Sicilian Volcanoes

8 days
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$1,749 USD
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Trip code: 
TEL
Way to Travel:
Guided Group
Activity:
Walking & Trekking
Group size:
4–16
Min age:
16

Discover Mt Etna and the beautiful volcanic archipelago of Northern Sicily

Striking active volcanoes, black beaches, thermal springs and a stunning cobalt sea make the Aeolians Islands a unique must-see destination. Exploring the varied landscape by boat and on foot 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 (3350m), the highest and most active volcano in Europe. 

Highlights

  • Walk on Mt Etna, Europe's highest active volcano
  • See the continuous volcanic activity of Stromboli
  • Discover the picturesque villages of the Aeolian Islands
  • Walk around Vulcano's spectacular crater rim

Key information

  • 7 nights in hotels, apartments and guesthouses, all rooms en suite
  • 8 days land only / flight inclusive
  • 5 days guided walking; moderate/challenging treks on Etna and Stromboli
  • Group normally 5 to 16, plus leader. Min age 16 yrs
  • Maximum altitude 3350m (on optional Etna summit trek), average 800m
  • Travel by minibus, local buses, public and private boats/hydrofoils
  • Countries visited: Italy

What's included

  • All breakfasts, 1 lunch, 1 dinner 
  • All accommodation
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
  • Transfers for group flights
  • Stromboli summit trek led by volcanologist

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
  • Local city taxes (approx. €10)
  • Optional Etna summit trek (volcanic conditions dependent)
Call for general departures:
1 844 227 9087
Call for tailormade trips:
1 800 267 3347
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

5

Days of Walking & Trekking
Pace:

Moderate: 5-6km/3-4miles an hour

Terrain:

Low altitude on most of the walks; terrain of dried lava, rocky ash and sand with some steep ascents.

Optional climb on Etna: maximum altitude 3350m.

Day by day breakdown
Day 28.0km/4.0miles
Day 311.0km/7.0miles
Day 49.0km/5.0miles
Day 512.0km/7.0miles
Day 79.0km/5.0miles

Responsible Travel

Tourism can be a real help to local communities, providing income, positive cultural exchanges and a financial incentive to protect their natural environment. Ours is a 'total approach' to responsible tourism, covering everything from the way we plan and operate our trips to the practices of Exodus as a company. 

As much as possible, we try to use accommodations that are locally owned or at least employs local staff and uses local produce. Our visit directly benefits the local community by providing them with job opportunities and a chance to generate income. This is especially important for businesses on very small islands and the remote mountain towns we visit.

As a trekking holiday, it allows easy access and flexibility for clients to interact with the locals, visit local cafes and bars, support local produce and craft to facilitate cultural exploration and experience what life is really like on this part of Sicily. 

Occasionally, our operator will organise a meeting with the association G.A.P.A who helps children in one of the poorest neighbourhoods in Catania by organising summer, camps, school support, sport activities and neighbourhood improvement meetings. They are self-funded and usually make money by hosting dinners, concerts, shows and exhibitions so our visit can make a large contribution to this worthy cause.

In March 2019, Exodus Travels launched the Exodus Travels Foundation where we support initiatives all around the world. But it cannot exist without travellers who care. Get involved or learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus here

 

Itinerary

Milazzo
to
Catania
  • Day 1

    Start Milazzo.

    We start in the harbour town of Milazzo, 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

    Boat to Vulcano and trek to the crater to see the famous fumaroles; free afternoon for bathing in Vulcano's hot springs and mud baths.

    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.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 3

    Walk along Lipari's rugged southern coast; free time to explore Lipari historic town and the archaeological museum; wine and produce tasting.

    This morning we will walk along the rugged southern coast of Lipari. Our 4-hours hike take us down to the southernmost point of the island, where we can enjoy a wonderful view of the crater of Vulcano. 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.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 4

    Boat to Stomboli; free time to explore the island before a sunset hike to the 'Sciara del Fuoco' (Stream of fire), to witness the volcanic activity.

    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).

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 5

    Free half day in Stromboli to visit the town or relax on the island's black beaches; sunset trek to the summit of Stromboli.

    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).

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Travel to the town of Taormina; continue to the comfortable mountain lodge on Etna’s southern slope.

    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.

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 7

    Walk the southern area of the Mount Etna or take an optional trek to the summit crater (3350m); transfer and overnight in Catania.

    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

    End Catania.

    The trip ends in the morning of day 8 in Catania.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Combine this trip with

Essential Info

Visas

Vaccinations

Italy

There are no specific health risks.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 1 lunch and 1 dinner included.

In the itinerary, we state which meals are included on which day. Please note that the diet in this part of Sicily is heavily dependent on fish and meat. However, vegetarian options are widely available. Breakfast: usually a continental style buffet. Lunch: normally a picnic or taken in local cafes. Evening meal: dominated by Mediterranean flavours like pasta with rich tomato sauces, olive oil, cheese, salami and pizza. They combine an excellent variety of seafood and meat for the perfect taste of Southern Italy.

