Just like Sicily, the islands are characterised by many different landscapes that usually do not exist in the same place.
The Aeolian Islands Archipelago is made up of seven islands: Lipari, Vulcano, Salina, Panarea, Stromboli, Filicudi and Alicudi – islands of wild aspect which fall sheer into the sea, offering visions of staggering beauty. Just like Sicily, the islands are characterised by many different landscapes that usually do not exist in the same place. Vast ebony beaches contrasting with dazzling seas; areas of wilderness alongside fertile gardens. And then there are the many natural eccentricities – strange perforated rocks resembling bridges and arches (‘I faraglioni’) and rocks with clefts from which boiling water gushes. Another attraction of the Aeolian Islands is the hot springs, located in Vulcano, an unique example of a healing mixture of natural volcanic mud with natural hot spring water.Mt Etna is the highest active volcano in Europe. It offers different aspects, from the black flows of lava and vast plain of black sand to luxuriant vegetation on the lower slopes, which abound with oak and chestnut forests, alternating with ancient man-made terraces where premier quality vineyards, pear and apple orchards, and hazelnut and pistachio groves grow.
£775 per person based on two people sharing. Supplement for departures 30 June to 28 July inclusive: £30 pp.Single supplement £90. Cost for person walking alone: £1200. It is possible to upgrade to stay in 3* hotels with sea views while staying on the Aeolian Islands. The cost for this is £135 per person for those 4 nights.
April to November
Day 1: Arrival in Catania
Welcome and private transfer to Milazzo in north-eastern Sicily, with its medieval Centre, ancient castle and lovely seafront promenade (2 hours). Overnight stay in hotel*** in Milazzo.
Day 2: Lipari:
4 hours walking, +360m -460m
In the morning hydrofoil from Milazzo to Lipari (1h). Check-in to family-run hotel near the small harbour of “Marina Corta”. Hiking to the old roman spa of “San Calogero” with a wonderful view over Vulcano’s crater. Overnight (2 nights) with breakfast.
Day 3: Vulcano:3 hours walking +390m, -390m
In the morning hydrofoil to Vulcano (10 min), famous for its black beaches and thermal springs. Go to Vulcano’s crater to see the ‘Fumarole’ with time to go to the beach and thermal springs. In the late afternoon, take hydrofoil to Lipari (10 mins). Overnight stay at the same hotel with breakfast.
Day 4: Lipari-Stromboli:4 hours walking, +400m, -400m
Transfer by hydrofoil to Stromboli (1h), check-in to hotel** and relax on Stromboli’s black beaches. In the late afternoon walk to the “Sciara del Fuoco” where you have the first hint of Stromboli’s volcanic activity with a wonderful panoramic view of the craters.Overnight (2 nights) with breakfast.
Day 5: Stromboli:6 hours walking +924m, -924m
In the morning free time to visit the lovely village of San Vincenzo or to take an optional boat ride around the island to visit the enchanting village of Ginostra, one of the loveliest corners of the entire archipelago. In the afternoon leave for the excursion to the volcano* with certified volcanological guide. Overnight in hotel with breakfast.*The volcano is 924 mt high and according to Italian law, when it is not erupting people are allowed to climb up the top accompanied by a certified volcanological guide. At the moment the climb is permitted. The guides reserve the right to cancel the climb according to safety considerations (weather, data from volcano which is constantly monitored, physical condition of walkers). The walk is quite demanding and requires a torch for the descent which takes place in the dark.
Day 6: Etna:2 hours walking +100m -100m
In the morning hydrofoil from Stromboli to Milazzo (2 h). Private transfer from Milazzo harbour to mountain hotel on the southern side of Mt. Etna at 1900m. Short walk along the track “crateri Silvestri” for a first view of Etna’s volcanic activity. Overnight in hotel, breakfast and dinner.
Day 7: Etna to Catania:6 hours walking +1000m, -1000m
Excursion to 2900 m where people without a guide are allowed to walk. Discover the line of big craters that appeared during the 2002/3 eruption. Amazing view of the Ionian coast of Sicily. Return to the hotel passing the edge of the “Bove Valley” and huge “caldera” formed from the collapse of an old volcano. At 1700 private transfer from Etna to hotel in Catania for overnight. Catania has many baroque churches and buildings, all placed in the very heart of the City Centre. Overnight stay with breakfast.*Alternative option: proceed up to 2900m with cable car and 4×4 (one way ticket 25 Euro). Or, weather and hiking conditions permitting and depending on the acitivity of the volcano, it is possible to travel to the summit (3350 m) at the central craters guided by a mountain escort with a 4WD vehicle to 2900 m, then walk to the top.(60 Euro per person).From there walk back to the hotel.
Departure after breakfast using public bus to reach Catania airport.