The Etna with its 3330 meters is the highest active volcano in Europe and can safely be explored by anyone up to the top craters with the help of the guides.
The district of Etna has characteristics that make the land good for agricultural production, thanks to the special fertility due to the volcanic debris. Large parts of its slopes are included in the Etna Park which is a natural destination for tourists who love nature and healthy relax. Its surface is characterized by a rich variety of environments that alternate villages, dense forests that preserve different plant species and desolate areas covered by volcanic rock and periodically subject to snow at higher altitudes.
The east side is dominated by the lunar Valle del Bove, where lavic flows have been collected over the centuries, the margins of which are lined with steep woods. Above 1000 meters in winter there is often the snow that lasts almost until the summer. On the Etna there are also two ski resorts whose particularity is that it is possible to ski on the snow with a beautiful view of the sea. From the South Zone of Rifugio Sapienza, in the territory of Nicolosi, you can admire the gulf of Catania and the valley of Simeto up to Syracuse. From the north-eastern slopes of Piano Provenzana the scenario includes the breathtaking bay of Taormina and the coasts of Calabria.
From the hostel you can visit the volcano organizing trips from half day to a full day and if you want you can go up to the central crater, with the help of professional guides and of off-road vehicles.
In particular, there are two possibilities to visit the volcano.
You can go with the official excursion organized by the cableway (Funivia dell'Etna), the only one that reach the central crater, but a bit touristy, or go with one of our affiliated agencies that organize tours dedicated in the most charming areas of the volcano, in particular the Bove Valley.
To make the official excursion by cableway Funivia dell'Etnayou must be at h.10.15 on the volcano in the place called Rifugio Sapienza, few kms north of Nicolosi. To get there you can get the only AST bus which leaves from the square in front of Catania train station at 08.15. Earlier from Siracusa you can catch a bus (Timetable here) or train (Timetable here), in order to get to Catania station before 8.15.
By car, take the highway Siracusa Catania, once in Catania take the exit Gravina Etna and then follow the indications to Mascalucia, then to Nicolosi and then to Rifugio Sapienza (1 hour and a half to get there)
In Rifugio Sapienza simply go to main office of Funivia dell'Etna to get the tickets for the excursion to the crater. Please only choose the 10.15 excursion, as the ones which leave later are as expensive as this but do not go to the upper craters. No reservations are necessary with Funivia dell'Etna.
Otherwise you can choose a private agency, like Etna Experience Excursionswhich offers discounts to the guests staying in our hostel, and, booking one-two days in advance (you can do it from the hostel) you can be picked up at the station of Catania at 09:30 (trains and buses from Syracuse earlier: see links above) and enjoy the following excursions
-Classic experience: a full day tour Trekking on the volcano, caves and Alcantara Gorges: an unforgettable experience
-Etna & wine tour: to spend a day dedicated to the volcano and its great wines
-Morning-experience: half day to discover the magnificence of Etna
-Summer sunset experience: to discover the hidden treasures of the volcano while awaiting for an unforgettable sunset
-Only trekking experience: just to enjoy the volcano and its magic, with fellow travellers and your guide
-Winter snow experience: walking with the aid of snowshoes on the volcano covered in snow.