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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.

Mount Etna Eruption
Mount Etna Eruption

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.


Mount Etna in May
Mount Etna in May

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 Tours with Kids

Mt. Etna is an active and constantly changing volcano, a mystery of nature that fascinates everyone and makes us a little afraid too, with its explosions, the high lava fountains, earthquakes! But in reality – if it is treated with the due respect – this special mountain is a very interesting tourist destination and in some aspects it is also suitable for children. If you are thinking about an excursion to Mount Etna with your children, come with us and you will not regret it. Between historical information on how the great volcano was formed and tales that tell of ancient gods and cyclops, you will certainly admire really exciting places.

Mount Etna Excursions

FAQ: Most popular Mount Etna FAQ’s


How do I get to Mount Etna by car?

From the south side you can reach Mount Etna by car if you follow the street SP92 to the Rifugio Sapienza or the street “Strada Regionale Mareneve” to the Piano Provenzana on the north side of Mount Etna.


How do you get to Mount Etna?

There are different ways to reach Mount Etna. You can take the Bus from Taormina or Catania, you can take a rental car or you can book a Mount Etna Tour with hotel pick-up.

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How much is the cable car up Mount Etna?

The price for the cable car, to reach 2500m, is EUR 30,00 per person. The cable car starts at the Rifugio Sapienza on the south side of Mount Etna. If you would like to reach 3000m, you can take the Unimog 4×4 busses thereafter.


Is Mt Etna worth seeing?

Of course, Mount Etna is worth seeing, it is the highest active volcano in Europe. With its amazing natural surroundings, the vineyards, lava fields and the eruptions, a trip to Mount Etna is a must-do whilst in Sicily. Visit Mount Etna in eruption – Etna Eruption Tour


What can you do at Mount Etna?

Mount Etna offers something for everybody’s taste: an easy walk through the nature on the lower bases, a adventurous hike to the top of the main crater, a mountain-bike or quad-tour, an unique helicopter flight or a delicious wine tasting with Sicilian lunch.


How far up Mount Etna can you go?

If you are sporty and willing to do a trek up to 5 hours you can reach the summit of Mount Etna on 3350m. Of course, it is also possible to explore the beauty of Mount Etna on the lower altitude.


How safe is Mount Etna?

The volcanologists monitor every detail of the volcano and its activity. So, it is safe to visit Mount Etna. Still, you should only go up with an experienced and professional guide.


Can you see Mount Etna from Messina?

Also from Messina, you can see Mount Etna on the horizon, because the volcano soars high into the sky.


How do I get to Mount Etna from Catania?

If you would like to reach Mount Etna from Catania, you can take the bus, a rental car, you can book a transfer or an Etna-tour with hotel pick-up.


How do I get to Mount Etna from Taormina?

From Taormina you can rent a car, or you can take the train to Catania and switch to a bus which brings you to the Rifugio Sapienza. Otherwise there are a lot of different Etna tours which are starting from Taormina too.


How do I get to Mount Etna from Palermo?

From Palermo, you can take the bus “Sais autoline” to reach the city Catania. There you can take the bus to Mount Etna or you can book a tour with a guide which shows you Mount Etna.