Sicilian Volcanoes Trip Notes

Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Private Group Adventures
Destinations:
Italy
Programmes:
Walking & Trekking
Trip Code:
TEL
Activity Rating - Moderate
Moderate

You are moderately fit and possess a spirit of adventure. Some previous experience is required for most activity based trips.

8 Days Flight Inclusive
8 Days Land only
Ages: 16+

Trip Overview

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 (3350m), the highest and most active volcano in Europe.

At a Glance

  • 7 nights in hotels, apartments, and guesthouses
  • 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

Trip 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

 

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. Day walks 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 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.

Group

A local tour leader will accompany the group on all programmed activities. Please note that the Stromboli and Etna summit trek will be led by special volcanologist guides. 

Adult min age:
16
Min group size:
4
Max group size:
16

Itinerary

Land Only

Start City:
Milazzo
End City:
Catania

Land Only Itinerary

  • 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
    Distance covered: 8 km / 4 miles
    Total ascent (m):
    390
    Total descent (m):
    390
    Activity (hours):
    3
  • 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
    Distance covered: 11 km / 7 miles
    Total ascent (m):
    320
    Total descent (m):
    320
    Activity (hours):
    4.5
  • Day 4

    Boat to Panarea; hike to the Panarea's summit to admire the magnificent view. Way back to the port, then boarding for Stromboli.

    In the morning we embark for Panarea, the oldest and most charming of the Aeolian Islands. We first walk through tiny alleys decorated with brightly colourful bougainvillea, to reach the start of our hike. We then head to Panarea's summit, Pizzo Corvo (420m), from where we can enjoy a magnificent view of the other islands of the archpelago, the Lisca Bianca and Formiche rocks, as well as the beaches and creeks of Panarea. Way back to the port, then boarding for Stromboli in the afternoon. Dinner and overnight in Stromboli.

     (approx. 4 hours walking, ascent 420m descent 420m, approx. 8km).

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 8 km / 5 miles
    Total ascent (m):
    420
    Total descent (m):
    420
    Activity (hours):
    approx. 4
  • Day 5

    Free morning to visit the lovely village of San Vincenzo, or relax in Stromboli black beaches. At sunset we make some easy walking on the western side of the island to discover the “Sciara del Fuoco” (Stream of fire), to witness the volcanic activity.

    Free morning to visit the lovely village of San Vincenzo, or relax in Stromboli black beaches. At sunset we make some easy walking on the western side of the island to discover the “Sciara del Fuoco” and to approach the famous Stromboli eruptions. Picnic dinner (not included) during the excursion

     

    Temporary itinerary changes

    For safety reasons, the summit of Mt Stromboli has been closed since 2020 and the excursions are currently forbidden. As an alternative, we walk to the impressive "Sciara del Fuoco" (Stream of fire) to approach the famous Stromboli eruptions. 

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 9 km / 6 miles
    Total ascent (m):
    400
    Total descent (m):
    400
    Activity (hours):
    4
  • Day 6

    Travel to Etna’s southern slope; stop in charming Taormina en route.

    Leaving Stromboli we take a boat ride to Milazzo (approx 3hrs journey) and transfer to Etna, 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. Before reaching Etna, we stop in the charming hilltop town of Taormina. Get to know the town in your own time, paying an optional visit to Teatro Greco, a spectacular horseshoe-shaped Greek theatre with vast and impressive views. Overnight at Rifugio Sapienza.

    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.

    Distance covered: 9 km / 5 miles
  • Day 8

    End Catania.

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

    Meals included:
    Breakfast

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 Eolian 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 Umberto House, Agathae Hotel Hotel 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.

Where a single supplement is available, paying for a single will only guarantee a room for single use. It does not necessarily mean a twin or double room will be provided for sole occupancy.

Please note that a member of the group may be allocated a single room by default if the make-up of the group means there isn’t anyone for them to share with. Paying the supplement in advance is the only way to guarantee a single room.

Single supplements cannot be refunded retrospectively.

Single supplement from £280.00

Food & Transport

Eating & 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.

Transportation

A mix of private minibus, boats and public buses will be used throughout the week. Road conditions are generally good.

Weather & Seasonality

When to go

Sicily has a good all year round climate, with plenty of sunshine and warm/hot temperatures. The summer departures ought to have daily hot sunshine and temperatures can reach the low to mid 30s (degC). The earlier and later departures are likely to be cooler with a slightly higher chance of rain. In late summer there is the possibility of heavy thunderstorms, but these are usually short-lived. If you are taking the optional treks to the summits of Etna and Stromboli, please note that temperatures at the top can be somewhat lower than they are at sea level. It is not uncommon for there to be a strong wind blowing at the summit of Etna. With wind chill, it can feel chilly or even cold at the top.

Weather Charts

Joining Instructions

Travelling flight inclusive from London: 8 days

The group flight from London is a daytime flight departing on Day 1 of the itinerary.

Flights from London

We normally use the scheduled services of British Airways (depending on availability). As flight timings and schedules change regularly we recommend you call one of our specialist sales staff or your agent to confirm up‐to‐date timings. Please note timings may change at a later date and cannot be confirmed until approximately two weeks before departure.

