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Islands of Sicily Walk

Islands of Sicily Walk

      from 33 reviews

Islands of Sicily Walk

  • Taormina, 'Pearl of the Ionian Sea'
  • Mount Etna, the largest active volcano in Europe; smouldering Stromboli
  • Island hop between the varied landscapes of the Aeolian Islands
  • Panoramic coastal paths, dramatic lava trails, natural bubbling mud baths
  • Sulphurous green craters, molten red lava skies, black-sand beaches, secluded bays
  • Holiday typeSelf-guided walking
  • Duration9 nights, hotel-to-hotel
  • Activity level
  • Excellent for
  • From $2090 per person, tour only
  • Holiday details
  • Departs Selected Thursdays from 7 Sep '17 to 19 Oct '17
  • All continental breakfasts
  • Managed by Headwater appointed agent
  • Sustainability rating: 85%
  • Route notes and maps provided
  • GPX files available
  • Most walking transfers
  • Guided excursions up Etna and Stromboli

We're here to help

If you've any questions about this holiday call our sales team on 1-800-567-6286 , or email info@breakaway-adventures.com

This nine-night walking holiday leads you on a self-guided adventure along Sicily's stunning eastern coast, taking in some of the island's most precious jewels, from the spectacular Greek theatre of Taormina to the immense and impressive Mount Etna, the largest active volcano in Europe! You'll also spend five days island hopping between the astonishingly beautiful Aeolian Islands, a string of seven volcanic islets that glimmer like black pearls off Sicily's Mediterranean shoreline. You'll stay three nights on Lipari, the largest island of the Aeolian Archipelago, and two nights on the island of Stromboli, known also as the 'Lighthouse of the Mediterranean' for its constant volcanic eruptions.

The walks themselves are as varied as the places you'll visit. Highlights include climbing Vulcano's Gran Cratere della Fossa crater to see the fumaroles, vents from which a steady stream of gases and vapours eerily seep out of the ground and in Stromboli, there's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make a nocturnal ascent, with a volcanologist, towards the summit to witness the flow of lava and intermittent explosions that paint the night in a glorious red light. A full day is spent on Mount Etna itself, where you ascend through an impressive volcanic landscape towards the summit, enjoying infinite views down to Catania and the crystal-clear waters of the Ionian Sea.

Your hotels vary from a prime location in Taormina's historic centre, to an C18 palazzo just a stone's throw from Lipari's bustling fishing port.

Fully guided departures for this holiday are available departing Apr 6 and Oct 5 2017. These follow the same itinerary as the self-guided version and all transportation/transfers are included.

Read more about this holiday in Stumpy's Blog.

Day-by-day itinerary

Walking information

This holiday follows mule tracks, stony coastal roads and footpaths through a volcanic landscape of dried lava rock and sand. Due to the frequent, often stony, ascents/descents these walks are more challenging than the distances might suggest. Customers with a fear of heights may have difficulty with the Stromboli evening hike. Walking boots are essential, and poles strongly recommended. Please note: The above itinerary is wholly dependent on weather and volcanic conditions and is therefore subject to change. Days 8 and 9 may be inverted. Volcano excursions will be refunded if inclement weather / volcano conditions mean they do not go ahead.

Day 1 - Arrive in Catania

Arrive at your hotel, a short stroll from the town's Baroque centre. (Staying at Hotel Mediterraneo, Breakfast only)

Day 2 - Catania to Lipari

After your welcome briefing, it's a private transfer to Milazzo harbour to catch the hydrofoil (50 mins) to Lipari, capital of the Aeolian Islands. This afternoon you're at leisure to explore Lipari's old town and harbour. (Staying at Hotel Villa Meligunis, Breakfast only)

Day 3 - Lipari 11km/7mi/4.5hr

A short bus ride takes you up to the village of Quattropani, on Lipari's western coast and the start of today's walk. Enjoy breathtaking views over the entire archipelago from Lipari's verdant peaks as you descend to its bustling harbour. (Staying at Hotel Villa Meligunis, Breakfast only)

Day 4 - At Vulcano 7km/4.5mi/3hr

A 10-minute hydrofoil takes you to the neighbouring island of Vulcano, famous for its black beaches and volcanic mud baths. Walk up to the Gran Cratere della Fossa crater for beautiful views over the other islands before descending back down to the beach in time for lunch and an optional mud bath. (Staying at Hotel Villa Meligunis, Breakfast only)

