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Etna with a pushchair?!

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Etna with a pushchair?!

I will be in Giardini Naxos in late July.

Our party is two adults and three small children - ages 1, 3 and 5.

I am keen to visit Mount Etna. It is probably a daft question, but is it accessible by pushchair? The older two will walk short distances and we could bring a back pack to carry the baby in.

The baby carrier is pretty bulky, so if we can see as much with a pushchair, I probably won't bother packing it.

How serious is the walking involved in reaching the summit?

And do you think it's a trip that would be worthwhile with small children? They are fascinated by volcanos,, but less keen on long walks and high temperatures!

When is the best time of day time to go - and how long do you need? I imagine it's terribly crowded in peak season.

Any thoughts greatly appreciated.

Here & There
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for Sicily, Taormina
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1. Re: Etna with a pushchair?!

Ciao SuzieDee,

Etna is not a destination for young children, but you could drive to Rifugio Sapienza and walk the rim of the Silvestri Craters, and get a ‘feel’ for the volcano!

With a backpack for the baby, you could surely walk the Silvestri Craters, but it doesn’t take very long to walk these craters, and you could just as easily carry the baby for this short time and not pack the bulky backpack.

There’s a parking area, restaurant (La Terrazza dell'Etna), and shops that are all accessible by pushchair.

Only visit Etna on a good weather day, and visit in the morning before the clouds. Weather changes rapidly on the mountain, and it can be cold and windy even in summer. Dress in layers and bring sunglasses and sunscreen.

You can’t reach the summit with your children – The funivia begins at age 4.

Etna with young children:

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g187886-i343-k3152…

would like to go to hike on Vulcano and Stromboli!

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g187886-i343-k2989…

Children in Sicily:

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g187886-i343-k3179…

Enjoy!

Vagabonda

Here & There
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for Sicily, Taormina
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2. Re: Etna with a pushchair?!

You might also enjoy driving the loop on the volcano - Nicolosi and Zafferana are the gateway towns for Mount Etna Sud.

Rifugio Sapienza is the highest point for vehicles.

Drive on the volcano from Zafferana Etnea to Rifugio Sapienza, and then down through Nicolosi.

Taormina to Zafferana Etnea is 37km, and would take 00h35 to drive. Zafferana Etnea to Etna is another 27km and it takes about 00h43 to drive.

You would be able to walk the Silvestri Craters at Rifugio Sapienza.

Rifugio Sapienza is 19 km from Nicolosi and it would take 00h28 to drive.

Return to Giardini from Nicolosi.

Vagabonda

Buckinghamshire
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3. Re: Etna with a pushchair?!

This is all brilliant. Thanks so much for the advice. I am going to print this off and peruse it properly - then I can remind myself what's best when we are there.

Thanks again for all your help Vagabonda.

Suzie

Here & There
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for Sicily, Taormina
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4. Re: Etna with a pushchair?!

Ciao SuzieDee – My pleasure!

I just noticed that I posted distances from Taormina and you will be staying in Giardini, but it’s just about the same.

You could enjoy a full day at Etna with the loop on the mountain, the Silvestri Craters, and lunch.

And if you took turns, you could even take the funivia – The funivia would take about 15 minutes. (funivia, 27,50 euro; jeep, 24,00 euro):

http://www.funiviaetna.com/index.aspx

Teithiwr and HonoluluGolfer have written very informative reports!

tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g187888-d195…

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g187886-i343-k3549…

Etna is very special - Enjoy!

Vagabonda

Edited: 07 July 2010, 23:12
UK
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5. Re: Etna with a pushchair?!

Surely, Suzie, with three young children under 5 years of age, you are asking for trouble.... by all means spend a short time up there, just to satisfy your own curiosity - but those babies will surely be crying to be carried within a short time, and only two adults between them....so you parents will be having your arms stretched somewhat and your backs aching ..... and then there's the drinks, the nappies, the rest of the child equipment to bring...

