If you are going to visit Sicily you need to plan half a day to visit Mount Etna. Located between Messina and Catania on the east coast of Sicily, this is the highest active volcano in Europe. There are different ways to visit or explore this Unesco World Heritage Site area depending on your level of physical shape.
There are some hiking trails that could take you there but with an elevation of 3329 meters or 10 922 feet I decided to take the 4×4 tour that took us all the way to the observatory located at 3000 meters. The guide took us to a plateau where we could only spend 25 minutes to observe the peak of the volcano without been affected by the toxic gases. As mentioned before it is an active volcano and the fumes at the peak are not clouds but the gases escaping the volcano.
It was quite impressive to see the trail that the lava left on the 2002 eruption. You can clearly see where it passed as it left a black lava trail and burned everything on its path. When you are next to the observatory the landscape is desert like and makes you feel like you landed on the moon. Depending on the tour you take or the company you do it with they will take you to different areas we stopped to look at the 2002 eruption crater but there are also other things to see.
If you go there on a clear day you will also get a marvellous view of Catania, Toaromina and if you are lucky will also be able to see other islands and Calabria on main land Italy.
What to wear: Make sure you have hiking shoes and a windbreaker the temperature from the bottom of the mountain to the peak had a 20 degrees celcius difference.
BY SEBASTIEN ROBILLARD