Day 5 - Lipari to Stromboli 8km/5mi/4hr

Head down to the port to hop across on the hydrofoil (90 mins) to Stromboli, considered one of the most beautiful islands of the Mediterranean, with its cone-shaped volcano and black beaches contrasting with white houses splashed with scarlet bougainvillea. There's time for a circular walk that takes you to the Sciara del Fuoco - a viewpoint overlooking an incredibly steep landslide where rocks spurted out from the crater roll directly down into the sea. (Staying at Hotel Ossidiana, Breakfast only)

Day 6 - Stromboli 10km/6.5mi/5hr

Today you have free time on Stromboli to explore the island, visit the lovely village of San Vincenzo or have a swim in the sea. In the early evening, you join a guided sunset hike (included) to the summit of the volcanic crater - an amazing experience! (Staying at Hotel Ossidiana, Breakfast only)

Day 7 - Stromboli to Taormina

After taking the hydrofoil back to Milazzo you'll be transferred to Taormina (1 hour), the jewel in Sicily's crown. There's time to soak up the atmosphere and explore this charming historic town and to admire the amazing view of mighty Mount Etna. (Staying at Hotel del Corso, Breakfast only)

Day 8 - Mount Etna 8km/5mi/5hr

A private transfer takes you up to Etna's flanks where you meet your volcano guide (included) and ascend by cable car and jeep to 2900m, before starting your walk, discovering the line of craters from the 2002 eruption. Weather permitting, we walk to Etna's summit (3350m) before continuing along the ridge of the Bove Valley, a huge caldera formed by a volcanic collapse. In the afternoon, we take you back to your ideally located hotel in Taormina. (Staying at Hotel del Corso, Breakfast only)

Day 9 - Taormina 6km/4mi/3.5hr

Today it's a morning walk up to mediaeval Castelmola. Perched precariously above Taormina, it's one of the most beautiful villages in Italy. You have free time to visit historic Taormina and its Greek theatre, or bathe in the blue sea of the natural reserve of Isola Bella, before your final dinner. (Staying at Hotel del Corso, Breakfast only)

Day 10 - Leave Taormina

Where you stay

During your holiday you stay at the following hotels. If you'd like to extend your time at any of these or, if you'd like to enhance your stay with an upgraded room, just let us know at the time of booking. You can call our sales team on 1-800-567-6286 to discuss accommodation options.

Hotel Mediteranneo, Catania (***)

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The modern 3* Hotel Mediterraneo is situated in Catania’s vibrant centre, just a short walk from the city’s historic Baroque quarter. It boasts bright, modern and spacious rooms, which even come with individual coffee makers. Unusually, the hotel also has a pillow menu and you are invited to choose your pillow from the hotel’s extensive pillow menu before settling down to a good night’s sleep.

Find out more on the hotel website and read customer reviews on Tripadvisor.

Room upgrades are not available at this hotel.

Dates Single room Double room
01/04/2017 - 31/10/2017 £104 £80

All prices shown above are valid from 14/06/2017. Prices are per person per night on a bed and breakfast basis.

Hotel Villa Meligunis, Lipari (****)

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Situated in Lipari’s pretty fishermen’s quarter, the Hotel Villa Meligunis is just a stone’s throw from Marina Corta and overlooks the port itself. There are gorgeous sea views from the hotel’s rooftop terrace and panoramic pool as well as vistas over Lipari’s ancient Castello. Although the villa dates back to the 18C, the hotel boasts all the modern comforts for the 21C traveller – as well as a modern art exhibition in its spacious public rooms.

Find out more on the hotel website and read customer reviews on Tripadvisor.

Dates Superior room Deluxe room
01/04/2017 - 31/10/2017 £14 £20

All prices shown above are valid from 14/06/2017. Supplements are per person per night based on 2 sharing. Superior rooms are larger, with a terrace. Deluxe rooms have a sea view.

Please contact us for extra night prices.

