Fancy skiing on a volcano? Here’s how!
Sicilian ski enthusiasts face two challenges. First, Mediterranean warmth, which means winter snow is rare apart from atop the island’s highest peak. And second, the fact that the summit in question – Mount Etna – likes to spew out lava every few years. Assuming all is quiet though, skiing on snow-clad volcanic slopes makes a novel change for people used to the Alps, with the added draw of an après-ski drink in a sea-view bar just a few miles away.
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Etna has two small ski resorts, one reached from Nicolosi in the south, the other from Linguaglossa in the north (lift pass £27 per day, ski rental from £22 per day; etnasci.it). The website is in Italian only, but it has details of equipment rental plus a snow report. Check there is good snow cover before you book your trip. Shalai is a small hotel in Linguaglossa with 12 rooms, some with frescoed ceilings, plus a good restaurant and a candle-lit spa to visit after your skiing exertions (from £135; shalai.it). Catania Airport is 20 miles south of Mount Etna, with winter flights from Gatwick, Luton and Manchester on easyJet (from £130; easyjet.com).