Striking active volcanoes, black beaches, thermal springs and a stunning cobalt sea make the Aeolian Islands a unique must-see destination. On this 7-night trip we'll explore the varied landscape by boat and on foot, which is without doubt the best way to take in the natural beauty and contrasts of this part of Sicily.
During the week we trek on the archipelago's best islands: Lipari, with its archaeological ruins and lively harbour, Vulcano, with its craters and famous fumaroles and fiery Stromboli, which will hopefully greet us with spectacular shows of its explosive activity. On the mainland we explore Taormina and trek on the famous Mount Etna (3,350m), the highest and most active volcano in Europe. Etna dominates the east of the island and its graceful shape is easily the most memorable and distinctive sight on Sicily. This fantastic walking holiday to Sicily offers a great mix of interesting walks, town visits (Lipari, Stromboli and Taormina) and excellent local cuisine.
We spend the week in a variety of hotels, apartments and guesthouses, each chosen for their warm hospitality and their typical Sicilian character.
Although the overall activity level is 2+, most walks are classified as Level 2, however the Stromboli and Etna summit walks are a more challenging level. During the week the walking is fairly easy and there is plenty of free time to relax, however we do recommend that you have some previous hiking experience. Day walks will take between 3 to 5 hours on hilly-to-steep terrain of dried lava, rocky ash and sand. The excursion offered on Stromboli and the optional summit trek on Etna are more demanding and you will need to be confident of your fitness if you decide to join these.
Please note that the summit treks to Stromboli and Etna are weather and volcanic activity dependent. The local authorities may decide (without previous notice) to close the summits and suspend all excursions. In the unfortunate event this occurs on your departure, the leader will suggest some alternative optional activities. All timings of activities might be subject to change as they are dependent on ferry schedules.
Arrive at your hotel in the harbour town of Milazzo, the gateway to the Aeolian Islands (Staying at the Hotel Milazzo, Breakfast only)
Today we travel by boat across the cobalt waters to Vulcano (1hr), one of the seven Aeolian Islands, famous for its long stretches of black beaches and bubbling thermal springs. Our first walk takes us to Vulcano's crater rim to see the steaming 'Fumaroles' (vents of volcanic gas). In the afternoon there will be some free time for bathing in Vulcano's hot springs and mud baths. We take the Hydrofoil back to Lipari and stay overnight. (Staying at the Oltremare Residence, Breakfast only)
This morning we travel by public bus to the village of Quattropani, the start point of today's walk, which follows a panoramic trail along Lipari's western and wildest coast. We continue to Lipari town past pretty villages and the old Roman spa of San Calogero. In the afternoon there is some free time to discover the historic part of Lipari town, including the castle and the archaeological museum. We conclude the day with a well-deserved Sicilian wine and produce tasting. (Staying at the Oltremare Residence, Breakfast and lunch)
Our day begins with a two-hour boat journey to Stromboli, a unique island famed for being home to one of only four active volcanoes in Italy and an interesting place to explore for geologists and tourists alike. Once there, we have free time to relax on the island's black sandy beaches. For sunset we walk to the western side of Stromboli to reach the spectacular 'Sciara del Fuoco', a fiery channel where the lava outflows can sometimes plunge directly into the sea. (Staying at the Villa Petrusa, Breakfast only)
The morning is free to take a walk in Stromboli town, relax on one of the island's beaches (seasonal) or enjoy a boat trip around the island. In the afternoon we take a guided excursion to the summit area of Stromboli at 942m, accompanied by a certified volcano guide. Although Mother Nature doesn't work with an exact schedule, here we can usually witness the pyrotechnical activity of the volcano with nightfall emphasising the dramatic red-hot spurts of molten rock. Please note: the excursion is weather and volcanic conditions dependent; the descent is very dusty so it may not be suitable for asthma sufferers. You will need a head-torch as you descend after nightfall. (Staying at the Villa Petrusa, Breakfast only)
