Etna 3000: cable car + hike on the hot lava
Etna Excursion 3000 - Hike to the summit base of Etna
The climb to the summit is by cable car and on foot. The hike takes place on a hot lava flow and on hot craters. You will arrive 300 meters from the summit, an unforgettable memory!
You will see: the base of the summit craters, the Valle del Bove, hot craters, a lava channel and the recent lava flows (some partly hot).
Unlike all the others, we arrive at the base of the summit craters, far from the crowd of tourists who stop at 2920 meters above sea level on the "Barbagallo" craters (eruption of 2002-2003).
The 3000 excursion is a real volcanic adventure. Ideal for sporty adults and children, able to hike 5 hoursover 8 km, with 500 meters of positive elevation and 500 meters of negative elevation.
Highlights of the Etna 3000 excursion
- Guided tour in English with our alpine volcanologist guide.
- Hike to the base of the summit active craters.
- Caving experience inside a lava channel, you will be equipped with helmets.
- Visit to the hot craters.
- Hike on a hot lava flow.
- Tasting of the best Etna products, such as honey, wines, liquors and more.
Volcano enthusiasts will spend a day exploring Etna, knowing its history, celebrating a mountain full of life and activity.
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 3 options to go to the base of the summit of Etna, in small groups (max 12 pax):
- 160€ per person: join us at the Rifugio Sapienza at 1900 meters altitude (there is a paid parking). You will have the accompaniment of our guide from 9:00 am to 2:30 pm approximately, the hiking shoes, helmet, poles, backpack, k-way and the tickets of the cable car + Unimog included. For the rest, you must already be equipped with adequate clothing, a picnic and water. Possibly there is the possibility to buy food and rent hot jackets on site.
- 180€ per person: with your vehicle you reach our meeting point in Giarre at 07:00 am (there is free public parking), you ride in our luxury vehicle VTC (Mercedes GL or V-Class Extra Long 2019) with dedicated driver. We offer breakfast and picnic. You will have breakfast like the real Sicilians, in the best local pastry shop. Here we provide free equipment for hiking.
- 200€ per person: this includes pick-up 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 equipment for trekking is included. After the excursion we will take you to the hotel.
Estimated planning of the ascent Etna 3000:
- 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 above sea level.
- The ascent on foot starts around 09:30 from 2500 to 3000 meters above sea level. It takes approximately 2h30' to reach the base of the summit craters.
- 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.
- We arrive at Rifugio Sapienza by the cable car around 2:30 p.m.
Visit of Etna with guide
The exclusive itinerary proposed by Etna3340 allows you to explore the hottest areas of the volcano, just at the base of the summit active craters, otherwise inaccessible without a real authorised guide.
The ascent to the base of the summit is done early in the morning, in groups of 12 people maximum.
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.
The pick-up can be done at the Rifugio Sapienza (Etna South), at your accommodation (Catania-Taormina zones) or at our starting point in Giarre (Etna Fuel gas station).
Excursion to Mount Etna, first part of the day
We will be pleased to offer you an unlimited breakfast (coffee / cappuccino, fruit juice and pastries or granita and brioche) and the picnic (included only for people who have chosen the pick-up in Giarre or at the hotel).
Your guide will be happy to advise you on the different typical Sicilian products. You will have breakfast like real Sicilians.
The road to the cable car presents different lava flows. You will see the destructive effects of lava on houses (1983 eruption).
The excursion takes place on the southern slope of the volcano. You will see the crater Mont Rossi of the great eruption of 1669, during this famous eruption the lava had arrived at sea in Catania.
The lunar landscapes begins, the higher you go, the less vegetation there is.
Hiking Etna, on the hotspots of the volcano
Thanks to the cable car at Rifugio Sapienza , which is close to the Silvestri craters, we will reach 2500 meters altitude.
The ascent continues on foot up to 3000 meters (base of the summit craters). This excursion allows you to walk on a hot lava flow and on the hot craters of recent eruptions (2001, 2003 and the last recent lavas still hot).
The Etna volcano has hundreds of craters on its sides. Our volcanologist guide will explain the eruptive history and how the Etna volcano works.
At an altitude of 3000 meters you will appreciate being able to approach the large craters of the Summit (the New Mouth, the Central crater and the South-East).
You can observe the possible eruptive activity, the great caldera "Valle del Bove" (theater of recent eruptions), the panorama of the Mediterranean Sea and the Italian coast.
