Bus 457 is the one you can take to get in the city and also goes downtown.
Some tips about it: first, before you leave the airport building, go to a newspaper shop and buy yourself some bus tickets (1 euro/ticket) !!! only after that go and find the bus stop, which, in this case, will be right after you step outside the airport.
We had some problems before understanding this 'small' rules and had to wait for the next bus, meaning you must waaaiiittt (even 40 min).
Crazy, but true - Catania's airport is Italy's third largest in terms of passenger traffic. That may explain the millions of people you're likely to see amassed in the departure hall. They're building a new terminal complete with parking hall and all that stuff, but they've been building it forever, so it may well never see its life (though my guess is that around 2014 it will become operational). In the meantime, take long time, since check-in can take half an hour and security even more. Be prepared for a noisy, messy and somewhat colourful place, and for lots of delays.
There is a boat living catania every night between 7pm and 9pm (depend the day) to go to Naples (Napoli).
In the same time another boat live Naples to come in catania!
I've payed 115 euros one way tickets! (nov 2006)
Ticket can be buy in the harbor, if you enter the port by the "dogana" it's on you're right.
It's interesting because you don't loose time!
You can bring your car!
The Ali bus (bus 457) goes to and from the aiport about every 20 minutes. You can get it at the Central Station or a few stops along the way.
Only costs about €1 one way and takes about 20-30mins depending on traffic
Even though I would much rather travel by airplane to Catania, an alternative way of getting there from Malta is by ferry boat. The good thing about it is that in March they have buy one get one free ticket offers. So, a regular Lm36 return trip ticket could cost u only Lm18 (excl. taxes). If you're lucky and the sea is calm, it's a great option to travel. But if it is rough, make sure you take travel tablets for the ride! ;)
Catania is a good point for going to other places in Sicily by train or bus because there are frequent train departures and buses for Etna, the airport, Palermo and various nearby towns leave also from near the train station. The airport is only about 20 minutes from Catania.
That yellow bus in the background is the public transport in Catania. We only used it twice because we had a coach for the other excursions but what I remember is that each time I always had to stand up. They weren't expensive as well.
I went to Catania with the Virtu Ferries Catamaran. It's cheaper than the aeroplane, but obviously takes a little longer and it's not for you if you get sea sick ! From Malta you can go to Taormina Mt Etnal and Pozzallo for just Lm38, including excursions .
It would be possible to visit Sicily when one is holidaying in Malta by means of a Catamarran service that run between the two islands. This trip would take approximate 1hr & 30 mins and cost in the region of Euro 60.
The Catamarran would leave the Grand Harbor of Valletta in Malta and arrive in the Sicilian harbor of Catania which is also the capital of Sicily.
This service is run by VIRTU FERRIES Ltd
Driving around Catania is almost a religious experience for someone from more regulated countries. Take a taxi for your first experience, but the really brave should hire a car, but follow these simple rules:
1. Lane markings are for artisitic purposes only. to get the actual number of lanes, divide the road width by the car width... but feel free to change lanes at any or all times.
2. Junctions are for crossing. Don't stop, don't even pause. He who hesitates is lost.
3. Keep going, don't give way, but don't dart around. Everyone does this and it works.
4. If anyone else fails to follow any of these rules, or simply annoys you, sound that horn.
5. Pay your damage excess waiver - just check out the fenders/bumpers on all the local cars.
Someone who lives in Rome can hardly be put down by the traffic. So I decided to rent a car in Catania, encouraged by its regular shape (square blocks cut by perpendicular streets). It was not easy.
The traffic is excruciatingly slow in most of the centre and hair-risingly fast in the motorways and wherever conditions allow. Not for the faint-hearted (and take CWD insurance! I had my car bumped twice in a parking place).
Okay, an explanation about the Catania Metro. It has 6 stops, and goes back and forth. That's all. If you're going somewhere nearby, it's fairly useful. Otherwise, pointless.
