The active craters of Mount Etna are a huge attraction for lots of people from all over the world.
Etna is the highest volcano in Europe and one of the most active in the world. Currently, it is 3347 mt. high (11,014 ft), but the effective altitude has changed over the centuries according to the various eruptions. Indeed, the exact number of active craters of Mount Etna can vary over the years and consequently also the conformation of the volcano.
The activity of Etna is constantly monitored by the INGV, the National Institute of Geology and Volcanology. Therefore, it is always a good idea to check their updates before venturing into an excursion to the active craters.
At the moment, the active craters of Mount Etna are the Northeast Crater, Bocca Nuova, Voragine and Southeast Crater.
Located on the northeastern side of the volcano, the Northeast Crater was formed in 1911. Before its formation, just over a century ago, there was a unique Central Crater. For a long time, it has been the highest point of the volcano.
Voragine was formed in 1945 inside the antique Central Crater, precisely in its northeastern part. It is currently located between the Northeast Crater and the Bocca Nuova. Its activity is less frequent than the other active craters of Mount Etna, but it has produced some of the most violent eruptions in the recent history of the volcano.
Bocca Nuova, which formed in 1968, is the other active crater within the old Central Crater, on its western part. It is located between the Voragine and the Southeast Crater. It has experienced significant changes in its morphology due to eruptions and collapses.
Since its first formation in 1971, this crater has been characterized by constant activity which led to the formation of a new crater, the New Southeast Craters (NESC), which formation started in 2007. Situated on the southeastern flank of the volcano, in a few years, this new crater reached the same size as the Southeast Crater and is one of the most active of the volcano.
Trekking at the active craters of Mount Etna is an incredible experience; nonetheless, it is not suitable for all kinds of people, particularly people suffering from any cardio-respiratory conditions.
This walk takes place over 3000 meters of altitude on a rocky and irregular ground and, given the altitude, it is not infrequent to experience fatigue for people who are not used to physical activity. Furthermore, sudden gas emissions can occur which can make breathing even more difficult and be dangerous if inhaled. For all these reasons, adequate physical preparation is necessary.
Alternatively, it is possible to still explore the volcano by doing an excursion at lower altitudes. Indeed, there are many extinct lateral craters all over the Etna area which are suitable for all people, including families and children.
If you wish to discover the volcano, take a look at our excursions or contact us to find out the tour that best suits your needs!