Hotel Ossidiana, Stromboli (***)

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Built in a typical Mediterranean style, this small, family run hotel has been totally renovated and offers a marvellous view of the beach and the sea. Behind the hotel rises the lofty volcano of Stromboli, known for its eruptive activity called 'Strombolian'. Headwater customers are allocated the superior rooms here, which afford lovely sea views and also come with a small balcony. The Ossidiana Hotel offers you the opportunity to stay in a really unique place, where you can still experience crystal-clear waters and the island's peace in a restful atmosphere.

Find out more on the hotel website and read customer reviews on Tripadvisor.

Dates Deluxe room
01/04/2017 - 31/10/2017 £20

All prices shown above are valid from 14/06/2017. Supplements are per person per night based on 2 sharing. Deluxe rooms come with a large balcony and a sea view.

Please contact us for extra night prices.

Hotel Del Corso, Taormina (***)

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The Hotel del Corso is located right in the historical centre of Taormina, on the town's pedestrianised Corso Umberto I, which also gives the hotel its name. This is the central hub of the town, offering a wealth of shops and cafés, and with easy access to all the major attractions.

The hotel itself is an elegant palazzo which has been converted into a charming hotel. The 15 rooms are ensuite, elegantly furnished and equipped with all the modern comforts to make your stay as pleasant as possible.

Breakfast at the Hotel del Corso is guaranteed to get the day off to a perfect start! It is served in the panoramic breakfast room and its adjoining terrace - with fantastic views over the town and the Ionian sea, with Mount Etna looming in the background!

Find out more on the hotel website and read customer reviews on Tripadvisor.

Room upgrades are not available at this hotel.

Dates Single room Double room
01/04/2017 - 31/10/2017 £110 £86

All prices shown above are valid from 14/06/2017. Prices are per person per night on a bed and breakfast basis.


Transfers included from Catania airport at 11:25, and back to Catania airport at 17:45.

Please call our sales team on 1-800-567-6286 or email info@breakaway-adventures.com to arrange connecting flights.


Everyone who goes on a Headwater holiday will be emailed a link to our post-holiday questionnaire where they can give us an honest assessment of all aspects of their holiday - everything from how quickly we answer the phone to how clean the hotels were - plus, of course, an overall rating and comments about their holiday.

Any feedback collected is posted straight to our website - totally unedited. So, for the real tales, twists and turns of our holidays, look no further than the reviews from our previous travellers.

Mr Allan

This possibly the most enjoyable and rewarding Headwater Holiday of many involving city breaks (Manchester, Catania and Syracuse) and adventure (walks on volcanos and travel (by train, plane, ferry and taxi) Take care to check travel arrangements. Travelling from Edinburgh to Manchester airport we were tempted to stay in City Centre Manchester but opted for the Airport Hotel for an early flight but still managed an early evening visit to Manchester City Art Gallery and a meal out in town.
... read morer>Mandala Travel act for Headwater in Sicily. They were excellent arranging pickups, transfers and Hotels.because of the G7 Syracuse was arranged as non-standard alternative to Taormina. The extra expense proved worthwhile. Syracuse is delightful, compact and interesting. The Royal Maniace Hotel is well located for walks and restaurants. The briefing provided at the start of the holiday was one of the best ever, giving a clear indication of what to expect on walks and providing detailed information on the weather, transfers, and ferry and bus times. These were important to make the most of options available – it is worth checking breakfast times against early starts. For example on Lipari this can allow a visit to the serious museum after the days walk along the coast.

The success of the Stromboli night walk largely due to our excellent guide Manuel (and his very young assistant Ryan!) We found preparation and concentration helped getting into a rhythm more important than taking pictures on way up. we left the hotel at 4 pm and returned at 1215 am exhausted but elated! That was special. Etna is also bit but of a but again it was well lead by our guide Pepe (he features in a you tube video with the BBC team who got caught out by an unexpected eruption). Pepe shared his lunch with another hugely enjoyable day out meeting more great people. All the drivers were excellent. We spent most time with Roberto who provided much information and Italian conversation classes for my better half with simultaneous translation for me!

