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Etna North Craters Tour

Unknown North Side: Tour through Lunar Landscapes and Green Forests

A tour to discover the largest craters of the 2002 eruption, the most impressive and abrupt volcanic activity of the last 20 years. From the top of the craters we admire the panorama of the northern side of Etna, from Calabria to the north-eastern main crater. This very varied itinerary will take you to lunar landscapes and fabulous forests, making the tour an exciting experience that will show you the many faces of Etna: from barren craters of lava slag to the fertile forests and the dark corners of the lava caves.

90 € p.p.
* Children under 13 years pay 10€ less!
Children under 3 years free of charge!

Trekking & Pick-up & Return Transport in the Catania / Taormina Area

190 € p.p.

Itinerary of the "Etna North Crater Tour"


At the ski facilities of Piano Provenzana, Etna North, at 1800 m altitude, is the starting point of our tour. Armed with water, sandwiches, camera and everything we recommended in the “Information” section, we set off.

Right at the beginning of the hike we see the incredible destructive power of a lava flow. A black river cuts through the slope in front of us, to the left and right of it the forest is still standing. We cross the lava flow of 2002 and thus find ourselves above the former tourist centre of Piano Provenzana, which was completely destroyed in 2002.

Then we meet the last pine trees of the Pineta Ragabo forest and some beech trees.

As soon as we leave the forest, we suddenly find ourselves in the middle of a lunar landscape. Between huge lava fields and lava bombs in various shades of black and red, we feel like we are on Mars.

Slowly, as we approach the craters, the rough, reddish surfaces of the lava flows give way to the rounded surfaces of the lava bombs scattered across the landscape like remnants of a war.


We visit the extraordinary fracture of the 1923 eruption, where the lava reached Linguaglossa in only 8 days.

We follow this exciting trail, which, although not at high altitude, follows an extremely vivid piece of the North-East Rift – or Pernicana Fault. This is one of Etna’s largest faults and causes displacements in the order of 2 to 4 cm every year.

Here, too, we see how varied Etna is: while a sea of flowers already blooms on the old lava, the new lava pushes black and abruptly over it.


We hike up to the top of the largest craters from the 2002 eruption. These imposing, huge lateral craters formed in just 10 days!

From here we can see that originally several lava flows were moving in different directions. But then they gradually came to a halt, all except one, which inexorably moved on at a remarkable speed for another 10 km, stopping only 5 km before Linguaglossa.

As we go back down, the lava river “surges” beside us, resembling not a river but a stormy, roiling sea with huge waves.


By car, it is now a few minutes’ drive to a lava tunnel, a cave formed during an eruption. There are about 190 known lava tunnels all over Etna, the Grotta dei Ladroni or Grotta della neve has a particularly varied history.
Inside the cave, we realise what the glowing lava can create as it flows through this tunnel: we discover stalactites (called dog’s teeth), bubbles (blisters), lava tubes, …

Until the next adventure!

Important information about the tour


  • At the Mareneve kiosk in Piano Provenzana (view on Google Maps). There are sufficient (paid) parking spaces available.


  • High trekking shoes (low shoes get a lot of sharp-edged volcanic sand in them) and high socks. When you put the socks over your shoes, they prevent sand from getting into your shoes, like gaiters.
  • Clothing appropriate to the weather and altitude, in layers: during the winter season snow clothing incl. Gloves and hat; in summer windbreaker, cap, sunglasses and sunscreen
  • 1.5 l water per person
  • Packed lunch
  • Camera


  • Insurance during the entire tour
  • Authorised English-speaking guide (tour guide/AIGAE excursion guides with BLSD certificate)
  • Equipment: trekking poles, windbreakers, backpacks, helmets, lamps and hiking shoes (please let us know your shoe size when booking)
  • Breakfast
  • Tasting of typical products: Honey, cream, liqueurs


  • Everything that is not listed under “Services included”


  • Pick-up from hotel or other meeting point (price by arrangement)
  • Trekking shoe rental


  • Please inform us in advance of any special circumstances: health problems, allergies, heart disease, blood pressure problems, limited mobility, disability. We will find the best solution for you for an unforgettable day on Etna.
  • We do not recommend activities at this height for women from the third month of pregnancy onwards.
  • Changes may occur or the tour may be cancelled if the guide deems it necessary if weather or volcanic conditions threaten the safety of the group.
  • Of course, all our staff are fully vaccinated for your and our protection.
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