Crossing from South to North passing by the Etna Summit
Climb mount Etna - The great summit crossing
If you ever wondered if you could climb a volcano and peer into the crater, then the answer is yes, it can be done, depending on the state of activity. Mount Etna is a perfect adventure playground, but it must be approached following a series of precautions as you are dealing with serious nature, in an active volcanic area, on uneven routes and at variable altitudes.
The experience that we are offering you is a challenging excursion of 15 km in an active volcanic environment, for this reason it’s suggested only for adults in perfect health conditions. To assure your safety and our assistance, the excursion will take place in the early morning with small groups of max 12 participants.
Our English-speaking volcanologist guide will accompany you for 7 hours of immersion on the volcano! Here we present you the most complete and intense trek on volcano Etna.
Starting from the South side of Etna (Rifugio Sapienza) you could climb Mount Etna reaching the highest peak, and then descending along a fun downhill on volcanic ash and lava flows to the North path (Piano Provenzana).
You'll be satisfied to have reached the summit of the highest active volcano in Europe at over 3300 meters above sea level. This long hike offers more time to discover the summit craters than the classic Etna Summit hike.
Etna tour - highlights
- Hike to Mount Etna summit craters on a 15 km trail reaching the 3300 mt altitude
- Etna's most complete hiking trail, tailored to take you from the south side to the north one
- Walk on the edge of the active craters of Etna, across sulfur fumaroles
- Etna guided tour in English, with an official alpine volcanologist guide
When to book, how long before ? We do not do mass tourism. So, to make sure you have room, it is better to book quickly.
There are 2 options to go to the top of Etna, in small groups (max 12 pax):
- 220€ per person: reach our meeting point in Giarre at 07:00 a.m. with your own vehicle (there is a free public parking) and then ride in our luxury vehicle (Mercedes GL or V-Class Extra Long 2019) with dedicated driver. We offer breakfast and picnic. You will have breakfast like real Sicilians, in the best local pastry shop. Here we provide free equipment for hiking. Return around 5:30 p.m.
- 240€ per person: includes pick-up/drop-off at your hotel (Catania-Taormina areas) in luxury vehicles (Mercedes GL or V-Class Extra Long 2019) with dedicated driver. Breakfast and picnic is always offered. The necessary trekking equipment is included. Return around 6:00 p.m.
Estimated planning of the Great Crossing of Etna Summit:
- Breakfast and picnic is offered at will.
- Between Giarre and the departure of the cable car (Rifugio Sapienza, Etna South) it takes around 1 hour by car.
- The cable car opens at 9:00 a.m., we take the first cabins, there are about 15 minutes of climb from 2000 mt to 2500 mt above sea level.
- To go to 2900 meters we use the Unimog bus, about 20 minutes of 4x4 journey.
- The ascent starts around 9:30 a.m. / 10:00 a.m. from an altitude of 2900 meters.
- It takes approximately 1h30'-2h to reach the summit craters.
- The duration of the tour on the summit area depends on weather and geodynamic conditions of the volcano.
- The rest of the day is dedicated to the descent on the North slope (towards Piano Provenzana) and to the discovery of the craters of the great eruption of 2002-2003.
- We arrive at Piano Provenzana (Etna Nord) around 4.30 p.m.
Mount Etna summit route
Elevation gain: +400 mt -1500 mt. Distance: approximately 15 km.
The ascent begins on the southern slope and ends on the northern slope. On the road to the ski resort located on the South side of Mount Etna, you will see the crater Monti Rossi (1669 eruption).
Going up, the landscape becomes lunar. Close to the Silvestri crater and the Sapienza refuge (Rifugio Sapienza), you will see recent lava flows and the effects on the constructions.
We will be reaching the 2900 meters of altitude by cable car and 4x4 Unimog buses.From here the hike begins throughout the most recent lava flows leading up to the summit of Mt Etna, in a volcanic environment. Helmets will be provided.
There are about 3 km to the rim of the crater, under normal conditions, the ascent takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes.
