Etna with its 3350 meters is the highest active volcano in Europe. If you go to Sicily you cannot miss it. The volcano with its lunar landscape is truly fascinating. But Etna is also famous for its eruptions, which unfortunately have often caused a lot of damage. Historical accounts of 475 BC already mention such events and even during the Middle Ages several villages were destroyed by the lava flows. On this occasion the lava arms even ended in the Mediterranean Sea.
Topsecretsicily tip: If you wish, you can book a guided hike to the volcano summit here.
Even in more recent times the lava has created many problems, destroying cable cars, houses, the volcanological observatory and much more. Sometimes it was even necessary to intervene by the army to divert the lava flows and save the inhabited centers.
How to get there and what to see on Etna
To visit Etna you can rely on agencies that organize excursions , or you can also organize everything yourself. In the latter case you only need a car and winter clothing. You have to go to the Sapienza refuge (South Etna), you can admire the ancient Silvestri craters up close (originated from the eruption of 1892 and no longer active) and therefore stay a few centimeters from the mouths of the volcano! The experience is truly unique, the landscape is very special, it seems to be on the moon with a view of the sea in the distance. With a little luck you can also hear the roar of Etna and admire its lava fountains. Obviously the latter are very far away and you are in no danger, don’t worry!
With a ticket of around 65 Euros per person, you will also have the opportunity to take the cable car and climb up to an altitude of 2,500 meters. From there you will then proceed even higher with off-road vehicles (almost up to 3,000 meters) and you will take a walk with a guide for about 40 minutes. You will see up close some of the still active side craters, it is often also possible to see them smoking, feeling the heat and the typical smell of sulfur.
Finally, if you want to eat something typical you can instead go to the Sapienza refuge.
Top Secret Tip – Around Etna with a little train
The circumetnea is an ancient railway line, built in the last years of the 1800s and extends along the flanks of Etna. Today it is mainly used by commuters to go to work or study. It is an excellent opportunity to admire the volcano from another perspective and enjoy the splendid panorama offered by nature. You can organize your trip on your own (No car and patience not recommended), or rely on agencies. In this regard, here you will find an agency that offers both the train ride that a trip to Etna .
The line goes from Catania to Riposto, a journey all around the majestic volcano. The trains made available are so to speak vintage, they are in fact from the 1950s, not very comfortable, but still fascinating. Lately, however, some of the latest generation have also been made available.
The whole trip from Catania to Riposto takes about 3 and a half hours (one way), but you can also do without it. It lasts a long time and on board an ancient train, back pain could be felt.
Instead, limit yourself to the section between Adrano and Randazzo , and you will take an unforgettable little trip of about 1 hour, among ancient lava flows, vineyards and lunar landscapes. If you have a car available, then just go to the station circumetnea of Adrano or at the station circumetnea of Randazzo . You can buy tickets directly there at the ticket office and the price for this route should be around 6 Euros round trip.
The train timetables can be found directly on the circumetnea website, in the timetables section: https://www.circumetnea.it/linee_orari.php . Remember Sundays and holidays there are no trains. Also always take into consideration the possibility of any delays.
Activities loved by tourists in the surrounding area or in Sicily in general
What to see in the surroundings
Etna is located in the province of Catania. Here you find the most beautiful places to visit around Catania .
Typical dishes and products
Here you find a list on what to eat in Catania and surroundings .
Here instead you find the typical Sicilian dishes in general.