HighlightsMount Etna | Vulcano | Lipari | Stromboli | Night time hike
Description of Sicily walking holiday, Sicilian VolcanoesThis eight day Sicily walking holiday is not only an amazing way to see this volcanic island but also takes in three other islands in the Aeolian archipelago just north of Sicily, also volcanic and also boasting great natural beauty. Because although Mount Etna is the most famous, the volcanoes in Sicily spread far afield.
Starting in Catania on Sicily, we head straight away by ferry over to Lipari, the largest of the Aeolian islands and have time to settle in after the journey, staying in a locally owned 3 star hotel. Our treks begin properly on day two when we hop over to the island of Vulcano where we take a three hour guided trek to see the island’s steaming fumaroles, and also make the most of the volcanic thermal springs. The perfect remedy after a hot hike.
Because we go back to Lipari that night, this gives us a whole day of walking here the next day, with a morning hike up to the north coast to gain great views over the crater of Monte Pilatus which erupted in 729 AD. Then another trek to the south of the island in the afternoon gives views back over to Vulcano crater, and great perspective over the geological formations created during ancient times.
Lipari is followed by two days on the island of Stromboli, a perfectly formed volcanic beauty, still fully active and just 12km2 in size with a 900m summit which we will climb during our stay. Although the summit is closed in the event of volcanic activity, not surprisingly, but the last time that happened was 2007. There is also plenty of time to enjoy the island’s wonderful black beaches and, at dusk, hike to the west side of the island to witness the “Sciara del Fuoco”, a river of lava that washes straight out to sea. For many, this is one of the most memorable sights of the trip.
And finally, back to Sicily to spend two days not only climbing Mount Etna, where we spend one night in a mountain lodge, but also taking in some of the other cultural attractions. Such as the medieval hilltop town of Taormina, famous for its ancient Greek theatre which is still used for a prolific summer festival. But it is Etna that takes centre stage on this island, which we climb with expert guides to a point where we can see the four craters at the summit, as well as superb views across the contrasting cobalt blue sea.
Our top tip: Walking poles are essential on this on hilly lava, rocky ash and sandy terrain. As are gaiters, to stop ash getting in your boots. Trip type: Small group holiday. Max. 16 people. Min. age 16. Activity level: Moderate to challenging, 3-5 hr/day on hilly or steep terrain. Accomm: 4 nights apartment, 1 night mountain lodge, 2 nights 2* hotel, all traditional Sicilian style. Included: Flights from London, accommodation, all breakfasts, 4 dinners, transport, tour leader.
|Day 1:||Fly to Catania and transfer to Milazzo (1.5 hrs), the gateway to the Aeolian
Islands located in the northern tip of Sicily's mainland. We strongly
recommend joining the group transfer at Catania airport and travelling to the
start point with the group, as public transport connections from Catania to
Milazzo are limited.
|Day 2:||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.
Hydrofoil back to Lipari and overnight in Lipari.|
|Day 3:||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 the town, including the castle and the
archaeological museum. We conclude the day with a well deserved Sicilian wine
and produce tasting.|
|Day 4:||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 (4 hours walking, ascent 400m descent 400m, 9km).|
|Day 5:||The morning is free to take a wander through 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
(5 hours walking, ascent 924m descent 924m, 12km).|
|Day 6:||Leaving Stromboli we take a boat ride to Milazzo (approx 3hrs journey) and
transfer to the elegant town of Taormina by private minibus (approx. 1hr).
There may 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, 3 km). We usually spend the night in a mountain lodge at 1900m
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. When the lodge is not available (see accommodation section for more
info) we will spend the night at hotel Le Pendici *** in Nicolosi town.|
|Day 7:||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 Mt 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 2900m and then further on foot to 3350m 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; overnight in Catania.|
|Day 8:||The trip ends in the morning of day 8 in Catania.
All tour descriptions and conditions are given in accordance with the information of Responsible Travel