How to visit Etna and Stromboli, see the 2 volcanoes up close in 2 days
It is a particularly rich experience to see very closely the activity of Etna and the lava fountains of Stromboli. The ascent to the summit of Etna is done early in the morning. The ascent of Stromboli is done at night to see the lava fountains.
Ascent to Stromboli and Etna craters
The excursion to Etna is done in a small group of 12 people maximum. On the Stromboli we only offer a private tour, with the guide exclusively for you. Our english-speaking volcanologist guide and specialist in volcanoes will accompany you throughout the 2 days.
- English guided tour with our alpine volcanologist guide
- Hike to the Etna active summit craters at 3300 meters above sea level
- Speleological experience inside a lava channel, you will be equipped with helmets
- Tasting of the best Etna products, such as honey, wines, liqueurs, etc
- Private Stromboli tour
This formula has become a real success and is in great demand by trekking and volcano enthusiasts. When to book, how long before? We do not do mass tourism. So to make sure you have room, it's best to book quickly.
There are 3 options to go to the summit of Etna, in a small group (max 10 pax)
- Join us at the Rifugio Sapienza at 1900 meters altitude (there is a pay parking). You will be accompanied by our guide from 8:45 am to 2:30 pm approximately. Hiking shoes, helmet, walking sticks, backpack, k-way and cable car + Unimog 4x4 tickets are included. For the rest, you must already be equipped with adequate clothing, a packed lunch and water. There is also the possibility to buy food and to rent hot jackets on site.
- With your own vehicle you reach our meeting point in Giarre at 7 am (there is free public parking), you get into our luxury vehicle (Mercedes GL or V-Class Extra Long) with dedicated driver. We offer you breakfast and picnic. You will have breakfast like the real Sicilians, in the best local pastry shop. You will be accompanied by your English-speaking guide who will advise you on the various typical Sicilian products. Here we provide free equipment for hiking. Return around 4 pm
- Pick-up from your hotel (Catania-Taormina zones) in luxury vehicles (Mercedes GL or V-Class Extra Long) with dedicated driver. Breakfast and picnic are always offered. The necessary equipment for trekking is included. After the excursion we will bring you back to the hotel around 4:30 pm
Estimated planning of the ascent to Etna Summit
- The cable car opens at 9:00 a.m., we take the first cabins, there are about 15 minutes of climb from 2000 to 2500 meters altitude
- To go to 2900 meters above sea level we use the Unimog 4x4 bus, about 20 minutes journey
- The ascent on foot starts around 09:30 / 10:00 from 2900 to 3300 meters altitude. It takes approximately 1h30'-2h to reach the summit craters
- The time spent around the active craters rim depends on weather and geodynamic conditions
- The tour goes on with a fun downhill on volcanic ash towards the cable car and with the discovery of the craters dated 2002-2003 and 2001
- Arrival at Rifugio Sapienza by cable car around 2:30 pm
Day 1. Ascent to the summit of Etna
Pick-up in luxury vehicle (Mercedes GL or V-Class Extra Long 2019) with dedicated driver. We will be pleased to offer you an unlimited breakfast and picnic.
Etna visit itinerary
Our excursion begins on the southern slope of the Etna volcano. Along the road you can see the Monti Rossi crater, formed during the famous eruption of 1669. You can observe different lava flows and its destructive effects, such as the houses destroyed by the 1983 eruption.
Direction the cable car, passing through the Silvestri crater and the Sapienza refuge, on the southern slope, to climb to the summit of Mount Etna. Thanks to the cable car and 4x4 buses you will arrive directly at 2900 meters above sea level. Here begins the ascent to the summit of Mount Etna, equipped with helmets and trekking poles. The guide will explain how Etna works and its eruptive history.
In the summit area, there are currently 4 large craters. You will approach the craters depending on the gas emission. You will walk along the large craters on the summit of Mount Etna. From top, the panorama of Sicily and the Mediterranean Sea offers a unique spectacle.
On the way back down the slopes of volcanic sand will be a real treat. The downhill route includes the hike to the hot crater of 2001, where a picnic break is planned in front of the magnificent large caldera Valle del Bove.
The return to 2500 meters above sea level is planned on foot, it is possible to walk less, using the Unimog 4x4 downhill, in this case the supplement is 20€/person. The return to 1900 meters above sea level will be by cable car.
Etna lava channel
The excursion continues with the visit to a lava canal, equipped with helmets. A lava channel is formed by a flow which has cooled on the surface, thus forming a solid crust. When the flow ceases to be fed, it empties and leaves a channel-shaped cavity.
Valle del Bove
We will then head to the "Valle del Bove" to observe the 1991-1993 lava flow (18 months of eruption). A breathtaking panorama.
Lunch on the summit of Mount Etna
The packed lunch will be consumed in the summit area. If you come directly to Rifugio Sapienza: the meal is not included in the price, you must be ready and equipped for the ascent at 08:45 am.
