4 star rating: Recommended 26 Reviews

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  • Location:Taormina, Italy
  • Duration:10 hours (approx.)

Mount Etna and Alcantara Gorges Day Trip with Circumetnea Railway Ride

Leave Taormina and ride around Mount Etna by 1950s-era train on the Circumetnea Railway! This exciting day trip also includes trips to the rock pools and canyons of Alcantara Gorges (entrance own expense) and the foothills of Sicily’s vivacious volcano. If you want to see Mount Etna’s smouldering summit, upgrade to include transport to the top and a walking tour of the craters.

Note that from November 1 to March 31, the tour does not include the train ride nor the optional upgrade to the summit.


  • Mount Etna day trip from Taormina
  • Explore volcanic canyons and rock pools on a walk through Alcantara Gorges
  • Loop around Mount Etna on the Circumetnea Railway, traveling by 1950s-era train (only from April to October)
  • Enjoy free time to hike around Mount Etna’s foothills at leisure
  • Upgrade to visit the summit of Mount Etna and walk around its craters with a guide

Why Our Insiders Chose This Tour

Be sure to take a window-side seat on the train ride so you can clearly see the contrasting countryside, with black volcanic rocks set against Sicilian shrubs!

Recent Photos of This Tour

What You Can Expect

Mount Etna and Alcantara Gorges Day Trip with Circumetnea Railway Ride

Explore Alcantara Gorges and then visit Mount Etna!

Meet your host in Taormina and travel by air-conditioned coach to Alcantara Gorges, a series of deep incisions in the cliffs around the Alcantara River. Pay your entrance fee, and then follow your host around the incredible waterfalls and gorges, created after a series of ancient volcanic eruptions.

Return to your coach and travel to the small town of Randazzo. If you visit on a Sunday, your host will allow you free time to browse the town's Sunday market. Then, head to Circumetnea Railway, a private train station that operates a 1950s-era train around Mount Etna. Take a seat aboard the delightfully old-fashioned train, and relax as it weaves its way around the entire circumference of the volcano. The route offers unique views of the volcano with valley vineyards and flower-frescoed meadows to one side and old lava fields of Mount Etna on the other.

After an hour on the train, disembark and swap back to your coach. Travel to Etna south station, at an altitude of 6,234 feet (1,900 meters), and enjoy free time to hike the trails in the foothills at leisure. Grab a snack at the station’s cafe (own expense) and ask your host for hiking trail recommendations; sturdy walking shoes are recommended.

Upgrade to skip the free time and head straight to the top, instead. Ride by cable car to a height of 8,202 feet (2,500 meters), and then travel the remaining distance by 4x4 jeep, stopping at a dizzying 9,843 feet (3,000 meters). Follow your host around the summit’s craters and peering into hornitos (small openings that release lava) while learning about volcanic activity.

Board your coach at the pre-arranged time, and then travel back to the start point in Taormina.

Please note:
During winter months (November to March), the tour travels from Randazzo to Etna south station by bus, not train. The optional upgrade to the top is also not possible. Winter tours only include free time for trekking at leisure around the foothills.

Customer Reviews

5 star rating: Highly Recommended July 2015

Fantastic tour. Lots of variety and activity.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2014

Do not miss this trip! Fantastic view, feeling on top of the Volcano ...

5 star rating: Highly Recommended July 2014

I only wish I'd paid to ascend Etna on the day...
It was a wonderful trip, the villages were beautiful to travel through and the train, although very very hot and uncomfortable, offered us the chance to view Etna and the flat lands from a different view point.
The guide was excellent and knowledgable

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2014

This was one of the best paid day excursions I have ever been on - wonderfully organised and fascinating. The bus driver Francesco was an artist who drove down scenic small roads with breathtaking aplomb. Elizabeth's commentary was very informative and the experience of climbing up Mt Etna's slopes was wonderful. An unforgettable experience that I would highly recommend to anyone. One bit of advice - if you book directly via Viatour don't forget to give them your hotel address so that they can collect you.

4 star rating: Recommended September 2015

I actually really liked this tour. The tour began with a visit to a nature center that had a river running through it, and you could see really neat volcanic rocks. Not really Etna and so maybe not for everyone but I enjoyed it. We then took an old fashioned narrow gauge train around part of Etna, the train was not air conditioned being old fashioned but the windows let in a breeze and the views were beautiful. The bus ride partway up Etna was painless, and let us out in a touristy area with many restaurants. I purchased the option to take the funicular and 4x4 further up. The funicular was fun to ride, although the windows were a little dirty which made taking pictures a little fuzzy. The 4x4 took us much higher, but we were still hundreds, if not a 1000 meters from the peak. It was still cool to wander around the mountain after getting out of the 4x4, but it would have been nice if there was an option to purchase a hike/guide to take us further up the mountain to the summit. Overall I liked this trip and would do it again.

4 star rating: Recommended September 2015

Very good day out, with plenty of activities and excellent views of Etna and its surroundings.

4 star rating: Recommended September 2015

We thoroughly enjoyed the trip and it has given us a desire to return to Alcantara Gorges for a trip on its own.
We like visits to Volcanoes and would recommend this even if you only want the Scenery from the trip there and back

4 star rating: Recommended August 2015

Great experience. Alcantara Gorges is just alright but Etna was really cool. Wish we had a little more time to see the smoking peak.

4 star rating: Recommended May 2015

I so enjoyed visiting the Alcantara Gorge that lost track of the time and then lost my tour group. However, the local agents SAT were on the ball they hooked me up with another group and after some unscheduled activity I met up with my own group at Etna. Etna didn't put on too much of a show that day, but just seeing the surreal landscape, black ash with patches of white snow, was incredible. I can also now claim to have walked across a volcano crater not during an eruption, mind you. I was sorry that we did not get to to the actual rim of one of the active craters.

4 star rating: Recommended May 2015

An exciting trip which goes through Alcantara Gorges. We visited that wonderful place and, in an end, we were late 3 minutes, to find that the coach left. I must mention that our guide was Santo who left us there as he did not count his passengers. Someone from the same company took us by car and raced us up to a crossway to catch the coach back. From that point up to the end our trip was gorgeous.

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Tour code: 6099ALCANTARAETNA


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