Weclome to Catania's rocky beaches! Also known as the Scogliera or la Riva dei Ciclope (Cyclopes Riveria).
|Acicastello's free access rocky 'beach': a favorite among locals for swimming and sunbathing.|
This rocky, cliffy landscape stretches from Catania to Acireale and was created by past eruptions on Mt. Etna when the hot lava flowed down its slopes and into the sea. According to my beloved Blue Guide, lava reached the sea in 396 BC, 1169, 1329 and 1381, each time drastically changing the shape and appearance of the land, coast and beaches.
The result is a strip of gray-black coast formed of basalt rock boulders, stones and pebbles. If you take the time to explore and look closer you'll discover that these rocks are varied in shape, size and texture, and they are jumbled together in an unending array of unexpected configurations forming secluded coves, arches and even small caves. Plus, they're fun to climb on!
And the water? Deep blue-green, transparent and beautiful. This area is great for snorkeling, spotting little coastal fish and other sea creatures like starfish, sea snails, sea urchins, sea cucumbers, crabs, and even eels slithering along the bottom if you have a good eye.
There are many swimming spots to chose from on the outskirts of Catania.
Some are free access zones and others are private beach clubs that you have to pay to get into to.
Free Access ZonesThese spots are for those who prefer less crowds, no lounge chairs, and a more 'natural' setting. Also, you shouldn't mind climbing up and down the rocks to get into the water. Good water shoes are a must as the rocks can be really pointy and these areas are home to prickly creatures like sea urchins.
La Scogliera: 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.
|Favorite Catanese swimming spot at the Scogliera|
|Acicastello's Norman castle. The flat bed of lava rock at the base encircles the entire castle and makes for a secluded swimming spot away from the crowds.|
|Isola Lachae, Acitrezza|
Private beach lidosYou have to pay an entrance fee to get into these private beach clubs but the daily price isn't too high and you have the convenience of amenities likes bars, chairs to rent, wooden platforms or grassy areas to lie on, and stairs for getting into the water. The lidos of course are less 'natural' and you may contend with more people, but you still get the same beautiful water. There are many to choose from but I just list the two that I have personally been to.
La Grotta Smeralda (La Scogliera): This is a small little beach club but very sweet. I enjoyed our day here very much and loved the long wooden stairs that lead you down to the secluded cove you can access here for a luxurious swim. There is very little information about this lido on the internet, but if you are looking for a smaller, less chaotic local establishment, this one might be your kind of style.
|Entrance to the Grotta Smeralda Lido|
|The Ciclope Lido is more like a park than a lido - full of so much greenery|