Enchanted paths lead through forests of lush vegetation, desert landscapes transport the mind to the surface of some inhospitable distant planet, deep cavities lead on a journey to the hidden heart of the world...
No, this is not the beginning of a book of fantastic tales, there really is a place where all this is real and, guess what, it is in Sicily. We are talking about the scenario belonging to the Europe's tallest active giantto the mysterious and unpredictable mountain that reigns supreme over the entire east coast: his majesty Etna.
With a summit height of almost 3326 metres, Mount Etna is an unparalleled sight. From the slopes up to the summit, to enjoy the entire sicilian panorama and be inspired by unique and characteristic landscapes that lava has shaped over time.
If you are planning an itinerary to discover eastern Sicily, theexcursion to Etna is one of the stops you absolutely cannot miss.
To help you in this exciting adventure, we have collected some practical tips that will help you organise your trip and enjoy your hiking experience to the full:
- What to see on your trip to the volcano?
- When to visit Etna?
- How to dress for hiking?
- Who to rely on for a guided tour?
- How to get to Etna?
1. What to see on your trip to the volcano?
Prepare to admire a volcanic landscape that changes with every stop: from the Etnean villages perched on the slopes of the mountain, to the centuries-old forests on the slopes, to the lava flows that you encounter as you climb to the top.
Once you have arrived in this magnetic land, if you decide to venture on an excursion to Mount Etna, here are the main attractions that should not be missing from your itinerary:
- The Sylvester MountainsThese are two enormous extinct craters, formed following an eruption in 1892. Their charm is unparalleled and, above all, they enjoy an easily accessible position, even for the youngest. They are, in fact, close to the area of the Sapienza Refuge, the maximum arrival point for cars.
- Another must-see during your trip to Mount Etna is the Bove ValleyThis is a wide desert depression, covered by recent lava flows, located on the east side of the volcano. It is an extremely deep and wide valley, surrounded by very high walls that reach up to 1000 metres in height.
- Among the other impressive attractions, we cannot fail to mention the Caves of volcanic origincavities formed by eruptions that, over time, have created endless chasms within the mountain. Among the best known are the Grotta dei Lamponi, the Grotta dei Tre Livelli, the Grotta del Gelo and the Grotta delle Palombe.
- The peak of the excitement is experienced when reaching the highest point accessible to man. Here, at a height of around 2000 metres, it is possible to admire the four summit cratersthe central crater, which includes those known as the Sinkhole e New Mouththe north-east crater and the south-east crater. Being the nodal point of volcanic activity, this excursion is certainly the most interesting.
fascinating to do on Etna.
All along the way, you can always enjoy a beautiful panorama with the sea as a backdrop. Lose yourself in the magic of the coniferous forest, be enchanted by the flora growing on the slope, walk a few metres from the lava flows.
And, once at the top, you can admire the enchantment of the "moonscape"A desolate and arid land, halfway between melancholy and astonishment, which the incandescent lava has shaped over time with its passage.
2. When to visit Etna?
Excursions to Mount Etna are organised all year round, in summer and winter, since each season enhances natureshowing an ever new and spectacular landscape.
In summer, trekking on the volcano is a breathtaking experience. It allows you to walk in uncontaminated nature, to push yourself close to the craters to admire the little flowers that grow all around and to reach the highest area that centuries of eruptions have transformed into a suggestive surface, similar to that of the Moon.
In winter, however, the view is even more extraordinary. Snow covers the craters and whitens the entire Volcanoallowing you to enjoy the landscape with snowshoes or skis.
Nothing is more unique and evocative than a snowy panorama looking out over the sea.
3. How to dress for hiking?
The ideal clothing varies from season to season to cope with the different temperatures, but some accessories should never be missing, both in summer and winter.
A couple of hiking shoesa hat and a small backpack are essential, as well as a bottle of water, energy bars and sun cream to protect your face. In summer you will have to cope with high temperatures, so wear light clothing, a cap and a pair of sunglasses. In winter, however, you will need to cover up more.
We recommend that you wear a windproof jacketwaterproof boots or boots, gloves and a hat. More technical equipment for excursions, such as harnesses or torches for visiting the caves, is usually provided by local tour operators. In any case, it is always better to find out about the itinerary from the guides and not be taken unawares.
To summarise, here is what you need to know to visit Etna safely:
- Be aware of the temperature range, bring jackets, kways but also sunscreen and hats;
- Don't go without wearing closed-toe shoes or hiking boots and carrying appropriate equipment;
- Remember to pack a rucksack with water and something to eat during your stop.
4. Who to rely on for a guided tour?
Depending on your level of experience and the adventure you wish to experience, you can walk the Etna hiking trails alone or with a guide.
If you are an adventurous person, regardless of whether or not you have experience in this field, Etna can be visited on your own. Remember, however, that it is not allowed to reach the highest part of the volcano without the help of a guide, so your trip to Etna alone would be interrupted at some point along the way.
If you want to rely on expert guidance, Etnatribe is what you need. A group of professionals who have been organising excursions on Mount Etna for many years, always attentive to the needs of each hiker and who will make sure you experience an unforgettable experience.unforgettable experience.
5. How to get to Mount Etna?
You can take an excursion to Mount Etna from Catania, Syracuse, Taormina or Messina. So, if you prefer to stop in the city before venturing out, you can choose from one of these beautiful locations.
The choice of where to stop is therefore very wide, but if you decide to departing from Catania, you can comfortably stay in one of our exclusive flats by Ferrini Home.