Trekking on the volcanic sand in the Valle del Bove
Visit Mount Etna wide Caldera - Valle del Bove
Enter the large Valle del Bove caldera, in a small group (max 10 participants), walk on the volcanic sand, away from the crowds. This excursion is a trekking of around 10 km to visit Valle del Bove, a large horseshoe-shaped caldera on the active Sicilian volcano.
The first part is done by cable car, the tickets will be ready, without queuing at the ticket counter. Our trail crosses fascinating places: it is a unique opportunity to observe the recent eruptive activity and the lava flow of 2001, you will also see a lava tunnel.
The most fun moment of this excursion is the descent on the fine volcanic sand, in the Valle del Bove caldera, over 900 meters of descent.
The beauty of this painting, painted by the volcanic forces of nature, leaves hikers breathless. Hiking on the volcanic sand in the Valle del Bove caldera is an unforgettable memory that will remain in your memories.
Etna Tour in Valle del Bove highlights
- Easy trek up to the hot crater of 2001 at over 2700 meters altitude
- A fun 900 meters downhill on volcanic ash
- Trekking experience inside Valle del Bove that has very few equals
- Caving experience equipped with helmets
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 into the Valle del Bove of Etna, in small groups (max 10 pax):
- 160€ per person: join us at the Rifugio Sapienza at 1900 meters altitude (there is a pay parking). You will be accompanied by our guide from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. approximately. Hiking shoes, helmet, walking sticks, backpack, k-way and cable car 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.
- 180€ 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 4:30 p.m.
- 200€ 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 5:00 p.m.
Estimated schedule of the Etna Valle del Bove trekking
- 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 9:30 a.m. from 2500.
- It takes about 30 minutes to reach the top of the 2001 crater at 2700 meters above sea level.
- Descent on fine volcanic sand, in the Valle del Bove caldera, over 900 meters of elevation.
- Visit to a lava tunnel equipped with helmets.
- Trekking on the lava flow from the 1991-1993 eruption.
- Leaving Valle del Bove.
- Return to the Sapienza Refuge by vehicle.
Trekking Etna - Valle del Bove
The excursion takes place on the southern slope of the volcano. The road to the cable car presents different lava flows.
You will see the destructive effects of lava on houses (volcano eruption in 1983). 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.
To start the climb to the largest and most active volcano in Europe, we’ll use the cable car which is close to the Silvestri crater and the Sapienza refuge.
With the cable car we will reach the Montagnola crater at 2500 meters above sea level. Here the ascent on foot begins up to an altitude of 2700 m. The aim is to climb to the top of the hot crater of the 2001 eruption, at an altitude of 2700 meters.
From the hot crater of 2001 you can see the summit craters, the great caldera Valle del Bove and the magnificent panorama of the Mediterranean Sea.
You will see the hot craters of recent eruptions. The Etna volcano has hundreds of craters on its sides. You will be accompanied all day by our English-speaking volcanologist guide, who will explain you the eruptive history and how the Etna volcano works.
The hiking trail continues towards the Valle del Bove. This large horseshoe-shaped caldera into which most lava flows. We will cross the lava flows from the 1991-1993 eruption and visit a lava tunnel. This excursion is a difficult hike: 5/6 hours of trekking, over a distance of about 10 km, with 400 meters of elevation gain and 1100 meters of descent.
Lunch in the Valle del Bove
The meal will be consumed in the Valley. 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 a.m.
Etna lava tunnel
During the hike in the Valle del Bove there will be a visit to a lava tunnel equipped with helmets. A lava tunnel is formed by a flow which has cooled thus forming a solid crust. When the flow ceases to be fed, it empties and leaves a channel-shaped cavity.
Tasting of honeys, wines and liqueurs in Zafferana Etnea
If time allows it, the excursion will end with tasting of Etna's finest products, including honey, wine, liqueurs and much more at a local producer in Zafferana Etnea. This little village of producers of honey sits along the Etna Wine Route, and it contributes to the production of Italy’s honey for the 30%.
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).
Tour Etna - Caldera Crosswalk Statistics
The Valle del Bove excursion is not a hike suitable for children (under 12), due to the difficulty of trekking. 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.
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 Valle del Bove Trail
- Walking time: about 6 hours
- Difficulty: moderate
- 10 km trekking
- 400 meters of elevation gain
- 1100 vertical meters downhill
- Maximum altitude: 2700 meters
- Passage to the base of the hot crater of 2001 eruption
- Visit to a lava tunnel
- Trekking in the Valle del Bove caldera
Essential Gear and Clothing
- Provide high-top hiking boots (free loan on request in advance)
- We do not accept tennis shoes or sneakers
- Trekking socks
- Trekking pants, a fleece and a waterproof windbreaker jacket with hood
- Scarf or Bandana to cover the mouth and filter sulfuric gases and dust
- 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 for Valle del Bove hike
- 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 5:00 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 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 m on the right side you find the gas station. Return around 4:30 p.m.
- 9:00 a.m. Rifugio Sapienza (Etna South), Piazzale Rifugio Sapienza, 95030 Nicolosi CT (there is a pay parking). Return around 3:30 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 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.
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.