From Volcanoes to Gorges: Mount Etna and Alcantara

The 3rd day of our trip started in the evening of day 2 (arrival at 8:30pm in Catania). Our Airbnb host offered to pick us up, with a very fair rate (10 euros), and we arrived within 15 minutes, ready to rest up and head to bed.

She was a lovely host that served us a beautiful vegan breakfast of cakes, fruits, coffees and teas in the morning of day 3.

Once we were ready to go, a LemonTour guide, based out of Catania, pick us up early morning for our day tour of Mount Etna and Alcantara gorge. While there are many tour companies offering similar services, we wanted one that allowed us to actually “hike”.

Alternatively, you can make your way to Mount Etna and use the “cable car” for an absurd amount of money.

Our first trip was to Mount Etna, one of the most active volcanoes in the world.

 We had a 2 hour hike, and Rosario, our guide, was fantastic.

He provided us with very interesting and useful information about the volcano as we trekked up some of the craters leading up to the peak.

For within these Rings was bound the strength and will to govern each race.”

You can even get a glimpse of the smoke…

And the wonderful nature that continues to grow…

 

 

Tip: Being one of the most active volcano in Europe, part of us hoped it would give us an eruption show, but from afar. So unless you want to be absorbed quickly into the magma and end up into basaltic lava (darkened matter in picture below), always check with your tour guide and the news before making the trip.

After our hike towards Etna, we took a tour of some of the caves around the area created by the volcano. What makes the difference between wandering around a cave/hiking a mountain and learning about an area is the guide! Ours was fantastic, teaching us all about the formations and history in great detail. You could tell he loved his job and had a passion for it.

   

We then left for a lunch break at a restaurant halfway to Alcantara, Zafferana Etnea: Antica Dolceria dell’Etna, which was included in the package. The place was full of wonderful pastries and desserts. 

 

Before we could eat, Sophia and one of the girls we met in our group decided to check out the food truck run by this wonderful family. The girls got to sample some wonderful cheese before joining the rest of us.

 

At the restaurant, we ate the Sicilian Arancini. Filled with Mozzarella and various things (we had pistachio and mushroom ones for example), the deep fried food was a treat.

If you’re ever in Sicily, I highly recommend you try it, either at a restaurant or as street food.

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We finished off in Alcantara, as we descended 200 steps to the Mount Etna formed waterway that offers an exciting view.

 

This is very popular (and crowded) gorge with many locals and tourists in the summer months.

Tip: While I do recommend going there, be warned you will need either water shoes or flip flops as both the beach and shallow waterway is comprised of jagged small rocks that are hard on your feet. The water is also extremely cold and icy, so be prepared to scream a little!

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Finally, we made it back to Catania around 6pm and went out to dinner at Catania: La Terrazza Del Barone, a lively restaurant where we shared a plate some fantastic meats (pork, steaks and even horse) finishing it all off with a drink of Amarone. If we had more time in this area of Catania, we would certainly try all the other dishes this highly recommended restaurant serves. But we didn’t have time and our pallets like exploring new tastes.

Finally, we walked back to our Airbnb and had an early night in to get ready before our 7am flight to our next destination → Malta.

Hi, I’m Jason Wingate and I caught the travel bug a few years ago with my wife Sophia Bello. Together, we’ve been travelling the world and sharing our experiences here on our blog, hoping to inspire and help you on your own journey!

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