Weather

Is this trip for you?

Overall Activity Level: 3 (Moderate). Most walks are classified as Level 2 (Leisurely/Moderate) or 3 (Moderate). Stromboli and Etna summit walks are level 4 (Moderate/Challenging).

Although during the week the walking is fairly easy and there is plenty of free time to relax, we do recommend that you have some previous hiking experience. Daywalks 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. These walks are led by local volcanologist guides who will assess clients suitabilty to participate locally. Please note that people with pre-exhisting medical conditions such as heart conditions, serious asthma and severe vertigo may not be able to participate.

All timings of activities might be subject to change as they are dependent on ferry schedules. 

You may find our Fitness Training Guide a useful reference: http://www.exodus.co.uk/assets/pdf/Exodus_WT_Fitness_Training_Guide.pdf

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as generally not suitable for persons of reduced mobility. However if you are a regular traveller on such trips, please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Call for general departures:
1 844 227 9087
Call for tailormade trips:
1 800 267 3347
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

7 nights in hotels, apartments and guesthouses

We spend 7 nights in hotels, apartments and guesthouses which have been chosen for their warm hospitality and their typical Sicilian character.

All hotels have Wi-Fi and en suite facilities although please be aware that a small number of rooms at the hotels in Catania may have private toilet facilities located outside of the bedroom.

List of hotels normally used:

1 night at Hotel Milazzo in Milazzo

2 nights at Oltremare Residence, Hotel Oriente or Residence Baia Portinenti in Lipari

2 nights at Villa Petrusa or Hotel Ossidiana in Stromboli

1 night at Hotel Sapienza on Etna South

1 night Hotel Valentino or B&B Gattopardo House in Catania

To receive the up-to-date list of hotels for your departure please contact our Exodus Customer Operations team.

Call for general departures:
1 844 227 9087
Call for tailormade trips:
1 800 267 3347
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

  • Reviewed June 2019
    Mala Shah-Coulon

    Exhilarating trip

    Will be an unforgettable trip for me..watching. the live volcanoes was out of this world...while I knew it was a volcanoes trip rightly or wrongly I didn't expect that we'd see live volcanoes (thought it would be a big bonus if we did)..and of course the Gods had it all planned for us as Etna erupted too while we were there!.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Climbing up Stromboli Seeing eruption on Etna- what timing and luck.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Alessandro was an excellent leader with good local knowledge that helped vary the itinerary sometimes eg taking a private boat rather than hydro foil

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    While marked moderate in its level of challenge the walks up strombolli and Etna are relatively challenging. Some hill walking and gluts exercise wouldn't go amiss.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Hotel in Catania is a dive and spoilt the end of what was an amazing trip. For the sake of 20 or 30 euro I think exodus coudl put us up somewhere a little better to end trip on a high. It wasn't just tired but had fundamental issues eg sewage smells in 1 room, blocked shower drainage in several. Trip notes should say that on arrival its a 2.5 hour drive to Milazzo. Many on our group didn't expect or realise this. You end up arriving at hotel past midnight...again this could be reviewed eg rescheduling to earlier flight or reconsidering order.
  • Reviewed May 2019
    Rod Ellis

    Aeolian Adventures

    A wonderful journey through north east Sicily and four Aeolian islands, mired only by some poor weather conditions at key stages of the trip. Our group of 15 got on well throughout and were unfazed by the challenges set by the weather.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    So many good points. Walking around the crater on Vulacano followed by an afternoon swim and a sppedboat ride to Lipari. Setting off early one morning to take a ferry ride from Stromboli to Panarea and walking to an ancient neolithic settlement above a deserted beach. Trekking through deep snow to within touching distance of the top of Etna, only to be thwarted by strong winds which prevented an assault to the summit.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Genny spoke good English and communicated well with our relatively small group. A vey engaging guide.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    There are two days scheduled on Stromboli. There is no organised activity on the second day before the late aftenoon 'summit challenge'. I took the opportunity to get an early morning return ferry ride to Panarea to see an ancient neolithic settlement along the coast, 30-40 minutes from the landing point(turn left when you arrive at the harbour and keep walking). Return ferry trip cost EUR20.80 but the site is free to enter and explore and has a couple of detailed explanation notes in Italian and English. Well worth seeing, but it's not on the Exodus itinerary.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The weather was the key factor. The trip should have had three highlights (summits of Vulcano, Stromboli and Etna) but parts two and three were blighted by poor weather conditions. There was no 'fire and brimstone' or sunset at the top of Stromboli...just a shroud of mist. Very disappointing. Etna's summit challenge was curtailed by strong winds, making it unsafe for all but the most experienced walkers (plus heavy snow underfoot made for very slippery and wet conditions. But overall a very enjoyable and memorable experience.
  • Reviewed May 2019
    Caroline Tutty

