfulness and true Sicilian hospitality shines through in how every room is kitted out. Valentina thought of everything that could possibly come useful when traveling. There are extra blankets, a sewing kit, plasters, cotton buds and pads, and a luxurious body lotion.
The apartment itself is on the 6th floor (don’t worry, there is a small lift!). It has a large open plan kitchen with all the appliances you might need (including a coffee machine) as well as tea, sugar, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and selection of herbs. Perfect if you decide to cook something at home using delicious Sicilian ingredients. The lounge area has a sofa and a tv and there is also a large dining table.
The bathroom is modern and beautifully designed with a large walk-in rainforest shower and patterned tiles on the walls.There is also lots of cupboard and shelf space to put all your toiletries and make up.
The bedroom is bright and airy. There is a large double bed, plenty of wardrobe space and a full length mirror to help you plan your outfits to perfection. There’s no doubt that Sicilians are a stylish bunch and enjoy dressing up for a customary evening passeggiata. After feeling super underdressed during our last trip to Sardinia, this time we brought with us lots of elegant summer dresses and linen jumpsuits to look the part!
But I saved the best till last! Off the bedroom there is a large L-shaped sun trap of a balcony with a perfect view of Etna raising proudly over the city. So you can enjoy a cup of coffee or a glass of wine whilst admiring the largest and most active volcano in Europe.
The entire apartment is very tastefully and stylishly decorated with unique furniture pieces, posters on the walls and flowers on the table. It’s bright and airy, and both the living area and the bedroom have excellent air conditioning to give you a respite from the Sicilian summer heat (and you’ll definitely need it as the real feel temperature can get as high as 40 degrees Celsius during the summer, falling to only about 26-28 degrees at night).
Valentina’s apartment was one of my favourite Airbnb stays to date (and I stayed in quite a few!) and helped make our trip really enjoyable and special. If you’re looking for a place to help you experience Catania as a local, I’m sure you’ll enjoy Valentina’s apartment as much as we did.
If you haven’t used Airbnb before, you can get £25 off your first stay by clicking on this link.
Do you have plans to visit Catania or maybe you’ve already been? Let me know in the comments!