We arrived at a site just outside of Catania on Friday 26th October. The weather was lovely and we had a fantastic sea view.
The following day was nice until late morning then the wind got up and the next few days were wet and windy.
So we checked the weather forecast and the best day was Tuesday. We also checked the webcams on Etna and nothing could be seen, we even wondered if they worked. One of the reasons Sicily was on our list to visit was because we wanted to go up Mount Etna. So we decided to wait a couple of days and visit on the best day we could. We knew from driving the St Bernard Pass that the temperature would drop like a stone as we drove up the volcano and the weather would be completely different.
Tuesday’s weather as predicted was perfect, it was 26c when we left the campsite at 10.30am, the sun was shining and there was hardly a cloud in the sky. We checked the webcams and they were showing the summit and it looked glorious.
Mount Etna is the highest active volcano in Europe and it is currently 3,329 metres (10,922 ft) high. It is also one of the most active volcanos in the world and is in an almost constant state of activity. It was made a UNESCO world heritage site in June 2013.
The road was surprisingly good to drive up and quite wide with some hairpin bends but a much easier road to drive up than the St Bernard Pass.
We arrived at Sapienza Refuge area at 1900 metres and admired the views. It was very different to the volcanoes we have visited in the past in the Canary Islands. It is very commercial with plenty of parking, lots of little souvenir shops, restaurants and even a hotel.
I took one look at the cable cars and apologised to Colin and said this as far as I am going. I knew if they stopped when I was in it I would panic and it would end in tears. So Colin dressed up in warm clothes and headed off to visit the summit on his own.
The cable cars take you up to 2500 metres.
Colin made a video so I didn’t miss out.
Click on this link to watch it. https://youtu.be/5TlNMI94ekI
When he got off the cable car he jumped on the 4 x 4 bus which takes you closer to the summit and then hiked the remainder of the way to the craters at 2920 metres which is the highest accessible point.
He took another video at this point. The temperature here was -1c and the wind chill was -9c. It was so windy he could hardly hold the camera and certainly couldn’t speak.
Click on this link to watch it. https://youtu.be/3o4ZxsTEUIY
Colin was shocked that there are even wild dogs wandering around near the Summit!
You can spend as long as you wish up at the summit, Colin spent 2 hours and said that was long enough.
It was a great day and even if you don’t fancy the cable cars there is still plenty of see. There are short trails that you can hike up to see craters and lava paths from the recent explosions in 2001.
You can just see below a slight bit of smoking but the wind was blowing in the opposite direction.