Etna – “La Montagna”! Impressive Nature and Special Magic…

When in Sicily, one of the must-visit places is Mount Etna. The active stratovolcano, in the Metropolitan city of Catania, which lies above the convergent plate margin between the African plate and the Eurasian plate.

Etna is 3325m high and because of the volcano’s eruptions, the lava made the slopes and the surrounding areas very fertile and unusually impressive.

The wider area of Etna, the villages and the towns in the slopes, are all perfect spots not only for nature lovers but for wine connoisseurs and anyone who enjoys Sicilian food. But Etna is also great for lovers of winter skiing. And do not forget… Sicily is the place that during the winter, one day you can ski on bright white snow and the next cruise along the Ionian coast.

"This timeless Grecian Etna..." Photo © Rik Freeman
“This timeless Grecian Etna…” D. H. Lawrence – Photo © Rik Freeman

Etna and the Paesi Etnei can be enjoyed via organized tours or on a solo adventure. It all depends on what you want to do.

Easy to be reached by car, and here we would recommend a small car if you are not used driving around in Sicily crossing villages and smaller towns. There is, of course, a bus service as well, from some parts of Sicily. And for the most more adventurous there is the option of flying and exploring Etna with a helicopter where you can admire the stunning views, the active craters often smoking with lava flowing and the coasts of Sicily and Calabria. A sky tour offers an unparalleled sensation of the wild majesty of the volcano.

One of our preferred ways to explore Etna has always been the Ferrovia Circumetnea, a slow train you can take from Catania Borgo to Paterno, Adrano, Bronte, Randazzo, Linguaglossa and Riposto. Timetables should be checked in advance and just make sure that you choose the train that goes through all these places.

Etna – “La Montagna”! Impressive Nature and Special Magic!
Etna – “La Montagna”! Impressive Nature and Special Magic! | Photo © Rik Freeman

If you go by car then you will most definitely end up at the Sapienza Refugee. From there your adventure will start. This is the point that the cable-car takes-off taking you uphill to 2500m. From that point on, you can walk up to the craters area at 2920m which is open to explorers. If instead of the cableway, you prefer to walk, there is a path that starts behind the cable car station. Please do bear in mind that it will take you over two hours from the Sapienza Refugee to arrive at the crater area.

But if you like just to relax and enjoy everything that is close by to the main car park and the Sapienza Refugee then you can walk to the Silvestri craters that are inactive and are found within easy reach from the refugee. Or just spend time around the refugee, have a coffee or a drink and take some photos.

Recommended clothing to visit Etna
Winter – Heavy clothing, with jackets, gloves, hats and scarves, heavy shoes or boots.
Spring, Summer, Autumn – Sportswear, trousers, knitwear, trekking shoes.