There is certainly nothing more spectacular than a trip to Mt. Etna, the largest and tallest active volcano in Europe situated at the foot of Catania, except perhaps a climb along Mt. Everest! But for convenience and for a less dangerous adventure Mt. Etna is a truly unique experience that all kids will enjoy, so make sure that you make Etna a priority during your vacation to Sicily. The incredible and exotic diversity of flora and fauna and its scenic panorama are the result of the fertile volcanic soil present all over Sicily and its Aeolian and Egadi islands. For this reason it offers an unparalleled experience for nature lovers.
The natural habitat is so vast and diverse that it was – not just for this reason – nominated as a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can spot rare endemic species of foxes, wild cats, martens, rabbits, wild mice, golden eagles and peregrines and falcons. Also, Etna holds over 200 caves dating back to its millennial history when it was populated with settlements of ancient civilizations. These were used as burial places and also for food gathering purposes. Tours of the caves are available with professional guides that will take you to explore the magical diversity of landscapes, torch in hand. You can even walk on the lava-hardened craters always following of course the precautions advised by the tour guide.
For kids it is thus not only magical, but also an educational experience, and the thrill of a cable ride up to the top from the Rifugio Sapienza (where you can taste the delicious dishes typical of the region at the many bars and restaurants) is another opportunity to take in the wonderful panorama of the coast-line and the mainland. And as we know, kids of all ages love cable cars. In the winter Etna also offers awesome ski slopes for sports enthusiasts; you can even hire bob sleds for your kids at affordable prices. The ski lifts only add to the adventure as you revel in the majestic sights that stretch all around Sicily. Organised jeep tours are also a great choice to reach the remote spots and craters without having to resort to long day hikes!
Make sure to wear boots and comfortable wind jackets because of the high altitude winds (3350m above sea level) and do not forget sun cream for the kids! You may even catch sight of occasional lava eruptions – from a safe distance of course and under the watchful guard of the tour guides – and that will give your kids plenty to talk about with their friends back home.
Even though it’s still spring, you can already start planning your holiday. At this moment there are some really great deals you can take advantage of. Visit this website where you can find all direct flights to Catania from the UK and other useful information for your vacation in Sicily. One of the biggest advantages of Sicily is that even though it is pretty exotic, it is still really close (the flight lasts about 2 hours). So what are you waiting for?!
*Disclosure: This article was written in collaboration with MD, please see my disclosure policy for more information*