Volcanic sand hike
The ideal route to admire the great spectacle of the Etna volcano, with an excursion full of adrenaline.
This excursion is a trek of about 10 km to visit the Valle del Bove, a large horseshoe-shaped depression on the active Sicilian volcano.
- Visit to the hot crater of the 2001 eruption.
- Descent of 1000 meters in altitude on volcanic sand.
- Crossing the Valle del Bove.
- Speleological experience inside a lava tunnel.
Excursion to Etna, on the sands of Valle del Bove
The first part is done by cable car, tickets will be ready without waiting at the cash desk. Our route crosses fascinating places, it is a unique opportunity to observe the recent eruptive activity and the lava flow of 2001. You will see a lava tunnel in Valle del Bove. The funniest part of this excursion is the descent on the volcanic sand in the Valle del Bove, with about 1000 meters of altitude difference in descent. Hiking on the volcanic sand of the Valle del Bove is an unusual experience.
Excursion to Etna in the great Valle del Bove
The excursion takes place on the southern slope of the Etna volcano. The road that leads to the cable car has several ancient and recent lava flows. You will see the destructive effects of lava on houses (volcano eruption in 1983). You will see the Mont Rossi crater formed by the great eruption of 1669, during this famous eruption the lava had reached the sea in Catania. The higher you climb, the less vegetation there is, the lunar landscapes begin.
Program of the Etna Valle del Bove excursion
The cable car opens at 9:00, we take the first cabins of the cable car, it takes about 15 minutes to climb from 2000 to 2500 meters of altitude. The ascent on foot begins around 9:30, from an altitude of 2500 meters. It takes about 30 minutes to get to the top of the 2001 crater at 2700 meters above sea level. The descent on volcanic sand follows, in the Valle del Bove, about 1000 meters in altitude downhill. This excursion includes a visit to a lava tunnel, equipped with helmets. The excursion becomes even more interesting on the lava flows of the 1991-1993 eruption. The exit from the Valle del Bove is a bit tiring, on volcanic sand. The return to the Sapienza refuge takes place by vehicle.
Trekking on Etna with guide
To begin the ascent to the largest and most active volcano in Europe, use the cable car located near the Silvestri crater and the Sapienza refuge. With the cable car we reach the Montagnola crater, at an altitude of 2500 meters. Here begins the ascent on foot up to an altitude of 2700 m. The goal is to climb to the top of the hot crater from the 2001 eruption, 2700 meters above sea level. From the hot crater of 2001, you can see the summit craters, the wide Valle del Bove and the magnificent panorama of the Mediterranean.
You will see hot craters from recent eruptions. The Etna volcano has hundreds of craters on its sides. You will be accompanied throughout the day by our volcanological guide, who will explain the eruptive history and functioning of the Etna volcano. The hiking trail continues towards the Valle del Bove. It is a large horseshoe-shaped depression into which most of the lava flows produced in the summit area of Etna converge. We will cross lava flows from the 1991-1993 eruption and visit a lava tunnel. The meal will be eaten in Valle del Bove.
Lava tunnel on the Etna volcano
During the excursion in the Valle del Bove a visit to a lava tunnel is foreseen, equipped with helmets. A lava tube is formed by a flow that has cooled, forming a solid crust. When the flow ceases to be fed, it partially empties and leaves a tunnel-like cavity.
This excursion on Etna is a sports excursion
To do this excursion you must be in perfect health, athletic and have no physical problems. In the group excursion, you have to adjust to the slowest person. It is therefore not guaranteed that the altitude and maximum km described will be reached. In the private excursion, with the guide just for you, you can adapt the pace of the walk and the times to your sporting abilities (respecting the choice of the guide in terms of safety, route, km and distance, maximum altitude that can be reached).
The Valle del Bove excursion is not suitable for children (under 12 years), due to the difficulty of the trek. This excursion is not suitable for pregnant women, heart patients, asthmatics and people with joint problems. To participate you must be in perfect physical condition and be used to hiking in difficult terrain at high altitudes. Our tours are carried out by our French-speaking volcanological guides, from the Regional College of Alpine and Volcanological Guides of Sicily, who are the only professionals authorized by Italian law to lead groups on the active volcano. Equipment provided free of charge: helmet, flashlight, sticks, rucksack and raincoat.
To participate in the excursions on Etna, high trekking boots are mandatory.
If you don't have them, you need to get or rent them. The price for the rental of trekking shoes is 5€ per pair with Etna3340. Tell me your measurements (women and men) no later than 24 hours before the excursion. Your guide will bring your shoes to you on the day of the hike.
Equipment required but not included.
Mid-calf gaiters or socks (to limit volcanic sand in shoes). Trekking 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).
- This excursion includes a demanding trek: 5/6 hours of trekking, over a distance of about 10 km.
- 400 meters of altitude difference uphill and 1000 meters of altitude difference downhill.
- Pick-up/drop-off at your hotel (Catania-Taormina area) with a luxury vehicle (Mercedes GL or V-Class) and dedicated driver.