Mount Etna, Sicily.
Mount Etna is located on the island of Sicily in Italy. It is interesting to know that Etna volcano is a self-formed volcano. 600 thousand years ago in its place was the bay. Today, Etna Volcano is the largest active volcano in Europe and thus arouses interest among travellers. Mount Etna is inscribed on the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List.
You can reach Mount Etna by car, by bus or with an excursion tour. We climbed Etna on our own by car. At the very beginning of the ascent I was most surprised by the surrounding nature. Because I was sure that the surface of the volcano was covered with soot. In practice, it turned out that the surface of the volcano looks different at each stage of the ascent.
At the foot of the volcano, you can see the greenery and huge rocks. At first I thought it was big stones. It turned out that these were elements of dried lava, which erupted many years ago. The higher you go, the less vegetation will be in your path. Tones of colours from green, smoothly turn into black. Continuing the ascent by car, you end up at a large parking lot, from which the main ascent to Mount Etna begins.
The ascent of the volcano to the central crater takes place in several stages.
The first stage is located at an altitude of 1900 meters above sea level. On this stage is located a large parking lot, restaurants, gift shops, ticket office. Having reached this point, you can decide what to do next:
1. Walk around through the territory, climb the small hills. This part of the climb is free, the only thing you will need to pay for parking;
2. Climb on foot. I must say that this is not the best option. Because, first of all, you need to dress properly. At a minimum, you need to have special boots for walking in the mountains. Secondly, you must be physically prepared for such a lift. Thirdly, it is hard and time consuming.
3. Buy a ticket in the ticket office and use public transport to further lift.
If you choose the third option, then at the ticket-office you will need to decide how high you want to climb. Because the price of the ticket will depend on your decision. The higher you want to climb, the more expensive the ticket will cost. And yet, no matter how high you decide to climb, the whole ascent consists of successive stages, which you will need to overcome in any case.
The second stage after parking is the cable car (Funivia). With the cable car you can climb to a height of 2500 meters. Already from there a beautiful view of the sea coast and the main crater of the volcano. On the territory of this stage is located cafe, souvenir shops, a ticket office, in case you decide to go higher at the last moment. Also, special shops where you can rent warm clothes and shoes.
I remind you that from the very bottom you can reach this place and above, on foot. But I do not recommend you to do this if you are a not sporty and unprepared person.
Having walked at an altitude of 2500 meters, you can continue your journey and climb to an altitude of 2750 meters. On this stage you can climb by the old buses Mercedes. But in order to continue climbing up you must have tickets, I wrote about this at the very beginning of the article. For those who decide to climb higher at the last moment, there are ticket offices at an altitude of 2500 meters.
Upon arrival at a height of 2750 meters the guide will meet you and will conduct a tour. The guide will tell you the story of Mount Etna; show the biggest craters and tell the story of their occurrence; will show fresh dried lava; will guide you in a safe route. Guided tour takes 40 minutes.
In the fourth stage, you can climb to a height of 2,920 meters. This stage in my opinion, the most interesting, but the most difficult and long. It takes 3-4 hours. Unfortunately, we did not know about this in advance and were not ready for such a long climb. Therefore, our ascent to the volcano Etna ended at an altitude of 2750 meters.
I was sad, because on the day of our ascent there was a slight eruption of lava, which was warned about at the ticket office. And of course I wanted to look at the hot fresh lava, despite the danger. But probably I must return once again to Mount Etna and climb to its top.
IMPORTANT! Going to the volcano Etna, take warm things with you. Even if there is a heat below, believe me, it will be cool above. Fortunately, we knew about it beforehand and went to the volcano prepared. But, it was a pity to look at frozen people in T-shirts who did not know about the temperature change. In this case, at an altitude of 2500 meters, there is a shop in which you can rent special shoes and jackets.
I really liked the trip to the volcano Etna. Mount Etna is worth it to see it once in a lifetime and maybe twice. I would like to return there in a couple of years, but only in order to climb to the very top and conquer the 4th stage of the ascent.
By the way, the volcano is an energetically very powerful place. After visiting him all day you are in a martial mood. That in general is not surprising, based on the nature of the volcano.