Sicily Etna and the Aeolian Islands

Sicily Etna and the Aeolian Islands

Sicily Etna and the Aeolian Islands. 8-day walking & discovery tour with 5 different bases in charming hotels

Sicily Etna and the Aeolian Islands. The archipelago of the Aeolian Islands, situated in front of the north coast of Sicily, is a place of overwhelming natural beauty, made all the more special by its particular volcanic nature. The islands of Lipari, Stromboli, Vulcano and Panarea, to name but the most noted, are home to tiny fishermen’s villages hiding under tall imposing volcanic cones, some of which are amongst the most active of the world. Here people and forces of nature have co-habited for centuries, often resulting in tremendous loss. But as well in a spectacular landscape, where man 6 nature have lived together for thousands of years, reason why the area is listed as UNESCO World Heritage. The volcanic earth also rewards with extra-ordinary fertility – testimony are the very good wines produced on the islands!

Please note: The  Sicily Etna and the Aeolian Islands is a moderately easy tour which is suitable for those who have some experience with walking and a good general physical condition. Most of the walks are on good paths, sometimes on steep terrain. People with respiratory problems may have discomfort in sulphurous areas with fumes. Average walking times:  approx. 3 to 6 hours each day.

Sicily Etna and the Aeolian Islands Highlights

  • Visit the volcanic archipelago of the Aeolian islands with its wild untamed nature
  • Climb the Stromboli, a still active volcano, and enjoy its laid back island atmosphere
  • Walk along the beautiful coastlines and through the quiet fields of Lipari
  • Climb Mount Etna, the highest still active volcano of Europe and experience the thrill of watching nature shape itself.

Sicily Etna and the Aeolian Islands

Destination Sicily.  Mt. Etna & the Aeolian Islands
Holiday Type Self guided walking holiday
Start/Finish Catania
Duration8 days
Grade Moderate
Distance See itinerary
Season Year round. Spring and Early Autumn are best

What we do

We put together the trip for you: reserve the hotels, transfer the luggage and organise your transfers to the start of your itineraries. Each tour includes a complete Road book with detailed itineraries, information for visits along the way, a detailed map and total peace of mind with our 24-hour local support.

We work with local operators through-out each destination that are passionate about their regions.

We can tailor make this tour, if you want to add an extra rest day, spend a few days relaxing before or after the trip just let us know and we will be happy to provide a quotation.

Sicily Etna and the Aeolian Islands

Day 0 Catania
Arrival in Catania in case you arrive earlier. Catania International Airport can be easily reached with daily flights from many cities in Europe and other cities in Italy, like Milan, Rome and Naples. Several hotels can be booked in town, according to your wish (either ‘downtown’ centrally located, or near the harbour or train station, ranging from 3 to 5-star.

N.B. If you arrive one day earlier you have the possibility to pay a visit to the bustling city of Catania, dominated by the imposing mass of the Etna Volcano, or perhaps make a day trip to Syracuse.

Day 1 Sicily Etna and the Aeolian Islands

Arrival – From Catania to Milazzo
After arriving at Catania Airport you will be brought by private transfer to the harbour town of Milazzo on Sicily’s north coast. After settling in at your evening’s B&B, you will have the time to explore the town’s historical centre, dominated by the enormous medieval castle. In the evening you can stroll through the little alleys of the town, finding a suitable place for a hearty dinner.

Accommodation Milazzo

Day 2 Sicily Etna and the Aeolian Islands

From Milazzo to Lipari
This morning you will take the hydrofoil from Milazzo to Lipari (1 h.), the largest of the islands of the Aeolian volcanic archipelago. You will check in at a small family-run hotel near the marvellously situated port of Marina Corta, dominated by the local ‘castello’. From here you will then hike to the old Roman spa near San Calogero which offers a wonderful view of the crater of the nearby island of Volcano. On your way back to your hotel, you may want to visit the remains of the Greek tombs and the Greek theatre, as well as have a look at the site of a prehistoric village near the castle. After freshening up in your hotel you can wander through the Marina’s little streets in the evening and stop for a pre-dinner ‘aperitivo’.

