3 Amazing Experiences Around Mount Etna

Mount Etna is one of Sicily’s most spectacular natural attractions. It is Europe’s largest volcano, among the most active in the world, and is one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites.

Here, we have recommended three amazing experiences to get the most of your visit to the Mount Etna area. You can experience some of these activities as part of our 10-day Sicily Bella Small Group Journey!

1. Mount Etna 4-Wheel Drive Experience with Winery Tasting, Lunch & Full-Day Tour

Mount Etna is an otherworldly experience with lunar-like landscapes of craters and old lava flows. An exciting way to discover the unique volcanic environment is with a 4-wheel drive, off-road adventure. You can combine your Etna tour with a visit to one of the areas wineries. Enjoy a lunch and tasting of wines grown on Etna’s slopes. You may want to take an excursion to the scenic Alcantara Gorge. Its canyon, river, and placid pools are perfect for relaxation on hot Sicilian days.

Your 4-wheel drive adventure takes you off the beaten path! The tour buses can’t go to explore this part of Sicily. Discover a land of volcanic lava flows, lava tunnels, extinct craters and the spectacular Bove Valley, site of an immense, historic lava flow. You’ll have an option to take the Etna cable car and then a jeep ride to the top of the mountain. Here, conditions permitting, a local guide will lead you on a hike to show you the amazing views of the crater area of the active volcano.

Mt Etna capped by snow

Discover Mt Etna by 4WD

Etna’s fertile volcanic soil supports the growth of grapes. It’s no wonder a host of wineries have grown up in this surprising locale. They afford a fun opportunity to enjoy excellent wines and learn about the wine making process in a stunning setting on the slopes of Mount Etna! The wine tasting will introduce you to some of the local vintages. Afterwards, enjoy a lunch of local Sicilian products amidst the vineyards.

The Alcantara Gorge was formed by Etna’s volcanic action. Black lava rock canyons formed through which the Alcantara river has cut deep, scenic gorges, and feeding waterfalls and pools. These can make for an enjoyable outing to cool off with a swim or relax on the small, pebbled beach. You can also take a hike to enjoy the picturesque river and canyon surroundings.

2. Godfather Scenic Villages Half-Day Tour

Director Francis Ford Coppola selected several medieval hilltop villages near Taormina. These became the shooting locations for his famous Godfather movies film series. Fans of the films can take a tour of the picturesque villages of Savoca and Forza d’Agrò where many scenes from the movies were shot.

Savoca is a beautiful hamlet set in the hills north of Taormina. Its main claim to fame is that it was used as the setting for the town of Corleone in the Godfather movies. Here you can see two of the most famous locations. These include the Bar Vitelli inside the 1773 Trimarchi Palace on the picturesque main square (full of photos of the film’s stars and movie episodes), and the church of San Nicolò where a wedding scene was filmed.

Savoca - a beautiful hamlet in Sicily

Savoca – a beautiful hamlet in Sicily

During your independent stroll through the village, you can also see a small museum of village life. Discover the Mother Church of Savoca, the ruins of Pentefur Castle, a 12th century arch, and the Cappucini convent with its odd crypt containing mummies of 18th century monks.

Another film location is the village of Forza d’Agrò. The village has narrow medieval street layout and incredible views of the surrounding countryside and Ionian coastline. Here you can see the Church of the Santissima Annunziata. It was used as a film location in several of the Godfather movies, as well as the remains of a Norman castle.

The films trace the history of a Mafia family from town of Corleone. In the real town of Corleone, you’ll find the topic of the Mafia problem seriously addressed in the CIDMA Museum, the International Documentation Center on the Mafia and the Anti-Mafia Movement. Here the local history of the Mafia is presented along with the stories of those who fought against it. Read more about the history of the mafia here.

3. Taormina Bay Half-Day Boat Trip with Swimming and Snorkelling

The setting of Taormina, on the beautiful Ionian Sea with Mount Etna in the background, is one of the most scenic in the world. Another amazing experience is to take a private, half-day boat trip for a delightful swimming and snorkelling experience. Enjoy the gorgeous bays, coves and sea caves dotting the spectacular coastline.
During your excursion, you’ll enter the beautiful Isola Bella Marine Park with its island and gorgeous bay. The turquoise blue waters invite swimming and snorkel exploration of the underwater sea life with its corals and fish. You’ll hear about the myths and legends of this stunning area as you cruise to several incomparably beautiful locations. These include the Blue Grotto, the Mermaids Bay, Cape Taormina, the Cave of Lovers, and the Bay of Mazzaro with its pretty beach.

Woman in orange swimmers and snorkels

Enjoy a snorkelling trip if turquoise waters

You’ll have refreshments and snacks on board to enjoy as you marvel at the stunning Ionian Sea and land vistas. You will also have two breaks for swimming and snorkelling during your tour. And all with the majestic Mount Etna looming in the distance.

The Mount Etna and Taormina area offer many delightful excursion options. From getting off-road in a 4-wheel drive vehicle to explore the volcano’s lunar landscapes to taking a boat trip along the amazing shoreline to snorkel and swim. Enjoy a wine tasting on Etna’s slopes, visit the scenic Alcantara Gorge or drive into the country to see beautiful villages like Savoca where the Godfather films were set. You can experience many of these adventures by joining us on our 10-day Sicily Bella Small Group Journey!
Tags: , , ,