Travelling land only: 8 days starting in MIlazzo and ending in Catania

Your trip normally starts at our accommodation in Milazzo in the evening of Day 1 of the itinerary. Details of how to reach the start point are provided in the Final Joining Instructions ‐ sent approximately two weeks before departure.

Regional Flights

The Flight Inclusive price is based on a London departure, but we are happy to tailor this to your local or regional airport. Please ask about flights from local or regional airports.

If booking regional flights other than with Exodus, you must allow a minimum connecting time (in addition to the international check-in time) of 1 hour at Gatwick, and 1.5 hours at Heathrow; this is longer than the official minimum, but baggage handling is known to be subject to delays.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Transfers Details

Airport transfers are included for those on the group flights. 

If you require airport transfers, you may (by prior arrangement only) be able to join the group transfer. Transfers are arranged to coincide with the arrival time of the group flight - please check the group flight details 2 weeks before departure. If you do not take this transfer, or miss it, you must make your own way to the joining point at your own expense.

It is possible to reach the start hotel in Milazzo by public transport although the journey is rather long and services are limited. For this reason we strongly recommend to join the group transfer at the airport. If this is not possible, there is a services operated by Giuntabus which leaves Catania airport four times a day (approx. price €12, http://www.giuntabus.com/orari.htm). From more information about joining the trip in Milazzo, please contact our Customer Operations team.

 

Location start:
Milazzo
Location end:
Catania

What to Take

Essential Equipment

Walking boots with good ankle support and sturdy sole

Daypack (25-30 litres) for camera, guidebook and water bottle (approx. 2 litres)

Sunglasses and high factor sunscreen,

Windproof and waterproof jacket

Swimming gear and beach towel

Penknife may be useful for picnic lunches

Trekking poles recommended for walking on the loose, uneven volcanic material

If you are taking the walks to the summits of Etna and Stromboli it is mandatory to wear good quality ankle-high hiking boots and a headtorch (for Stromboli only). Running shoes and low ankle walking shoes are not suitable. It is possible to hire some equipment locally but we recommend not relying on it. Please note that local volcanologist guides may not allow you to partake in the activities if you are not equipped with the above items. An obligatory helmet is provided free of charge on Stromboli.

For your comfort, you also need the following: warm hat and gloves, buff, long walking trousers, a lightweight fleece top, a trekking t-shirt with quick-dry properties; gaiters are also strongly recommended, particularly for Etna and Stromboli.

 

Optional Equipment

We encourage you to bring water bottles and a means of purifying, filtering or sterilising water in order to be able to drink safe tap water whilst on the islands. Bottles of water are available but we strongly discourage buying these as it contributes to plastic waste.

Practical Information

Passport

Italy

All nationalities require a full passport that must be valid beyond the intended length of stay. It is your responsibility to have the correct personal documents and to obtain your own visa, if one is necessary, in accordance with the regulations of the country you are to visit. The information offered below is to help you with that process. We are not responsible for the actions of local immigration and customs officials, whether at points of entry or otherwise, and any subsequent effects.

Passports: check if you need to renew

You may need to renew your British passport earlier if you’re travelling from 1 January 2021.

On the day you travel, you’ll need your passport to both:

  • have at least 6 months left
  • be less than 10 years old (even if it has 6 months or more left)

Certain European nationalities may be able to travel within Europe on their national identity card. Check carefully with the relevant authorities if you intend to do this.

Visa

Italy

Visa regulations can change without notice: please check the current regulations in good time to obtain a visa if one is required.

Ticks are known to be present in this region and can carry Lyme disease, Tick-Borne Encephalitis and other diseases. Please take care to protect yourself. You can read more about ticks here.

There are no specific health risks on this trip.

Vaccination

Italy

There are no specific health risks.

Travel health can often be something people forget about before going away, but a little preparation and knowledge can go a long way to help you stay fit and healthy while abroad.

As we are not qualified to answer all your questions about travel health we strongly recommend you contact your Medical Professional or a Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for up-to-date information. Please note: vaccinations that are routinely recommended to residents of the UK, North America or Australasia are not considered to form part of the travel health advice, and you should ensure these are kept up to date where necessary.

For additional information please visit: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries

Insurance - are you adequately covered?

It is a condition of joining any of our holidays that you must be fully insured against medical and personal accident risks (to include repatriation costs and air ambulance or helicopter rescue services where appropriate). On arrival in destination for your trip, you will be asked to present details to your leader or local representative of your policy.

If you are resident in the UK we strongly recommend the Exodus travel insurance policy, this is specifically designed to cover all activities on your trip. If arranging your own policy please ensure that you are covered for all activities that are part of the trip, optional activities that you intend to take part in and/or on high altitude itineraries, that you are covered up to the maximum altitude of the trip.

UK-issued European Health Insurance Cards (EHICs) are still valid and offer the same cover as GHICs in the EU. This gives you medical care at a reduced cost, and in some cases for free, in many European countries, but should not be considered a substitute for adequate insurance. Once your EHIC has expired, you’ll be able to replace it with a GHIC.

