How to visit Mount Etna?

Visit Mount Etna: What to Know Before You Go

About Mount Etna

Mount Etna
Mount Etna

Mount Etna has become an almost obligatory tourist stop among the various historical and cultural attractions in Sicily. The mountain offers many different possibilities as there are numerous agencies that offer activities on the volcano: from tour operators with their all-inclusive packages to local agencies where you can book on time. It is also possible to visit Mount Etna independently, but the advantages of a guided excursion are very numerous.

Mount Etna is on of the highest volcano in Europe and on of the most active in the world. The volcano shaped the Sicilian history and landscape and still affects the island today. It is an UNESCO World Heritage site since 2013 and the smoking volcano craters and the old and new lava flows are always an impressive experience for visitors.

Located near the east coast of the island of Sicily, Mount Etna (named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2013) is 3,329 meters tall with a base circumference of about 150 kilometers.

With the full and half day tours from the cities of Catania, Taormina or Messina you will explore Mount Etna. With the cable car “Funivia” from Rifugio Sapienza you will reach about 8,200 feet (2,500 meters). From there you will have two options, the first is, to join a guided hike in the volcanic area, known as the Valle del Bove and the second is a less strenuous tour with a 4×4 jeep ride. Also the Alcantara Gorge which is carved out by an ancient lava flow, is possible to visit. For wine lovers, the best choice is the combination of a Mount Etna 4×4 Jeep Tour and a wine tasting at some of the local wineries at the fertile slopes. The Etna sunset tours are spectacular for those who love extraordinary experiences.

When is the best time to visit Mount Etna

Mt. Etna can be visited and hiked year-round. For the hike, definitely March to September. The best months to visit Mount Etna with pleasant temperatures and without the extreme July/August tourist crowds are: May and late September – October.

How to get to Mount Etna from Catania


Bus to Mount Etna from Catania

The bus to Etna from Catania leaves at 08.15am (Please Check the times, they may vary). There are a couple of bus stations in Catania, located within a block of each other and the train station. For the Mount Etna bus, you want the lot nearest the train station just beyond the city transport bus stands. This houses AST buses. The bus go up above Catania, stopping halfway at Nicolosi. You’ll arrive at Etna’s Refugio Sapienza, at a height of 2000m above sea level, at around 10.15am.
The bus back is at 4.30pm – don’t miss it! You’ll arrive back in Catania at 6pm.

Mount Etna organized excursions from Catania

Available Tours from Catania

Mount Etna organized excursions from Taormina

Available Tours from Taormina

The recommended clothing to visit the Etna

The recommended clothing to visit the Etna varies according to the season. In the winter months, from December to March, heavy clothing is recommended, with jackets, gloves, hats and scarves. During the summer or spring season you can opt for comfortable sportswear, trousers and knitwear. Better always bring a jacket and sneakers.

Etna has an average temperature of 10 degrees Celsius. July is the hottest month, with an average temperature of 22 degrees Celsius, while in January and winter months temperatures can drop below freezing.

Mount Etna Excursions

FAQ: Most popular Mount Etna FAQ’s