Leaving Stromboli we take a boat ride to Milazzo (approx 3hr journey) and transfer to the elegant town of Taormina by private minibus (approx 1hr). There may be free time to visit the town's Greek Theatre - originally built during the 3rd century BC and still used for performances during Taormina's annual summer arts festival - or take advantage of the town's great shopping opportunities and perhaps sample some refreshing mulberry gelato. Time permitting, it may be possible to take an optional short walk, which starts from the pretty mediaeval town of Castelmola (45 minutes walking, descent 320m, 3km). We usually spend the night in a mountain lodge at 1,900m above sea level, from where we can enjoy great views over the sea and the east coast of Sicily. The lodge is located very close to the most recent lava flow. (Staying at the Hotel Sapienza, Breakfast and dinner)
Today you can decide between two walks: a hike in the southern area of the Mount Etna volcano (scheduled in the programme and accompanied by your tour leader) or an optional summit trek accompanied by a volcanologist to the top craters of Mount Etna (payable locally and volcanic conditions dependent). If you choose the first walk you will hike up past several lava flows to be rewarded with a dramatic panoramic view of the four craters that make up the top of this famous volcano, plus extensive views of the entire coast of Sicily (4 hours walking, ascent 400m descent 400m, 9km). Alternatively, if you opt for the summit trek, you will start with a ride by cable car and sometimes 4x4 jeeps up until 2,900m and then further on foot to 3,350m to walk along the rim of the Bove valley, an extensive depression that opened up thousands of years ago as a result of a massive landslide (6 hours walking, + 450 - 450 mt, 9km; depending on recent volcanic activity, the length, duration and altitude of this walk might vary). In the afternoon we will be transferred to Catania by a private minibus, and stay overnight in Catania. (Staying at the Hotel Valentino, Breakfast only)
Fly home from Catania. (Breakfast only)
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.
NEARBY:Hotel Milazzo is a new **** hotel located at the entrance of Milazzo, about 550m from the port and ferries to the Aeolian Islands. The hotel is located within a few minutes of the shopping area, shopping mall and the historic centre of the town. The elegant and modern hotel rooms, with private balcony, are all air-conditioned and offer cool, tiled floors, flat screen TV with satellite channels, free Wi-Fi and ensuite bathroom with hydro-massage shower. The restaurant specialises in fresh local seafood and Chef Antonio Nocerino delights your palate with Sicilian flavours. The buffet breakfast can be taken in the garden or the dining room.
NEARBY:Just 2 minutes’ walk from the beach, the Oltremare Residence is just 150m from the sea and 350m from the centre of the town of Canneto, on the island of Lipari. The building is indicative of the area, made of white pumice, and features traditional furnishings, modern design and decorations made by local craftsmen. The self-catering apartments, with a fully equipped kitchenette and a large furnished terrace or balcony, have wonderful views of the bay. Breakfast is served on the terrace.
This intimate hotel is located just 500m from the beach of Ficogrande and is surrounded by tree-lined gardens. Villa Petrusa offers a bar, a lounge and a terrace on which to relax, whilst the Aeolian styled rooms, each with a private bathroom, offer amenities that include air-conditioning, a fridge and a hairdryer. Free Wi-Fi is available in public areas. Stromboli Port, where ferries depart for Lipari and Milazzo, is just a 10-minute drive.
NEARBY:The Rifugio Sapienza sits at 1920m, the highest point reachable by car, and is next to the Mount Etna cable car. The hotel is decorated in alpine style and features a traditional restaurant, a bar and a shared lounge. The bedrooms, each with a private bathroom, include a flat-screen TV, minibar, hairdryer and safe. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout.
Read customer reviews on Tripadvisor.
NEARBY:The Hotel Valentino is located in Piazza Spirito Santo, in the heart of Catania's historic centre, within an elegant, late 19th century building. The hotel has a historic and relaxing atmosphere with antique furnishings, high, vaulted ceilings with frescoes and traditional terracotta flooring.
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Minimum group sizes
A minimum of 4 people (in total) are required for each departure.
This holiday is unsuitable for children.
Guided walking Managed by our sister company, Exodus.
All continental breakfasts, 1 lunch and 1 evening meal
Transfers included from Catania airport at 20:55, and back to Catania airport at 17:30. On some departures the flight times will vary. Therefore, please call for the latest transfer times.
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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.