It had also opened our eyes to see how wonderful and powerful our planet is. (Tony S. from Hong Kong)
Etna's lava flow in January 2023 (image: Salvo Orlando / www.sicilylandscape.com)
Etna's SE crater 10 January 2023 (image: Thomas Hoyer)
Etna Volcano Special
volcano expedition to see Mt. Etna volcano' eruption
Volcano expedition: active volcanoes - photography
5 days (4 nights)
At the moment (as of January 2023), there is a beautiful active lava flow
on Etna, which can be accessed. This is a unique chance
to see one of nature's greatest phenomena from close! Sign up for one of our upcoming small group tours!
Accompanied by a volcanologist from our team, we will spend 4 nights in a hotel on the slopes of the volcano and choose the best observation spots depending on weather & activity.
This tour is particularly suited if you intend to photograph, videotape or otherwise document on Etna's volcanic activity.
Link: Etna activity updates
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- several full days on Etna
- accompanying volcanologist / geologist from our team
- volcano photography
sample itinerary (3 days on Etna)
Due to the nature of this tour, there is no fixed itinerary. A focus will be set to observe Etna's volcanic activity.
Day 1: Pick-up from Catania and transfer to Etna
According to your schedule, you are picked up at Catania airport (or nearby locations) and transferred to the hotel Corsaro*** located at 1900 m a.s.l. on the slope of Mt. Etna. If it's not too late (otherwise, the next morning), you will meet with your guide for a briefing and discussion of the program ahead.
Day 2-4: 3 full days on Etna to explore its activity
Accompanied by your guide, you have 3 full days to discover Etna. Within the limits of weather conditions, access restrictions, and volcanic activity, you have plenty of opportunity to explore its volcanic activity and the varied scenery of an active volcano.
Day 5: Departure or own extension
We bring you back to the airport or nearby destinations in time for your flight or extension program.
Travel costs to Catania are not included in order to give everybody the best chance to plan his/her trip according his preferences. Sicily and the Aeolian islands invite to a longer stay, and we will be pleased to give tips and suggestions. But also the major cities of Rome and Naples on Italy's mainland are within easy reach (by plane, boat and/or rail) from both Catania and the island of Stromboli and are well worth a visit. On request, we will be happy to assist you with travel and other issues (prolonged stays etc.).
As activity on Etna often starts and stops at short notice and highly variable, along with weather, access and other conditions changing frequently, there is no guarantee that there is activity visible at the time of the tour or that it is possible to approach it, although we will try our best.
A volcanologist from our team will accompany the group during this tour.
Since this tour is primarily aimed towards interested individuals or small groups, the program and the physical demands can be adjusted to some extent. Generally, you don't need to be an athlete if you want to see an eruption on Etna, but you should have be in good general health, which largely increases your chances that you are physically able to approach an eruption.
Since the accessibility of an eruption site as well as weather conditions and therefore the physical effort needed to get close varies greatly, we cannot give precise figures here, but you should contact us to get an estimate based on the current situation.
If you are reasonably fit and able to hike for up to 3-5 hours, climb around 1000m with some equipment (water, sandwiches, some extra clothing, your camera gear etc.) with no problems, you should generally be well-prepared. If not, it is often possible to approach the eruption site using a jeep (at a minor extra cost). If you are in doubt, you should therefore contact us.
... it was such an exciting experience for us...
for me the best mountain-experience I have ever had!
Inside of a lava channel
Antonio explaining the interior of an effusive vent
thanks again for giving us so many beautiful memories, Antonio was great and we had such a good time with you both.
(Etna Summit Tour)
Wonderful Etna tour
Walking on a lava channel
Hiking along the rim of Bocca Nuova crater
Once again a big thank you to you and Rosario for the wonderful Etna tour. My son and I we really enjoyed it. It was impressive to see the volcano and we learned a lot - for sure an experience we will not forget.
