Travel to Mount Etna on the
whiff of the bus drivers oily Rag!
to Mount Etna is a great trip, but it can cost you a
packet if you take the tour using a tour Company with
a guide, we were quoted 219 euro for two for the day
Trvelling from Syracuse in Sicily. You can make it cheaper
if you go from Taomina where the average price for two
is 66 euro.
is how to do the trip starting at 6 euro!
Etna itself is an active volcano not really a mountain
at all, the last eruption was in 2008 and the lava cools
pretty quickly, so don't expect to see any fireworks
display. Still the trip is stunning.
itself is a world heritage listed site and is situated
in a park area in between Catarnia in the south and
Taormina in the North. Catrania is a commercial port
town with very little going for it as a destination,
so don't plan to spend any time there trying to see
the sights. However you will need to travel there to
take the trip. There are basically two trips, one is
a train journey that skirts around the base of eta in
a circular route, stopping at various towns on the way,
a list of towns are shown below.
trip is well worth taking if you are not too active
and want an easy sightseeing tour with visits to some
pretty local towns on route. However I recommend the
second option which is a bus which takes you to a small
village called Ripenzo which is situated at 2900 metres
above sea level about just over half way up the mountain.
is only one bus per day which leaves from
the AST bus stop outside the railway station. It is
a white AST bus and it leaves at 8-30 in the morning
and returns at 4-30 in the afternoon, this is the bus
to catch. You will need to purchase your tickets from
the tabachi on the main road opposite the AST bus station,
it is in Via Luis Revenga and you need to buy AST tickets
to go from Catania to S. Ripenzo. Then go to the bus
departure point around 8-15 am. There is absolutely
no information regarding this bus at the bus station,
but it is a white AST bus which should Say Etna at the
bottom of the front windscreen.
you cannot see the destination on the bus ask the AST
Driver for Etna at S. Ripenzo, make sure you don't just
say Etna or he will send you on a wild goose chase to
the Etna bus lines office a few streets back.
journey takes about 2 hours with a mysterious 20 minute
stop in Nicolosi, still you can stretch your legs here.
Upon arrival at S. Ripenzo jump off the bus.
here you have two options. There is a cabin situated
right next to the spot where you get off the bus, which
offers long walking excursions up the mountain taking
about 5 hours, they call it the long tour. If you are
game take this one, but prepared there is about 2 hours
of stiff walking and it gets pretty cold up there, so
take warm clothes and ladies, no high heels, you need
walking boots for this one.
you do not have suitable clothes they will charge you
for the hire. The trip costs 50 euro 60 if you hire
tour consists of a cable car up to 3100 metres then
by jeep plus a 2 hour walk up to a crater nera the summit
at 3300 metres. Unless there has been a recent eruption,
you are unlikely to see any action, not even smouldering.
next option they call the short tour, for this one you
have to walk up to the cable car start point which is
obvious to see, up the hill at the back of the excursion
cabin. From here you can take the cable car for the
short trip up to a plateau at 3100 metres which costs
27 euro or you can take the cable car plus Jeep and
guide for a short trip up the mountain which will cost
you 51 euro.
pick is none of these, for free you can see breathtaking
views of the craters and surrounding scenery. From the
excursion office, start walking around the road so that
all the souvenir shops are to your right and you can
see ahead of you the Silvestri bar and Bistro.
walking and just as you reach the bar, round the back
you will see a nice short walk up the hill to the Silvestri
crater. You can skirt the rim and check out the styunning
here come back down to the bar and walk back about 20
metres in the direction of the excursion cabin. on you
right you will see a sign for the 2001 crater, follow
this sign up the hill for a 20 minute walk to the top,
turn right and follow the track up to the outcrop of
rock at the top, look over to your right for breathtaking
views of the Silvestri crater and surrounding scenery.
From here you can see numerous tracks lead off into
the distance, you can easily spend a few hours here
hiking to the various craters, take care though to log
your route back as after a while the tracks look all
the same, so don't get lost.
out for a view of the cottage buried in
great time can be spent here, just make sure to make
it back to the bus stop for around three. If you look
to the right of the souvenir shops there is a self service
bar where you can buy lunch pretty cheaply, beware the
other bars charge like wounded bulls, so be sure to
the bus leaves at 4-30 pm sharp and there is only one
bus, so make sure you are on it.