Meet your guide aboard an air-conditioned coach in Taormina's city center to start your day trip with a drive to the Alcantara Gorges, a series of ravines carved into the ancient volcanic rock by the Alcantara River.
Once you've paid your entry fee to the gorge, you'll follow your guide into the park to explore the canyons, caves, rock pools, and waterfalls. After your visit to the gorge, you'll head back to the coach and settle in for the drive to the town of Randazzo, near the border of the Parco della Etna national park surrounding the volcano.
Randazzo's main attraction is its cathedral, the Basilica of Santa Maria, which you will visit with your guide to learn about the columns made from lava rock and to see the 18th-century paintings inside. If your visit falls on a Sunday, there will also be some time allowed for you to go treasure hunting at Randazzo's weekly Sunday market.
From there, the coach will transport you through the national park to the base of Mount Etna, notorious as Europe's tallest active volcano, in a near-constant state of activity. You'll be driven to an altitude of 6,234 feet (1,900 meters) to the north refuge point, from which you'll be able to get a snack in the refuge cafe (own expense) and explore the area at your leisure.
There are different hiking trails to choose from, so get a recommendation from your guide before you set off. Also, be sure you've worn good walking shoes – the landscape is sometimes challenging.
If you prefer, you can upgrade your tour to skip the free time at the north refuge and continue straight to the upper craters of the volcano. Ascent by jeeps to the authorized crater zones at approximately 3,000 meters assisted by licensed guides of the CAI (Italian Alpine Club). Stop to admire the eventual activity of the summit craters in the area of security
At the end of the day trip, you'll meet your coach at the pre-arranged time and relax for the drive back to Taormina.