Tasting of honeys, wines and liquors in Zafferana
If the timing allows, the visit to the volcano will end with the tasting of honeys, liquors and wines, at a local producer in Zafferana. Most of the beekeepers are in this village, which is also on the Etna wine route. Tasting in the store is free, with no obligation to purchase. In Zafferana you will also see the longest recent lava flow, 18 months of eruption between 1991 and 1993.
Day 2. Ascent of Stromboli
Provisional planning of the ascent of Stromboli
Etna3340 exclusively offers a private visit to Stromboli, with the guide only for you. Depending on your sporting level, your private guide will offer you several route options.
Currently the ascent of Stromboli is limited up to 400 meters above sea level. Pick-up is possible at your accommodation in Sicily (a tailor-made quote will be offered) or at our meeting point in Stromboli. We can recommend accommodation in Stromboli. The departure of the hydrofoils in direction of Stromboli is in Milazzo.
If you want to make a group visit, much cheaper, there are other agencies "first price" offering this type of mass tourism, but we do not. Etna3340 does not do mass tourism. We do things well, otherwise we don't do them at all. If you wish to book a group visit, it will not be with Etna3340.
On site it is possible to rent equipment, such as shoes and trekking poles. The maximum altitude reached is 400 meters. To go back and forth, about 5 km of hiking, it takes about 4 hours (2 hours of ascent and 2 hours of descent). We recommend leaving around 10:00 p.m. and returning around 03:00 a.m. (customizable times).
Our itinerary includes an easy hike of about 5 km, up to 400 meters above sea level, to see
- La Sciara del Fuoco, a steep slope formed by lava, lapilli and glowing slag, which descends from the main crater of Stromboli (at an altitude of 750 meters) to the Tyrrhenian Sea. It is bounded on the sides by two cliffs.
- The main crater of Stromboli in intermittent activity. With its explosions which project fragments of magma and gas jets from a height of about 100/200 meters, very spectacular given that in the case of Stromboli, they repeat about every 10 to 20 minutes.
- On request is possible to organize a dinner/picnic on the volcano, in this case the supplement is 30€ per person.
Volcanologist guide for the visit of Stromboli and Etna
To hike Stromboli and Mount Etna you must be in perfect health and have no physical problems. Climbing to the top of the volcano is prohibited for pregnant women, asthmatics and people with breathing and heart problems.
The excursions take place in active volcanic zones, on uneven routes and at variable altitudes. The exclusive route offered by Etna3340 allows you to discover hot zones of the Stromboli and Etna volcanoes. Far from the crowds, otherwise inaccessible without a real licensed volcanologist guide.
Our excursions are carried out by a volcanologist guide from the Regional College of Sicilian Alpine and Volcanological Guides. The volcanologist guide is the only professional authorized by Italian law to lead groups on Mount Etna and on Stromboli.
Depending on the alert state of the volcano and weather conditions, the authorized altitude limits, access times and times of permanence on the volcano, may undergo significant modifications and restrictions, beyond our control.
Like all active volcanoes, also Etna and Stromboli are always monitored and subjected to possible excursion restrictions. In the event of total closure of the excursions, the amount paid will be fully reimbursed without charge. We will update 48 hours before the excursion, to check the state of alert and the weather conditions.
Hiking trail on Mount Etna Walking
- Walking time: about 5 hours
- Difficulty: medium
- Distance: 10 Km
- 400 meters of elevation gain
- 900 meters of elevation loss
- Maximum altitude: 3300 meters
Etna South lava channel
- Length: 55 meters
- Duration of visit: approximately 35 minutes
- Difficulty: medium
Essential Gear and Clothing
- Provide high-top hiking boots (free loan on request in advance)
- We do not accept tennis shoes or sneakers
- High socks
- Hiking pants, a fleece and a warm waterproof windbreaker jacket with hood (possible jacket rental on site)
- Scarf or Bandana to cover the mouth and filter sulfuric gases and dust
- Solar cream
- Snack and water
Pick-up / drop-off Etna Summit
- At your hotel in Catania/Taormina zones (please give us the exact address of the pick-up), you will be picked up with our luxury vehicle (Mercedes GL or V-Class Extra Long) with dedicated driver. Return around 4:30 pm
- 7:30 am at Giarre motorway exit, departure from Etna Fuel gas station. https://goo.gl/maps/URpKmqQDdd22 You arrive with your vehicle, park it in the parking lot (there is free public parking) and get into our luxury vehicle (Mercedes GL or V-Class Extra Long) with dedicated driver. To reach the Etna Fuel gas station: Take the Catania - Messina motorway, Giarre motorway exit. Pass the toll, at the roundabout take the first exit on the right. After 300 mt on the right side you will find the gas station. Return around 4 pm
- 8:45 am Rifugio Sapienza (Etna South), Piazzale Rifugio Sapienza, 95030 Nicolosi CT (there is a pay parking). Return around 2:30 pm https://g.page/funivia-dell-etna?share
- Other pick-up places: quote on request.
