Mount Etna: 5 hikes near the most active volcano

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In Sicily there is one of the most active volcanos in the world called Mount Etna. The volcano is almost constantly in an active state. The Greek mythology is that a monster called Typhon is trapped by Zeus under the mountain. Zeus is the god of thunder and sky and of course the king of the gods.

Mount Etna has a height of around 3357 meters. The area is 1190 km2 which makes it the largest active volcanos in Italy. When you decide to hike around Mount Etna you need to know that you can hike around the North and/or the South.

To know more about Sicily, read the blog Discover Sicily: The largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. For adventures in Sicily, read Adventure activities to do in Sicily.

Tip: check the activity of the volcano before you hike around the area and talk with the locals. If you want to be safe, we recommend doing a guided tour. With a guided tour you are allowed to hike higher, closer to the summit, but it’s allowed to hike by yourself in designated areas. When the volcano is too active you can’t go to the top, so make sure to have a plan B.

Watch out: you can hike up to 2450 meters high without a guide. If you decide to hike higher, you need to be accompanied by an Alpine Guide or Volcanological Guide.

Make sure to wear good hiking shoes, check the weather and only go hiking when it’s safe. Besides that it’s good that you always have cash with you, but not too much. In some gas stations, shops, or markets they don’t accept payment by card.

North of Mount Etna

The North of Mount Etna is less known and less touristic. You are further away from the active volcano and there is a lot of green when you hike around this area. In the North you will find many lava caves, and craters to discover.

Most hikes start from Piana Provenzana or Rifugio Citelli which is 1,800 meters above sea level. At this place it’s easy to park your car and to start a hike. Below we give you some ideas for hikes:

  • Hike from Rifugio Citelli to lava cave Serracozo
  • Hike from Rifugio Citelli to Monti Sartorius
  • Hike from Piano Provenzana to Bottoniera del 1911 and to Cerniera di fuoco 2002
  • Hike from Piano Provenzana to the summit craters

Tip: if you are used to hiking than you can combine the first two hikes and walk from lava cave Serracozo to Monti Sartorius.

Hike from Rifugio Citelli to lava cave Serracozo. Park the car at Rifugio Citelli and hike to lava cave Serracozo. The first small part is on the road and then take the path on the left when you walk from Rifugio Citelli on the road. When you are on the beginning of the trail take the right path and keep on following the trail.

  • Duration: 1.5 hours
  • Distance: 4 km
  • Elevation: 182 meters
  • Level: easy

Hike Monti Sartorius is a trail that leads to many small craters that were formed during the eruption of 1865. Start the hike at Rifugio Citelli and hike to Monti Sartorius. While walking you will pass by lava flows, and you will end at the Monti Sartorius craters.

  • Duration: 2 hours
  • Distance: 4-5 km
  • Elevation: 200 meters
  • Level: easy

Hike from Piano Provenzana to Bottoniera del 1911 and to Cerniera di fuoco 2002. Park your car at Piano Provenzana, from here there are many different hikes. You can walk to the Bottoniera del 1911 or even further and to Cerniera di fuoco.

  • Duration: 2.5 hours
  • Distance: 7km
  • Elevation: 316 meters
  • Level: moderate

Hike summit craters up to 3,350 meters high only accessible with guide and depending on the activity of the volcano. For a while people were not allowed to hike all the way to the top because the volcano was too active. The hike starts at Piano Provenzana.

  • Duration: 6 hours
  • Distance: 12-14 km
  • Elevation: 1,500 meters
  • Level: hard

In the North of Mount Etna there are many hikes to do. You will enjoy a unique experience with less tourists and greener.

Tip: there are many guided tours you can book. It’s possible to safely hike around by yourself until a certain height.

South of Mount Etna

The South of Mount Etna is the touristic part of the area but from here you will have some incredible views. There are three options to go up the mountain.

The starting point for hiking on the South is at Rifugio Sapienza which is located at 1,900 meters height. You can get to the starting point by car, bus or a tour that starts from a nearby town.

These are the 3 ways to hike on the South of Mount Etna:

  • Easy route: take a cable car up and go further up with a 4×4 bus up to 2,920 meters height. Hike around the crater and enjoy the view.
  • Moderate route: take a cable car up to 2,500 meters height and hike to Torre del Filosofo.
  • Hard route: start the hike at Rifugio Sapienza and hike all the way up to the summit craters (or until the height that is allowed to go).

Enjoy the beautiful area but make sure you are safe by checking the activity of the volcano and ask how high you can go because this changes depending on the activity and weather conditions.

To learn more about Sicily you can read our blog Discover Sicily: The largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. If you are an adventure seeker, read our blog Adventure activities to do in Sicily.

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