Etna and the Alcantara Valley are enchanted places, to be covered at a slow pace. During the different hours of the day, from dawn to dusk, they offer a kaleidoscope of soft and intense colors to capture with your camera. Let’s go on foot, together with our guide and expert photographer of the territory of Etna and the Alcantara Valley in search of the most beautiful and particular points. From the black sands of Etna, to the bright yellow of the typical brooms of the warm seasons, from the varied colors of the typical Mediterranean scrub to the volcanic rocks, from the clear waters to the blue sky, not to forget the splendid breathtaking landscape and the starry night skies. There will be stops in shelters, visits to historical sites and tastings of wine and typical local products that will make you appreciate this pearl of the Mediterranean to the fullest.
- Alcantara Valley
- Argimusco Plateau
Meals as descripted
Cable car and entrance fees (to be paid locally)
- Identity card or passport
- Requirements required by the Italian State for anti covid prevention 19
- reflex camera
Have no walking problems
Mountain clothing is recommended
- Comfortable non-slip shoes
- windproof jacket
Day 1 – Catania/Southern Etna – Nicolosi – 48 km
We’ll be picked up from Catania airport for the transfer to a lodge or hotel in the Southern Etna area, where we’ll have time to settle into our rooms. We’ll meet our guide and have a welcome dinner in the evening, then stay overnight.
Day 2 – Southern Etna – Etna cable car – 16 km
After breakfast in the hotel, we’ll meet our guide and our driver, then set off for Nicolosi. From there, the Etna cable car will take us from 1,900 m to 2,500 m above sea level. A 4×4 vehicle will then take us to Torre del Filosofo at 2,790 m above sea level (or the maximum height permitted by the authorities). There have been frequent eruptions in this part of the volcano in recent years, so it’s often possible to witness them and experience the incredible power of nature. When we get up there, we’ll be able to admire the landscape and then take photographs of the incredible scenery, which stretches from the craters at the summit to the coast. The view of the Bove Valley will provide a great opportunity to capture the eruptive potency of Etna. Before we return to the cable car station, there’ll be some free time to take more pictures or look around the little shops. Everyone will be free to get their own lunch at the Sapienza mountain lodge, which can provide a wide range of delicious foods including focaccia, schiacciata and traditional Sicilian fare such as arancini: round or cone-shaped fried rice balls that are coated with breadcrumbs and filled with tasty meat sauce, peas and melted cheese. In the afternoon, we’ll visit the Silvestri craters. We’ll then head back to the hotel and there’ll be some free time for us all to relax.We’ll have dinner and stay overnight in the hotel.
Day 3 – Southern Etna/Northern Etna – 40 km
After breakfast, we’ll vacate our rooms, meet our guide and our driver, then set off on a photography trip among the birch and beech woods of Northern Etna. We’ll cover 3.5 km on flat ground on our photography hike. We’ll cross old lava flows that split the woods in two, look at the colours on this side of Etna and photograph two of the most eye-catching veteran beech trees on the volcano: “A trofa du camperi” (“The watchman’s bush”) and “U fau di Sanareddu” (“Sanareddu’s beech tree”). These two natural monuments are thought to be around 400 years old and they’ve both survived a number of eruptions. On our way back, we’ll stop to take pictures of one of the most interesting lava caves, which was used as an ice house until the last century and is known as the “Snow Cave” or the “Cave of Thieves”. We’ll continue our tour by visiting the Sartorius Mountains: a series of eight volcanic cones that formed during eruptions that started in January 1865 and lasted approximately six months. They’re also known as “the buttons” because they’re all lined up in a row. We’ll have lunch in a mountain hut or agritourism establishment. When we reach our hotel in Linguaglossa, we’ll have time to settle into our rooms before dinner and an overnight stay.
Day 4 – Northern Etna – Alcantara Valley – 22 km
We’ll have breakfast in the hotel, then meet our guide and our driver and set off for the Alcantara Valley between Etna, the Nebrodi Park and the Peloritani Mountains, where one of the most important and picturesque rivers in Sicily flows. We’ll walk along the banks of the incredible watercourse near the ruins of the medieval castle in Francavilla di Sicilia and take photos of some of the most spellbinding spots. The Alcantara River has been covered by lava a number of times, but it always continued to flow and always found its way back to its course. In doing so, it created lakes known as “Gurne”, where many people go to cool down in the summer. We’ll go down to its banks in a number of places so that we can take pictures of the most charming and fascinating sights. We’ll also visit the citrus orchards that surround the river today and the irrigation systems that provide them with water, which are called “saje” and were originally built by the Arabs. During the hike, we’ll tell you about the central role that the river has played in human history over thousands of years. At lunchtime, we’ll get a chance to taste traditional local products in an agritourism establishment. We’ll then head back to the hotel, where we’ll have dinner and stay overnight once more.
Day 5 – Northern Etna/ Malabotta Woods Nature Reserve/Argimusco Plateau/Montalbano Elicona – 37 km
We’ll have breakfast in the hotel, then meet our guide and our driver and set off for the Nebrodi mountains. Our first stop will be the Argimusco Plateau: a fascinating, almost mystical natural site of rare beauty featuring magnificent rocks with outlandish human and animal shapes that we’ll have fun photographing from different angles. We’ll introduce you to rocks known as the Eagle, the Baboon, and the Swan, as well as the Praying Goddess, the Soldier, the Priest, and more besides. There are 360° views of the landscape that stretch from Etna in the South to the Aeolian Islands in the North, the Peloritani Mountains in the East and the Nebrodi Mountains in the West. Next, we’ll head to the Malabotta Woods, where there’s a fairy-tale atmosphere. Also known as the enchanted woods, they’re home to numerous species of huge veteran trees with remarkable gnarled shapes that are extremely interesting to photograph. We’ll have lunch at a restaurant in Montalbano Elicona that serves traditional local dishes such as maccheroni with pork sauce, wheat bread, provola cheese, omelettes with wild vegetables and various kinds of deli meats. In the afternoon, there’ll be some free time for us to take a last few snaps of the quaint little stone houses on the narrow streets of one of the most beautiful villages in Italy, as well as the medieval castle of Frederick III of Sicily. In the evening we’ll head back to the hotel for a farewell dinner and our last overnight stay.
Day 6 – Linguaglossa / Catania – 62 km
Breakfast in the hotel will be followed by the transfer to the airport.
End of tour.