(Etna Summit Tour)
Looking down into Etna's Bocca Nuova Crater
Just a few meters and we are on top
thank you for preparing und providing the photos. When we are looking at the photos we remember the great experience on the Etna.
Thank you for organizing this event for us.
Regards from Hamburg
(Etna Summit Tour)
On the rim of Bocca Nuova Crater
Hand in hand walking down Etna's Summit Craters.
Walking on a lava channel from the Etna flank eruption 2002-2003
thank you very much for the amazing pictures, you could catch great moments of the tour. We would like to thank you and Rosario for the whole tour, it was an unforgettable experience.
(Etna Summit Tour)
Souvenir Photo on the rim of Bocca Nuova Crater
The rim of Voragine Craer
Rosario and Emanuela during a short break on summit (photo: Tersina Shieh)
Many thanks for the photos. They are great.
We really enjoy the hike with you and Rosario. Please say thank you to him again.
(Etna Summit Tour)
We will never forget it!
On the rim of the North-East Crater
standing embraced and looking down onto the North East Crater
Walking back after an extraordinary experience
I would like to thank you very much for one of the best experiences we have had. The excursion was incredible, we will never forget it. Please thank Rosario on our beharf.
We will highly recomend this tour to our relatives and friends and maybe, why not, come back our selves again to repete the experience!
We are looking foward to seeing the fotos you took, thank you once again for that as well.
(Etna Summit Tour)
Walking down the summit craters
Souvenir photo on the rim of Voragine Crater
grazie per le bellissime foto.
Anche per noi è stato un grande piacere per fare questo cammino con voi.
Il giorno dopo abbiamo incontrato un'altra coppia al nostro hotel
che ci ha detto che volevano sul Etna.
Li abbiamo informati della nostra escursione con voi,
e detto loro che dovrebbero darci il benvenuto.
(Etna Traverse Tour)
One of the most memorable experiences
Group on 26 October 2014
Hi Emanuela and thank you again for your and Rosario's expert guiding on Sunday. I found it one of the most memorable experiences in Sicily, even if my companions struggled. ....
warm regards Monica Pfeffer (Etna Summit Craters Tour)
"I believe we will be talking about it for the next few years..."
At the Valle del Bove
Once again, we really appreciated with your arrangement and guidance. It was the most enjoyable and the highlight of our trip.
It had also opened our eyes to see how wonderful and powerful our planet is.
We still have been talking about it. I believe we will be talking about it for the next few years. I don't think it will be a forgettable experience in my life. Poor me, it will be very hard to find another experience as good as this again. Unless your will take us to somewhere else on earth.
We would also thank for your organisation with Rosario to be our volcano guide. He was amazing. Hope we can visit him once again in the future.
Thank you very much. Please keep in touch and take care.
Tony / Moon / Joan / Eva"
(Tony S. from Hong Kong, about the Etna Volcano Special tour)
A great TRIP to Etna with Rosario
"... btw we had A great TRIP to Etna with Rosario, so much so it has really inspired my son to do Geology in Imperial College in London this September.
Cheers, Michelle" (Private Tours on Etna)
...thank you for the wonderful experience that we had... (Trekking Tour on Etna)
Dear Tom, we've just returned from Sicily and would like to thank you for the wonderful experience that we had. We had great weather and could descend into Etna's main crater. Your "variant 1" turned out to be the perfect challenge for our 9 year old daughter, although she found the craters and the fumes a bit scary. My wife and I rank this trip as one of our top 3 experiences so far!
Rosario was a perfect guide: he made us feel at ease and safe, provided just enough explanations without sounding like the stereotypical tourist guide and he was just 100% a pro.
Minor correction: the guides do have boots, backpacks and jackets that your customers can borrow.
I've enclosed a few pictures of us on Mt Etna.
Best regards Sven Jorissen"
a wonderful excursion at the Etna
I would like with this email to thank Volcano Discovery and the Team (Specially Rosario Basile) for a wonderful excursion at the Etna.
