Hiking Etna Trail: lava tunnel, Valle del Bove, view Summit Craters
Come and visit the most beautiful part of the famous Etna Trail route of the Maxi Race circuit
"Serracozzo" is one of the most fascinating routes on Mount Etna, Europe's most active volcano, and a new sports track used by Trail competitions in July. These particularities justify the choice of the route for the international races of Trail of the Maxi Race circuit.
- Visit of the most beautiful lava tunnel, the "Serracozzo" of the 1971 eruption.
- The best view of the great "Valle del Bove" caldera.
- View of the Etna summit craters up close and recent lava flows.
- Lava bombs and their impact craters.
The excursion to Serracozzo consist of 5 hours of hiking on a rough path, in a lunar landscape or on the snow, accompanied by an English-speaking guide. We can choose the difficulty according to your sporting level: 300, 500 or 1100 vertical meters (from 1800 to 2100/2300/2900 meters above sea level).
The walking distance can therefore be: 6, 8 or 12 km (descent on volcanic sand or on snow). When is better to book, how long in advance? We do not do mass tourism. So, to make sure you find a plce, it is best to book as soon as poaaible.
There are 3 options to make the Serracozzo trail of Etna, in small groups (max 10 pax):
70€ per person: join us at the Rifugio Citelli (Etna North), at 1750 meters above sea level (there is free public parking). You will be accompanied by our guide from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm approximately, free loan of hiking shoes, sticks, backpack, k-way included. For the rest, you must already be equipped with adequate clothing, a lunchbox and a bottle of water. You can consider to stay at the Rifugio Citelli.
- 90€ per person: reach our meeting point in Giarre at 07:45 am with your own vehicle (there is a free public parking) and then ride in our luxury vehicle (Mercedes GL or V-Class Extra Long) with dedicated driver. Breakfast is included. You will have breakfast like real Sicilians, in the best local pastry shop. Here we provide free equipment for the hiking. Return around 4:00 pm.
- 110€ per person: includes pick-up/drop-off at your hotel (Catania-Taormina areas) in luxury vehicles (Mercedes GL or V-Class Extra Long) with dedicated driver. Breakfast is included. The necessary trekking equipment is also included. Return around 7:30 pm.
Forecast schedule for the excursion to Serracozzo
- Departure by foot from Rifugio Citelli at 9:30 a.m.
- Visit of the cave "Serracozzo"
- Ascent to the Valle del Bove viewpoint
- Climb to the selected altitude
- Ring route to return to the Citelli refuge
Walk on the ridge of Valle del Bove, visit the Serracozzo lava tunnel
The path that goes up along the crest of Serra delle Concazze to the Serracozzo viewpoint is very interesting because it allows you to cross a very rare birch forest in these latitudes and to visit a really fascinating lava tunnel. In addition, you can admire, with our English-speaking guides, a magnificent view of the Valle del Bove, a large caldera in the shape of a horseshoe about 6 km in diameter.
Description of the Serracozzo lava tunnel, Etna eruption of 1971
The cave of Serracozzo is the most beautiful cave of the volcano for its particular structure and for the effects produced inside by the beams of light that illuminate it from above. It is located on the east side of Etna, at an altitude of about 1,900 meters above sea level. This tunnel, in the upstream part, is the eruptive crack produced in 1971.
It has a section in the shape of a door lock with a height of several meters and a maximum width of 3 meters. On the vault there are openings. The downstream section is a steeply sloping tunnel 350 m long and 2 to 3 m wide, the floor of which consists of slag lava. In the first section, the walls are opaque but retain a glassy appearance.
The excursion to Serracozzo provides
The climb is steep, on a path immersed among the beautiful birch aetnensis (an Etna endemic species of birch) that can survive more than 2000 meters above sea level. After a climb of about 300 meters, the Valle del Bove appears. A special feature of this trail is that you can walk several hundred meters along the Valle del Bove, towards Pizzi Deneri and the south-eastern crater.
From a distance we can also see Mount Frumento delle Concazze, one of the largest secondary craters in Etna and all of the Sartorius craters. The cliffs of the Valle del Bove are full of ancient magma infiltrations, while extinct craters are present inside. We leave this beautiful panorama and begin the descent until we meet a ravine of volcanic ash. We will have to follow it almost to the end, before returning to the path that leads to the esplanade in front of the Citelli refuge.
Tasting of honeys, wines and liquors in Zafferana
If the times allows it, 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 come from 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 (included only for people who have chosen the pick-up in Giarre or at the hotel). #EtnaTrail #Etna3340
Information for the Serracozzo Etna Nord hike
You can eventually sleep at Rifugio Citelli. The Citelli refuge is accessible from the Messina-Catania motorway (A 18). Exit at the Giarre exit and follow the driving directions to Macchia, San Giovanni Montebello and Sant'Alfio.
Once here (km 9), follow the directions to Fornazzo and to Etna North. From Fornazzo, continue on the county road Mareneve to the junction (km 14.5) towards the Citelli refuge. From there, continue for 3 km and you have arrived at the refuge.
To go on this hike, you have to be perfectly healthy, sporty and have no physical problems. Climbing is prohibited for pregnant women, asthmatics and people with breathing, cardiac and joint problems.
- Walking time: about 5 hours
- Difficulty: medium
- Trekking of 6, 8 or 12 km
- 300, 500 or 1100 vertical meters uphill
- 300, 500 or 1100 meters of downhill
- Visit of a lava cave
- View of the Valle del Bove caldera
- Hike on the crest of Valle del Bove
- View of the Summit craters
Essential Gear and Clothing
- Hiking or Trail shoes
- high sock socks
- hiking pants, fleece, windproof waterproof warm jacket, backpack
- scarf or Bandana
- Packed-lunch and water (included only in the rate with pick-up from your hotel or Giarre meeting point)
Pick-up/drop-off, Etna North Serracozzo meeting point
- At your hotel between Catania and Taormina (thank you for giving me the exact address of the pick-up) with our luxury vehicle (Mercedes GL or V-Class Extra Long 2019) and dedicated driver. Back around 4:30 p.m.
- 07:45 a.m. in Giarre highway exit, from Etna Fuel gasoline distributor https://goo.gl/maps/URpKmqQDdd22 You arrive with your vehicle, park it in the car park (there is free public parking) and get in our luxury vehicle Mercedes GL or V-Class Extra Long 2019) with dedicated driver.
To reach the gas station "Etna Fuel": 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 distributor. Return around 4:00 p.m
- 09:30 a.m. Rifugio Citelli (Etna North), Via Mareneve, 95010 Sant'Alfio CT. Follow this link with Google Map: https://goo.gl/maps/tGksRc4bu62a93vZ9 Back around 3:30 p.m. (there is free public parking).
Conditions of sale
The weather and geodynamic conditions of Etna will be updated 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 2.900 mt altitude 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 Citelli, 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.
Thanks Antonio De Luca