The mountain has an eerie volcanic landscape, with solidified "rivers" of lava. It is used for skiing in winter, so be prepared for the cold at this altitude, even in summer. Even in good weather in summer, sometimes the top of the mountain is covered in cloud, especially during the afternoon, obscuring the wonderful views.
One bus a day runs to and from Catania to Rifugio Sapienza about 1400m below the summit on the south side, giving you enough time for a trip up the mountain and a wander. The bus leaves at 8.00 am from outside Catania train station. The bus stops at stop number 15 which is next to the area served by local buses, across the round about. Tickets for the bus are sold on board. The bus is a white coach with AMT written down the side. The return bus leaves Rifugio Sapienza punctually at 4.30 pm - don't miss it, there are no other options to get down.
There are 2 ways to get around on Mount Etna:
1) From Rifugio Sapienza (Etna south), you can pay for a trip on a cable car/gondola lift and then a 4-wheel-drive vehicle. The round trip is 79€ per person (as of Feb 2017) but some close hotels have discount agreements.
The cable car/gondola lift runs from Rifugio Sapienza (1900m) to 2500m. It's 30€ per person, including return (Feb 2017). There is also a path just behind the cable car station if you want to walk. It takes around 2 hours to walk up from 1900m to 2500m. From the top of the cable car station you can then take a tour in a 4x4 (49€ as of Feb 2017), but if you are even moderately fit it is not worth it: The beautiful hike from the top of the cable car (2500m) to Torre del Filosofo (2920m), is fairly straightforward, and takes about an hour (~2.7km one way, 400m elevation gain). You can either follow the road, or more interestingly, there are some more direct paths.
Be prepared for some disinformation when asking about hiking options, especially when there is a conflict of interest in selling tours. The hike is moderate at most, you may be told it is steep or even dangerous. Not true. The hike between Rifugio and Torre Filosofo is a slog, but straightforward enough. Taking the cable car, the hike from the top of the cable car is little more than a walk, and kids as young as 4 were successfully doing it. Beyond Torre Sapienza (2920m) to hike up to the crater you will need a guide, available at the 2900m ranger station (25€ per person). The hike is an extra ~4 hours round trip.
Note: if you want to join a group from Torre del Filosofo to the crater, you should be at the ranger station before 11 in the morning. If you arrive later, there's a chance you won't find a guide.
Another good option is to get a guided tour with an electric mountain bike near the base of the cable car, which is 85 euros to the summit at 3,340m. They also have electric and non-electric mountain bikes for rent to explore the area.
2) From Piano Provenzana (Etna north) by walking to arrive on the summit Crater. This is a beautiful tour because it's possible to admire forests and lava sceneries.
- Mount Etna. The solidified rivers of lava.
- Panorama views.
- Webcam Etna LIVE on Etna by Linguaglossa | Timelapse | Eruption LIVE ! 
- Car tour, 500 Vintage Tour by Cinquecento Tour Operator, ☎ +39 349 723 4906 ([email protected]), . A vintage self drive excursion or a themed tour on a classic Fiat 500, starting from Taormina and Giardini Naxos area. The most popular excursions are themed on the Francis Ford Coppola's Godfather movie and on the Etna Wines Road. You can reach amazing villages like Savoca, Forza D’Agrò and Taormina. edit
- Climbing, Gruppo Guide Alpine Etna Sud, Via Etnea 49 ([[Nicolosi]]), ☎ +39 095 791 4755, . If you're fit and adventurous, check out the possibility of a guided climb of Etna. It is the guide service applicable for ascents from Sapienza. The guides' English can be a bit hit or miss, but they know vastly more about conditions on the mountain than anyone else, and have by far the best understanding of what's safe and interesting. If you are an experienced climber you can of course climb Etna without a guide -The whole mountain stands in the Parco dell'Etna (natural park) and no permits are required. However, due to Etna's volatile state, caution is always advised. edit
- Entertainers on the roadside. Artists, singers, and photographers. edit
- Mt. Etna Excursion, EtnaWay Excursions, ☎ +39 328 197 7919 ([email protected]), . Guided packages: jeep tour, trekking tour and bus tour edit
- Trekking, Sicilying, Via Crociferi, 62, 95124 Catania, ☎ +39 377 703 3073 ([email protected]), . Trekking of the volcano to the summit craters. Departing from Sapienza Refuge, in Nicolosi, the cable car will take you up to 2,504m asl, after which you will take an off-road jeep up to 2900m. From here you will continue in trekking in order to reach the altitude of 3,340m. Carried out a long pause near the craters, you will descend in direction of 2002 craters and before heading up again in cable car to the departure point (Sapienza Refuge). edit
The many Mini-shops along the side walks, the old fashioned houses and restaurants, and the locals that live there. There are lots of souvenir shops around Rifugio Sapienza.
There are several cafes / restaurants around Rifugio Sapienza.
The top of the cable car station also has food, with unsurprisingly high prices given the altitude (capuccino e3.5 panini e5).
You can buy many hot chocolates to warm up your bones. Also on colder months, as you go up Mt. Etna you will find several shops and there you can buy the drink, "Fuoco dell'Etna" which is a liqueur which will definitely keep you warm as you hike up. It will get very cold.
- Camping Etna (Campeggio Etna), Via Goethe, 95030 Nicolosi, ☎ +39 095 617 3013. Camping is situated in a pine forest a few kilometers up Etna from the village itself. It has a swimming pool and is well shaded. There's little grass though. edit
- Corsaro Etna Sud, (Contrada Cantoniera, Nicolosi (CT)), ☎ +39 095 914 122 ([email protected]), . A ski-lodge-like hotel that advertises itself as the "highest" lodging on Etna, referring to elevation, not price. 17 rooms, restaurant. Within easy walking distance of the lower funicular terminal. edit
- Etnalodge, Via Bassi, 21, 95017 Piedimonte Etneo (CT), ([email protected]), . at the North East foothills of Mount Etna active volcano offers in a charming environment (an ancient wine producing estate renovated as a lodge)rooms B&B. Terrific view, 500 meters above sea level in the countryside. edit
- La Rena Rossa B&B, Via Capuana 6 A, Nicolosi (CT), ☎ +39 333 862 8703 ([email protected]), . The Bed and Breakfast La Rena Rossa has a quiet and sunny position, and it is surrounded by a wide garden. edit
- La Terrazza dell'Etna, Via Alcide de Gasperi, 92 Mascalucia, ☎ +39 388 846 1903 ([email protected]), . B&B Terrazza dell'Etna is next to Rifugio Sapienza and Etna Park. edit
- Mareneve Resort, Via Mareneve 63, Linguglossa, ☎ +39 095 643 379, . Right outside the north side of Parco dell'Etna. edit
- Rifugio Madonna Di Cassone, 95019 Zafferana Etnea, ☎ +39 095 780 6502. edit
- Novara di Sicilia - Located in the province of Messina on the northern side of Mt. Etna, this picturesque medieval town is nestled in the mountains overlooking ancient Tyndaris and Abacaenum. It is the archetype of a typical medieval town, with its friendly and accommodating people who speak a distinctive dialect.
- Catania. The public bus leaves to Catania at 16:30.
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