Jeep 4-Wheel-Drive ATV,All,601
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Approximately 8 Hours
Witness centuries of Mt Etna's destructive powers on a jaw-dropping 4x4 adventure. Drive through a lunar landscape of lava formations, summit craters, and cinder cones.
Your camera will work overtime when you visit the impenetrable cliffs of Valle del Bove, lava-carved caves and hike along Mount Sartorius. The ancient Romans believed that Vulcan, the god of fire, forged thunderbolts for various gods and heroes in his workshop deep inside the volcano we now call Mount Etna. Sometimes he worked so fast and furiously that the ground shook and sparks filled the sky, creating a volcanic eruption. Of course, we now know that Etna's volcanic activity results from the northward motion of the African Plate colliding with the Eurasian Plate.
Your thrilling adventure begins with a drive to the seaside village of Giarre, where you'll meet your 4x4 vehicle driver. Heading off-road, your sturdy and reliable 4WD vehicle lets you spend the day getting to know one of the world's major active volcanoes. Acclaimed as "brooding, dark and fascinating" in the popular book 1,000 Places To See Before You Die, this seething example of nature's fury is home to a never-ending tableau of eye-popping scenery.
As your sturdy vehicle makes its way up the volcano's slope, you'll notice the topography change from one ecological zone to another. For the first 3,000 feet, vineyards, olive groves, and crops thrive in the rich and fertile soil. As the mountain grows steeper, you'll see forests of chestnut, beech, oak, pine, and birch. Above 6,500 feet is a world of ash, sand, lava, craters and rocks. Due to Etna's varied landscape, the volcano is an acclaimed UNESCO World Heritage Site noted for its "ongoing geological processes and volcanic landforms."
The huge depression which remains is known as Valle de Bove (Valley of the Ox). Visit the Dagala Longa by 4x4 as you travel over the lava fields. As you look over the Mars-like landscape, you'll see evidence of a catastrophic eruption that rocked the mountain 8,000 years ago -- pitted and charred remains left behind as wave after wave of molten lava thundered its way over the slope resulting in a 4,000-foot-deep chasm.
Back in the vehicle, you'll continue to the Corruccio Cave, which showcases how a particularly fluid lava flow shapes the landscape.
For a look at new lava flows, you'll rejoin your 4x4 guide and travel to Mount Sartorius for a hike along paths corroded by the 2001 and 2002 eruptions.
Later, you'll relax over a typical Sicilian lunch at a local mountain restaurant, followed by a drive back to Messina.
Weather conditions can be variable wear comfortable hiking shoes, warm clothes, sunscreen and a hat. If you wear contact lenses, bring a pair of glasses to keep the volcanic dust out of your eyes. Ride will be bumpy. Not suitable for guests with heart, respiratory, back or neck conditions. Not advisable for guests using a wheelchair or for those with mobility limitations. Mt Etna is an active volcano, and last erupted in 2023; participate at your own risk. No guarantee is offered concerning visibility or views on any particular day, as weather and atmospheric conditions vary and are beyond the tour operator's control.