The most extraordinary scenery in Italy is Mount Etna, Sicily. It is a lunar landscape of volcanic rocks and black sand that is as beautiful as it is stark.
Etna was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2013 due to its “exceptional level of volcanic activity” and global scientific, cultural, educational importance. It is a key part of Sicily’s topography. This majestic mountain is Sicily’s most popular attraction. It’s also the best natural attraction on the island. Here are the top reasons to visit Mount Etna, as well as what you need before you go.
You can visit Mount Etna with an expert local guide by checking out the Walks of Italy Partnership Tour that takes you to the top and allows you to explore the history, geology and geography of the mountain.
Mount Etna: Why you should visit
It is one of the most important (and historic) landmarks in southern Italy.
About 35,000 years ago, Etna was formed. Its first eruption was recorded in 1500 BC. Since then, it has continued to erupt (some 200 times). It is beautiful and thrilling to visit Mount Etna. However, the legends and influences of Mount Etna are important to the history and development of Italy. Ancient Greeks believed the volcano belonged to the Cyclops, a legendary monster with one eye. It was featured in Homer’s Odyssey. Typhon, a 100-headed monster, also lived there.
Although Etna is a haunted place with many legends, the locals have discovered many practical uses for it. One of the most notable examples is the clever repurposing of roughly 200 caves formed from lava as burial grounds or storage cellars for wine and meat.
It is huge and active!
Mt. Etna is the closest mountain to Catania. However, the volcano can be seen from more than half of Sicily on clear days. It is the highest active volcano in Europe and the southernmost mountain of the Alps. It is certainly active! The last eruption of Mount Etna occurred on May 17, 2016, when it erupted, releasing plumes and smoke high above Sicily. All these eruptions are geologically significant and make Mount Etna one of Europe’s most beautiful spots. They make it a safe volcano to visit, which is counterintuitive. Explosions are more inclined to lava flows than massive explosions, as there is no risk of lava or gas buildup. It is a must-see on every Italian’s bucket list to see lava flows from a safe distance, especially at night.
You can enjoy great hiking with amazing views.
Mount Etna is the main attraction of Etna National park. The park covers a total of 224 square miles (581 km) and has about 20 towns. It was established in 1987. Mount Etna is best visited in spring, summer or fall to enjoy the diverse landscapes, which include volcanic craters, barren fields oflava, and swatches with woods, vineyards, and sand dunes. Mt. The best views on the island are offered by Etna, regardless of season. To see the lunar landscape from the top, climb up to the summit and look down to the rolling hills, vineyards, and medieval towns below.
It offers great skiing
Two tourism zones are included in the UNESCO protection. These include hotels, car parks and restaurants as well as ticket booths for guided hikes or guided drives. There are many trails and routes to choose from in the National Park for all levels. Two of Sicily’s three ski resorts are available to visitors who visit Etna during winter. Ski the slopes of the volcano one day, and then enjoy the beach the next.
Its volcanic ash grows excellent wine
The volcanic soil around the mountain is very fertile and supports extensive agriculture. On terraces that are cut into the mountain’s lower slopes, you can find vineyards and apple, hazelnut and chestnut orchards. The rich volcanic ash that is the basis of Mount Etna’s wine can be enjoyed only once. It is a highly-local product that is one of the region’s most treasured products. Oenophiles believe that Etna wine alone is enough to make Sicily a worthwhile destination.
Before you go
You can travel to Etna all year. Sicily, which is located just a short distance from North Africa’s med, is one of Italy’s most southern islands. It stays quite balmy all year. Although the island can get very hot in summer, it is cool to breathe in the cooler temperatures when you climb Etna. Mount Etna tourism means being outdoors. So, no matter what time of year you visit, make sure to pack enough layers to be prepared for the weather. A jacket is not only necessary to keep you warm, but it also protects your skin from the sun and possible flying ash or dust. A pair of sunglasses can also be useful. If you are planning to hike the volcano, it is a good idea to wear sturdy hiking boots or tennis shoes. Although there are many restaurants and tourist points selling food on the mountain they may be less than the delicious Sicilian cuisine. You can bring sandwiches to take with you or plan your day so that you can eat in one of the beautiful towns below the volcano.
Mount Etna can be a very active volcano. Make sure to check the weather conditions and any eruptions before you travel. Public access to the summit of the volcano may be restricted at times for safety reasons. Most trips start from Rifugio Sapienza on the south side. You can either walk up the volcano or take a cable car. The cable cars operate all day, weather permitting. Prices include a minibus to take you from the station to the main volcano. It takes approximately four hours to walk around the Rifugio Sapienza crater.