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Mount Etna cable car | Whizz up top with this high-speed option

Mount Etna Cable Car

Mount Etna, an active volcano on the eastern coast of Sicily, is one of the most popular attractions in the city. To reach the summit, you will have to take the cable car to Mount Etna. The cable car ride on Mount Etna is a popular way for visitors to reach higher elevations and enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes. 

What to expect from my cable car journey to Mount Etna? 

  • Enjoy a quick 15-minute ride from Rifugio Sapienza to the summit of Mount Etna, with the serene backdrop of the Swiss Alps for company. 
  • Breathe in crisp, clean, and fresh air as you ascend from 1900 meters to 2500 meters in your cable car. 
  • Your cable car journey to Mount Etna is just the start of a day filled with adventure, thrill, and lots of fun! 

Mount Etna cable car timetable

  • December to March: Daily from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

      Last departure: 4:00 PM

  • April to November: Daily 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM

       Last departure: 3:30 PM

  • Special sunset excursions: Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday

      Departure: 5:30 PM (on reservation)

What to see during your Mount Etna cable car ride?

Lava fields

Mount Etna is known for its historical and recent lava flows. As you ascend in your cable car, you can see the stunning vast lava fields and gain a unique perspective on the volcanic landscape of the mountain.

Silvestri Craters

Mount Etna has numerous craters, each with its characteristics. Some are active, while others are dormant. There are two well-known craters on the southern side of Mount Etna- Silvestri Superiore and Silvestri Inferiore. They formed during the 1892-1893 eruption and are often visited by tourists.

Volcanic cones

Mount Etna has multiple volcanic cones of varying sizes. These cones are created by the eruption of lava and ash, contributing to the ever-changing topography of the volcano.

Spectacular panoramas

As you ascend, you'll likely enjoy stunning panoramic views of the surrounding landscape, including the Sicilian coastline and nearby towns.

Etna Observatory

Depending on the cable car route, you might have the opportunity to visit the Etna Observatory. This scientific research facility provides insight into volcanic activity and plays a crucial role in monitoring Mount Etna.

Things to do after your cable car journey to Mount Etna

Visit Silvestri Craters

Take a guided tour to explore the Silvestri craters on Mount Etna. These craters were formed during Etna’s eruption in 1892-1893. The Silvestri Craters are easily accessible from the base stations and offer panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes.

Visit Etna Observatory

Pay a visit to the Etna Observatory and learn about the scientific research conducted there. The observatory provides valuable information about volcanic activity and monitoring on Mount Etna.

Hiking and walking trails

Mount Etna has various hiking trails suitable for different levels of fitness. Explore some of these trails to experience the diverse landscapes, from lava fields to lush vegetation. Be sure to follow safety guidelines and, if necessary, hire a guide.

Skiing and snowboarding

During the winter months, Mount Etna's higher elevations may be covered in snow. If you visit during this time, you can partake in winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding activities.

Wine tasting

The fertile volcanic soils around Mount Etna contribute to the cultivation of vineyards. Explore local wineries and indulge in a wine-tasting experience, sampling wines produced in the region.

Cave exploration

Explore lava tubes and caves formed by past volcanic activity at Mount Etna. Some guided tours also offer the opportunity to venture into the underground formations at Mount Etna.

Getting to the Mount Etna cable car by public transport

By bus

Best for: Budget travel

Bus lines: Buses run from Piazza Papa Giovanni XXIII to Rifugio Sapienza. 

Closest bus stop: Rifugio Sapienza

Bus timings: The first bus leaves Piazza Papa Giovanni XXII at 8:15 AM and the last bus from Rifugio Sapienza is at 4:30 PM. 

Getting to Mount Etna cable car by road

The southern and eastern slopes are commonly used to access the Mount Etna volcano. If you are traveling by car, take the SS121 or SS284 roads, which provide access to these slopes.

Once you park your car, you will have to take a cable car to reach the summit of Mount Etna. 

Parking facilities are available at Mount Etna. You can park your car at Via Brucoli Parking or the Parcheggio Auto Etna, which is a 2-minute walk from Mount Etna. 

Know before you go to Mount Etna cable cars

Weather
Facilities
  • Summers (June to August): Summers at Mount Etna, like in many other places, are characterized by warm temperatures and generally pleasant weather. During summers, the temperature at Mount Etna is around 20℃-30℃ at lower elevations. 
  • Winters (December to February): Winter at Mount Etna can be a unique and captivating experience, as the landscape transforms under a blanket of snow, and the atmosphere takes on a different character. At lower elevations of Mount Etna, temperatures are relatively mild, whereas, at higher elevations, temperatures can drop significantly-sometimes even below the freezing point. Due to the chilly weather, outdoor activities may be limited at Mount Etna during winter. 
  • Autumn (September to November): During autumn, Mount Etna’s landscape and weather change significantly. Day temperatures fall further, and the nights become chilly. During this season the temperature at Mount Etna fluctuates between 8℃ and -1℃.  
  • Spring (March to May): During springtime, the cold weather conditions at Mount Etna give way to warmer and milder temperatures. Temperatures usually range from -3℃ to 3℃, which makes springtime the best time to indulge in outdoor activities such as hiking and trekking at Mount Etna. 

  • Limited accessibility for wheelchair users. All cable cars are accessible for people with reduced mobility. 
  • Toilets 
  • Parking 
  • Picnic areas
  • Barbecue areas
  • Information Center

Frequently asked questions about Mount Etna cable car

Are cable cars the only way to get to Mount Etna?

If you want to reach the summit of Mount Etna, you can go for either a cable car or a 4X4 bus. If you want to explore the lower elevations and craters at Mount Etna, you can go via bus, train, or car. 

How big is the cable car?

The cable car that will take you to Mount Etna has an occupancy of 6 people. 

Does the cable car stop anywhere on the way to Mount Etna?

This depends on the route of the cable car. Some cable cars stop at the Silvestri craters and/or the Etna Observatory before taking you to the summit of the volcano. 

Is the cable car safe?

All cable cars are regularly checked and operated by certified technicians. However, in the unlikely event of the cable car getting stalled, just follow the instructions and safety guidelines given by the operator or guide. 

What is the duration of the cable car ride to Mount Etna?

A one-way journey to Mount Etna via cable car will take you around 15 minutes. A round-trip cable car journey to Mount Etna will take you around 30 minutes.