The mountain has an eerie volcanic landscape, with solidifed "rivers" of lava. It is used for skiing in winter, so be prepared for the cold at this altitude, even in summer. Even in good weather in summer, sometimes the top of the mountain is covered in cloud, especially during the afternoon, obscuring the wonderful views.
Mount Etna was inscribed to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2013.
One bus a day runs to and from Catania and Nicolosi, to Rifugio Sapienza about 1400m below the summit on the south side, giving you enough time for a trip up the mountain and a wander. The bus in Catania leaves from the bus terminal outside the central station - tickets can be bought from the "Bar Terminal" shop opposite the bus stop, and cost around 8 euro for a return ticket. The bus takes under 2 hours each way and stops several times in Catania .
By tour bus
Many agencies in Taormina offer organised trips to and around the mountain.
Tours can also be arranged by contacting: the Parco Regionale dell'Etna, Via Etnea 107, Nicolosi, tel: +39 095 914588.
There are a few ways to get around on Mount Etna:
- From Rifugio Sapienza (Etna south) during good weather, you can either
- Pay for a trip on a 4-wheel-drive vehicle + cable car (60€ A/R but they have agreements with some close hotels) about 800m nearer the top.
- Walk (no climbing gear required in summer). The walk is steep and, being a volcano, is pumice scree. In bad weather, you can walk if you are experienced and prepared for freezing weather. The walk can be a little strenuous for the inexperienced, particularly considering the altitude.
- From Piano Provenzana (Etna north) by walking to arrive on the summit Crater. This is a beautiful tour because it's possible to admire forests and lava sceneries.
- The solidified rivers of lava.
- The great views.
- Many entertainers on the sides of the roads. for example, artists, singers, and photographers. *The many Mini-shops along the side walks, the old fashioned houses and restaurants, and the locals that live there.
- Novara di Sicilia - Located in the provence of Messina on the northern side of Mt. Etna, this picturesque medieval town is nestled in the mountains overlooking ancient Tyndaris and Abacaenum. It is the archetype of a typical medieval town, with its friendly and accommodating people who speak a distinctive dialect.
- If you're fit and adventurous, check out the possibility of a guided climb of Etna. Gruppo Guide Alpine Etna Sud, Via Etnea 49 (Nicolosi), +39 095 7914755, (not all pages have been translated to English as of July 2008), is the guide service applicable for ascents from Sapienza. The guides' English can be a bit hit or miss, but they know vastly more about conditions on the mountain than anyone else, and have by far the best understanding of what's safe and interesting. Climbing to the summit without a guide isn't just prohibited, it's foolhardy, even if you're a capable hiker in more conventional surroundings.
- A vintage self drive excursion or a themed tour on a classic Fiat 500, starting from Taormina and Giardini Naxos area. The most popular excursions are themed on the Francis Ford Coppola's Godfather movie and on the Etna Wines Road. You can reach amazing villages like Savoca, Forza D’Agrò and Taormina.500 Vintage Tour - Classic car hire & tours - Taormina - Phone +39 3497234906 - Email: firstname.lastname@example.org - Website: 500 Vintage Tour
There are lots of souvenir shops around Rifugio Sapienza.
There are several cafes / restaurants around Rifugio Sapienza.
You can buy many hot chocolates to warm up your toasty bones. Also on colder months, as you go up Mt. Etna you will find several shops and there you can buy the drink, "Fuoco dell'Etna" which is a liqueur which will definitely keep you warm as you hike up. It will get very cold.
You can sleep in Rifugio Sapienza itself.
- Hotel Corsaro Etna Sud, Piazza Cantoniera, Nicolosi, ☎ +39 095 914122. Sapienza. A ski-lodge-like hotel that advertises itself as the "highest" lodging on Etna, referring to elevation, not price. 17 rooms, restaurant. Inside Parco dell'Etna and within easy walking distance of the lower funicular terminal.
- Etnalodge, Via Bassi, 21, Piedimonte Etneo. At the north-east foothills of Mount Etna about 8 km outside Parco dell'Etna is an ancient wine-producing estate renovated as a lodge. Terrific view, 500 meters above sea level in the countryside.
- Mareneve Resort, Via Mareneve, 63, Linguaglossa, ☎ +39 095 643379, e-mail: email@example.com. Right outside the north side of Parco dell'Etna.
- Terrazza dell'Etna, Via Alcide De Gasperi, 92 Mascalucia, ☎ +393888461903, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. B&B in Mascalucia, next to Rifugio Sapienza and about 8 km from Etna Park. Rooms are equipped with private bath, WiFi, TV and panoramic view.
- There are also sleep options about 15km away in Nicolosi.