Mount Etna

Mt Etna 400
The quiet of Mount Etna at dusk
Photo by: gnuckx cc0, Creative Commons

If you and your friends are talking about active volcanoes in Europe, Mount Etna will definitely pop up in the conversation. Mount Etna is one of the most active volcanoes in Europe. The last recorded eruption was just in 2006. Like any other volcanoes in the world, Mount Etna does not only bring mishaps to Italy. In fact, it has become one of the famous places in Italy, visited all year round even during winter.

According to Greek mythology, Mt. Etna is home of the god of fire, Vulcan. They say that, when the volcano erupts the god of fire is working on a weapon for Mars, the god of war. The mountain is located at the east coast of Sicily and is also known with the name Mongibello meaning mountains of mountains. Mount Etna is also known as the second highest mountain in Europe next to the Alps.

At the base of the mountain, visitors can enjoy the Etna National Park. About 59,000 ha. of land around the volcano was declared as a wildlife sanctuary. The lava ejected by the volcano becomes a rich and fertile soil where different species of plant get some nutrients. Different kinds of oak, pine, birch and beech trees occupy the mountain. You can also spot foxes, squirrels and a plethora of bird species flying over the forests. Visitors can ride a train to enjoy a tour within the National Park.

If you are the adventurer type, you can try first trekking a short rail at the south part of the volcano which is free for everyone to use, but if that doesn’t suit you there’s another option. You can also hire local guides that can help you traverse up to the summit and have a good look at the volcano’s crater. The hike is not that easy because of the black sandy soil and the steepness of the mountain. During winter, there are also ski lodges on the mountain.

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