    Amazing Stromboli

    A great trip with some interesting hikes and lots of volcano information topped by the fantastic hike to Stromboli summit. After the quite tough trek we were rewarded with an amazing display from the old crater looking down onto the current active craters. Unfortunately we could not go to the summit of Etna due to bad weather and the lower level trek seemed a disappointment after Stromboli. Quite a lot of time to rest and sample local life between walks. Hotels were good apart from Catania which was poor and would have been better to be based in Lipari town as nothing was open on a Monday night in May in Cantena.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Stromboli summit was a truly wonderful experience

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Marco was brilliant, very caring and looking out for all members of the group, knowledgable about volcanos and the local area and a good sense of humour

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take warm clothes for the summit
  • Reviewed May 2019
    Phik Page

    Perfect blend of nature and history

    Unreal trip. First ever trekking holiday I have been on and it was perfect. Literally can’t say a bad word about this trip. From the amazing scenery, challenging walks, watching active volcanos do its thing to the culture and history of Sicily itself, couldn’t have asked for a better trip. The group were inspirational, Benoit our guide, knowledgeable and passionate about showing us all the highlights possible and making sure we were having a great time. Perfect intro into trekking and hiking.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Summiting Stromboli. We got to the top and unfortunately cousin cover prevented us from seeing the lava eruptions. After 45 minutes of trying out luck just as we were leaving the cloud suddenly went and we got to see the full show! It was amazing to watch.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Benoit was amazing. Knew his stuff, showed us all the best bits every day and was very passionate about the country and his job.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Things will always go wrong on these trips like buses not turning up on time, getting up early after going to bed late. Well worth those small sacrifices.
  • Reviewed November 2018
    Chris Pope

    Amazing Expierence

    Great trip, good variety while sticking to the Volcano theme, great food. As a new walker I had some concerns about the walking but the pace was well measured and the support and preparation guide excellent.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Stromboli summit watching the eruptions was what the rest of the trip seemed to build up to and it didn't disappoint. Coming down from Stromboli was great fun. Vulcano fumaroles is a good runner up!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Genny is a fantastic leader, cheerful and friendly, she set a good walking pace for the terrain that ensured all the group were able to get to the objectives at the right time, such as sunset. She picked out some great food stops, Angelina's on Lipari will live in my memory for a long time.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you prepare for the trip you will have a great experience, take layers especially wind proof for the summit sitting! You cant pay for much/anything? with a card so take cash. Don't underestimate the boat rides - take, or buy locally, travel sickness pills if you aren't sure of your "sea legs".

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    As I am new to walking holiday I used the Exodus fitness & training guide to prepare which was very useful.
  • Reviewed November 2018
    Kate Skowronska

    Unforgettable fireworks

    Greatly structured trip, with a lot of varied trips and sights. Genny, our guide, was amazing - superb customer service!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Stromboli summit

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Genny was superb guide

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Pack layers and good camera
  • Reviewed October 2018
    Jane Nelson

    My etna

    Excellent brake saw lots great experiance

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Going up Stromboli and mt etna

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader was excellent he was very good at explaining the volcanos
  • Reviewed October 2018
    james wishart

    sicilian volcanoes

    I personally had problems with travel. As a group we were stranded on the island Lipari for 3 days instead of 1 day due weather preventing ferries to operate. On the last day we climbed Mt. Etna. This proved to be a challenge mainly due the sulphur clouds. I was unwell the next and it took a week to feel better. I know others in the party were susequently ill. My friend , who I travelled with , when he returned home was admitted to hospital suffering from pneumonia. After a week he has left hospital still recovering. The guide on the holiday was helpful to me with my travel problems. He is a nice man , easy to get on with. Given the problems we were having , he could have been more proactive and communicated more clearly what the siuation was.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The part of the trip that stood out most was Mt. Etna. This was positive and negative. The landscape was very bleak and interasting. The sulphur clouds and subsequent ill health were not good.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    See above.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be aware of the conditions on Mt. Etna.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Unfortunately not one of my better trips.
  • Reviewed October 2018
    Roland Pope

    Brilliant experience

    If you are not already in awe of the power of nature this trip will remind you who is in charge. Getting close to these amazing natural features, feeling the heat and smelling the sulphur is an experience well worth the effort.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Experiencing Etna at close range.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    He was very good.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be aware that climatic and volcanic conditions can affect the itinerary; we couldn't get to Stromboli because of adverse windage. We got to over 3000m on Etna and it was chilly when we stopped for lunch so be prepared.
  • Reviewed July 2018
    Martin Bayliss

    Pyroplastic fun!

    Beautiful with stunning scenery, history and geology - and that was just the group!.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The Island of Stromboli with the milky way easily seen due to no light pollution! The peaches grown in volcanic soil were something else. The Stromboli eruptions and night walk were a high point. Swimming in the sea on Stromboli was special too.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Genny was superb. Knowledgeable and competent with just the right balance of guiding and knowing when to give people space. Could not fault her. Thank you so much Genny!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't hold back and do everything! The 85 Euros for going to the top of Etna is worth it - it felt and sounded like the mountain would explode at any moment.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If you can work it in suggest a half day to day boat cruise around Stromboli (or similar island) stopping off at coves for swims etc.

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