Hotel Mediterraneo in Catania is well located, efficient and functional. When we decided to bring forward the airport pickup time on our last day (anticipating travel disruption because of the G7) the hotel contacted Mandala Travel on our behalf and an earlier pick up was arranged. The island hotels also did their job well and made us welcome. We had some concerns with the Royal Maniace Hotel in Syracuse. They were unable to switch off the air extractor in the bathroom for our stay. The room information stated that breakfast was available from 7 am (we had a 7.30 am pickup) but one member of staff advised breakfast did not start until 7.30 am. (A polite and helpful female member of staff did in fact save the day by ensuring we did get breakfast.) When we raised this with the Hotel management we were told that the room information referred to the Winter breakfast time Strangely all the hot food was on the serving table at 7 am! We still consider this hotel to be worthwhile and hope Headwater can offer this as a great alternative to Taormina!

Can I mention one place to eat try: Scirocco Fish Lab in both Catania and Syracusa both near the fish markets and perfect for a snack.


Mandala Travel kept the level of communication to a perfect level once phoning me on Robertos phone while travelling to Etna just to make sure everything was going to plan! On our flight over we met a man who had dedicated his life to providing outdoor activities for Manchester school kids now retired (but still climbing) he attached equal importance to the instructors and the staff responsible for the accommodation and food. He believed all were essential to a successful outcome.sound familiar?

Mrs Ede

This holiday is not walking every day. It includes travelling between islands and walking at each destination. It is all very interesting and the highlight is climbing Stromboli which is just amazing. It was an expensive holiday in that you have to buy all lunches, evening meals, drinks and pay for ferries on top of the basic cost.

Mrs Chapman

A guided trip with only 4 people could be difficult if the travellers didn't get on. The ferry/sea transfers were difficult as there were fewer than in the summer timetable which meant we had to waste holiday time waiting around. The main guide wasn't allowed to show us round towns and we could have had another local guide in each town to make the experience more reliable. Stromboli climb was done by the other couple who found the downhill really tough. They took 6.5 hours which was more tha... read moren advertised. We opted for a boat trip to see the volcanic display This could be advertised a an option in the brochure.

The holiday was enjoyable, weather not always fine and sunny as expected. Etna in September apparently is often unsafe to walk to the top. We got up 3000m. Walk to the top of Vulcano ggod, Genny an excellent Geological guide.

Mr Jones

Great holiday if you like volcanos

Mrs Shore

A really good trip.With a good blend of self directed walks and guided up Stromboli and Etna.

Mis Riley

We decided not to do the guided walk up Stromboli as we didn't feel we were fit enough to cope with the steepness, the ground conditions and the dark and it wouldn't be fair on the guide or other tourists. I felt this could be an excursion which could be optional as we couldn't really decide until we got there and saw the conditions. We did book an evening boat trip round the island instead, but this got cancelled because of the weather conditions. None of this spoiled our holiday - we just spen... read moret a day relaxing instead. The guide walk up Etna was fantastic and we felt quite proud that accomplished it without mishap and that we were probably the oldest couple in the group. Our guide, Salvo, was brilliant - please mention him in any correspondence.

The transportation from place to place was excellent as were the hotels. We didn't actually stay in Hotel Rocce Azzure but in their sister hotel nearby which was beautiful. Thank you Headwater for another wonderful holiday.

Mr Masterman

This was a varied and fairly novel trip which took us up three volcanoes and introduced us to the delightful Aeolian islands. The only things that marred it were the delay at Milazzo (referred to above), the food at Hotel Giardino sul Mare - which reminded me of boarding school meals in the 1950s and simply wasn't good enough - and the fact that the Hotel del Corso in Taormina, whilst run by a delightful and helpful family, is in the Main Street and very noisy at night meaning we were frequentl... read morey woken by late night revellers. We suggest you offer an upgrade at the Excelsior Hotel, which is in a superb position and not that much more expensive. And has a pool!

We also wish to point out that there is no need to be picked up at 8 am for the Etna trip as we then had to wait for one and a half hours at the Rifugio as the guided climb didn't leave until 10.30 - and,we were told, always has done. Your local reps did not appear to have any experience of our itinerary or of the Etna tour and were not really able to answer our questions satisfactorily.

