To the north of the island of Sicily in the Tyrrhenian Sea is the beautiful Aeolian Archipelago, made up of 7 diverse islands including Lipari, Vulcano and Stromboli, whose active volcanic cone dominates the horizon. Dramatic cliffs and winding coastline, black beaches and thermal hot springs, a deep blue sea and charming port towns are all characteristic of this enchanting group of islands. Four days have been set aside to explore these islands on foot including a guided ascent of Stromboli, subject to conditions, where fiery lava explodes regularly from its active crater. The daily walks are interspersed with opportunities to relax on the beach, snorkel, explore the ports and villages or bathe in therapeutic hot mud. Back on the mainland of Sicily the focus shifts to the famous volcano, Mt Etna, where the 2002/03 eruption opened a line of gaping craters. From our hotel at the base of Mt Etna, the walks include an ascent to 2900m where it is possible to observe the craters and appreciate panoramic views all the way to the Ionian coast.
MODERATE – GRADE 3
The walking is graded moderate with 3 to 6 hours walking each day over hilly to steep terrain. Prior hiking experience is recommended. The walk on Mt Stromboli is the most demanding walk in the itinerary. Children must be a minimum of 10 years of age before they are allowed to ascend to the crater of Stromboli. A reasonable level of fitness is required. If you do not undertake the hike up Stromboli the rating of this trip falls to Introductory (1) and is suitable for active children from 5 years. As with all of our trips it is important that you are well prepared. We suggest that you undertake regular exercise – swimming, cycling, and jogging, two to three times a week for three months prior to your departure.
On arrival in Catania, make your way to your hotel. At 6pm you have an orientation meeting with your guide and the group, before dinner together at a local restaurant. Catania has many baroque churches and interesting buildings situated in the heart of the city centre. Overnight stay at hotel in Catania.
After breakfast there will be a transfer from the hotel to Milazzo harbour (1hr 30min). From here we take a hydrofoil to Vulcano (1hr), one of the seven Aeolian Islands and famous for its black beaches and thermal springs. The hike to the crater takes around 1.5 hours from the port and on the crater's rim you will witness the fumaroles (sulphur fume vents) and enjoy an incredible view of the island chain beginning with Lipari. After descending, there is time for a mud bath at the thermal springs and a dip in the sea before continuing to Lipari for your overnight stay.
Ascent +390m/1280ft, descent -390m/1280ft
In the morning, walk along a gentle trail to the southern side of the island for enchanting views over Vulcano island’s crater. In the afternoon there is free time to explore the centre of Lipari, with its interesting Archaeological Museum. Overnight stay in Lipari.
Ascent +250m/820ft, descent -250m/820ft
After breakfast, transfer by hydrofoil from Lipari to Stromboli (1hr). Check in at the hotel and relax on one of Stromboli’s unique black beaches. In the late afternoon there is a great walk to the “Sciara del Fuoco” (around 400m) where you first experience the incredible activity of Stromboli, usually occurring every 15 minutes, and take in the wonderful panoramic view of the craters and the immense path created by rock fall. Overnight at hotel in Stromboli with dinner at a local pizzeria.
Ascent +400m/1312ft, descent -400m/1312ft
In the morning there is free time to visit the lovely village of San Vincenzo and also the interesting volcanological centre of the island. You may also like to take a boat tour of the island to visit the enchanting small village of Ginostra, which is on the opposite side of the island and can only be reached by boat.
In the late afternoon there is a planned ascent of the volcano* with certified volcano guides. You arrive after sunset to see the full impact of the short eruptions that occur regularly. Return to the hotel afterwards for overnight accommodation.
* The volcano is 924m high and group sizes for the climb are a maximum of 20 people, escorted by a certified volcanic guide, in accordance with Italian law. You will walk with a group of 20 (max) and the guides speak English together with German, French and Italian. The volcano guides reserve the right to not climb the volcano according to safety measures that are constantly being monitored, the weather and also the physical condition of the walkers. If you are considered not fit enough to ascend you will be asked to descend.
Ascent +924m/3032ft, descent -924m/3032ft
In the late morning you will take another hydrofoil from Stromboli to Milazzo (2hrs). On arrival at the mainland, there will be private transfer from Milazzo harbour to a hotel on the southern side of Etna, our base for tonight (at 1900m altitude). Before dinner at the hotel there will be a short walk along the edge of the Silvestri Craters.
Ascent +150m/492ft, descent -150m/492ft
Today, hike to 2000m on the southern side of Etna, discover the edge of the “Bove Valley”, a huge “caldera” formed from the collapse of an old volcano, and enjoy amazing views of the Ionian coast of Sicily. In the late afternoon there will be a private transfer from Mt Etna to the hotel in Catania. Overnight stay at hotel in Catania.
*Option: dependent on weather conditions and volcano activity it is possible to climb to the summit at the central craters (3350m), guided by a mountain escort, with a combination of cablecar and 4WD vehicle up to 2900m then trek to the top. From there either walk or take the cableway back to the hotel (price EUR85 per person payable locally, subject to change).
Ascent +200m/656ft, descent -200m/656ft
After breakfast the trip concludes. The airport can be reached easily by bus or taxi.
Per Person, Twin Share