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My fiance (who will be my wife then) and I are visiting Sicily in September.

We plan to reach the Etna's summit. From what I have been told, everything above Torre del Filosofo (about 2900 m a.s.l.) can be visited only while accompanied by a local guide.

There are several tours and options to reach Torre del Filosofo, most popular are the cable car and 4x4 ride. However, we do not want to use them, as in our opinion reaching the Etna that way would be cheating (for us, no offence to the ones who used them :) ).

We would like to reach the real top of the Etna, which can be done only with a guide. We will hike up to the Torre del Filosofo on our own and we would like to continue with a guide from there.

We are aware that there is a local guide booth at Torre del Filosofo, but we cannot find any information how to book such a guide without any additional offers (no cable car and no 4x4 ride). We are willing to start hiking early in the morning, but we would like to know if there is any specific hour by which we have to arrive at Torre del Filosofo.

How can we arrange that when we finally reach Torre del Filosofo, there will be a guide there who can guide us to the summit?

  • I don't have the answer, but have you considered Stromboli? From talking to people who had climbed both, it is the more impressive volcano to climb up. – Mark Perryman Jun 28 '18 at 12:56
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    Well, we already have an itinerary for 2 weeks and we cannot fit Stromboli in it, although I would like that very much :( Still, I will check the information about it too. – Edmund Dantes Jun 28 '18 at 13:03
  • Technically a guide is not mandatory to climb Mount Etna, although it's a dangerous climb if you're not experienced. – JonathanReez Jun 28 '18 at 14:42
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    Normally I would not mind hiking without a guide, I have some hiking experience, but this will be our honeymoon in a place I do not know (and I have never climbed a volcano before :) ), so I would like to reduce risk. Another thing is that I am pretty sure my travel insurance will not cover an accident if it occurs in a guided-hiking-only zone and we are without a guide :) – Edmund Dantes Jun 29 '18 at 7:13
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I have asked the Gruppo Guide Etna Sud, which an official guide group which is responsible for organizing excursions to Etna and supervision over the tourists. Although it took some time to explain that we really want to hike on our own, we have finally received an answer:

Hello,

our cabin is open from 08.30. You can join Torre del filosofo being at 10.30 already there and booking a few days before. The cost would be € 30.00 per person.

We have also asked when their cabin is being opened, as we need to rent some equipment. As we can see, it is not possible to rent equipment and hike on one own in two hours.

I will expand the answer basing on final experience and what happens in September.

We have hiked the Etna on our own, but only up to 2700 m a.s.l. due to the recent activity. Therefore we were not able to reach the summit. However, we were reassured that in general it is possible to use the guide only for the final part (from Torre del Filosofo to the summit). It has to be arranged with them in advance.

Hiking Etna up to 2700m was exhausting for us and we think we wouldn't have managed to reach Torre del Filosofo on time and have enough energy for the summits. Still, there is an option to use the cable car only (it is the most exhausting part) and then reach Torre del Filosofo from the cable car station, it is quite manageable.

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My wife and me had actually the same question around ~10 years ago when going to Mount Etna. When I remember correctly, use of the cable car as well as a guide was mandatory for going upwards (but they let us walk down on our own).

Not sure how the regulations are today, I guess your best bet is to contact a guide bureau (like this one) by phone or email and ask them directly.

Stromboli was also interesting, we had a visit during the same holidays, but they definitely forbid any private people to enter the top area without a guide, with severe penalties when they catch you.

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