Mount Etna Packing List – Everything You Need to Know

Hiking Mount Etna, highest and most active volcano in the world, is one of the best experiences you can have! To be best prepared for it, here you can find the ultimate packing list for hiking Mount Etna.

Mount Etna Packing List

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What to Pack for Your Mount Etna Day Trip

If you’re hiking Mount Etna, and especially if you’re going all the way to the summit of Etna (like I did and which I highly recommend), you’ll need to think of 3 things: what to wear, how to protect your skin and what food to pack.

Going up to the summit of Mount Etna will take around 5h (inclusive of a 30 min lunch break), so expect to spend the majority of your day there. I would not plan any other activity apart from hiking the Mount Etna because you’d like to rest after you went to the top of the most active and highest volcano in the world!

What to Wear at Mount Etna – Packing List

The most important tip when it comes to clothing is to pack in layers!

Even if you’re visiting Etna in the summer months (like me), you can expect at least a 20 degrees celsius (68 F) difference between the ground and the highest point. So, if the ground is 35 degrees celsius (95 F), at the summit craters you can expect 15 degrees celsius (59 F) or even less! During the winter months you can expect snow. Even in the middle of August, we could have seen a little bit of snow!

Snow at Mount Etna

Waterproof and Breathable Hiking Jacket

Don’t even think of hiking Mt Etna without the waterproof and windproof hiking jacket. The winds are very strong and it can get very cold, especially in winter, so you need a warm jacket.

I also recommend Columbia Windbreaker Lightweight Jacket if you’re looking for more budget-friendly options. It comes in different colours and even though my preferred choice is always black, you can really get creative with your styling here.

Lowa Women’s Renegade Gtx Mid Ws Hiking Boots

One big mistake I made was not buying hiking boots. I thought my Skechers trainers would be perfectly fine, but as soon as our guide saw me (and my husband in his Adidas trainers), he told me we can’t hike in them because it is not safe.

The volcanic rock is very sharp and slippery, so you need to have proper shoes to safely hike to the summit.

For dummies like us they have boots that you can rent for additional €6 per person, but if you don’t want to wear shoes after who knows how many people, better buy yours, especially if you like to hike. I’m definitely learning from my own mistake.

Hiking boots for Mount Etna - packing list

Lowa Renegade Gtx Mid Ws Hiking Boots have the best reviews and are a classic favourite among travellers. This model is great for rugged trails as it offers both stability and comfort. It has great durability and water resistance. They are not cheap, but surely they will last for years.

If this is still super expensive for you, Columbia Women’s Newton Ridge is a good alternative.

Levi’s Hoodie

Remember how I said to pack in layers?

I recommend getting a hoodie because once you reach 2500m (8200 feet) above the sea level, it will start to get cold, but in the summer months, you may still not really need to put on a jacket, so a hoodie is a perfect choice. Even the parking lot which is at 1900m (6200 feet) is cold in the morning.

Obviously you can wear any hoodie, but I really like this graphic standard Levi’s hoodie. It is so comfy, and it’ll keep you warm for sure.

Mount Etna Packing List

P. S. You will get the safety helmet from them, I wouldn’t buy it myself.

Nike Dri-Fit T-Shirt

Because the trail is not super easy and most likely it’ll be sunny, you can expect to sweat. To limit this, I highly recommend buying a Nike Dri-Fit T-Shirt. I use them at the gym all the time and they are really great for sweat resistance because they keep your skin dry. They are also very light on the skin which is perfect when you’re doing a challenging physical activity.

Nike Dri-Fit Leggings

Same goes for leggings. 🙂

What to wear at Mt. Etna

Ray-Ban Sunglasses

You need to protect yourself from the sun, so sunglasses are the must have here!

I love this Ray-Ban model because they are very light to wear, the lenses are easy on the eyes and they look very fashionable.

Nike Backpack

Obviously, you need something where you can keep your extra clothes, skincare and food, so having a small backpack is another must have!

By now you have probably figured out that I’m a Nike fan because everything they make is of great quality, comfy and affordable.

I recommend this backpack because its padded shoulder straps and back panel offer support. And, it’s very light on your back which is super important when your hike is difficult.

What Skincare to Bring to Mount Etna – Packing List

The higher up you go, the more you will be exposed to the sun. Also, the winds get stronger, therefore it’s very important to protect your skin.

Disclaimer: The information provided is for informational purposes only and should not replace professional medical advice. Consult your doctor before making any medical or travel decisions. The author assumes no responsibility for consequences resulting from using this information without consulting a medical professional.

Sun Cream

I love NIVEA products, so I recommend this sun cream.

NIVEA Sun Protect Caring Lip Balm

How often do you think of protecting your lips? Probably not at all.

I was just like that until I saw this lip balm and it struck me – you should protect your lips too! I love the Shea Butter, so the scent is really nice, and they are hydrating. Most importantly, their 30 SPF is protecting you from the UVA/UVB Rays!