The experience starts with an easy approach that will lead you up to the base of the active craters. You will see the hot craters of the 2002-2003 eruption, at an altitude of 3000 meters. During the 2002-2003 eruption, many phenomena occurred on the southern and northern slopes.
Like cracks a few kilometers long which, with intense explosive activity, created spectacular pyroclastic cones as well as various lava flows. The volcanic movements have caused seismic activities with many particularly dangerous earthquakes. From a scientific point of view this was a "perfect eruption ».
From the summit the view over Valle del Bove, Sicily and the Mediterranean Sea offers an unique spectacle. The hike continues on a recent lava flow, more towards the summit of Etna.
There are currently 4 large craters in the summit area. Depending on the gas emission, geodynamic and weather conditions, the guide will accompany you safely for the visit of the active craters (Bocca Nuova, Cratere Centrale, North-East and South-East).
After visiting the summit, we will begin the descent on the north side. The descent is on volcanic sand up to "Piano delle Concazze", a plateau of extraordinary beauty, then we will reach the volcano logical observatory at an altitude of 2800 mt.
Here you will have the lunch break. We will continue the descent by crossing the ski slopes of the North side. The tour ends at Piano Provenzana, on the lava flow of 2002 eruption.
Picnic lunch on volcanic ground
After meeting in Giarre we will make a stop in order to have breakfast and a packed lunch, it's free and unlimited (included in the price). You can get some of the traditional Sicilian products followed by our guide, who will advise you on the various local products.
The great summit crossing - Guidelines
The big crossing of the summit of Etna is a difficult hike. To do it you must be in perfect health, athletic and without physical problems. Is done at altitude, in an active area where there are hot and irritating sulfuric gases and on rough paths.
Asthma sufferers and those suffering from respiratory, heart and joint problems are prohibited from climbing the volcano.
If it is not possible to reach the summit area, for meteorological or geodynamic reasons (eruptions, explosions, lava flows, volcanic alerts, etc.), the maximum authorized safety altitude will be reached.
Etna tour with guide
Book your hike to the top of Mount Etna with Etna3340. The exclusive itinerary offered allows you to discover hot areas of the volcano, otherwise inaccessible without an official guide.
Our visits are carried out by our English-speaking volcanological guides, from the Regional College of Alpine and Volcanological Guides of Sicily (Gruppo alpine guide Etna Sud), who are the only professionals authorized by Italian law to lead groups on the active volcano.
Etna Summit Crossing Trail
- Walking time: about 7 hours
- Difficulty: difficult
- Trekking of about 15 km
- Positive elevation: 400 meters
- Vertical drop: 1,500 meters
- View of the hot craters of the 2002-2003 eruption
- Hike on a recent lava flow
- Ascent to Etna summit craters
- Walk on the rim of the craters in the summit area
- Descent on the North slope
Essential Gear and Clothing for Etna Summit Crossing
- High-top hiking boots (free loan on request in advance)
- We do not accept tennis shoes or sneakers
- Low-top hiking shoes will not be accepted
- High socks
- Hiking pants, gloves, a fleece and a warm waterproof windbreaker jacket with hood
- Scarf or Bandana to cover the mouth and filter sulfuric gases and dust
- Solar cream
- Backpack (free loan)
- Snack and water (included in the price
Pick-up / drop off, meeting point Etna Summit Crossing
- At your hotel between Catania and Taormina (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 2019) with dedicated driver. Return around 6:00 p.m.
- 07:00 a.m. Giarre motorway exit, departure from Etna Fuel gas station. https://goo.gl/maps/URpKmqQDdd22 You arrive with your own vehicle, park it in the car park (there is free public parking) and get into our luxury vehicle (Mercedes GL or V-Class Extra Long 2019) with dedicated driver. To reach the 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 m on the right side you find the gas station. Return around 5:30 p.m.
- Other pick-up places : a quote will be made up on request.
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. Climbing to the top of the volcano is prohibited for asthmatics and people with breathing and heart problems. 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.
Contact us for more information. It is possible to organize a private or tailor-made visit, ask for a quote. We will be delighted to meet you. Our team is at your disposal and supports you to make your stay an unforgettable experience.