Etna Sartorius Craters Tour

Enchanting birch forest & robbers’ cave – a walk for old and young alike

60 € p.p.
*Children under 13 years pay 10 € less!
*Children under 4 years free of charge!

The “buttonline” of the Sartorius craters: the spectacular route that takes us from an altitude of 1660 metres into the forest of Betula aetnensis, and on along the ridge of the seven craters, nestled in a magnificent landscape that was a vast lava field a century and a half ago. Over boulders and stone slabs we return to the magical birch forest and then visit the “Grotta dei Ladroni” (Robbers’ Cave).

Itinerary of the "Etna Sartorius Craters Tour"

MEET AND GO!

At an altitude of 1660 m our hike begins: on the nature trail of Etna Park we enter a special forest. It consists of a unique variety of birch, Betula aetnensis. During the last ice age, birch trees spread as far as Sicily. After the end of the ice age, they retreated to the north, where we still find them today. Only on Etna has a population survived that has adapted to the special conditions on the volcano and thus become endemic.

ASCENT OF THE 7 CRATERS

After reaching the 1865 lava flow that surrounds the knob, we walk along it until we reach the first crater that was formed at the highest point of the fracture and that is closest to the crater Monte Frumento delle Concazze. We climb up to the rim of the crater and look at the “buttonline” for the first time: as if strung together, the seven craters line up, one close to the other, forming one of Etna’s most impressive formations. As we follow the ridge of each crater, we learn what they have in common but also what makes each one unique.

DESCENT AND BIRCH FOREST

We descend from the craters again to cross what 150 years ago was a huge, glowing lava field. The trail now leads us up and down, between boulders and stone slabs formed during the cooling of the lava, until we reach the birch forest again. Here the flora shows its extreme diversity and adaptability to this altitude, the location and to the peculiarities of Etna’s volcanic soil.

THE ROBBERS’ CAVE (OR SNOW CAVE)

To explore what lies beneath the hard lava, we enter one of the approximately 190 lava tunnels scattered across Etna. Equipped with helmets and lamps, we explore the Grotta dei Ladroni (the robbers’ cave, also called Grotta della Neve). This cave is said to have once served as a hideout for a gang of robbers. However, we do not only find evidence of the former use here, but also unique formations that were formed during the formation of the cave. We return to the starting point of our tour, filled with breathtaking views and some of the most beautiful formations Etna has to offer. Until the next adventure!

Important information about the tour

MEETING POINT

RECOMMENDED EQUIPMENT

  • If possible, closed trekking or running shoes, layered clothing appropriate to the weather and altitude: during the winter season we recommend the use of snow clothing (gloves and hat very important!); in summer we recommend windbreaker, cap, sunglasses and sunscreen.
  • 1l water and possibly a small snack

SERVICES INCLUDED

  • 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)

SERVICES NOT INCLUDED

  • Everything that is not listed under “Services included”.

SERVICES ON REQUEST

  • Pick-up from hotel or other meeting point (price by arrangement).
  • Trekking shoe rental
  • Child seats for transfer

IMPORTANT MESSAGES

  • 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.
  • 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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