On the small island of Sicily in the Mediterranean, sits a not so small volcano: Mount Etna. This is the most active stratovolcano in the world! From the top, there is no doubt that you will have the panoramic sweeping views of the island! The highest peak on the volcano top is currently 10,922 feet, so remember to take it easy up there, drink a lot of water and take deep breaths.
Getting to the top is quite a journey. You’ll need to drive to the gondola point, a small plateau with a few shops and restaurant. Here, you can purchase tickets for the gondola and the next leg of the trip- the 4×4 bus. It is rather pricey to reach the top, so if you decide to continue via bus, you can purchase tickets at the top of the gondola. Honestly, I don’t think the gondola ride is worth it if you are not taking the bus all the way up. There is an alternative way to the top, via four-wheeler- oh, and biking, if you’re crazy enough.
Tours are open year round-even when it’s spewing hot lava- but the best time to visit is in the summer. It is rather chilly with the strong breezy on the top, so remember to dress appropriately in all seasons. If you plan to visit in the winter, you wont be dealing with much snow. Most of it melts as soon as it hits the warm-and sometimes scolding hot- volcanic rock. My tour guide passed around a lava rock like a hot potato to feel how hot this place still is. Impressively, he only had to dig about two layers under our feet to find it.
As I mentioned earlier, tours run to the top, even when this terrifying mountain is leaking molten hot lava… It is rather dangerous to adventure to the top since no one truly knows when the next eruption will be. Researchers are constantly watching the seismic activity, but it is hard to predict an eruption. Take a look at this video, where 10 people were injured after it exploded a few hundred feet from them. My guide said Mount Etna doesn’t erupt with an explosion all at once, it more so seeps out slowly, but this video doesn’t portray that. Of course, Mount Etna’s explosion is minuscule to other volcanoes that erupt in an exploding type behavior, but nonetheless, you are traveling to the top of an active volcano!
Mount Etna rarely erupts from the same crater. There’s only one or two perfect cones since the others that have collapsed from erosion. At the top, you’ll do a little hiking around these inactive craters. I’d advise closed toed shoes! I believe the last bus up is around 4pm. I was unable to find their website, but it is an easy trip via GPS, and I’d suggest this as an all day adventure, so getting there before noon is advisable.
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