Mrs Jarvis

Despite initial concerns with hydrofoil sailing we had an excellent holiday. The highlights of which were the Stromboli evening walk and the Mount Etna walk too. On both of these walks our guides were knowledgeable and friendly. I am not keen on heights but the Stromboli walk is fine and very safe so please don't be put off by the warning in the brochure as I nearly was! I would also recommend doing the first Stromboli walk on the day you arrive as there is a bit of climbing and you may not want... read more to do both on the same day if it is very hot, unless you are super fit of course! The Esso petrol station on Lipari no longer exists in the main harbour, it has been replaced by a tarmac triangle on which sits a pretty orange and white boat, the bus stop is opposite this. When we were in Taormina one of the paths up to Castelmola was also closed because the cliff face was being netted to make it safe, we had to retrace our steps and go via the road, not sure how long this will be the case though as there was a lot of netting in place already on our visit. it was however well worth the detour for the amazing views.

Mrs Sodring

This holiday involves not only walking but a lot of travelling (not fully described in the brochure) by boat and minibus. The necessary boat journeys require extra cash as fares are not included in the cost of the holiday. Also food, though of high quality, is expensive in Stromboli and Taoramina. Studying books on the history, geology, flora and fauna of eastern Sicily and the Aeolian Isles made this trip particularly interesting.

Mrs Tindall

Aeolian islands and their volcanoes are sensational and therefore we thoroughly enjoyed our holiday. The hotels were fine but did not justify the high price paid for the holiday especially as we were self guided (apart from the Etna trip) and had to pay and make our own arrangements for transport to the islands. The weak link was the Sicilian Agents who never kept in touch especially as we found out that nobody had walked up Stromboli since August and we had to ring for info on this on the morn... read moreing of our walk! We wasted time here and could have been given alternative suggestions.

We will travel to the islands again but independently, staying on Lipari and travelling between the islands on a daily basis. it definitely would have been cheaper.

Ms Tomkins

The islands of Sicily walk was a very varied holiday, the highlight being the visits to the volcano at Vulcano, Stromboli and Etna.

Mis Saunders

We have been on many Headwater walking holidays - both guided and independent walking, but felt Islands of Sicily (nicknamed by us ' Volcanoes of Sicily') was a different experience, and by and large a good one. Hotels are all of a good standard and are in good locations. Breakfasts are fine - not exceptional, but fine. Dinners in the hotel in Lipari are good and there are lots of restaurants for when you dine out. The walks are interesting, the views great and the volcano walking a real expe... read morerience. Be warned though the trips to see Stromboli and Etna are weather/ volcanic activity dependant. We were not able to do to the night walk on Stromboli. However you can do the day walk independently in the late afternoon and get to see the lava flow (from a safe distance of course) at night. The path down is easy - but don't forget your head torch! We did do Etna, which was a real experience. The slightly frustrating element of the holiday is the amount of time and effort we spent on getting the Hydrofoil tickets and checking timetables - the times in the notes and the advertised time at the ticket office are not always the time the boat with actually leave and it wasn't always clear when the ticket office would be open to check/ buy tickets. Having said that, if you are OK will that little bit of uncertainty/ adventure you'll have a great time!

Mrs Robertson

A stress free walking holiday knowing that hotels are well chosen , routes are well documented and local tour operator is easily contactable.

Mr Davis

The itinerary is excellent and the islands are beautiful and well worth visitng. The highlight for us was the night-time climb up the Stromboli volcano. Howver the walking notes were scanty, and in some cases positvely misleading. In particular there needs to be more accurate and detailed information about the Mount Etna day, with a clear warning that it may not be possible to do the walk and information about what customers are supposed to do if this is the case. It would also be more usefu... read morel if the driver dropping you off at least knew some very basic information about the itinerary eg that he needed to drop you off by the Guides' hut, not the cable car station. Some of the walks are very demanding, with long steep climbs, and in our view the walk sould be graded 2+ boots. There should also be clearer warnings in the holiday description that the number of extras which custormers have to pay for (bus fares, ferry fares, most dinners) is much higher than is the norm for Headwater holidays (this is the eighth that we have been on). All in all, we felt that the customer care element of this holiday (which, for us, has always been one of Headwater's strengths) was of a much lower standard than we have experienced before - enough to make us think twice before booking another holiday with you, which is a shame.

