Mount Etna Tour | The Beating Heart of Sicily’s ‘Mother’

Etna

Mount Etna Tour.

For those of you that may not know, Etna is an active volcano on the east coast of Sicily, Italy, in the Province of Catania (Italy’s South).

Mungibeddu (Beautiful Mountain), as it is affectionately named by the locals, is considered to be the ‘Mother’ of the land. 

It is without a doubt one of the most famous and more active volcanoes in the world, with its last eruption in May, 2016!

Etna Mobile

Etna has offered many riches to the eastern part of the island. From fertile land, to incredible and unique fauna, and it is a strong economic resource through tourism.

Like any Mother, Sicilians know that at any stage ‘Mother’ could get ‘angry’ and destroy everything in sight.

But the love they have for this volcano is captivating.

In 2013, Mount Etna became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. I loved this description on the UNESCO website

‘Its notoriety, scientific importance, and cultural and educational value are of global significance.’ 

Etna

I knew the moment I had decided to go to Sicily, that I could not miss out on visiting Etna. 

So you can imagine my slight concern, when we get up to the parking area and notice bullet holes on one of the signs! 😛

Bullet holes

Etna Tour

Welcome to Etna

As with many of my trips, I hardly book things in advance and my tour of Etna was no different. 

There are so many choices online and I wanted to have the freedom to do it when I wanted to do it (last minute!).

So I got to my hotel in Catania and asked Ribella, at reception, which tour she would recommend and why.

I was sold on Etna Est Tours – Check out their website!

We got picked up from our hotel (booked the night before – very lucky!) by Francesca, our tour guide for the day.

She started us at the ‘Entrance’ of Etna, where she gave us a historical/geological overview of the volcano.

The views (and we were only at the beginning) were incredible!

View from Etna

We then headed back to the car, where we had the amazing experience of climbing down and walking inside a lava flow cave, with helmets and torches!

My friends were not to sure about the reason for the helmets but as you saw in the video – they were definitely necessary!

Now, just in case I did not explain properly, we literally were walking through caves created by the flow of LAVA!

To me this was ‘mind bottling’ – thank you Will Ferrel!

Crateri Silvestri

Crateri Silvestri

Here there were many tourists and it is part of the park which is open to the public! 

More than 75% of the park is actually closed off and only reserved for research purposes, making most of it completely uncontaminated!

As the name of the area would suggest, we started our trek through the various craters created by Mount Etna, over the centuries.

Crateri Silvestri2

Needless to say that the views were incredible, the air was fresh, and we also tried ‘Romice’ (Dock), a herb that grows on this fertile land, all on its very own! 

I was struck by the various colors. From the vivid red sand (Ghiara), to the green patches of trees, the yellow of weeds and herbs, to the dark black of solidified lava. Simply amazing!

Each naturally created by ‘Mother’, as Francesca often called Etna. 

Featured - Crateri Silvestri

Crateri Silvestri View4

Overall Rating of the Tour

Let me just start with a WOW! I could not have asked for a better guide than Francesca.

Francesca has a lot of passion for what she does and she is in love with her land (rightly so!).

She has incredible enthusiasm, which she transmitted through to us and  made us all fall in love with Mungibeddu!

Group Photo at the Start of Tour
Group Photo at the Start of Tour

She is currently working on her own tour company – Etnamente.

Francesca speaks perfect English (and 50 other languages!), she loves what she does, promotes eco-concious tours, and has a smile on her face the whole time.

What more do you want from a tour guide?

The tour started at 9:00am (8:30am pick up) and went for approximately 3/3.5 hours.

The tour cost 55.00EUR and we were a total of 6 people. 

This tour is perfect for everyone, as it is not to physically challenging, except on some very small parts.

If you do not have trekking shoes, these can be provided with advance noticed (but bring your own socks!).

If you get a chance to go to Sicily, make sure to give Francesca a call (details below).

Etna was a great overall experience and next time I am back in Sicily, I will be sure to do the trek, with Francesca of course 🙂

Francesca Details

She is currently working on her own tour company – Etnamente (both in Italian and English). 

Enquiries and bookings can be done via email at etnamente@gmail.com or via phone +39 348 625 7291.

You can also see photos and posts on the Etnamente Facebook page.

Make sure to share your experience by using the comment section below or email me your story and photos, and I’ll be happy to share them the community!