Sitting at the base of Mt. Etna, Acireale is an off-the-beaten-path small city on Sicily’s eastern coast. Nearby cities including Catania, Taormina, and Siracusa are better known to travelers, but Acireale has its own charms including churches, parks, and a nature reserve with sea views. Even during the popular summer season, it can offer an away-from-the-crowds atmosphere.
Acireale is positioned to be a convenient base for exploring Sicily’s eastern coast. From this small city, it is easy to visit the wineries of Mt. Etna, the beaches of Taormina, and the pretty piazzas of Siracusa. In the city itself, travelers can see Baroque churches and relax in seafront gardens. Acireale is frequently a stop for shore excursions from the port of Messina or Taormina and full-day tour itineraries focused on this region of Sicily.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Acireale is a must-see destination for history buffs and travelers seeking an off-the-beaten-path experience in Sicily.
- Carnival brings big crowds to the city each year before Lent, in mid-to-late February or early March (plan ahead if you want to join the fun or avoid the bustle).
- Bring your bathing suit if you plan on visiting the city’s thermal baths.
How to Get There
Acireale is located on the eastern coast of Sicily, approximately a 30-minute drive north of Catania. Most visitors arrive by car or as part of a guided tour from Catania or from the ports at Messina and Taormina. From Acireale, regional attractions including Mt. Etna and the Greek Theater of Taormina are a short drive away.
When to Get There
The most popular season in Sicily is the summer months of June, July, and August, though Acireale does not see the substantial influx of travelers that neighboring cities experience. The spring and fall months are considered shoulder season and offer milder temperatures than the summer. The Carnival celebrations of late-February or early March last for 10 days and include parades, concerts, and fireworks (the city also stages a few summer Carnival-themed parades).
Close proximity to Mt. Etna provides the conditions for a popular attraction in Acireale: its thermal baths. Plan a visit to Terme di Acireale to soak in the thermal waters, try a mud bath, and enjoy hydromassage in sulphurous water.
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- Aci Castello
- Via Etnea
- Villa Bellini
- Massimo Bellini Opera House (Teatro Massimo Bellini)
- Via Crociferi (Via dei Crociferi)
- Piazza Duomo
- San Benedetto Church (Chiesa San Benedetto)
- Circumetnea Railway (Ferrovia Circumetnea)
- Benedictine Monastery of San Nicolò l'Arena (Monastero Benedettini di San Nicolò l'Arena)
- Catania Archaeological Park (Parco Archeologico Greco-Romano di Catania)
- Ursino Castle (Castello di Ursino)
- Isola Bella
- Mt. Etna (Monte Etna)
- Gambino Winery (Vini Gambino)
- Taormina Cruise Port (Taormina Terminal Crociere)