Mrs Marchant

Overall a good holiday with (mostly) good weather and great eruptions on Stromboli. Some parts are excellent (the walks are good and the Stromboli climb is excellent). Some parts just don't work. It's utter madness to include dinner on all 3 nights on Lipari - the food at the Rocce Azzurre is poor (edible, but certainly not any sort of local specialities) and there are lots of far better eating options nearby. Please also ask all the hotels to stop serving tinned fruit at breakfast - the markets... read more are heaving with the most fantastic fresh fruit and every hotel just provided tinned peaches, pears and prunes. The Etna day also needs reviewing. There were 4 separate couples doing the same non-guided trip, so Headwater made significant savings on all the transfers by putting us into one group (which was fine). However, on arrival at Etna we had to wait to find out if the trip was going to run as the weather was poor, but the driver was unable to wait for us as he had another appointment. We knew the weather was going to be poor so we emailed the local rep the day before but no-one responded. Surely there must be a better process than having to get up early, arrange early breakfast, drive for an hour to Etna, find out that the trip isn't running, wait around for a few hours to get the driver back and then drive another hour back to Taormina. It feels very much as though you're on your own.

I would recommend that the onus be put on the local rep to find out what is likely to happen on Etna the day before the trip is due to happen, and then leave info for Headwater guests at the Corso/Continental with an idea of what the itinerary is likely to be. Guests would then have a more informed choice of whether to go along with the trip (potentially in wind/fog/rain etc) or whether to stay in Taormina.

More info on alternative hydrofoil/ferry options would also have been useful. On our Vulcano day all the ferries stopped due to high winds, but we were able to get a private boat - this would have been easier to find if it was mentioned in the notes. We also did the walks in the order suggested in the notes whereas if it was suggested to look at the weather first it would have been more sensible to do the Vulcano trip on the first day on Lipari and the Quattropani walk on the second.

Headwater response:
Dear Mrs Marchant, Thank you for taking the time to complete your post-holiday questionnaire. Please be assured that all of the feedback we receive is useful in assisting us to continue to improve and develop our holidays for future customers and is always well received. It was great to see that you enjoyed your holiday to Sicily and were lucky enough to witness the eruptions on Stromboli, I am sure it was an amazing sight. We would also like to thank you for your constructive feedback, I have discussed your comments with the Programme manager for the region and we have since put measures in to place where improvements are required. These include insisting the hoteliers serve fresh fruit at breakfast. We are also decreasing the amount of dinners included in Lipari to allow our customers to sample the local restaurants and are working closely with our local agent to improve the information and service provided on the Etna day, unfortunately, due to the very fast changing weather conditions on the volcano it is sometimes necessary to delay or cancel the trip. Although as this is a highlight to most peoples holiday, from past customer feedback, whilst it is sometimes frustrating waiting around depending on the weather, most customers say they would have preferred this option, however, we appreciate some people would rather not go if the weather is poor beforehand therefore, we will give our customers the option to stay at the hotel in future. Our route notes are updated seasonally and then throughout the season as required, we will consider your suggestions when the next update is due. Whilst I realise these amendments do not help you personally. I do hope that it goes some way to show we take your feedback seriously. Yours sincerely, Headwater Customer Service team.

Mrs Cameron

Idyllic setting but some disappointments. See below

Mrs Boram

The dusk hike on Stromboli was incredible and was the highlight of our holiday.

Mr O'Hara

The island hopping, with 3/2/3 night stays to break up the travelling, worked very well, and all the transits were well handled. We felt the challenge of the walks was well reflected in the brochure and built up effectively through the holiday. We were fortunate to be able to do all the walks in good (and not too hot!) weather, but realised how weather-dependent the Stromboli and Etna walks are and thought the brochure might mention this.

Mr Healey

An excellently put together holiday. Hotels good and food generally so too,where provided. We booked double rooms for single occupancy and,with the exception of the hotel del corso my suspicion is that we were given the worst double rooms.....eg at the rocco azure every room seemed to have a balcony except mine,and my friends did have a balcony but was the one situated immediately above the hotel entrance,with no view and with noise from early deprting german guests .My suspicion is that German groups at the hotel had the better rooms,for whatever reason.

Mr Hamilton

This was one of our best Headwater holidays to date despite inclement weather preventing the Mt Etna trek. Stromboli evening climb was spectacular and the Hotels in Lipari and Taormina were very well chosen for location and the personal service. Views from both were lovely.