It is possible to walk less on the way back, using the Unimog 4x4 bus downhill in addition with the cable car, in this case the supplement is 20€ / person.
Lunch in the Etna summit area
The meal 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.
2002 eruption lava channel and Valle del Bove
Along your adventure you will also visit a recent lava channel (2002-2003) wearing helmets. A lava Channel is a natural conduit formed by flowing lava that moves beneath the hardened surface of a lava flow. Tubes and channels can drain lava from a volcano during an eruption, or can be extinct, meaning the lava flow has ceased, and the rock has cooled down and left a long channel.
The hiking trail continues towards the Valle del Bove. This large horseshoe-shaped caldera into which most lava flows. The view is breathtaking in these volcanic places. The return to 1900 meters above sea level will be by cable car.
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 (included only for people who have chosen the pick-up in Giarre or at the hotel).
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Etna Excursion 3000 - Summit Base Statistics
The ascent to the craters of the summit of Etna is not a suitable hike for children (under 12 years ) due to the difficulty of the hike and the obvious volcanic risk.
This excursion is not accessible to cariopaths, asthmatics and people suffering from joint problems. To participate, you must be in perfect physical condition and be used to hiking on difficult terrain at high altitude.
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 guide alpine Etna Sud), who are the only professionals authorized by Italian law to lead groups on the active volcano.
Unlike others, for the ascent to the summit of Etna we do not parasitize other groups (local recurring attitude, which is not in our values). We do only make small groups of 12 partecipants at the time.
You will have a guide exclusively dedicated to your group away from the crowd of tourists who climb the volcano in groups of 20 to 30 people.
Our excursion starts early in the morning to allow you to fully appreciate the beauty and majesty of the volcano, thanks to carefully chosen itineraries far from the usual crowds.
Etna Summit Base Trail
- Walking time: around 6 hours
- Distance : approximately 8 km (4 km ascent + 4 km descent)
- Maximum altitude: 3000 mt
- Ascent : 500 mt
- Descent : 500 mt
- Difficulty : Challenging
- Visit to a lava cave
- View of Valle del Bove
- For people who wish to walk less: it is possible to walk less on the way back, using the Unimog 4x4 downhill, in this case the supplement is 20€ / person.
Lava flow channel
- Length : 55 mt
- Visit time : about 30 minute
- Difficulty : easy
Essential Gear and Clothing
- Provide high-top hiking boots (free loan on request )
- 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
- Solar cream
- Snack and water (included only in the rate with pick-up from your hotel or Giarre meeting point)
Pick-up / drop off, meeting point Etna 3000
- 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 4:30 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 4:00 p.m.
- 8:45 a.m. Rifugio Sapienza (Etna South), Piazzale Rifugio Sapienza, 95030 Nicolosi CT (there is a pay parking). Return around 2:30 p.m. https://g.page/funivia-dell-etna?share
- 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 advanced 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.
To go to 2920 meters above sea level without our assistance
Regarding the southern slope of Etna: with your vehicle you can reach the Rifugio Sapienza, at 1900 meters above sea level. There are unattended paid parkings, bars, restaurants, hotels, souvenir shops and…. a lot of people. Here is the departure of the cable car which, in about 15 minutes, reaches 2500 meters above sea level.
At the exit of the cable car, there are large Unimog 4x4 buses to reach 2920 meters above sea level, in groups of 20-30 people. The interest of this excursion is to visit the “Barbagallo” craters, which were formed in 2002. The visit of these craters is compulsory in groups of 20-30 people with the volcanological guides that you will find at the exit of the 4x4 bus .
The easy walk lasts approximately 40 minutes to 1 hour, the guides are multilingual. The descent must be done by 4x4 bus, then by cable car, it is forbidden to walk without a guide beyond 2700 meters above sea level on the volcano. The price is 65 € / person, for a total duration of approximately 2 hours of visit, in the crowd of tourists.
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.
Climb to the summit of Etna without our assistance
To go to the summit it is necessary to book the services of a volcanologist guide, it is prohibited without a guide. The hikes are free up to 2700 meters above sea level.
The cheapest is to join the guides on the South (Rifugio Sapienza) or North (Piano Provenzana) slope, at 1900 meters above sea level. Here you will find, for around 85 € / person, an excursion to the summit, in groups of 20 people with a multilingual guide.
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.