Discover Mount 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. The trip culminates with a memorable trek on the famous Mount Etna, the highest and most active volcano in Europe.
Walk on Mount Etna, Europe's highest active volcano, with a volcanologist guide
See the continuous volcanic activity of Stromboli on an evening boat trip
Discover the picturesque villages of the Aeolian Islands
Explore Vulcanello's unique volcanic formations in the Valley of the Monsters
7 nights in hotels, apartments, and guesthouses
8 days land only / flight inclusive
5 days guided walking; moderate trek on Etna
Group normally 5 to 16, plus leader. Min age 16 yrs
Maximum altitude 3000m, average 800m
Travel by minibus, local buses, public, and private boats/hydrofoils
Countries visited: Italy
All breakfasts, 1 lunch, 1 dinner
Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
Transfers for group flights
Hydrofoil boats between islands, plus a private boat on Day 4
Volcanologist guides on Stromboli and Etna
Whats Not Included
Single accommodation (available on request)
Visas or vaccinations
Local city taxes (approx. €10)
5Days of Walking & Trekking
Moderate: 5-6km/3-4miles an hour
Low altitude on most of the walks; terrain of dried lava, rocky ash and sand with some steep ascents. Walk on Etna: maximum altitude 3000m.
4 km / 2.5 miles
11 km / 6.8 miles
9 km / 5.6 miles
3 km / 1.9 miles
9 km / 5.6 miles
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…
Fly to Catania and transfer to Milazzo.
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.
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.
Boat to Vulcano and walk at Vulcanello to explore the Valley of the Monsters; 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 the area of Vulcanello, on a narrow peninsula of the island. We visit the Valley of the Monsters, so-called because of the many unique and eerie volcanic rock formations that were created during Vulcano's eruptions. 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.
*Please note, if the ban on visiting Vulcano's crater rim is lifted prior to or during your visit, the group will be given the option to do this instead of the Valley of the Monsters walk.
Meals Included: Breakfast
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-hour 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
Private boat to Panarea; free time to wander the picturesque streets or enjoy a swim, then head to Stromboli for a sunset walk.
In the early afternoon, we will board our private boat to Panarea, the oldest and most charming of the Aeolian Islands. We will have some free time to walk through tiny alleys decorated with brightly colourful bougainvillea, or enjoy a swim at the idyllic cove of Cala Junco. After a short stop at Panarea's largest islet, Basiluzzo, we board for Stromboli. At sunset, we take a walk on the western side of the island to discover the 'Sciara del Fuoco' (Streams of Fire) and approach the famous Stromboli eruptions with an ascent up to 400 metres accompanied by a volcanologist guide, who will bring the history and geology of the area to life. Overnight in Stromboli.
Meals Included: Breakfast
Free morning and afternoon. An evening boat trip to admire Stromboli's explosions from the sea.
Free morning and afternoon to visit the lovely village of San Vincenzo, or relax on Stromboli's black beaches. In the evening, we will take a boat trip to admire Stromboli's dramatic explosions from the sea. Overnight in Stromboli.
Meals Included: Breakfast
Travel to Etna’s southern slope; stop in charming Taormina en route then visit the Silvestri Craters.
Leaving Stromboli in the early morning, we take a boat ride to Milazzo (approx 2 hrs 30 mins journey) and transfer by vehicle to the charming hilltop town of Taormina (approx. 2 hrs). Get to know the town in your own time, perhaps enjoying a mulberry gelato or paying an optional visit to Teatro Greco, a spectacular horseshoe-shaped Greek theatre with vast and impressive views. Afterwards, we will continue to our accommodation at 1900m above sea level, from where we can enjoy great views over the sea and the east coast of Sicily. Our lodge is located very close to the most recent lava flow and on arrival, we will enjoy a short hike around Silvestri Craters, which date back to the eruption of 1892. Overnight at Rifugio Sapienza.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner
Take the cable car up Etna then hike to 3000m, accompanied by a volcanologist guide; transfer and overnight in Catania.
Today, we take the cable car up Etna to 2500 metres then begin our trek with a volcanologist guide, eventually reaching an altitude of 3000 metres*, where we will be rewarded for our efforts with awe-inspiring views of the volcano's craters and beyond. This excursion takes approx. 5 hours. In the afternoon, we will be transferred to Catania by a private minibus; overnight in Catania.
*Please note is is currently prohibited to reach Etna's summit at 3350 metres due to ongoing volcanic activity.
No visa required for British passport holders. Please note in Italy it is compulsory to carry ID with you at all times.
For further Brexit travel advice please visit https://www.abta.com/tips-and-advice/brexit-advice-for-travellers
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.
Is this trip for you?
Overall Activity Level: 3 (Moderate). Most walks are classified as Level 2 (Leisurely/Moderate). The Stromboli and Etna walks are Level 3 (Moderate).
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. Day walks will take between 2 to 5 hours on hilly-to-steep terrain of dried lava, rocky ash, and sand. The trek on Etna is more demanding and you will need to be confident of your fitness if you decide to join this.
Volcanic activity and summit closures
Vulcano: It has been prohibited to reach Vulcano's crater to see the steaming 'fumaroles' since November 2021 due to the presence of noxious gases. Should this ban lift prior to or during your visit, the group will have the option to take this excursion. Alternatively, we visit the area of Vulcanello to see the Valley of the Monsters, a series of unique volcanic formations on a narrow peninsula that was created by eruptions.
Stromboli: It has been prohibited to reach the summit of Stromboli since the strong volcanic activity of 2019, so we ascend up to 400 metres above sea level (the maximum currently permitted when accompanied by a volcanologist guide).
Etna: Please note that the trek on Etna is weather and volcanic activity-dependent, and it is currently not permitted to ascend to the crater at 3350 metres (the maximum we can reach is 3000 metres).
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 suitability to participate locally. Please note that people with pre-existing medical conditions such as heart conditions, serious asthma, and severe vertigo may not be able to participate.
Customers should be prepared for occasional short notice changes as required by local authorities or recommended by the Exodus Leader to maintain COVID-security for the group.
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.
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 Eolian, Milazzo
2 nights at Residence Baia Portinenti or Oltremare Residence, Lipari
2 nights at Hotel Miramare or Hotel La Sciara, Stromboli
1 night at Rifugio Sapienza, Etna South
1 night at B&B Gattopardo House, Catania
To receive the up-to-date list of hotels for your departure please contact our Exodus Customer Operations team.
Beautiful islands and luckily we had some good volcanic activity, especially on Etna which made up for not being able to climb to the top of any of the volcanoes Vulcano, Stromboli or Etna, however I do feel the itinerary could be improved.
Reviewed July 2019
Excellent guide and great sites, especially Stromboli. Watching volcanic activity after dark along with a fabulous sunset.
Reviewed June 2019
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!.
Reviewed May 2019
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.
Reviewed May 2019
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.
Reviewed May 2019
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.
Reviewed November 2018
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.
Reviewed November 2018
Greatly structured trip, with a lot of varied trips and sights. Genny, our guide, was amazing - superb customer service!
Reviewed October 2018
Excellent brake saw lots great experiance
Reviewed October 2018
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.