Ms Tonge

A good trip around the Aeolian Islands-we had good weather and it was possible to do all the walks which were generally easy to follow. The 2 hotels on the islands were good particularly the Rocce Azzure right on the sea front.

Unfortunately we did not get to do the Etna ascent from Taormina. There was a lot of cloud on Etna on the morning of our transfer up to the refuge and when we arrived there we were told the ascent was not possible due to poor weather conditions. Fortunately we were... read more able to get the taxi driver back in time otherwise we would have been stuck there all day until his scheduled return at 4pm. We did wonder whether this couldn't have been ascertained earlier by the rep and there was no further contact from her regarding a possible refund on the trip or the possibility of doing the trip another day(we had extended our stay so could have gone the next day) so a bit unsatisfactory.

The trip is expensive particularly with the extra costs required for ferries and meals out. However Sicily is an expensive place to visit particularly when in the very touristed towns like Taormina- eating out /drinks/entry to museums etc. was very expensive so this should be taken into account when calculating a budget.

Overall we enjoyed the trip particularly the hike up to Stromboli at sun set to see the eruptions.

Mr Wilson

An interesting and varied holiday but a level of basic fitness would be needed to climb all the volcanoes in the tour.

Mr Strong

This wasn't in our opinion, a walking holiday. More of a test of endurance. Hard to believe the paths had been walked out by yourselves as were very overgrown in places. Trip up Stromboli arranged on the same day as a trip up Mount Etna was ridiculous. We managed to change it ourselves. Hotel at Catania was awful - the lift didn't even stop at reception and there was no assistance with luggage and reception staff were rude and unhelpful. Nowhere to get a drink at hotel. Hydrofoil trips we... read morere laborious and took up too much time when we would have preferred to have been walking. There was NO contact from your rep to see if were still alive and there was confusion over the transfer back to the airport on the last day. Too many hidden extras - hydrofoil fares too expensive and we think some of these things should have been included in the holiday price. We were disappointed with the walks organised from Taormina and felt we could have put these together these ourselves. The 'inclusive' evening meal was at a restaurant a long way from the hotel and we had a very limited menu. The trip up Mount Etna was chaotic - lots of waiting around for a guide who was only interested in increasing the numbers in his group - only to find they were mostly French. Impossible to hear/understand what he was saying once up the top as it was windy and there were far too many people. We had to pay extra to get a jeep back down. First Headwater holiday where we've had to cart our own luggage everywhere. Our 6th holiday with yourselves, probably won't book again.

Mrs Markson

Some amazing experiences ie climbing Mt Etna but also some upsets ie - taken to wrong dreadful hotel on arrival, poor standard in some hotels, ,poor food in hotels, mistakes in itinerary ,but excellent agent and organisation abroad apart from arrival disaster.

Mr Wilson

Fantastic experience, particularly Stromboli night climb and Mt. Etna. These walks deserve much more publicity as great walks of the world!

Mr Wright

An expensive holiday with lots of extras to pay for, but fantastic,,

Mr Snelling

Overall holiday met our expectations. Travel arrangements all ok. Excellent walks in dramatic scenery especially on volcanoes.

Mrs Winkworth

A most unusual holiday. Lots of travelling but worked very well.

Dr Ravenscroft

For us the combination of walking and free time was just right. An excellent holiday that worked well

Mr Clarke

Challenging but rewarding. The climbing was tougher than we expected, partly due to the heat, and all the days were 'long'. We HAD to start v early and therefore had to arrange early breakfasts in Lipari to avoid the heat and catch the ferries - your timings would have suited a more leisurely approach!

Catania is NOT a place to stay on Saturday nights - the hotel is over the busiest road and we were in a room over the street - you should ask for your custmers to have rooms... read more over the back, particularly if they are booking an additional night as we did! We also had to handle all our own luggage up two flights of stairs, incidentally having been taken to the wrong hotel by our driver! Lipari was lovely and well organised with lots of variety but it was the only place where we were expected to eat in - the food was OK but the dining room was bleak and the atmosphere in that room, poor. A pity - the pool was lovely! Again on Stromboli we had a front room above the main door and bar although the lights went off at 10.30. WE took the short strw in Taormina again - second floor fron, over the ice-cream bar. Taormine first night - no sleep - people were coming and goind under our window literally all night with the last retching past at 5 am...just as dawn broke! Better on Sunday and Monday but aagin, avoid Saturday in Taormina!!! Your notes on Etna were not accurate...the walk-up option is a killer - you really do have to take the new cable car and then the big four-wheelers to 2900 ms and a guide really is a must - he is only a fraction more than the DIY option but unguided there is limited scope to 'feel' the volcano - but the guide took us on a scree run down -500 ms plus and we walked/ran the whole way down in under two hours - exhilarating but very heavy on the knees for the unprepoared. As this was the highlight of our trip we thought we could have been better prepared.