I took nice photos which I would like to share at the web page of Volcano Discovery. What shall I do?
... about a trekking tour on Etna
I am sorry that it has taken me so long to email you with feedback from the trip Janet smith and Michael bailey took in June with your guide Rosario to do the full traverse of Etna. It was fantastic and something we will never forget. It was a hard walk but very enjoyable and Rosario was fantastic, he is very knowledgeable, kind and friendly, we were like friends by the end of the walk. Please make sure that you feed back this to him...
Thank you for all your help and we would definitely recommend you to others
Janet and Mick" (UK)
Feeback from a private group tour on Etna
Group on 15 Nov 2009
On Nov. 15, 2009 a group of 11 people went up the Etna with our guide Rosario starting from Rifugio Sapienza.
It was the first vulcano tour for all of us and we were all impressed what we saw during the day: It was awesome to see the boiling craters on the top of the Etna and feeling the heat of this impressive active vulcano. The highlight was for sure the currently open lava spot on the Eastern side of the Etna, it was amazing to see and to feel the power of the earth.
We really have to thank you and Vulcano Dicsovery for the perfect organisation and we also have to thank our guide Rosario, who took care very well of the large group and provided us with very useful and detailed information on vulcanology and geology of the Etna. Rosario thank you very much for this perfect adventure tour!
Here I will also attach 1 foto of our group walking up the Etna on this day.
Thank you again for the organisation!
Mit freundlichen Grüßen/Best regards
Michelle at the airport with our driver
Enclosed is the link for the photos from our trip. It was WONDERFUL. Please pass our greetings to Rosario who is such an amazing person. I have become a volcano-holic!
See Michelle's pctures on Shutterfly
"Just to say what a great trip to Etna and thanks to Rosario for showing me such wonderful sights. It was fantastic!" (T. Salt, UK) (Etna Private Tours
"Etna, 15th August 2008 Thank you, it was a great experience, and we looked differenly at all the Volcanos in the Eoliennes, specially Etna. Roberto is great guide, as he could share his passion and knowledge with us,and give so much explainations." (Patrick de la Chesnais, UK). See Patrick's photos from this excursion on this page.
We're now back from another great week on Etna.
We very much enjoyed our day out with Marco on 5th June (Rosario had to lead a group that day) which Steve Banfield joined us for. We visited the 'Bottoniera'to do some filming/photos for a few hours, returning down the usual pleasant descent route around Mte. Montagnola.
We undertook numerous other walks on Etna during the week – some of which we had not done before - including a return to the current eruption site at the 'Bottoniera', when the activity had changed to more random and sporadic explosions from the upper vent, some of which were quite violent, although activity from the lower vent remained relatively predictable. We got some good night-time video footage of the active vents and lava flows from the Schiena dell'Asina on one of our evening excursions. On our last day, we got excellent views (and, luckily, some more good video footage – for once the Valle del Bove was mainly clear of clouds!) of the advancing active lava front between Mte. Simone & Mte. Centenari from the ridge above the Serra del Concazze; the eruption was clearly continuing in similar style to the previous days, although there were far less ash emissions as the upper vent was exhibiting more Strombolian-type activity." (Niki, UK, custom Etna tour)
One word that describes Etna is 'awesome'and one word that describes Rosario's skills as a guide 'outstanding' ! (Etna tour - Kamal M., UK)
Hi all, Sorry about the late reply, just getting back in the swing of things at work. We climbed Etna as planned, although you do not appreciate the grand size of it until you are there. Etna being over 3 times higher than any mountain in Ireland. We met our guide at the top of the road near the excursion centre by the cable car. After he had sorted us out with gear we headed off up the cable car and trekking across the snow. i must admit that i had never trekked in snow before nor had any of my team. (We hardly get any snow in Ireland only rain). After hiking for about 4-5 hours and lots of breaks we got to the cabin at the top with in about 30 - 45 mins from the main cones.
