Mount Etna tour from Taormina

Mar 31st, 2017, 11:32 AM
  #1  
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Mount Etna tour from Taormina

Our Sicily trip is fast approaching and we are trying to nail down a few things to do - one of which is a tour to Mount Etna from Taormina. We have had good look with Viator in the past and so far in our research the Viator tour that appeals the most to us is described below:

<<<>>>

Does anyone have any experience with this particular tour or do you have something else that you would recommend?

Thanks for any suggestions you might have.
john183 is online now  
Mar 31st, 2017, 11:42 AM
  #2  
 
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Ask them if the charge extra for the parkas that you need as you reach the summit.
IMDonehere is online now  
Mar 31st, 2017, 11:45 AM
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Isn't Etna erupting right now?
sylvia3 is online now  
Mar 31st, 2017, 11:45 AM
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Hi John,

I looked at a lot of tours too, and ended up doing something a little different with a company called "Etna Finder":

http://www.etnafinder.com

we did a wine tour which included a short walk up onto Etna itself and lunch in a winery. For DH's taste it didn't include enough time up on Etna but IMO it was about right.

From their website they do tours of the type you describe too but I don't know how they measure up to the Viatour tour that you are interested in.

hope this helps a bit. Where else besides Taormina are you staying?
annhig is offline  
Mar 31st, 2017, 12:04 PM
  #5  
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Wow. Thanks for the quick responses.

IMDonehere: No mention of it but from what I read I would sure like to have one up there. Not sure how many layers I can put on but I might look like the Michelin Tire character by the time I'm done. HA!

sylvia3: We saw some stories about people having to dodge hot lava as they walked around after some eruptions. Not sure I want to get that close but..... it would be kind of neat to see it erupt.

annhig: Thanks for the link. I'll check it out tonight. We are doing one of those trips I always tell people to not do - 2 nights in Palermo, 2 in Agrigento, 3 in Taormina and 2 in Ortigia. Lots of moving around but we just couldn't add more days to Sicily. We are also going to Malta, Santorini and Athens on this trip. I know it is completely crazy but we are trying to get in a last few destinations while we are still mobile.
john183 is online now  
Mar 31st, 2017, 12:44 PM
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Gosh John, that is a bit frantic. We spent 10 nights in eastern Sicily [3 nights in Ortigia, 2 in Ragusa and 2 in Piazza Armerina, then 3 in Taormina] and that was bad enough for us. But I understand the feeling that you need to fit in as much as you can in a short period well enough.

Anyway, can I ask whether you are intending to stop off at the Villa Casale Romana en route from Agrigento to Taormina? It was one of the highlights of our visit - the mosaics are wonderful - and it wouldn't be that much of a detour.
annhig is offline  
Mar 31st, 2017, 12:59 PM
  #7  
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We are planning to stop there. We agree that it would not be much out of the way and are really looking forward to seeing it. Thanks for the suggestion - keep them coming. I don't think I commented in it but I read and enjoyed your Sicily trip report from last year. Thanks for posting it. I'm going to read it again just before we leave and pay closer attention to your details.
john183 is online now  
Mar 31st, 2017, 01:03 PM
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there are two main approaches to Etna where you can normally walk to near the crater-one close to Taormina but the other on the volcano's south side - the Philosopher Tower approach - I was understand that Philosopher's Tower approach was better -so if so that may be something to look at in a tour.

I did not do either as when I was there last Etna was in danger of erupting as I thought it had just done or is doing.
PalenQ is offline  
Mar 31st, 2017, 04:57 PM
  #9  
kja
 
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There are two basic types of tour to Mt. Etna – one type goes as close to the top as possible, and sounds like the one you are describing. The other focuses on wineries in the area. I wanted the former, and also wanted to visit the Gole dell'Alcantara. I booked once in Taormina with Grouppo Guide Alpine Etna Sud, and was very satisfied with that tour.

Definitely bring cold weather gear and thick-soled shoes. In addition to MANY layers, I had earmuffs, silk gloves, and protective goggles and was the envy of my tour group. ;-)

Although you haven’t asked for comments about the rest of your trip, note that Taormina is beautiful, but so crowded with tourists during the day that it can be truly unpleasant, and there really isn’t that much to see or do there. In contrast, Ortygia is a delight. You might want to consider shifting a night from Taormina to Ortygia. Just a thought....
kja is offline  
Apr 1st, 2017, 03:06 AM
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glad you found my TR helpful, John. from memory I don't think I've got to the section on Taormina yet, but in any event I agree with kja - even in September it was dreadfully crowded. If you can swap a night to Ortigia, I certainly would.
annhig is offline  
Apr 1st, 2017, 05:03 AM
  #11  
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PalenQ - thanks for the info. I think the tour we are looking at is on the south side. Just curious, were all tours cancelled because of the chance of an eruption or did you choose not to go?

kja - thanks for the tour recommendation. Did you visit the gorge? We will be sure to take as much warm clothing as possible.

annhig and kja - In a perfect world I would be rich and retired so I would not have to make difficult choices about where and how long to spend my vacation days. The way it works out, we will really only have two full days in Taormina, one of which will be doing the Mount Etna tour. We love Positano and are hoping we will love Taormina even if it is crowded.
john183 is online now  
Apr 1st, 2017, 06:20 AM
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Just curious, were all tours cancelled because of the chance of an eruption or did you choose not to go?>

At that time all tours to the top were cancelled as this was during an eruption time.
PalenQ is offline  
Apr 1st, 2017, 06:32 AM
  #13  
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Thanks PalenQ.
john183 is online now  
Apr 1st, 2017, 06:40 AM
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the actual eruption is not the main problem but toxic gases it emits - I'm sure tour companies only go when absolutely safe. But I'm sure tours only run when totally safe.
PalenQ is offline  
Apr 1st, 2017, 08:34 AM
  #15  
kja
 
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Yes, I did visit the Gole Alcantara and am glad I did.

While tour companies do their best, for their staff and their clients, to avoid dangerous conditions, people do sometimes get hurt-- and not necessarily just by gases. People WERE hurt recently. See the link provided by thursdaysd on May 16 at 6:06 p.m.:
http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...a-wakes-up.cfm

My reaction to the realization that I might never return to an area seems quite different than yours: Rather than trying to cram places in, that realization makes me want to maximize the time I have to actually see and experience the places that I choose to see, while minimizing the time spent traveling between places (unless, of course, the point of the journey IS the time in transit). I choose to skip some places entirely, even if I am sure I would enjoy them. Just my opinion, but FWIW, I'd add a day to Ortygia and at least 2 days to Palermo and skip Malta this trip. But you didn't ask, so forgive me for jumping in with a recommendation....
kja is offline  
Apr 1st, 2017, 12:02 PM
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Viator is a reseller so you might want to search for the company that actually does the tour.
kybourbon is online now  
Apr 4th, 2017, 01:53 PM
  #17  
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kja - I know this trip isn't for everyone but our group got together to plan our itinerary and this is what we ended up with. Would I make different decisions if I was traveling alone, younger, richer, better looking (LOL) - probably - but I'm happy with what we have. It's always good to hear other points of view so hopefully others reading this will heed your advice.

kybourbon - how does one go about figuring out which local companies Viator uses? I've looked at the companies recommended above and I can't tell if one of them might be the Viator company.
john183 is online now  
Apr 4th, 2017, 07:11 PM
  #18  
kja
 
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Your decisions are perfectly understandable, particularly with a group -- I hope you didn't mind my offering an alternative....

BTW, I just googled the company I mentioned above -- looks like you might be able to contact them directly?
kja is offline  
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