Easy way to explore Etna with kids. Travelled in 4x4 which was fun in itself for 2 boys aged 11 and 13. Got to see lava flows, lava tunnel. Missed out on crater walk as the weather turned as we were about to start our walk. Guide has good knowledge and informative. This tour would be great on a sunny day but unfortunately the weather was awful when we visited.
All the promise of a fantastic trip but failed to deliver. My experience was very much in line with the other 3 reviews on here. The guide Ernesto didn't seem too bothered and didn't give very much information. He would walk off at his own pace, often a very long way ahead and didn't really engage with the group. We did not even see a lava tube and this is on the trip itinerary.
Our lunch was not at the beautiful Sicilian farmhouse as described in so many other reviews, but at a panini van at the side of the road, which was pretty nice food, but not the experience I was looking for by booking this trip. On the way home, Ernesto's driving was very erratic even for italian standards. We very nearly crashed twice and actually got hit by a small lorry once when he tried to squeeze through a gap too small. However, he did go out of the way to show us a fantastic view of the mountain which we previously missed due to poor visibility, which was nice.
Overall I am pretty disappointed as I had wanted to experience volcanic features since I was very young. I am not sure whether it was due to circumstance out of season / moderate volcanic activity / poor visibility or that it felt like we were ruining the guide's personal hike. Probably a combination of both.
This excursion was fantastic and I highly recommend it. The views during the hike were amazing, the food at the lunch was unbelievably delicious, and the lava tubes were really cool to experience. Ernesto was a great guide and took care of everything while we were out with him and made sure everyone's needs were met.
About the hike. You will be on a hiking trail that is sometimes narrow with inclines and declines. In some sections there are step-ups/downs, uneven surfaces, exposed rocks and tree roots, and loose gravel. If you do this hike you should dress accordingly, bring a backpack to hold some additional clothing and water.
During the tour through the lava tubes, you are provided hard hats with headlamps, you will definitely need the light to see in the tube.
The lunch, which is not included in the price, was spectacular. It was on a beautiful farm located off the hiking trail. it was a wonderful experience and a great way to refuel after the hike.
This was an absolutely superb excursion, not to be undertaken by the faint of heart or under equipped. Our guide, Ernesto, did a wonderful job. Absolutely superb! He has some professional training in geology, was able to explain how the volcano behaves, provided appropriate safety equipment you really need a lighted hard hat for the lava tube exploration, and in my case, not just encouragement but two hiking poles. I was the oldest person on this expedition, and he did a wonderful job ensuring that I actually got to see everything. This was the wish of a lifetime, and along with my three fellow travelers made it possible. Thank you.
I highly recommend this tour. However, the participants have to be aware that it is not a walk on a flat piece of land and they have to be equipped with the good shoes for the mountains. Our guide has all the necessary the shoes for walking and the helmets for visiting the caves. We had a change to have a fantastic sunny day!
We very much enjoyed the outing. Ernesto, our guide and driver, was terrific. Knowledgeable and very personable. He took special care to make sure each of us got the most out of the experience. Mt. Etna is a fascinating place, and Ernesto has great respect for its environment. We highly recommend him and the tour.