The 2023 guide to Etna cable car
A brief history of the Etna cable car
By the late 1950s, the construction of the first Etna cable car started. The starting point of the cableway was at an altitude of 1.927 mt. (6322 ft.) on a large parking space by Rifugio Sapienza, a mountain shelter. The inauguration took place in 1966. The first cable car in 1966 operated between 1.927 mt. (6322 ft.) and 2.930 (9612 ft.) with an intermediate station at 2,500 mt. (8200 ft.). The Etna cable car worked until 1971 when a violent eruption destroyed the highest section. In 1983 a second large and violent eruption destroyed the intermediate station that was spared by the 1971 lava stream. After the 1981 eruption, a new terminal station was built at 2,607 mt. (8530 ft.), but was short-lived since the 1985 eruption overwhelmed it and wiped it out. In 1990 after five years of inactivity, the Etna cable car reopened. This time, a new terminal station was built at a slightly lower altitude, 2495 mt. (8185 mt.) The violent eruption of 2001 destroyed the upper terminal one more time and damaged much of what was left of the cable car, threatening also the lower station. The upper station was demolished in October 2002. After a few years of inactivity, in August 2004, the new Etna cableway opened. Today the departure base is at an altitude of 1900 (6200 ft.), while the "summit" station is at an altitude of 2500 meters (8200 ft.).
Etna cable car price
The price for the Etna cable car for the season 2023 is €50 for adults and €30 for kids 5/10 years old. The above prices allow getting to an altitude of 2500 meters (8200 ft), where a self-guided tour is available. For those who wish to get to 2900 mt. (9600 ft.), the ticket price is €78 for adults and €50 for kids 5/10 years old; the price includes the cable car, 4x4 vehicle, and a 60 minutes walk led by a guide. Those who desire to visit the active craters to an altitude of 3320 mt. (10100 ft.) must buy a guided excursion from a tour operator. Be aware that on Mount Etna self-guided tours are not allowed above 2800 mt. (9000 ft.).
etna cable car opening hours
Winter season - (December to March)
The Etna cable car is open every day from 09:00 to 16:00 (last departure)
Summer season - Excursions (from April to November)
The Etna cable car lifts are open every day from 09:00 to 16:00 (last departure at 15:30)
Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday with departure at 5.30 pm upon reservation at the number: +39 095 914141- (42)
Etna Cable car excursions
1 Silvestri craters walk, self-guided tour
This self-guided walking tour is straightforward. You do not need to pay for the cable car. The Silvestri craters are located just ten minutes from the cable car and can be visited with a 60/90 minutes self-guided tour. This tour is ideal even for families with young kids, the Silvestri craters are very picturesque, and the Mediterranean Sea view is magnificent.
Suggestions. Bring always a jacket and a pair of comfortable shoes. Please do not wear sandals or flip-flops; lava rocks can be as sharp as razors.
2 Cable car self-guided tour to 2500 meters
This tour starts outside the cable car station at 2500 mt. (8200 ft.) Once outside the cable car station, move along the main road for a few hundred meters, then turn north, and you’ll find yourself in a vast and suggestive lava desert. From here you can walk as much as you want. We suggest reaching the edge of the Bove Valley (Valle del Bove), and if you still feel like walking, move toward the foot of Barbagallo craters at an altitude of 2800 meters (9000 ft.)
3 Etna cable car Barbagallo craters guided tour
Since this tour goes above 2800 mt. (9000 ft.), by law, you need to hire a guide included in the tour price. Buy a ticket at the Etna cable car counter and tell them you want to go to the Barbagallo craters. The walking tour lasts 60 minutes. The whole experience lasts two hours, including the cable car ride and the transfer on the 4x4 vehicles.
Price For the cable car ride and a guide €78 adults, €50 kids 5/10 years old.
Suggestions. Bring a jacket, some water and a pair of comfortable shoes. Please do not wear sandals or flip-flops.
4 Etna cable car to the summit, guided tour.
This is the ultimate Etna cable car tour. Those out there who wish to reach the summit of Mount Etna to the active craters must know that the Etna cable car does not sell this tour. The tour to the summit can be purchased from one of the many tour operators. A full-day tour lasts seven hours, covers fourteen kilometres on foot, and is physically demanding. Please keep in mind that people who have asthma or suffer from cardiovascular disease are not allowed to participate in the tour to the summit of Mount Etna. We suggest booking the hike to Etna's summit at least 24 hours in advance. July and August are the busiest months at the Etna cable car.
Price from 129 to 169
Suggestions: When buying the tour to the summit of Mount Etna make sure the price includes, transport from your hotel, shoes and walking poles. Bring always a sandwich, some dried fruit and water. At the car park of the Etna cable car, there are bars and restaurant where to buy food
how to get to mount etna cable car by car from Catania
From Catania centre follow the road signs towards Nicolosi. The distance from Catania to Etna cable car is 35 km. and it takes around 50/60 minutes.
how to get to mount etna cable car by Bus from Catania
To get to Etna from Catania by bus; check out the website of the bus company running the service, Azienda siciliana Trasporti. They have tens of bus stops scattered all around Catania. The bus company website is not user friendly.