A Travel Price Comparison for Italy Catania vs. Portofino for Food, Couples, Nightlife, and Old Town

Should you visit Catania or Portofino?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Which city is more affordable and which is best for your travel style? If you're trying to figure out where to go next, comparing the travel costs between Catania and Portofino can help you decide which place is right for you.

Catania

Catania is a historic, lively, and youthful port city. It's a large city, so you'll find plenty of things to do around town. And you can't forget about the shopping, museums, and nightlife.

Portofino

Portofino is a opulent, exclusive, and luxurious seaside village. This is a great small town that is just waiting to be explored. You'll find world class beauty here as well. It also has a unique and quaint vibe that attracts lots of visitors. And you can't forget about the hiking, shopping, and nightlife.

Catania and Portofino: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Popular beach
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good for students
  • Good public transit
  • Home to Mount Etna
Things to Consider
  • Less popular with couples
Pros
  • Active nightlife
  • Nice resorts
  • Popular beach
  • Good for hiking
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Small town charm
  • Impressive beauty
  • Quaint atmosphere
Things to Consider
  • Less museums and historical sights
  • Less family-friendly
  • Less popular with backpackers
  • Public transit not as usable


Is there more to do in Catania or Portofino?

Visitors will usually find more to do in Catania than Portofino, as it offers more sights, attractions, and activities. Catania is better known for its museums, food, and big city activities, while Portofino is more popular for its resorts, historical sights, shopping, small town charm, impressive beauty, and quaint atmosphere. Portofino is more touristy than Catania and is known for its picturesque harbor, high end shopping, strikingly blue waters, and popularity with superyachts. Catania is well known for its fun nightlife scene, many beaches, and easy access to Mt. Etna. Also, Catania is famous for Mount Etna.

How is Catania different from Portofino?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Portofino and Catania. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Catania or Portofino?

Catania
Portofino

Catania is a popular place for its sights and museums. However, Portofino is a mediocre seaside village for its museums and history.

Catania offers a variety of museums and landmarks to choose from. There are many examples of beautiful architecture around town including Basilica Cattedrale Sant'Agata and Monastero dei Benedettini. You can also visit Castello Ursino. The main square in town is Piazza del Duomo.

While most people don't head to Portofino specifically for the museums and attractions, it does offer a few options. The village is mostly about soaking up the atmosphere, but you can also visit sights such as Sun Church of St. George and Cervara Abbey.


Is the Food Better in Catania or Portofino? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Catania
Portofino

Catania is an unbeatable place for its local cuisine and restaurants. Also, Portofino is not as famous, but is still a good seaside village to visit for its restaurants.

For foodies, Catania is an obvious choice, as it is one of the food capitals of the world. The city's food scene is excellent. Dishes are influenced by both the sea and the land, and you'll find a large and popular street food setting. If you're sampling the street food, make sure you try the arancino (rice balls). Pasta dishes are also popular and many use a variety of cheeses. You'll also find plenty of fresh vegetables incorporated into many dishes.

Portofino has a number of nationally recognized food spots and restaurants. Located by the sea, you'll enjoy tons of great seafood here. Make sure you try the mussels, swordfish, and salt cod.

Is Catania or Portofino Better for Nightlife?

Catania
Portofino

Evening events are great in both Catania and Portofino.

Catania has plenty to do after the sun goes down. The city has a reputation for its great nightlife scene that spreads beyond Sicily. The large student population and popularity with tourists mean you can find a party most nights of the week. There are many bars and clubs to check out, many of which are found in the old town center.

Portofino has a lively atmosphere and nightlife is popular here. Most of the nightlife is found around Piazzetta (Oliveri Square) and Molo Umberto I. Happy hours (aperitivo) start around 5pm or 6pm and then as the evening continues, the party often moves to Paraggi Beach.

Is Catania or Portofino Better for Resorts?

Catania
Portofino

Portofino is very popular for its resorts. However, Catania is not a resort destination.

If you're looking for a fantastic resort destination, Portofino is a perfect choice. Known for it's exclusive luxury, there are a number of high end resorts in the area. Popular options include Splendido, Sublimis Boutique Hotel, and Grand Hotel Miramare.

Catania is not a resort destination.


Is Catania or Portofino Better for Beaches?

