Would you like exclusive access and in the best conditions to the summit of Etna? Climbing to the summit craters is the pinnacle of hiking in Sicily.
In our exclusive all-inclusive formula is planned the ascent to the summit of Etna in a small group, early in the morning and far from the tourist crowds.
Highlights of this excursion
- Hike to the active summit craters at 3340 meters above sea level.
- Caving experience in a lava channel.
- View of the Valle del Bove (place of the ancient summit of Etna).
- Descent on volcanic sand.
- Hike over the latest hot lava flows and recent hot craters.
Key figures (duration, km, etc.)
- About 5 hours of hiking over about 10 km.
- Difficulty: difficult due to the presence of irritating gases, uneven terrain, volcanic sand and unstable pyroclastic material.
- Elevation: 600 m D+ uphill / 900 m D- downhill.
There are 3 options to go to the top of Etna
1) 200€ p.p. Join us at La Cantoniera (Etna Sud) at 1900 meters above sea level (there is free parking). Included: excursion + English-speaking guide + tickets for the cable car/unimog 4x4 + free loan of equipment (helmet, backpack, k-way, poles).
2) 300€ p.p. Pick-up at your hotel (Catania/Taormina areas) in a luxury VTC vehicle (Mercedes GL or V-Class) with a dedicated driver. Minimum 2 adults. Included: pick-up/drop-off + excursion + English-speaking guide + cable car/unimog 4x4 tickets + free loan of equipment (helmet, backpack, k-way, poles).
3) "Locanda Milia" formula (on estimate). Dedicated to travelers looking for an experience immersed in nature in the heart of a chestnut forest enjoying the luxury of its facilities.
- The recommended formula "Locanda Milia" (on estimate) includes: Dinner + 1 night + breakfast + pocket lunch.
- Excursion + English-speaking guide + cable car/unimog 4x4 tickets + free loan of equipment (helmet, backpack, k-way, poles).
Geodynamic situation of Etna
Currently the area of the summit craters of Etna is prohibited, by order of the civil protection, because of the eruptive risk. Learn more: https://www.etna3340.com/blog/eruptions-etna
The limit of excursions is 2850 meters above sea level. The situation is changing day by day depending on the unpredictable activity of the Etna volcano.
Restrictions on the areas allowed for excursions also change often, even during the day depending on volcanic activity.
Route for the ascent to the summit of Etna
The hike includes walking on the active craters in the summit area, on a recent partly hot lava flow, crossing a lava channel and the view of the Valle del Bove.
You will see fumaroles and walk on sulfur-rich volcanic soil. The beauty of this picture, painted by the volcanic forces of nature, leaves hikers breathless.
Going around the summit craters of the active volcano is an unforgettable memory, which will remain etched in your memories.
Volcan Etna, the ascent to the summit craters
To climb to the top of the largest and most active volcano in Europe, use the cable car which is near the Silvestri crater and the Sapienza refuge.
The ascent continues in a 4x4 Unimog, then on foot, on a not too difficult path in a magnificent lunar landscape. You will see hot craters from recent eruptions.
Our volcanologist guide will explain to you the eruptive history and how the Etna volcano works. At the top of Etna we take you on a hike around all the summit craters.
The rest of the day is dedicated to the descent on the southern slope towards the cable car and to the discovery of the Valle del Bove, the lava channel and the craters of the great eruption of 2002-2003 and 2001. We arrive at Rifugio Sapienza with the cable car around 4 p.m.
Who can hike to the top of Etna
The ascent to the summit craters of Etna is not a hike suitable for children (under 12 years old), due to the presence of irritating sulfuric gases, the difficulty of the hike and the obvious volcanic risk.
This excursion is not accessible to pregnant women, heart disease, asthmatics and people with joint problems. To participate, you must be in perfect physical condition and be accustomed to hiking in difficult terrain at high altitudes.
What can be seen at the top of Etna?
There are currently 4 main active craters at the summit of Etna. You will circle the summit craters depending on the conditions of volcanic activity, weather and sulfuric gas emissions.
The panorama of Sicily, Catania, Taormina and the Mediterranean offer a magical spectacle from this altitude. On the way back, the descent on the volcanic sand slopes will be a real treat.
The downhill route includes hiking to the hot lava of the 2022 eruption, near the Valle del Bove (great depression and place of the former summit of Etna).
Canal / Lava tunnel and Valle del Bove
During the descent there will be the visit of a recent lava channel equipped with helmet. A lava channel is formed by a flow that has cooled, forming a solid crust.
When the flow ceases to be fed, it empties and leaves a cavity in the form of a channel or tunnel. The hiking trail continues towards Valle del Bove. It is a large horseshoe-shaped depression into which most lava flows flow. The view is breathtaking in these volcanic places.
Important information on equipment for the hike to the top of the Etna volcano
Equipment provided free of charge: helmet, flashlight, sticks, backpack and raincoat.
High-top hiking boots are mandatory to participate in Etna excursions: if you don't have them, you must get them or rent them. The price for renting hiking shoes is 5€ per pair with Etna3340. Tell me your sizes (women and men) no later than 24 hours before the excursion. The guide will bring you the shoes on the day of the excursion.
Equipment necessary but not included: gaiters or mid-calf socks (to limit volcanic sand in the shoes). Hiking pants, sweater/fleece, warm waterproof windproof jacket with hood, gloves, hat, cap to protect your head from the sun, sunscreen, sunglasses. Plan ahead for a picnic and water (1.5 liters per person).