The reason for its minimal length is due to the unusual geography/geology of Catania. a) the whole city is built on lava, not the easiest stuff to dig tunnels through. b) the priceless antiquities of ancient Catania, surviving under present day Catania, cannot be destroyed, which limits where they can dig. c) the city is built on a mountain slope - and subways just don't do mountain slopes too well. They say they're planning on expanding it but I doubt many will live to see the day.
The real reason for this subway's existence is that it took the place of the last several miles of the Ferrovie Circumetnea, the train that goes all the way around Etna. From la Stazione, get on the metro to the end of the line and you will be at the head of the Circumetnea.
I believe tickets cost 1.50 Euro. I never paid, but don't be dumb like that - if you get caught it's a hefty fine. You can buy them at any Tabaccheria just like city bus tickets.
The best way to get around Sicily without a car is by "pullman", the large passenger buses. They are faster than trains, cleaner and more comfortable, the view is better, and they are competitively priced. The Catania bus depot is little more than a large parking lot across the street from several ticket offices. It's just north of the train station.
The most confusing thing about buying a bus ticket is figuring out which office sells it. Although all towns are covered, there is little overlap from service to service - so if you want to go to Agrigento, you buy the ticket from one office. If you want to go to Palermo, from another. Fortunately all the offices are right next to each other and the cities are clearly marked. A knowledge of Sicilian geography is crucial however and DON'T FORGET TO CHECK RETURN TIMES AND MAKE SURE IT'S NOT SOME KIND OF FESTIVAL DAY. You don't want to get stuck in Piazza Armerina. Although there ARE connections to destinations as far away as Milano, I would recommend taking a flight unless you are really hard up for cash.
Offices are open from about 6 AM, always before the first bus leaves, and you can only buy your tickets on the day you want to travel.
The Catania Stazione is fairly inconveniently located on the coast, a bit away from the city center. it is of course part of the Ferrovie dello Stato . Sicilian train service overall is worse than the rest of Italy, which itself, though improving, is still worse than much of Europe. Be prepared.
The Catania subway stops here as well, which offers transits to the circumetnea railroad station across town.
Exact schedules can be found at www.trenitalia.com but I feel that I should warn you about a few things.
First of all, I would FORGET arriving in Sicily by train. If you're coming from the north, just keep in mind that it's a 10 HOUR ride from Roma Termini. 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. FLY, then take the train if you want.
The situation isn't much better once you're here. There's a main line to Messina or Siracusa, but to get to Palermo you've got to take a roundabout path through Agrigento which takes 4 hours and much of what you want to see is not easily accessible by rail. It can be done, but it's hard, and I would recommend renting a car or, if you are low on cash, using the buses.
Finally, don't forget to stamp your ticket. Better yet, research how the train system works before you take off.
We had the absolute worst luck with Virtu ferries. We were on a two week stay in Malta, and wanted to visit a friend in Catania, Sicily, for a few days. We booked Virtu Ferries who go to Sicily about twice a week. However:
1.They are very expensive.
2. The ship left at an impossible time in the morning, something like 4 or 5 in the morning from Valetta. Quite difficult to be at the harbour at that hour since no buses are going! We slept in a B&B relatively close to the harbour, which was very hard to find, we were lucky to be given the last room, and left in the very early morning walking to the ship and dragging our luggage. Ugh!
3. the ship gets to Sicily in about three hours. It is a very bumpy ride and almost everyone, except for me and my friend, got seasick. Everyone! When my friend got up to go to the bathroom, he returned quickly determined not to use it since there was vomit everywhere.
4. The worst thing: After a few nice days in Sicily, we go to Pozzallo to catch the ship back to Malta when we are suddenly told the ferry won't be going!!! The next one will only leave in a few days. They really just leave you standing like that and don't care. The bad thing was that we had to catch a plane back to Morocco the day after so we REALLY had to get back to Malta. We were in a panic. There was nthing left to do but book a one way flight to Malta, and we were lucky we still got seats! So we got back, but at our own costs, i.e. a night at a hotel in Sicily and the additional plane ride. Virtu Ferries were supposed to at least give us back the money for the ferry ride that did not take place, but no!
We never got an answer from them although we contacted them several times. Completely unreliable, a rip-off and rude, too.
Best to book a flight with Air Malta in the first place!