Queen of Etna's Caves - Grotta del Gelo
- excursion / hiking to the most beautiful of Etna's lava caves -
Tour code: ETN_GDG
Duration: whole day (ca. 9-12 hours)
Dates:Custom tour dates only
Price (p.p.): from 125 EUR p.p.
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The Grotta del Gelo - the "Cave of Ice" is no doubt Etna's most famous and spectacular lava tube and merits a whole-day excursion in itself, one that many people will remember as one of the best hikes ever!
However, to get to the cave requires stamina and good physical condition, as it's a 15-20km hike over sometimes rough trails in the middle of endless lava deserts in the most remote parts of Etna and patches of mountain forest.
The tour is suitable for individuals and small groups and are accompanied by our professional mountain guides from Etna who know the volcano like their own pockets.
We organize your transfer to the starting point of the hike half-way up on the northern flank, and provide the necessary equipment to explore the cave (crampoons etc.).
Grotta del Gelo excursion (ETN_GDG):
Day 1: Excursion to Grotta del Gelo
Early start in 4x4 vehicle to get to the trailhead near Monti Pizilli at ca. 2400 m elevation on the NE rift zone. Conditions permitting, the summit area is crossed with spectacular morning views; alternatively, the transfer is through Etna North climbing the 4x4 road on the NE rift zone.
From there, it's a 3 hrs hike through bizarre lava fields with many beautiful structures, recent cinder cones and eruptive fissures until the Grotta del Gelo cave is reached in the late morning. Its location is one of the most remote of whole Etna!
We visit of the cave (ca. 1-2 hours), using crampoons to get onto the ice inside which forms a small permanent glacier normally present all year.
After lunch break at the cave, we hike back (ca. 3 hrs) along a remote trail back towards the NE rift zone at lower elevation and circel part of Etna's NE fland between 1900 - 1600 m elevation, gradually entering more and more into beautiful and dense pine, birtch and chestnut forests. On the way, a second great lava cave can be visited, the "Grotta dei Lamponi", with huge lava channel structures.
In the early afternoon, we arrive at a well-serviced mountain hut, where we will have a drink or late lunch. From here, it's ca. 1.5 hrs transfer back by car circeling Etna's east side along one of Etna's most scenic roads. Arrival back at Etna South in the late afternoon.
The excursion starts and ends on Etna South at the cable car station "La Sapienza". If you don't plan to bring a rental car (recommended option), we can also organize transfers to and back from there, as well as accommodation on Etna.