Mount Etna, Sicily
Sicily has always been a huge draw for tourists from around the world and Mt. Etna is without a doubt one of the most popular tourist attraction in the world. Mount Etna is a part of most vacation travel deals in Sicily. If you are planning your own tour in Italy or Sicily, you cannot afford to miss out on Mount Etna. There are more than one ways to reach Mount Etna – one can take a bus from Nicolosi and Catania or take a tour bus from Taormina. It is no wonder that Mount Etna captures our imagination so strongly that Mount Etna is mentioned even in the Greek mythology as the abode of the God of fire, Vulcan.
Mount Etna is an amazing sight with rivers of lava solidified on the volcanic mountains. Mount Etna is usually cold even during summer because of its altitude, in winter one can even ski over Mount Etna. It would be a big mistake to forget your camera on a trip to Mount Etna as the sight is truly stunning except when it is cloudy. The clouds can play spoilsport by obstructing the beautiful view, especially in the afternoon. If you are lucky, you shall be able to spot small amounts of lava being vented out by Mount Etna.
There are plenty of accommodations around Mount Etna including a lodge like hotel in Rifugio Sapienza, a village on Mount Etna’s southern slope. However, most accommodations are available in or around the city of Nicolosi. Not far from Nicolosi, one can find a youth hostel which can fit into the budget of backpack travelers. A lodge is available even at Mount Etna’s north eastern slope. Rifugio Sapienza is a popular halt of tourists as there are cafes as well as souvenir shops in the little village. The little villages along Mount Etna are quite interesting and it would be best to not rush through these villages but have enough time to take a leisurely look at it.
If you like adventure and want to climb Mount Etna, it would be best to hire a guide even if you are an experienced hiker. Hiking experience is not enough to determine safety while climbing Mount Etna, while local guides are much better aware of their surroundings. Many tour operators offer private hike tours up Mount Etna as a part of vacation travel deals. One can find hot chocolates being sold at several shops as one goes up the Mount Etna, it would do well to sip some as it can get quite cold. If the hot chocolate does not quite do the trick for you, you can opt for a drink called – fogo de Etna, which is actually liquor and works really well to keep a person warm.