Catania
Portofino

Catania and Portofino are notable choices for a beach vacation.

Many people head to Catania to enjoy the beach. The best time to visit the beach is between April and October. There are sandy beaches to the south of town that span a few kilometers and beaches to the north tend to be rocky. Many beaches are also accessible by public transit.

Portofino has a beach worth visiting. Like much of the Italian coast, the beaches in the area are dramatic and beautiful. They're also rocky and pebbly and can get a bit crowded during the summer months.

Is Catania or Portofino Better for its Old Town?

Catania
Portofino

Portofino is notable for its old town. Also, Catania is not as famous, but is still a good port city to visit for its historic old town charm.

There is a nice variety of sights in the old town of Portofino. Despite evolving into a famous resort town, Portofino still holds on to its fishing village charm.

Catania has an old town worth visiting. The old town is a bit small. At its center is Piazza Duomo and you'll find many activities and attractions in the area.

Is Catania or Portofino Better for Hiking?

Catania
Portofino

You'll find great hiking in both Catania and Portofino.

Catania is a popular spot for hiking. Many people visit Mt. Etna as a day trip. You can take the bus to Sapienza Refuge to begin your climb. While it's a doable hike for many people, it can be steep and requires some determination. Unless you're a very experienced hiker, a guide is a must as the trail disappears for large sections. There are also buses and cable cars that take people up sections of the mountain.

Many visitors explore the nearby hiking trails while visiting Portofino. There are many beautiful hikes and treks along the coastline that pass by scenic landscapes and breathtaking views.


Is the Shopping Better in Catania or Portofino?

Catania
Portofino

Portofino is notable for its shopping opportunities. Also, Catania is not as famous, but is still a good port city to visit for its shopping areas.

Portofino is a popular shopping destination with plenty of stores. The quaint cobblestone streets are lined with high end boutiques that target the opulent jet-setter crowd that frequents Portofino. Much of the shopping is around Martiri dell'Olivetta Square.

Catania has a variety of shopping areas worth visiting. The city has a number of shopping malls where you can pick up anything you may need or might have forgotten. Check out Catania Shopping Center or Etnapolis.

Is Catania or Portofino Better for Families?

Catania
Portofino

Catania is notable for its family-friendly activities. However, Portofino is a mediocre seaside village for its kid-friendly activities.

Catania is a very kid-friendly port city. There's a toy museum as well as the Polo Tactile Multimedia Museum which kids and adults alike will enjoy. A highlight of a visit to the city is a trip up Mt. Etna, which can be done either by hiking, bus, or cable car. The city also has many plazas, gardens, and parks that kids will enjoy exploring. Another fun activity is to spend the day at the beach.

Portofino is not always a place people visit with their families. The town has a picturesque setting and some beautiful pebbly beaches. It's fun for kids to run around the town, explore by kayak, or play in the waters edge.

Is Catania or Portofino Better for Couples?

Catania
Portofino

Portofino is very popular for its romantic activities. Also, Catania is not as famous, but is still a good port city to visit for couples.

For those traveling as a couple, Portofino has plenty to offer. Set beautifully against the ocean's edge, this famous Italian town makes for a truly romantic holiday. Ogle the mega yachts in the harbor and then wander the charming streets while you soak in the atmosphere.

Catania is a good port city for couples to visit. With interesting architecture, a pleasant urban beach, and plenty of outdoor space, this is a nice couples destination.


Is Catania or Portofino Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Catania
Portofino

Catania is notable for backpackers. However, Portofino is a mediocre seaside village for backpackers and budget travelers.

Catania is a great port city to visit for backpackers. There's a large number of hostels around town and the city is generally affordable, so backpackers often enjoy spending some time here. There's also a great social scene.

Portofino is a challenging destination for budget travelers and backpackers due to the higher prices. Known for it's high prices, the town isn't particularly popular with the backpacker crowd. It is possible to stay outside of town and head in for a day trip.

Is Catania or Portofino Better for Students?

Catania
Portofino

Catania is notable for students. However, Portofino is not popular with students.

Catania is a very popular port city for students and younger travelers. This is a university town with a very social atmosphere. Students love the wide variety of activities around town as well as the frequent night time parties.