And it was an expensive holiday - there were endless extras...for those used to having the evening meal in the price, fewer trips (less tipping) and no ferries....

Would I recommend this trip to others...probably not..without explaining the pitfalls and additional expenses...I shall probably go back, take my time but organise it myself more cheaply...

But....I wouldn't have gone without your support this time so thank you for that...it felt a little ambitious for the Headwater programme...

Headwater response:
Dear Mr Clarke, thank you for taking the time to send us your comments following your recent holiday. Unfortunately, due to the length of the trip and the number of 'must see' sights on the Islands, this holiday requires a 9 night duration - meaning a Saturday night is inevitable... we are very sorry to hear that you received noisy rooms in Catania and Taormina though - this is the first time we have had this kind of feedback. Following your review we have requested quiet rooms for our guests in future. This is subject to availability, but we are confident that this will rectify the issues you mention. We are in the process of checking our route notes ready for the Autumn departures, so we will make sure that the points you have mentioned are highlighted to our agent. Thank you for choosing to travel with Headwater. Kind regards, Melanie.

Mrs Naylor

A great holiday with good hotels, walks,transfers. The trips to the islands made it much more than a standard walking holiday.Great memories!

Mr Freeman

An excellent holiday - well-organised and largely stress-free. We would (in retrospect) have preferred to find our own meals on Lipari - the restaurant was very limited and we ate out on one of the nights. Otherwsie, stunning foof, views, walks and an excellent time.

Mrs Rose

Enjoyable, lots of exercise in good weather.

Dates and prices

You can be confident that our pricing includes all the standard requirements of your holiday and many additional extras. Always ensure that you are comparing like for like when booking your holiday. Find out about The Headwater Price Promise to ensure you're getting the very best value for money.

For further details, or to check availability, speak to our sales team on 1-800-567-6286 or complete our holiday enquiry form (we'll contact you at a time that's most convenient for you).

To enquire about this holiday, or for further information, call our sales team on 1-800-567-6286 or complete our holiday enquiry form.

  • Oct
Oct 2017 Tour only Availability
19th Oct US$2090 Check availability

The prices quoted for each individual departure supercede those published in our current brochures. Air prices are subject to change and we advise early booking to obtain the best prices. Please see our Planning your holiday and What's included in the price? pages for additional information.

Holiday details

Minimum group sizes
No minimum group size, however transfers are subject to at least 2 people (in total) booked on each departure.

This holiday is unsuitable for children.

Holiday type
Self-guided walking Managed locally by Headwater appointed agent.


All continental breakfasts

Other details
You should allow approximately €70 per person for the use of local hydrofoils, cable cars and buses on the self-guided departures. You should also note that you will need to carry your own bags on/off ferries as you travel between the islands. Airport and luggage transfers are subject to at least 2 people (in total) booked on each departure. Oct 5 is a guided departure with a Headwater appointed guide.

Tailor-made travel

Tour only
Transfers included from Catania airport at 11:25, and back to Catania airport at 17:45.

How to book

For further details, or to check availability, speak to our sales team on 1-800-567-6286 or complete our holiday enquiry form (we'll contact you at a time that's most convenient for you).

To enquire about this holiday, or for further information, call our sales team on 1-800-567-6286 or complete our holiday enquiry form.

We are ATOL registered We are an ABTA member
Independent customer reviews and ratings

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We've been creating high-quality relaxed activity holidays since 1985 and our wealth of experience means we're able to build the perfect tailor-made tour for you. Our 'Gold Trusted' rating on Feefo, the independent review site, underlines our exceptional levels of customer service, and our ATOL bonding and ABTA membership guarantees your holiday is safe with us.

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