Walking time : 3 hours, Altitude gain:  +250 m, -250 m
Accommodation: Lipari – Meals included: 1 breakfast

Day 3 Sicily Etna and the Aeolian Islands

Visit of Vulcano
After breakfast you take the hydrofoil from Lipari to Vulcano (10 min.). This island, dominated by the spent crater of Vulcano della Fossa, takes its name from the Roman god ‘Vulcanus’. The Roman name for the island has then contributed the word for volcano in most modern European languages. Famous for its black beaches and thermal springs, the island is an important tourist destination during high season, while retaining its quiet and laid back character during spring and autumn. Your hike on the island will take you to the Vulcano crater where you can admire the ‘fumaroles’, openings in the earth’s crust which emit steam and gases, created when superheated water turns to steam as its pressure drops when it emerges from the ground. After your hike you will have plenty of time to lounge on the beach and visit the thermal springs where you can enjoy bathing in sulfur mud baths. In the evening you will take the hydrofoil back to Lipari. After dinner you may take another stroll through the Marina, and why not, enjoy a ‘gelato’ before turning in at the hotel.

Walking time : 3 hours, Altitude gain:  +390 m, -390 m
Accommodation: Lipari – Meals included: 1 breakfast

Day 4 Sicily Etna and the Aeolian Islands

From Lipari to Stromboli
In the morning you will take the hydrofoil from Lipari to Stromboli (1 h.), the most northern of the Aeolian Islands and one of the world’s most active volcanoes. It was here that the heroes of Jules Verne’s ‘A Journey to the Centre of the Earth’ find themselves after having been ejected from the earth by volcanic activity. After checking in at your hotel, you may take a short hike around the little village where you will be staying, and possibly relax on the islands volcanic black beaches. In the afternoon you will pay a visit to the ‘Sciara del Fuoco’, a big horseshoe shaped depression in the summit area offering a wonderful view on the craters. After turning back to your hotel in the evening you are free to explore the little fishermen’s hamlet of Stromboli some more, and find a nice spot for dinner.

Walking time : 4 hours, Altitude gain:  +400 m, -400 m
Accommodation: Stromboli – Meals included: 1 breakfast

Day 5 Sicily Etna and the Aeolian Islands

Visit of Stromboli
Today you will have the time to visit some more of the island, including the lovely village of San Vincenzo. After lunch you will leave for a walk to the active crater accompanied by certified volcano guides. They will take you up to the very top of the volcano, 924 m high, from where you will have the opportunity to admire the ordinary, daily volcanic activity of the island, including intermittent explosions of ashes and incandescent rock, reaching up to 120 m high. Larger events including the expulsion of large lava streams are observed regularly, last in 2002-2003 and 2007. Watching an active volcano at work is a dramatic and extremely thrilling experience. You should be aware however, that in case of adverse weather conditions and extra-ordinary volcanic activity due to safety measures the volcano guides may retain it impossible to walk up the volcano. After your visit to the Stromboli crater you will return to your hotel where you can fresh up and relax until going out to find a nice spot for dinner.

Walking time : 6 hours, Altitude gain:  +924 m, -924 m
Accommodation: Stromboli – Meals included: 1 breakfast

Day 6 Sicily Etna and the Aeolian Islands

From Stromboli to the Sicilian mainland and Mount Etna
After breakfast at your hotel you can go out for one last stroll in the Stromboli village, after which you will hop on the hydrofoil to Milazzo again (2 h.). From the harbour of Milazzo a private transfer takes you to the mountain hotel – located at no less than 1900 m a.s.l. – on the southern slopes of Mount Etna. The Etna reaches up to over 3300 m a.s.l. and has a diameter of around 45 km, making it the largest and tallest active volcano in Europe, dominating most of the eastern half of Sicily. After your arrival at the hotel you will have time for a short walk over the so-called ‘Crateri Silvestri’ track for a first approach to the Etna activity, characterized by regular explosions and eruption of gasses and ash, followed by lava flows that constantly remodel the mountain slopes. Some of the main eruptions of the last 10 years have even caused the airport of Catania to close down. In the evening you will eat a hearty dinner based on local specialties at the hotel.