Portofino is not popular with students.

Is Catania or Portofino Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Catania
Portofino

Catania is notable for its public transit. However, Portofino is a mediocre seaside village for times when you don't have a car.

Public transit in Catania can get you to some places easily. There are many buses around town that offer access to most places. If you drove you can park and take Line 504M to the historic center. You can also take a bus from Piazza Giovanni XXIII to Rifugio Sapienza if you're going to Mt. Etna. It leaves every morning at 8:15 and returns at 4:30 in the afternoon. The city also has a metro, which has one line and ten stops.

Public transit is mostly limited in Portofino. The closet train stations are Santa Margherita Ligure and Camogli. You can catch a bus from the Santa Margherita train station. There are also some ferry options.


Is Catania or Portofino a more walkable city?

Catania
Portofino

Portofino is very popular for its high level of walkability. Also, Catania is not as famous, but is still a good port city to visit for its ease of walking around.

It is easy to get around Portofino on foot. It's easy to walk around the village and then explore the countryside on one of the nearby trails.

Catania is a very walkable destination. Many of the city's main sights are close together in the center of town, making them easy to access on foot.

For even more information, also check out Is Catania Worth Visiting? and Is Portofino Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Portofino or Catania?

How long in Catania or Portofino?

In either Catania or Portofino, you'll find plenty of activities to fill your time. Most visitors tend to spend more time in Portofino than Catania because of the overall number of sights and activities. Usually, 1-2 days is a good amount of time for Catania, and 2-5 days is enough time in Portofino.

Families should spend more time in Catania than Portofino. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Catania, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

Couples should spend more time in Portofino than Catania. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Portofino that are perfect for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Catania than Portofino if your budget allows for it. With a larger number of budget-friendly sights, good nightlife, and active things to do, anyone traveling on a budget would have a good time in Catania.


  • How many days in Catania or Portofino? Ideal Length of Stay
    Catania 1-2 
    Portofino 2-5

One day in Catania or Portofino?

You'll find shopping and museums around the port city of Catania. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. One day is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Catania has to offer. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

Portofino is a small town with plenty to do. Travelers enjoy the resorts in the area as well. This seaside village offers something for everyone. One day is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do.

A weekend in Catania or Portofino?

You'll find museums and nightlife around the lively destination of Catania. Hikers are also drawn to this area. This is a popular place to visit for a weekend.A weekend should give you a good understanding of everything this port city has to offer. This port city offers a variety of activities to choose from.

Portofino might be a small town, but there's plenty to do in the area. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. A weekend here is typical. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. A weekend is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Portofino has to offer.


Five days in Catania or Portofino?

Travelers enjoy the nightlife and food when visiting the historic port city of Catania. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. Most people head to the area for the food. Five days is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.

Portofino is a great place to explore. It is common to spend five days here. You can also relax and pamper yourself at one of the resorts. Five days is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Portofino has to offer. Anyone can find something fun to do here.

A week in Catania or Portofino?

Catania is a popular choice for travelers. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. One week is usually plenty of time to spend here with extra days to spare. With this much time, visitors often visit nearby destinations or take day trips. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Portofino. Since Portofino is a small town, it's easily explored when your time is limited. It's also a relaxing resort destination. One week may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Romantic Tours for Couples in Italy, The Best Walking Tours in Italy, The Best Luxury Tours to Italy, and The Best Budget Tours to Italy.


Which place is cheaper, Portofino or Catania?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Catania is €120, while the average daily cost in Portofino is €326. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Catania and Portofino in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Catania 65
    Portofino 190
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Catania 130
    Portofino 380
Compare Hotels in Catania and Portofino

Looking for a hotel in Catania or Portofino? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Catania


Hotels in Portofino


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Catania Hotel Prices and Portofino Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Catania 20
    Portofino 23

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Catania

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Catania:

  • Transfer Catania Airport to Catania center with tour options: $27
  • Private Transfer from Catania Airport (CTA) to Messina Port: $61
  • PRIVATE TRANSFER from CATANIA to TAORMINA (or VICEVERSA): $69
  • Catania Private Transfer (Taormina, Siracusa, Noto, Messina, Naxos, Etna, etc): $71
  • Private Transfer from Catania to Taormina or vice versa: $71
  • Private Transfer from Catania airport to Taormina: $76
  • Transfer from CATANIA airport or city to TAORMINA (or vice versa): $76
  • Private Transfer from Catania Airport to Taormina with option of Tours: $77
  • Private One-way Transfer From Catania to Catania Airport : $82
  • Private One-way Transfer From Catania Airport To Catania: $82
  • Transfer TAXI from Catania (wherever) to TAORMINA (or Viceversa): $82
  • Private taxi TRANSFER from Catania airport/city to GIARDINI NAXOS (or viceversa): $82

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Portofino

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Portofino:

  • Private Transfer from Portofino Cruise Port to Genoa Airport(GOA): $49
  • Private Transfer from Portofino Cruise Port to Genoa city hotels: $49
  • Portofino hotels to Genoa Airport (GOA) - Departure Private Transfer: $54
  • Private Transfer - Portofino Cruise Port to Florence Airport(FLR): $158
  • Private Transfer from Portofino Cruise Port to Florence hotels: $158
  • CAR 3 PAX TRANSFER TO AIRPORT MILANO MALPENSA: $1,000

Is it cheaper to fly into Catania or Portofino?

Prices for flights to both Portofino and Catania change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Catania 41
    Portofino 118

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Catania

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Catania.

  • Cooking lesson in Catania with lunch or dinner: $104
  • Cesarine: Home Cooking Class & Meal with a Local in Catania: $158
  • Cooking Class in Taormina with Lunch Included: $169
  • Cesarine: Market Tour & Home Cooking Class in Catania: $206

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Portofino

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Portofino.

  • Portofino Boat and Walking Tour with Pesto Cooking & Lunch: $246

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Catania 19
    Portofino 27

Tours and Activities in Catania

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Catania are as follows:

  • Catania : Private Custom Walking Tour with a Local Guide: $49
  • Mt. Etna: cablecar's Official ticketing (south side): $55
  • Half Day Catania Gastronomic and Cultural Tour from Taormina: $55
  • Tasting tour in the ancient church of Piazza Scammacca: $55
  • Typical Pottery Experience with local Artisans in Catania: $58
  • Etna Sunset Tour: $60
  • From Catania Etna at Sunset half day tour : $63
  • Half Day Guided Tour in Mount Etna (3000 meters): $64
  • Mt. Etna nature and flavors half day Tour from Catania: $64
  • Catania Street Food Walking Tour and Market Adventure: $64
  • Etna Morning Experience: $70
  • Etna Trekking Adventure Group Tour: $76

Tours and Activities in Portofino

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Portofino are as follows:

  • 1-Hour Snorkeling Tour in Paraggi Bay, Portofino: $42
  • Snorkel Tour in Paraggi Bay: $43
  • Portofino Stand Up Paddleboard Experience: $52
  • Easy Kayak Tour to Portofino with Optional Snorkeling: $52
  • Paddle Boarding Experience in Portofino: $54
  • Portofino Kayak Tour: $54
  • Coasteering Tour: $74
  • Sunset Boat Tour for Small Groups: $82
  • Boat Tour to Portofino and San Fruttuoso for Small Groups: $98
  • Portofino San Fruttuoso and Camogli One Day Boat Tour: $147
  • Portofino Private Walking Tour: $268
  • Portofino and Santa Margherita Private Tour of Ligurian Gems: $294

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Catania 18
    Portofino 16

Sample the Local Flavors in Catania

Also in Catania, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • Mt Etna and Wine tasting tour from Catania: $116
  • Etna trekking and wine tasting: $148
  • Tour Etna & Wine Tasting: $159
  • Pistachio and wine tasting on Etna: $163
  • Private Tour of Mount Etna with Etna Doc Wine Tasting: $227
  • Etna Tour and Lunch in a Winery with Wine Tasting: $266
  • Etna tour and wine tasting in the cellar: $285


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Catania and Portofino, we can see that Portofino is more expensive. And not only is Catania much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Catania would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Catania and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Portofino would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Portofino than you might in Catania.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Catania Expensive? and Is Portofino Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Catania or Portofino?

Catania has a larger population, and is about 590 times larger than the population of Portofino. When comparing the sizes of Catania and Portofino, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.

Related Articles for Catania
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