Keen hikers looking to tackle trails on the famous Mount Etna will be rewarded with exceptional views across Sicily. In winter, ski the slopes of this active volcano.
Mount Etna is now the largest active volcano in Europe, standing at approximately 11,000 feet (3,300 meters). You may be stopped from climbing Etna if the 120 stations and satellites that monitor it detect heightened levels of seismic activity.
Travel to the idyllic Piano Provenzana on the beautiful north side of Mount Etna. At 5,900 feet (1,800 meters), this small station offers tours to the mountain’s four main craters. Stop here for stunning views of the Peloritani, Nebrodi and Madonie mountain ranges. You may also be able to peer into the colossal rounded craters, although exactly how high you can go is dependent on current conditions.
Back down the slopes, discover tranquil walking trails through pine and birch forests. If you are visiting between November and March, try skiing and tobogganing. Rent skis and glide down the eight runs around the mountainside.
Relax at a range of small bars at Rifugio Sapienza on the volcano’s south slope. Relive the day’s hike over a cold beer or excellent Italian cuisine. Spend an afternoon here browsing the souvenir shops.
On this side of Etna find the year-round cable car service that runs up and down the mountain throughout the day. The small admission fee includes a short mini-bus ride from the end of the cable car to the summit. You can skip the bus and walk the final 1.5 miles (2.5 kilometers). If you are walking, allow up to four hours to get to the top and back to the cable car station before dark. You can walk from Rifugio Sapienz, but the round trip takes about seven hours.
Mount Etna is a short drive north of Catania. Access the southern face easily via a regular bus service that runs between Nicolosi and Catania. The north side can only be reached by car on the circular road from Linguaglossa.