Local Time

Italy's Timezone:
Europe/Rome CET (GMT +01:00)

Electricity

Italy's Electricity:

European plug ‐ 2 round pins.

Money

Italy's Currency

The national currency of Italy is the Euro (EUR), with an exchange rate at the time of publication of approximately 1.2 to the UK£ and 0.9 to the US$.

Exchange rates are correct at the time of publication.

 

ATM Availability

There are ATMs in Catania, Milazzo, Lipari town and Stromboli where you can draw cash out. The ATM on Stromboli is not always operational. Credit cards are accepted in most shops and restaurants although cash is generally easier. Therefore we recommend obtaining some € cash before travelling or on arrival at Catania airport.

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

For the meals not included, allow €5-10 for lunch and from €15-30 for dinners. The exact amount spent depends entirely on the type of restaurant visited, and the menu chosen. €250 should be enough to cover the cost of meals and other incidental expenses during the trip.

LOCAL TAXES: many Italian cities have recently introduced a tourist tax for non-residents. The local administration is in charge of the tax, which will be collected by the accommodation provider at check-in or check-out. This fee varies depending on the hotel category, the season and number of days of stay. It is usually between €0.50 and €1.50 per person per night. For this trip, please allow between €5 and €10, depending on the season, for the week. Children and people aged 75 or over are exempt from this tax.

Optional activities:

Mount Etna optional summit climb: approx. €75-85 per person (subject to change depending on season)

Tipping

Our local staff are paid well and fairly for their work with Exodus. Most of our clients wish to give a tip to their guides in appreciation of their help and friendliness. This, of course, is in no way compulsory and depends on the service received. For this trip we recommend to allow approx. 15-20€ per person for the guide.

Responsible Tourism

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

 

Exodus Community

Join the Exodus online community

Don't forget to visit the Community area on our website. You can view the range of Exodus videos and podcasts, read trip write-ups which have featured in the national media and take advantage of some special deals on travel gear and equipment.

In the Community Travel Forum you'll find the Departure Lounge where you can discuss your trip with fellow travellers before you depart. When you get back from your holiday remember to upload your images to the relevant trip page on our website. This helps other people see what our holidays are really like and you'll be entered automatically into our monthly photo competition.

To make full use of the Community you'll need to join My Exodus. It's free, registration is simple and easy, so what are you waiting for?

Important Information

On all guided trips

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely partake in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity.

Although rarely enforced, by booking this trip you agree to section 14 of our Booking Conditions which clearly states that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these circumstances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred.

On all trips

In booking this trip you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability you should call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary.

 

Every time that you travel abroad you should take the time to read the warnings in the essential information in the brochure.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers, and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately 2 to 3 weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; in order to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, as stated in our brochure, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons - climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

As fuel prices, airport taxes and exchange rates fluctuate, and airlines manage their rates to match demand, it is proving harder than ever to guarantee our Flight Inclusive prices. Although we endeavour to keep our website as accurate as possible, daily fluctuations mean that our Flight Inclusive price may be out of date. For accurate prices we recommend that you contact one of our Travel Experts, or your Travel Agent.

This trip includes time by a lake, river or sea, where there may be opportunities to swim. Swimming results in more tourists deaths than any other activity. All customers should always seek local advice before deciding whether to swim, and are requested to treat the sea with extreme caution if they choose to enter the water. Details on how to keep yourself safe while swimming are shown here.

TRAVEL AWARE – STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD

 

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office and the NHS have up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad. For more on security, local laws, plus passport and visa information, see https://travelaware.campaign.gov.uk/

Keep informed of current travel health news by visiting https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/

Advice can change so check regularly for updates.

For all latest travel information about your holiday, please visit our Travel Safety Advice page.

Important Notes

In line with our ‘book and travel with confidence’ promise which allows you to cancel free of charge up to 42 days prior to departure, or transfer to another trip free of charge up to 21 days prior to your trip starting in country,  please be aware that this excludes ‘irrecoverable costs’. Details can be found here: https://www.exodus.co.uk/about-exodus/exodus-booking-conditions

 

For this trip, the irrecoverable costs related to in-country operations are outlined below, if booking flight inclusive your sales agent will confirm the terms related to your international flights at the time of booking.

 

Irrecoverable hotel costs  £189 GBP  / €210 EUR / $239.40 USD 

 

Costs are accurate at the time of writing in September 2020

 

If you need to cancel your trip because you or a member of your party is diagnosed with COVID-19 or has received a request from the Government to self-isolate, you will receive a full refund less these irrecoverable costs.

How to Book

1. Check availability

Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.

2. Secure your place

You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.

3. Complete your booking and payment

When you're ready to book, go to our website for online bookings, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque. Book with confidence: Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582 issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA ‐ The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all monies paid to us for your trip are fully protected.

TRIP NOTE VALIDITY

These Trip Notes are valid from the "Current as" date on page one. They will occasionally be updated post booking and pre-departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary bookers will be written to separately. All customers will also receive a link to the most up-to-date version of the Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions pre-travel.