Mount Etna visit: activietes, excursions

Let’s talk about a tourist destination of distinction – Mount Etna. Visit Mount Etna signifies a whole mountain of things to do and see, so much so, that every year tourists come from all corners of the world to see it. In fact, along with the volcanic aspect, you can also enjoy activities, such as trekking, or horse riding along its footpaths and craters, and excursions with experts who will take you right into the most well-known caves.

In addition, there are captivating itineraries on mountain bikes passing through scenic paths and also tours of ancient wineries where you can discover the true flavour of this magical place. There are many more activities now being proposed and all becoming very popular. So before planning a tour of Mount Etna let’s discover more.

Impressive and majestic, lying between the grey mist and bright colours of nature that surrounds it, among the white snow and black ash, Mount Etna for most Sicilians signifies not only a mere volcano or just any mountain, for most Etna is the highest active volcano in Europe at 3234 metres in height. For Sicilians, Mount Etna is a mountain of distinction and for them is ‘A Muntagna – The Mountain’. It is a symbol of nature which speaks to them by blowing out smoke and lava, disappearing for days among the mist only to reappear in all its glory after its short absence. Mount Etna is a majestic figure dominating everything which surrounds it.

Visit craters and caves on Mount Etna

It is impossible to reconstruct in a few lines all the geological studies and history of Etna. However, it is possible to say that one of the reasons for which this volcano attracts scientists and visitors from all parts of the world is the ease by which you can reach the summit craters and the eruptive vents, still active, and where many researchers go for their analyses and surveys.


These occur on both the summit and slopes of Etna. At present on the summit there are four, all formed in the last century: the north-east crater (1911); Voragine (1945), Bocca Nuova (1968); and the south-east crater (1971). There are more than three hundred craters on the slopes of Etna. Surrounding these are the accumulation of lapilli, ash, and fragments, which give life to the so-called ‘temporary cones’ which following eruptions are covered by vegetation and become part of the scenery. It is the ideal terrain for viticulture.


There are hundreds with new ones always being discovered, even if the ones most accessible to visitors are those on the north or south slopes, of which the most important are: La Grotta Cassone and the Grotta Dei Tre Livelli on the south. La Grotta Dei Ladroni, La Grotta di Serracozzo and La Grotta Dei Lamponi on the north.

How to get to mount Etna

From the Sapienza Refuge

You can reach Etna either from the southern slope or the northern slope. The southern slope is more
important for certain aspects as it is the nearest to the city of Catania and because of a cable car facility
which takes you up to an altitude of 2500m and then to 2900m with the help of special vehicles which are able to travel along the beaten tracks of volcanic soil towards the summit craters. The arrival base is at 1900m altitude, at the Sapienza Refuge, where it has been possible to visit the Silvestri craters since 1982.

The Sapienza Refuge can be reached from Catania, continuing towards Nicolosi and then in the direction of Etna South, or from Zafferana Etnea taking the SP92. This is the shortest slope to reach for those departing from Catania and nearby towns. It is advisable to book in advance for the guided tours to the Sapienza Refuge which includes a convenient pick-up service from your hotel.

From the Piano Provenzana

If the southern side is important for certain aspects, the north is for others. In fact, the journey to reach
Piano Provenzana is much more naturalistic, offering forests full of chestnut, oak, birch, and pine trees. A fabulous vegetation that you can admire on your journey before arriving at the altitude of 1900 metres.
The terrain here alternates between forests and lava flows of which the most recent being that of 2002.

Leaving our means of transport behind you can pass through paths which will take you to the craters
created in 2002 at 2100 metres, or going south, the Sartorius craters of 1892 at an altitude of 2000 metres. Here there are interesting trekking tours where you have to travel through woodlands before arriving.

Piano Provenzana is accessible from Linguaglossa on the SR Mareneve, or from Randazzo, if you pass through the Nebrodi mountains, again taking the Mareneve. The north slope is advisable for those who are staying on that side, such as Taormina, Giardini Naxos, or neighbouring towns. In this case, it is always advisable to book the guided excursions in advance.

Unfortunately on the west side, there are no accessible roads to take you upwards to high altitudes.

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Andrea Icardi


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