What Food to Bring to Mount Etna – Packing List

As mentioned, a hike to the Etna summit (and going back) will take approximately 5 hours. It is safe to say that you will be both thirsty and hungry.

There’s a little cafe/restaurant at the parking area where you can buy food and drinks, but the choices are limited to calzone pizza and some sandwiches. I had calzone and it was fine, but if you prefer to bring your own stuff, these are my recommendations.

Collapsible Silicone Food Storage Container with Lid

If you’d like to bring your own lunch, then collapsible silicone food storage containers are the best because they’re made of the safe material with premium quality. The design is pretty practical, so they won’t take up much space in your backpack and they are lightweight too.

Lunch at Etna Summit

Protein Bars

You need to have strength for the hike, so always carry on protein bars. My personal favourite is Grenade because it tastes like chocolate, but it’s healthier and with high proteins.

I also recommend some nut snacks.

Refillable Water Bottle

As I said, you can buy water at the cafe, but if you’re more into sustainability, then having a refillable water bottle is a better choice.

Mount Etna FAQs

Great! Now that you know your packing list for Mount Etna, here are the most common FAQs about Etna to keep you informative.

Where is Mount Etna?

Mount Etna is located in eastern Sicily in Italy. The closest city is Catania, but it is also not that far away from Taormina which is the most popular town in Sicily. Etna is above the convergent plate margin between the African Plate and the Eurasian Plate.

Is Mt Etna a Unesco World Heritage Site?

On 21 June 2013 the World Heritage Committee added the natural site of Mount Etna to the UNESCO List of the World’s Natural Heritage.

Mount Etna is renowned for its exceptional level of volcanic activity, and the documentation of its activity over at least 2,700 years. Its notoriety, scientific importance, and cultural and educational value are of global significance.

How to get to Mount Etna?

Because of its close proximity to Catania and Taormina, the best is to fly to Catania Airport.

I recommend renting a car because Sicilian roads are in general very good and it’s the easiest way to move around the island.

If you’re not into renting a car and road trip, then you can book some of the tours from Catania or Taormina to Etna.

What is the best tour of Mount Etna?

I have done this tour and I absolutely recommend it! 🫶

Our tour guide was phenomenal and what a better feeling than being at the top of the highest and most active volcano IN THE WORLD! 🤩 Such a great experience!

You will get all the safety instructions (and equipment) to make your hike to the summit safe and unforgettable. It is a bit pricey, but totally worth it, trust me.

The difficulty is moderate to difficult. In our group there were people in their 60s and families with children (5+ years I’d say), so if you and/or your partner/family are in a good condition and used to hiking, then go for it!

I will write a separate blog on this tour, so stay tuned!

Can I go to Etna on my own?

Short answer: yes, you can visit Etna on your own, but with limitations.

You can park your car and take a cable car at Rifugio Sapienza which is the starting point. The cable car will take you up to 2500 m (8200 feet) above the sea level and you can walk around the lower craters.

You are NOT allowed to go to the top of Mount Etna on your own because it is NOT SAFE!

Cable Car at Rifugio Sapienza

Is Mount Etna still erupting?

Mount Etna is the world’s and Europe’s most active volcano with documented volcanic activity over at least 2700 years. The last documented eruption happened in November 2023. I was there in August 2023 and it erupted a few hours after I had left Sicily! Catania Airport was closed for a few days until the sky cleared of the smoke.

What’s wild is that when we were hiking, Etna was blowing smoke rings every 15 minutes which is usually a sign it may erupt! 😅 Our guide told us that if we ran fast, we can be faster than the lava (very comforting lol). You can see the rings for yourself in the photo below.

Is Etna still erupting

Is visiting Etna safe?

As mentioned, Mount Etna is still erupting and therefore it is never truly safe to hike it. It is your personal responsibility and liability when you decide to hike and visit Etna, especially its summit. However, generally Etna is considered to be a safe volcano because every movement or tremor is recorded, studied and communicated in real time.

Also, most eruptions do not endanger those visiting or living in the area. The guide told us how the government built the canals where lava can flow after an eruption and it goes straight into the sea without endangering the village nearby.

What is the best time to visit Mount Etna?

Generally speaking you can visit Etna all year round if the conditions allow. If you’re visiting during the winter months, you may need to have specialist equipment like ice axes, crampons, etc.

The best time to visit Etna is from April to September, although if you don’t want to experience very cold temperatures, then the best time to visit is in the summer months. As mentioned in the beginning, you will still need to have warm clothing because even in mid August, temperatures at the summit are around 15 degrees, and it’s very windy!

Do you have any additional questions! Drop me a comment!

Also, don’t forget to save this post.📍

If you’re interested in pros & cons of visiting Sicily, read my blog. Spoiler alert: you may find additional bucket list ideas for this year! 🤭

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