The Best Guide to Hiking Mount Etna

The Hike

1. The Cable Car

From Rifugio Sapienza we forestall on the assembly level to cut up off into separate teams for a scenic trip up to 2500 metres.

Further chaos right here, in a construction way past its’ “sell-by” date and simply no longer designed for the numbers of holiday makers it has to set up each day.

There had been two makes an attempt to construct new cable vehicles however each had been destroyed through fresh eruptions.

You will likely be requested to put on your helmet so you’ll be able to sign up for the ‘particular line’ for excursions, which is able to truly hack off all of the folks no longer dressed in helmets as a result of your line will transfer faster than theirs. 

Eventually, you’ll filter out thru a small hole and get onto the cable automobile.

The perspectives are marred somewhat through the scratched perspex of the cable automobile home windows. However, you get your first actual sense of simply how huge and dramatic Mount Etna is as you head upwards into the clouds, over the black lava fields and the tiny folks strolling the trail.

On arrival, you’ll be filtered thru to stay up for the 4×4 bus, once more getting particular remedy since you are dressed in a helmet!

2. The 4×4 Busmt. etna truck up to new cable car station

Once we disembark the cable automobile, we catch a 4X4 bus to power alongside the slopes and solidified lava flows to 2,920 meters

These are wonderful. They are like buses on steroids with massive tyres and visual surprise absorbers.

It used to be a bumpy trip up to 2,920m the place the ‘new’ cable automobile station were given melted through a contemporary eruption!

There are not any amenities right here (‘cos all of them were given melted through the eruption!) so make sure to use the john on the cable automobile station ahead of getting at the bus.


three. What to Expect

Your information will introduce him/herself and you’ll spark off over a lava simple; the trail here’s beautiful flat and simple going with a variety of volcanic sand and grit.

At some level, the information will forestall and come up with an outline of your environment, every visual crater and dates of the closing Mount Etna eruptions.

As you stand and concentrate, feeling like you might be at the moon, steam will wrap round your toes and legs and you’ll realise you might be status on Mother Nature’s personal underfloor heating!

four. The Ascent

visiting mount etna | ascent above the clouds

The path to the Mount Etna summit adjustments continuously however you’ll be able to be expecting some snow, ice and a reasonably steep ascent of the closing 421 meters (1280 toes).

At one degree we traversed a steep slope with ice fields throughout it which I discovered truly difficult; you’ll completely want your poles right here, I had simplest taken one pole and wanted I had two.

Mount Etna Summit and Crater Trek

It will take round 1 hour 30 mins to get to the primary major crater and your information will forestall continuously at the means up, to supply knowledge and ensure stragglers can stay up.

mt etna volcano hike | hikers on crater

five. The Main Summit Craters

As you come back over the past lip of the ascent and notice the crater in entrance of you, get ready to be awe-struck.  The rumbling of the deep magma because it erupts underground is inescapable.

Smell the tangy sulphur within the air. Breathe too deeply and you’ll be coughing with it!  

The summit is a monochrome moonscape. But the occasional ochre and inexperienced of the rock and sulphur deposits are gorgeous.

There is a sturdy sense of the ability of Mount Etna as you stand at the fringe of the abyss taking a look in on the curling smoke and sulphur arising from the depths. It’s unsettling to know the depths however no longer moderately being in a position to see the ground.

Standing at the rim, you’ll be able to really feel the warmth warming your face.

It’s a surprise to flip away into the biting wind that whistles around the summit.

You will traverse across the crater and alongside the lip, in strict unmarried record.

We stopped at more than a few issues for info sharing and to stay up for clouds of sulphur to blow over.

There are attention-grabbing holes which billow steam as you move, you’ll be able to achieve in and really feel the warmth however watch out no longer to topple over.

mt. etna sulpher smoke

You at the moment are above the clouds and the view is improbable in each and every path. Craters, steam and sulphur a technique, piercing blue sky above puffy white clouds the wrong way.

This would be the highest lunch view you will have ever had!

The lunch forestall on Mount Etna is set 20 mins lengthy, any further and you’ll get started to get truly chilly.

Be ready that there’s no-where truly non-public if you wish to have to pee, however everyone seems to be in the similar boat and folks simply glance the wrong way.

The information will provide you with a large number of crimson wine and be offering espresso; we took a flask of tea and it used to be in reality wonderful!

You will spend round an hour, plus lunch, on the summit with a variety of alternatives for images and questions ahead of starting the descent.

6. The Descent

The descent used to be virtually as difficult as going up!  We spent a large number of time sliding thru comfortable volcanic sand and ash.

Going down used to be somewhat like operating down a steep sand dune in opposition to the ocean, apart from there used to be no sea. Only lava fields stretching out in entrance of you.

As you come back down you realise how huge those are and the way in reality terrifying it will have to be when an eruption happens and the lava flows get started.

On three December 2015, there used to be an eruption which led to a lava fountain which reached 1km (three,300 feet) in top!

There had been spaces of ice and snow to move however those had been simply manageable. We had been down to the decrease craters beautiful briefly.

mount etna the descent

7. The Lower Craters of Mount Etna

Equally as attention-grabbing and more straightforward to traverse round, the decrease craters are from fresh eruptions.  The trail is way thinner right here as you practice the rim, with steep drops on all sides.

From right here you’ll proceed the hike all of the means down to the cable automobile station ahead of boarding to return to Sapienza Refuge.

Planning on mountain climbing Mount Etna?

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The best guide to climbing Mount Etna Sicily

The Experience

If you might be in Sicily you will have to cross to Mount Etna.  Even should you simplest cross to Sapienza Refuge for an afternoon excursion and take a mini-hike up the crater this is actually subsequent to the auto park, do it.

This is a as soon as in a life-time, no longer to be ignored, alternative.

If you’ll be able to have the funds for it and are are compatible sufficient to hike to the summit, then we might extremely counsel the guided hike.

Not simplest will you be protected within the palms of an skilled mountain information, however they’re going to additionally percentage insights and data that will provide you with a complete new appreciation for the immense energy and unpredictability of Mount Etna.

I promise you’ll be left in awe and sweetness at Mother Nature’s talent to create good looks and terror all in the similar position.


We are Phil and Izzy. In early 2018, we bought our house that we had spent six years renovating, purchased a motorhome and gave up paintings…we’ve been touring ever since.

We love discovering and exploring new puts and being at the highway in our house on wheels.

We are journey seekers with a love of wide-open areas, staying energetic and being through and at the water.

We also are shuttle bloggers and photographers with a zeal for sharing our tales and adventures at The Gap Decaders

Follow us on Facebook, Instagram @the_gap_decaders, Twitter and Pinterest

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