It is hard to describe the mountain. it was total covered with snow and was a small bit cold but once you keep moving you don't really feel it, a clear blue sky since we were above the clouds and total quite not a person for miles. Peaceful a bit different than my job.
After the guide digging out the snow from the cabin door we ventured in to get some much needed food and hot drinks which we had carried up the mountain. after resting at the cabin it was decided to head back down, as one of the teams old back injury had came back to haunt him. On the way down we looked at some lateral craters and vents. We later headed back down the cable car and to the excursion centre.
This trip was well worth going and i would recommend it to any one traveling to scissile to attempt this trip. Who knows I may come back and attempt it again myself one day, when I am a bit fitter I think.
A special thanks to the guide for staying with us and showing us the beauty of the mountain. I am sure he could have climbed the mountain in the half the time it he wanted to. (lol). And to all the staff of Volcano Discovery for making this trip one of the best trips i have been on.
Christopher Corbett, Igor Kendrinkski, Paul Doolan, Marco (Ireland)
I am writing to you to thank you for a wonderful tour
Both yourself and Rosario provided a fantastic service from the moment we enquired to the moment we arrived back at Rifugio Sapienza. Rosario was a great guide and he helped us to get much more out of our trip to Mt Etna than we could have hoped for and truly made it a trip to remember.
Should you ever need a reference, I would be more than happy to oblige. As soon as I can, I will be putting some photos on our website of Rosario and our trip. Should you want a copy of any of them, just let me know. I will let you know when I have published them. It will probably be at least a week though.
Many thanks once again, Daniel & Julie http://www.danielandjulie.co.uk/
"Tom, Had a great tour, Etna was more than impressive, just fantastic - like a moonscape up there. ..." (J Perston, UK)
".. Just got back from Sicily. I had a very enjoyable time even though Etna has been shy and did not want to put on a performance. On the Monday I went round to the North side visiting the Grotta del ghiaccio, first time wearing crampons. The second day was spent in the Valle del Bove. The third day spent at the summit craters. The fourth day I joined Marta visiting the Alcantara Gorge, Taormina and spending the evening and next day in Catania.
As usual, Marta maintained the professional standards I have come to expect from the "Volcano Discovery" team, and I expect the three other clients felt the same way." (S. Banfield, UK)
"This is a note to say that we enjoyed the climb and you made it successful, interesting and informative
. Thank you very much for being an excellent guide. I attach two of our photos, one taken at the crater rim - and one of you! ... Thanks again Rosario!" (T Ecott, Etna private tour, May 07)
"Just a quick email to say what an amazing time I had hiking up Mount Etna last Thursday. It was an amazing experience I shall never forget
, much thanks to our guide who was informative, safety conscious and extremely patient
! Regards, Francoise J." (Etna private tour, May 07)
"Tom... really enjoyed the day. Because of the amount of snow, we had to walk from the top of the cable car, and that made it a very long day but all the more memorable.
The visibility from the top was very good, and we could clearly see the Aeolian islands, although it was very hard to see into the crater because of the clouds of gas. We had some walking equipment, but the snow shoes Rosario brought were very useful, if a little difficult to get used to.
Rosario was great, with a very good knowledge of the mountain, volcanos, and good English (even if he didn't think so). We would certainly recommend yourselves and/or Rosario to anyone else visiting Sicily who wanted to go on Etna (or any other volcanos). Mark & Sarah (Scotland)"
"Having visited Etna independently on 2 previous occasions, I wanted to join a small group so that I could hike to the main craters. I found the trip with Tom in July 2004 well organised and informative. Tom and the Etna guide that was with us for our 3 day trip took us to parts of Etna that no other tourist would probably know of or could visit safely. The hiking was long and fun. The visit to the main craters was fantastic and allowed us to see Etna in all its glory.
I will definately be joining Tom again later this year to visit Java and woud recommend Volcano Discovery to anyone with an interest in hiking volcanoes." (Andrew Jackson, UK)