Cruise ships sailing the Mediterranean often stopover in Messina, Sicily in order for passengers to visit the Mt. Etna volcano or the charming Sicilian village of Taormina. The drive from Messina to Mt. Etna is about an hour, and the bus drives along the coast, passing by many lemon trees, before starting the long, winding climb to the visitors' center on Mt. Etna.
Mt. Etna is high enough to have skiing in the winter, and the lava flows and volcanic sites are quite interesting. The visitors' center also has a hotel, a couple of restaurants, and a few souvenir shops.
In addition to visiting Mt. Etna, many cruise ship passengers manage to fit in time for one of Messina's famous canolis, which are excellent.
The Italian Island of Sicily
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Messina, Italy on the Island of Sicily
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Harbor in Messina, Italy on the Island of Sicily
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Harbor at Messina, Italy
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Highway Along the Strait of Messina
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Mt. Etna on the Island of Sicily
Mt. Etna towers over the island of Sicily and can be easily seen from cruise ships sailing through the Strait of Messina separating Sicily from Italy.
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Snow on Mt. Etna in May
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Hiking the Lava Fields on Mt. Etna in Sicily
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Lava Fields on Mt. Etna on the Island of Sicily
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Mt. Etna Souvenir Shop
Souvenir seekers need not worry--there are plenty of places to buy volcano souvenirs on Mt. Etna.
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Mt. Etna Volcano Lava Flow
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Mt. Etna Volcano - Ski Lift and Snowy Mountaintop
We were surprised to see the snow on Mt. Etna when we visited in mid-May. The volcano is also popular for skiing in the winter, and you can see the ski lifts.
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Mt. Etna Volcano Ash Cone
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Mt. Etna Volcano Lava Flow Stops at Restaurant
Mt. Etna continues to be an active volcano, and this lava flow mysteriously stopped before covering this restaurant/bar on Mt. Etna.
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Mt. Etna Volcano on the Island of Sicily
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Mt. Etna Volcanic Crater on the Island of Sicily off the Coast of Italy
Many visitors to Mt. Etna spend their time hiking on the ash cones and volcanic lava fields.