They'll be begging for ice-creams and drinks (well, the two that can talk, anyway) and I could think of a more fun holiday for them than wandering around a volcano on foot !

Take them on a short trip on the Circumetnea train (the five year old will think that's great, at least) and both those that can walk will have more room to move than sitting strapped into a car for more time each day. Open windows on a moving train will give enough air movement to make up for airconditioning in July ! The rocking will send the baby off to sleep for a bit. You'll get to see the rolls of liquorice look-alike lava....and the cactus plants...

Forgive me.... I respect your right to make your own choices... but you did ask for opinons ! Hope you have a good time, all of you, whatever you decide to do !

UK
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6. Re: Etna with a pushchair?!

p.s. and I mean 'short' trip on the Circumetnea railway - don't make them sit through the full journey all the way round !!!

Buckinghamshire
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7. Re: Etna with a pushchair?!

Hello Nolanda,

Yes, I really do value your opinions, and you certainly do have a point. I will take this information with me too, and perhaps make a more informed decision when we are there on the ground (and we can gauge how well the kids are coping with the heat etc).

Our 5 year old won't be the problem - we were in the Canaries in January and she was determined to walk up tot he crater of an (extinct and not especially exciting) volcano. I left the other two with my husband, who was also less interested in walking and took her on her own. I was amazed how far she was prepared to walk - but I agree that the other two are probably just the wrong ages. You clearly know small children well!

We will work it out, but many thanks for the suggestions. I will post our experiences and let you know how it went on our return.

Thank you for taking to time to reply.

Suzie

Here & There
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for Sicily, Taormina
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8. Re: Etna with a pushchair?!

I respectfully disagree – The Circumetnea is boring, hot and very confining for children. There’s really no comparison in experiences from looking at Etna and being on Etna.

I had also advised sweetp0707London, that a three hour train ride would be a complete bore for a 4 year old.

On return, sweetp0707London wrote, “Our son loved Etna, we went up in the car as far as Rifugio Sapienza and collected Lave and walked about a bit. We had read about volcanos before we arrived and he was so excited. (It was very cold so dress well) We also took the Circumetnea train for an hour or so and again he loved it, but any longer would have been too long.”

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g187886-i343-k3179…

In the heat of summer, Etna and the Gole Dell'alcantara are cool and refreshing!

Vagabonda

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9. Re: Etna with a pushchair?!

Vagabonda, indeed you are correct, the full Circumetnea journey would be a nightmare for small children. I feel a short trip would be better than being confined in a car ! It's just an opinion. And I did repeat 'short' trip, in the following post. But that's the way for children anyway - do things in small amounts, to suit them. It also depends on what they are used to, and their parents would know them best. July in Sicily is not ideal for small children from Northern Europe as it's so hot - so if getting up the volcano to reach a lower ambient temperature helps, then it may be one way to solve the heat problem. Small children can't tell you what's wrong, they just get miserable. When our daughter was three, we took her on increasingly longer walks at home, before going on a holiday in Wales where we were walking up steep inclines and pony trekking - some would think pony trekking for a three year old as total madness, but she loved ponies ! Nowadays, I expect it would be banned by 'Health and Safety' rules. But we'd been 'in training' at home on foot and on short pony rides ! She had the time of her life. But we only had the one child at the time (her brother arrived later). Grandma came too - and when we went on the more difficult half day outings, she enjoyed feeding the goats with grandma (and grandma loved it too). This is why the 'trip reports' are so useful, because people have put those opinions and information on TA to good use, and can say how things went for them. It's great that you have such full and interesting, up to date information at your fingertips to give - and I'm sure your contributions are much valued by readers on the TA forums. I'm taking careful notes too - of your advice, for future trips... keep up the good work !

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10. Re: Etna with a pushchair?!

Sorry - that may have read wrongly - when we went on the half day outings, our daughter stayed behind with grandma and they fed the goats on the 'farm' we were staying at - the goats used to come up to the chalet doors and kick them to call the 'residents' out to pet them !