Explore Mount Etna, the world's most active stratovolcano, on this small-group hiking tour from Catania. Travel in a 4x4 vehicle or minivan to reach a departure point for a moderate hike through Mount Etna's moon-like landscape in the Valley del Bove depression, including a lava tube exploration, and the Silvestri craters. Hotel pickup and drop-off in Catania included.
Hike through Mount Etna's Valle del Bove depression
Travel in a smaller vehicle to reach areas inaccessible to larger vehicles
Let me start by saying that we did like the part of the trip that we got. The walk across the lava fields of Mount Etna was interesting and the guide provided good information and context of what we saw.
What we didn't like however is that at the start of the trip we had to wait close to one hour for a party of 5 or 6 people who were in the same group as us. They showed up late, quite to the dismay of the other participants. As a result, we never got to explore the lava tunnel that was mentioned as one of the highlights of the trip, for there apparently was no time to do so after the hike over the lava fields and the (late) lunch stop.
Furthermore, my wife and I had to translate the information from the guide(s) from English to French, for the benefit of two French ladies in our group. They did not speak English, so if it hadn't been for my wife and I all information about the tour and the sights would have been lost on them. When they made their booking they had been reassured there would be a French speaking guide on the tour, which clearly turned out not to be the case.
A really fabulous experience! Our guide Ernesto was extremely knowledgeable & informative with regard to Etna. We were a mixed group of ages & physical ability. Ernesto lead the hike at a steady pace, taking it in stages to stop & catch our breath. He encouraged the slower members of our group to persist, which sometimes was difficult & tiring in the midday sun. But the climb was worth it!
Bring plenty of water, lash on the sun cream & most importantly a hat, there's no shade on Etna.
Forget all orher trips to Etna on Viator, this is a MUST!!
, Jun 2019
Absolutelly amazing!!! The tour is really great, after driving from Catania, we stoped at the first place 1993 lava flow, where Ernesto gave us some information about the Etna’s historical eruptions, it was really detailed and very helpful to understand which geological area are we going to visit. Afterwards we ve stopped in the alltitude of 1830 m and continued by walking in the heighh of around 2070 m. First 100 m were really steep, but manageable if you re used to walk, no need to be super fit, but if you have issues to walk in stairs, i would not recommend it. After reaching our destination we had an amazing view od Mount Etna, really spectacular!! On the way back we walked to the parking spot from where the cable car is running to refresh ourselves. Ernesto went down for the car and picked us up.
Highly recomment, forget all other tours on Viator. This is the one you should book.
PS: proper hiking shoes are highly recommended.
A fantastic, challenging, hike with our guide Ernesto. He was extremely knowledgeable about volcanology and the hike was therefore interesting as well as active. Definitely need sturdy footwear and plenty of water for this!
Getting started was a little rough as the directions on how to find Ernesto were less than helpful - BUT he immediately responded to my text and we were able to find him outside the gate to the port / waiting on the street. FYI - no sign.
Don't be fooled by his Land Rover … it is old and rather battered for a reason. Trust me - you'll need the excellent drive train to get you up hills you won't believe are possible.
Ernesto first took us to an overlook to see how a lava flow had decimated a path down to the town and stopped just short of the last remaining house in its path. While there he gave us a very informative talk about lava / magna and shifting earth plates. His English is broken but we understood him completely.
Then we stopped at a small shop that sells all kinds of amazing honey, nuts, spices and wine! Be sure to try both the lemoncello and the pistachio liquor. We weren't the only car there and they were doing a booming business!!
We thought the trip was over - NOT!! We then drove further up the mountain to a place where we could get out and stretch our legs … climbing. Did I mention there was snow on the ground and twice while we were driving we encountered hail. I had not dressed for this - heck, I live in Florida - and should have borrowed the gloves Ernesto offered. If you go be sure to wear warm and comfortable clothes. One couple started the trek but decided not to continue. I recommend you not take this trip if you're not ready to brave a steep climb. Fear not, if we can do it at 60 you can too!
Then it was back down the mountain and back to the ship. It was truly a one in a lifetime event that I am so glad I took part in. I've been to the big island of Hawaii and sat near an erupting volcano in Costa Rica but nothing can begin to describe Mt Etna. Go! You won't regret it. Ernesto was very skilled and knowledgeable
Wonderful experience. Great guide. Highly recommended :) The views are so beautiful from the volcano :) We went by jeep on a bit out of main road track. After coffee we went for some hiking along crater of volcano. The guide is excellent!
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.