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Climb Etna volcano | Hiking trails, routes & more

Mount Etna ToursMount Etna Climb

Climb Mount Etna

Climbing Mount Etna is an unforgettable experience that combines physical strength with breathtaking scenery and geological marvels. Whether you choose the southern or northern route, the journey to the summit promises a rewarding adventure for nature enthusiasts and thrill-seekers alike.

Before going on a Mount Etna hike: Things to know

Getting to Mount Etna
Hiking the trail
Visiting the summit
Visitor’s tips
  • You can easily reach Mount Etna, which is located on the eastern coast of Sicily, via public transport. 
  • Take the bus to Rifugio Sapienza, the starting point of your trek, and set off on an adventurous hike to the summit of Mount Etna and its famous craters. 
  • The hiking trail is around 3-4 km long and will take you around 2 hours to complete. 
  • The trail is steep and rocky in some areas, so appropriate footwear and clothing are recommended. 
  • The trail is best suited for visitors above the age of 8 years. 

  • Mount Etna is the highest volcano in Europe, so be prepared for some magical and amazing panoramic views of Sicily and its surrounding area, from the top of the summit.
  • Marvel at the famous Summit Craters and the 2002 craters, the living testimonies of Mount Etna’s historic eruptions. 
  • Be aware of your surrounding areas at all times, and strictly follow the instructions given by your guide. 
  • Respect the natural environment, and do not leave any litter behind at the Etna volcano. 
  • Listen to your body. If you are tired or feel uneasy and uncomfortable at any point during the trek, please stop and inform your guide. 
  • The weather at Mount Etna can be unpredictable, so carry sunscreen, hats, scarves, sunglasses, and a light sweater. 
  • Stay on the designated hiking trail, do not veer off your chosen path and avoid climbing into the craters. 
  • Volcanic sand can be slippery, so take your time and choose your footing carefully. Trekking poles can be helpful for added stability.
  • Pack energy-rich snacks like nuts, dried fruit, and granola bars. You'll need to keep your energy high while trekking these slopes. 

Rifugio Sapienza to Mount Etna summit | Main trail

Starting point: Rifugio Sapienza

Distance: 3-4 km

Duration: 6 hours 

Difficulty level: Easy

Start your trek from Rifugio Sapienza, from where you will take a cable car and ascend to 2500 meters. Hop on a 4X4 bus to get to the 2900 meters mark, which is the starting point of your trek. Walk till you reach the Summit Craters of Mount Etna at 3340 meters.

As you walk along the volcanic terrain, you will pass by lunar-looking lava fields that will lead you to your final destination. After reaching the summit of Mount Etna, enjoy the stunning panoramic views from the top of the highest active volcano in Europe! 

After admiring the natural beauty and the craters synonymous with Mount Etna, begin your descent to the 2002 craters and then take the cable car to Rifugio Sapienza. 

Alternative trails to Mount Etna

Zafferana

Starting point: Zafferana

Distance: 6 km 

Duration: 6 hours

Difficulty level: Easy

Start your trek from Zafferana, and climb to the summit of Mount Etna to enjoy stunning panoramic views of the surrounding areas. On your trek, marvel at a unique landscape speckled with volcanic craters and secret lava caves on the Valle del Bove. Walk through the woods to reach the beautiful Snow Cave, which is a natural wonder of lava flows and volcanic cones at Mount Etna. You can also take a pit stop at the Museo Vulcanologico to learn about Etna’s history. 

Adrano

Starting point: Adrano

Distance: 6 km 

Duration: 6 hours

Difficulty level: Easy

Adrano is the starting point of this trek to Mount Etna. Walk along idyllic trails and explore the dormant craters of Mount Etna as you explore the natural beauty of the volcano. Wearing helmets and armed with torches, step into a prismatic lava flow cave on this adventurous hike. Conclude your trek with a sumptuous and truly authentic Sicilian lunch, complete with some delicious wine, 2000 meters above sea level before starting your descent. 

Things to carry

  • Comfortable shoes, preferably hiking boots
  • Light jackets
  • Sunscreen and sunglasses 
  • Snacks and water
  • Cash 
  • Rain gear 
  • First aid kit and basic medicines
  • Trash bags
  • Mobile phones
  • Trekking poles 
  • Camera
  • Map and compass 

Frequently asked questions about Mount Etna hike

Can anyone hike Mount Etna?

Only visitors above 8 years old can hike Mount Etna. Visitors with heart problems and asthma should avoid the hike as well. 

How do I climb Mount Etna?

Most treks to Mount Etna start from Zafferana, Adrano or Rifugio Sapienza. After a certain point, visitors have to take a cable car, followed by a 4X4 bus to reach the starting point of their climb to Mount Etna. The hike takes around 6 hours to complete and offers stunning views of Sicily and its surrounding areas.

How long does it take to hike up Mount Etna?

Depending on your fitness level and pace, a hike to Mount Etna can take you around 6 hours.

What is the best time of year to hike Mount Etna?

The best time of the year to hike Mount Etna is either the spring or fall, when the weather is mild and the crowds are less. The summer months can be very hot and crowded, and the winter months can be cold and wet.

What should I wear when hiking Mount Etna?

Wear comfortable clothes and sturdy shoes with good traction when climbing Mount Etna. The path to Mount Etna can be steep and slippery, and you need to maintain your footing when climbing Etna. Also ensure that you are wearing layers, since the weather can change quickly on the mountain. 

Are there any safety concerns when hiking Mount Vesuvius?

Keep in mind that Mount Etna is an active volcano, and there is a potential risk of eruptions. Ensure that you strictly follow the instructions given by your guide, stay on the designated trail, and avoid any off-limits areas. Sometimes, volcanic ash can enter your airways. Carry a respirator or tie a bandana around your mouth to prevent inhaling smoke and fine matter.

Is it possible to see the crater of Mount Etna during the hike?

Yes, you can see the craters of Mount Etna during the hike. You can see the Summit, Silvestri craters and the 2002 craters of Mount Etna on your climb to the summit of Mount Etna. 

Are there any guided tours available for the Mount Etna hike?

Yes, guided tours to the Mount Etna area are available. Guided tours can provide additional information about the history and geology of Mount Etna, and ensure your safety during your climb.