Grotta del Gelo

Cave of the Ice - Ice Cave

Useful Information

Location: Mt. Etna, Sicily. Northern slopes of the mountain, start from Pista Altomontana north of the summit.
Open: no restrictions.
Fee: free.
Classification: Speleologylava tube
Light: bring torch.
Dimension: A=2,030 m asl, T=-4 °C.
Guided tours:
Bibliography: S. Calvari, H. Pinkerton (1999): Lava tube morphology on Etna and evidence for lava flow emplacement mechanisms, Journal of volcanology and geothermal research, ISSN 0377-0273, 1999, vol. 90, no3-4, pp. 263-280 (1 p.1/4)
Address: Tel: +39-0
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


1614-24 cave formed.


The Grotta del Gelo (Ice Cave) is one of 200 lava tubes which are known on the flanks of Mt. Etna. This one is located high up above the upper circle road at about 2,000 m asl. Because of the heigth the average tempperature is rather low and ther is frost and snow in winter. The cave has its opening uphill and is closed by a collapse at the lower end. As a result cold air is trapped in winter and melting water flowing into the cold cave in spring freezes. The ice stay in the cave all over the year, and so the cave is said to cointain the only glacier in the Mediterranean Sea.

The cave is open to visitors but not developed. As it is nacessary to hike to the entrance visitor generally have the right clothes and shoes for a visit. It is advisable to take a lamp, a helmet and warm clothes with you if you plan to visit the cave.