Information on the ascent, up to 400 meters above sea level, of Stromboli
Hike to climb to Stromboli
- Difficulty: easy, 5 km of hiking
- Total duration of the excursion: approximately 5 hours
- 2 hours to climb to 400 meters above sea level
- 2 hours to descend
- Max altitude: 400 meters above sea level
Excursions to see the Stromboli craters are organized daily from March to November. In summer it is possible to go up to Stromboli later at night, to see the activity when there are fewer tourists and to go down at sunrise (according to the restrictions of the moment).
We recommend leaving around 10:00 p.m. and returning around 3:00 a.m. (customizable times). The departure time varies depending on the season.
Necessary Equipment for the ascent of Stromboli
- Hiking shoes (possible rental on site)
- Hiking pants
- Windproof waterproof jacket with hood
- Bandana (to protect your face from dust)
- Headlamp (with new batteries to light the return path)
- Trekking poles (possible rental on site)
- Helmet (supplied by us if necessary)
- Food and water (1 liter per person)
Pick up / drop off
- At your accommodation in Sicily (a tailor-made quote will be offered)
- At our meeting point in Stromboli
Stromboli is an explosive volcano and its eruptions occur at a regular frequency. This activity consists of intermittent explosions of medium energy, lasting a few seconds, spaced 10 to 20 minutes apart.
The eruptive activity is associated with an almost continuous degassing of the crater area. The volcanic structure is 926 meters high. And a depth between 1300 and 2400 meters below sea level.
Due to its intermittent eruptive activity, Stromboli is called the Lighthouse of the Mediterranean Sea. Looking at it from afar at night, the sailors saw an intermittent light useful for finding the direction.
Since 1900 the artificial light from the Strombolicchio lighthouse has taken over from the natural glow of lava. Strombolicchio is a small rock north of Stromboli.
Conditions of sale
The weather and geodynamic conditions of Etna will be updated 48/24 hours before the excursion. If weather conditions are unfavorable the excursion will be postponed to another available day or refund (in case of advance payment).
You can cancel and be refund free of charge up to 1 week before the excursion for group excursions, 1 month in advance for private excursions.
If it is not possible to reach the summit area due to meteorological or geodynamic reasons (eruptions, explosions, lava flows, volcanic alerts, etc.), the maximum authorized safety altitude will be reached.
For safety reasons, the guide may decide to modify the route, kilometers traveled, walking time and the maximum altitude reached. The guide will assess the sport level and the equipment of each participant.
People who will not be considered fit and well equipped (as indicated on the dedicated page of the Etna3340 site corresponding to the chosen excursion) will not be allowed to participate in the excursion (without possibility of refund).
The guide's maximum waiting time at the meeting point (at the Rifugio Sapienza, at your hotel or at the meeting point in Giarre) is 10 minutes. If you arrive late, more than 10 minutes, you will lose the opportunity to participate in the excursion and to request a refund.
Etna's volcanic Gases - Hazards and Safety
At the top of Etna there are hot and irritating sulfuric gases. If you want to reduce the irritant effects of the respiratory tract, you can buy a gas mask of this type: https://www.moldex-europe.com/fr/produits/demi-masques/
The filter cartridges must be of the ABEK type: organic, inorganic and acid gases and vapors (chlorine, hydrogen sulfide, hydrogen cyanide), sulfur dioxide, hydrogen chloride, sulfur dioxide, ammonia.
If necessary (it is not compulsory equipment) you can possibly get these masks before coming to Sicily and use them if necessary.
Climb to the top of Etna without our assistance
The cheapest price to go to the summit of Etna with a guide is 85 € per person.
The departure is at the cable car, which is on the southern slope of Etna at 1900 meters (6,2 ft.) above sea level (you must reach the Refuge de Sapienza with your own vehicle).
You must wait until (around 10:00 a.m.) the guide on site forms a group of 20-30 people (all languages mixed), without the guarantee of having a guide who speaks English.
In a large group the progression will be slow and the time of permanence at the top will be short.
You will be at the top of the Etna volcano around noon, knowing that around 1 pm the summit is often covered with clouds…
Watch out for scams!
Some offer excursions with attractive prices. Indeed, you will simply buy the excursion in a group of 20 to 30 people (which you can do without intermediaries), by including in the price the pick-up from your accommodation and a false guide (an abusive, not a real volcanologist guide).
These abusers then parasitize the groups of official guides. You will then be subject to the same constraints of the visit at 85 € (group of 20-30 people, late departure time, short permanence time), but paying an unnecessarily high price.
Some work illegally (they pretend to be guides), define themselves "fully authorized tour operator" covered by insurance, but in reality this is not the case!
Insurance does not cover accidents if the guide is not an official volcanologist guide, registered with the Regional College of Alpine Guides and Volcanologists of Sicily.
Some will evoke the presence of a volcanologist guide, but in reality you will have the real guide only the time to go around the rim of the crater , after that you will continue the excursion with abusives.
Unfortunately too often we see people who practice the improper exercise of the profession of guide and they also use jeep without an official license (NCC in Italy).
Choose your agency wisely, do not fuel illegal workers. Have a good "responsible" discovery of Etna.