Etna is the largest volcano in Europe, beautiful to visit. But how to get to the top of it?
All this is super exciting, climbing to the top to see its craters up close and a unique viewpoint over Catania and Sicily.
For a safe visit, we recommend a guided day or half-day excursion. Equip yourself with trekking shoes and a windproof jacket and explore one of the most beautiful volcanic territories in the world.
Hiking on Mount Etna. How to dress before an excursion
First, an essential question for those who want to visit Etna is how to dress before a hike. Answer: it depends on the season and the temperatures.
If you go in winter, even in Sicily, there may be low temperatures, and on Etna, it is easy to encounter gusts of freezing wind and snowstorms. It is, therefore, necessary to bring a good jacket or coat, preferably waterproof or windproof; it is a good idea to cover your head with a cap or woolen hat and, of course, snow gloves and a scarf. A good pair of hiking boots and you already have everything you need for a safe excursion.
If, on the other hand, you visit the volcano during the summer, don't be fooled by the hot temperatures in Sicily. On Etna, it may still be windy and colder due to the altitude. It is a good idea to dress comfortably and in layers: long but light trousers, a t-shirt, and a good sweatshirt. If your hike is in the evening, it will be better to cover up with a little extra. As for shoes, it is best NOT to opt for sandals or open shoes. Hiking or mountaineering shoe is ideal; if this is not available, a sneaker with a non-slip sole will also do to avoid losing contact with the ground.
How to get to Mount Etna from Catania
Whether you want to leave by private car or by public transport, to visit Etna's various craters at their best, you must first reach Rifugio Sapienza, which is about two thousand meters above sea level. Once there, you can climb almost a thousand meters by special 4x4 and continue to the top on foot for another two kilometers.
If you leave Catania by car, drive along State Road 120 to Rifugio Sapienza, where you will find a suitable place to park your vehicle. Always check the pressure of your tires and the obligation to have chains on board. If you have any problems, contact specialized centers on-site such as Centro Auto Pruiti. Once on-site, you can take the Etna cable car up to an altitude of 2,500 meters, and then continue on foot to the summit, immersing yourself in its marvelous scenery.
To reach the Refuge by public transport, you can leave daily from Piazza Giovanni XXIII at 8.15 a.m., arriving in about two hours. The return is scheduled for the afternoon at around 4.30 p.m. You can buy a return ticket for about 6.60 euro both at the ticket office or directly on the bus.
How to get to Mount Etna from Palermo
If you are in Palermo and still want to visit Mount Etna, you can get there both by car or by public transport. First, however, you will have to reach Catania or go directly by car to the Refuge.
There are several roads that allow you to get to Mount Etna by car or motorbike. The main ones are these, the distance to cover is about 230 km:
Provincial road 92 Nicolosi-Rifugio Sapienza
Provincial road 92 Zafferana Etnea-Rifugio Sapienza
Strada Mareneve Zafferana Etnea-Rifugio Citelli-Linguaglossa
State road 120 Linguaglossa-Randazzo
State road 284 Randazzo-Adrano
If you are travelling by public transport, you can reach Catania by bus in about 4 hours or by train from the main stations in about 5 hours. Then take the bus from Piazza Giovanni XIII as indicated above. Have a good trip!