Easy way to explore Etna with kids. Travelled in 4x4 which was fun in itself for 2 boys aged 11 and 13. Got to see lava flows, lava tunnel. Missed out on crater walk as the weather turned as we were about to start our walk. Guide has good knowledge and informative. This tour would be great on a sunny day but unfortunately the weather was awful when we visited.
All the promise of a fantastic trip but failed to deliver. My experience was very much in line with the other 3 reviews on here. The guide Ernesto didn't seem too bothered and didn't give very much information. He would walk off at his own pace, often a very long way ahead and didn't really engage with the group. We did not even see a lava tube and this is on the trip itinerary.
Our lunch was not at the beautiful Sicilian farmhouse as described in so many other reviews, but at a panini van at the side of the road, which was pretty nice food, but not the experience I was looking for by booking this trip. On the way home, Ernesto's driving was very erratic even for italian standards. We very nearly crashed twice and actually got hit by a small lorry once when he tried to squeeze through a gap too small. However, he did go out of the way to show us a fantastic view of the mountain which we previously missed due to poor visibility, which was nice.
Overall I am pretty disappointed as I had wanted to experience volcanic features since I was very young. I am not sure whether it was due to circumstance out of season / moderate volcanic activity / poor visibility or that it felt like we were ruining the guide's personal hike. Probably a combination of both.
This excursion was fantastic and I highly recommend it. The views during the hike were amazing, the food at the lunch was unbelievably delicious, and the lava tubes were really cool to experience. Ernesto was a great guide and took care of everything while we were out with him and made sure everyone's needs were met.
About the hike. You will be on a hiking trail that is sometimes narrow with inclines and declines. In some sections there are step-ups/downs, uneven surfaces, exposed rocks and tree roots, and loose gravel. If you do this hike you should dress accordingly, bring a backpack to hold some additional clothing and water.
During the tour through the lava tubes, you are provided hard hats with headlamps, you will definitely need the light to see in the tube.
The lunch, which is not included in the price, was spectacular. It was on a beautiful farm located off the hiking trail. it was a wonderful experience and a great way to refuel after the hike.
Brilliant walking tour of Etna. Our Guide Ernesto was enthusiastic, helpful and very knowledgeable. He picked us up near our accommodation and drove up to the starting point for our walk. Small, friendly group of people. We learnt about the volcano and its activity, and on the way back we walked 200m inside a lava tunnel - the highlight of the trip for my three teenage sons! Ernesto explained how it had been formed and made us all feel safe and secure. All in all a great day out.
If you are going to visit Mt Etna you must take this tour! There are large bus tours that will take you to the visitor center but if you want a personalized, fun and engaging tour of the mountain you need to spend the day with Ernesto. We were picked up at our hotel and whisked away in a Range Rover through the outskirts of Catania. We made several stops on the way up the mountain with amazing views. Ernesto explained the history of the mountain and pointed out the evidence of the past eruptions. We geared up and explored a lava tube and learned more of the geology of the mountain. From the visitor center, Ernesto guided us up the mountain and through the lava fields. We had lunch at a family home on the mountain. It was a full full meal prepared and served by a delightful couple. Ernesto is a Catania local who can answer any question you have about the mountain and local Catania. He recommended a restaurant in Catania, MM, and it did not disappoint.
An exceptional experience walking through mount Etna to look at different aspects and to learn some of the history. The views were simply breathtaking. A long walk was rewarded by an exceptional lunch at a local farm which was absolutely way out - totally fresh and typically Sicilian. The guides took particular care and came back to assist my walk through the lava cave and the final decline having previously injured both Achilles' tendons. Despite this previous injury, I was very pleased to have completed the walk and would not have missed it for anything.
This was an absolutely superb excursion, not to be undertaken by the faint of heart or under equipped. Our guide, Ernesto, did a wonderful job. Absolutely superb! He has some professional training in geology, was able to explain how the volcano behaves, provided appropriate safety equipment you really need a lighted hard hat for the lava tube exploration, and in my case, not just encouragement but two hiking poles. I was the oldest person on this expedition, and he did a wonderful job ensuring that I actually got to see everything. This was the wish of a lifetime, and along with my three fellow travelers made it possible. Thank you.