The highest mountain of Sicily – Mount Etna

Alcantara Gorge, ©geographyalltheway. com/Flickr

Alcantara Gorge, ©geographyalltheway. com/Flickr

The most amazing natural attraction of Sicily is Mount Etna, the highest mountain on the island. As Etna is a volcanic mountain, in ancient Greece it was considered as the god if fire and also the home of the Cyclops, the monster with one eye. The mountain is about 3350 m high and its volcano is still active hence each eruption changes the hight of it. Over the past centuries some eruptions were so powerful that the lava flow reached even the coast. Etna has many advantages: it offers several activities during all seasons. You can go skiing in the winter and hiking in the summer, visit the smaller peaks and beautiful caverns.

Wildlife on Etna

Mount Etna is home to several species of trees, plants and animals. Among the most often met trees one can find oak trees, stone pines, beech, birch, and broom plant together with other shrubs. It is an incredibly beautiful sight in the fall when the trees change the color of their leaves. In the woodlands and forests covering the mountain there are many frogs and turtles living in small ponds and streams.

Mount Etna Fox, ©archer10 (Dennis)/Flickr

Mount Etna Fox, ©archer10 (Dennis)/Flickr

The fauna consists of various species of snakes, lizards, foxes and squirrels, porcupine, rabbits and hedgehogs. If you look closely and don’t make too much noise you might see a wild cat or two as well. Take you binoculars with you on a hike and check out the majestic falcons, eagles and owls flying up in the sky. Take a walk to Lake Gurrida where you will find several migratory birds.

Alcantara Gorge

Not very far from Mount Etna is located the popular and scenic sight of the Alcantara Gorge. Being so close to Etna this beautiful rock formation which was created due to the mountain’s volcanic activity is composed of basalt and is a fabulous sight.

Alcantara Gorge, ©geographyalltheway. com/Flickr

Alcantara Gorge, ©geographyalltheway. com/Flickr

Hikes around Etna

There are many things to do and see around Mount Etna. Visit the western slope and go for a hike on Monte Gallo, cross through the Nicolosi-Adrano road and reach Galvarina forest where you can have a rest and gather your energy for other walks and hikes.

Mount Etna, ©Jonathan Edgecombe/Flickr

Mount Etna, ©Jonathan Edgecombe/Flickr

Another recommended itinerary is the hike between Casa Pirao and Cisternazza via Monte Spagnolo. The hike is about five hours long and takes you down on the northern slope of the mountain leading to the beech wood of Mount Sagnolo. For a spectacular natural setting take the natural trail of Monte Nero degli Zappini or Monte Zoccolaro natural trail. Walk through hills and valleys and enjoy the beautiful nature on the island of Sicily.

Monte Nero degli Zappini view, ©Mrjnks/Flickr

Monte Nero degli Zappini view, ©Mrjnks/Flickr

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