Walking time : 1,5 hours, Altitude gain:  +100 m, -100 m
Accommodation: Etna – Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 dinner

Day 7 Sicily Etna and the Aeolian Islands

Visit of Mount Etna
Today you will visit the main body of the Etna volcano, arriving at an altitude of 2900 m a.s.l., which is the upper limit where people are allowed to walk without a certified guide. Here you will discover the line of craters that opened during the eruptions of 2002 and 2003. These events were among the most explosive of the last 100 years, erupting up to 160 million cubic metres of volcanic ash and lava. From here you have an amazing view over the Ionian Coast with the cities of Messina, Catania and Siracusa. When returning back to the hotel you will pass on the edge of the ‘Valle di Bove’, a caldera measuring 1000 metres deep and 5000 metres wide resulting from the collapse of and old crater. Today it is also possible to take an optional guided trip to the summit at the central craters (3350 m a.s.l.), arriving at 2900 m a.s.l. by cable way and 4WD and then trekking to the top. From the summit you then walk back to the hotel. Please note that the price for this optional trip is 60 euro per person. After returning to the hotel, a private transfer will take you to your evening’s hotel in Taormina where after your arrival, you have plenty of time to explore this elegant city. You may visit some of the its innumerable ancient monuments,  including the anphitheatre.

Walking time : 6 hours, Altitude gain:  +1000 m, -1000 m
Accommodation: Taormina – Meals included: 1 breakfast

Day 8 Sicily Etna and the Aeolian Islands

End of tour
The tour ends in Catania. After breakfast a private transfer will take you to the Airport.

Sicily Etna and the Aeolian Islands

Price per person sharing from €999 per person.

Available year round. Spring & Autumn are best months to avoid crowds and heat.

Sicily Etna and the Aeolian Islands

•    Accommodation: 1 night Milazzo, 2 nights Lipari, 2 nights Stromboli, 1 night Mt. Etna,
1 night Taormina; all nights in good **/*** hotels and family-run pensions.
•    Meals: 7 breakfasts, 1 dinner
•    Extensive route notes, with description of the route & tourist information
•    Maps at 1 : 25.000 scale (or better)
•    Certified volcano guide at Stromboli
•    24/24 h local assistance
•    Transfer from Catania to Milazzo (day 1)
•    Transfer from Milazzo harbour to Mt. Etna (day 6)
•    Transfer from Mt. Etna to Hotel in Taormina (day 7)
•    Transfer from  Taormina to Catania airport (day 8)


Not Included

•    Departure taxes, Touris Taxes & Visas
•    Travel Insurance
•    Drinks and meals not mentioned in the itinerary
•    Option for Etna Summit craters, guide + cable way + jeeps (€ 85 per person)
•    Hydrofoil and boat transfers to/ from Aeolian islands
•    Items of personal nature
•    Hotel Tourist taxes

Sicily Etna and the Aeolian Islands

All nights are spent in characteristic and comfortable hotels. All rooms have en-suite facilities.

3 dinners are  included, on day 2, 3 and on the 6th day when staying on Mount Etna. On the other nights you are free to choose from the wide choice of restaurants in the cities and villages where you are staying.

No picnic lunches are included in the tour price, but these can be prepared for you by the accommodation holders, or materials for picnics can be purchased in the villages where you stay.

Night 1: The first night you are staying in nice Hotel near the historical centre of Milazzo. The city’s centre and main monuments are within easy reach.

Nights 2 & 3: These nights are spent on Lipari, the largest of the Aeolian Islands. Your charming hotel is located near the small harbour of Marina Corta.

Nights 4 & 5: These two nights last you stay in a friendly hotel at Stromboli. The hotel is centrally located, at walking distance from the seashore and the main shops of the village.

Night 6: Tonight you stay in a mountain hotel located at 1900 m a.s.l. on the slopes of Mount Etna. You will have a hearty dinner based on local dishes in the hotel.

Night 7: Your last night is spent in a comfortable hotel in the Taormina. From the hotel the city’s main monuments are easily reached.

Sicily Etna and the Aeolian Islands

Arrival: The tour starts in CATANIA, a city with an international airport. Direct flights available from Dublin and domestically  served by daily flights from Milan, Rome and Naples. Tours start every day during the trip season with a minimum number of participants of 2.

 The tour ends after breakfast on day 8 in CATANIA. A frequent bus service or a taxi can bring you to the airport. Taxi transfers to other destinations are available on simple request.

From Price pp


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