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9-17 Jun 2018: From Stromboli to Etna - Eolian Islands + Etna volcano (Italy)
6-14 Oct 2018: From Stromboli to Etna - Eolian Islands + Etna volcano (Italy)
16-24 Apr 2019: From Stromboli to Etna - Eolian Islands + Etna volcano (Italy)
11-19 May 2019: From Stromboli to Etna - Eolian Islands + Etna volcano (Italy)
8-16 Jun 2019: From Stromboli to Etna - Eolian Islands + Etna volcano (Italy)
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From Stromboli to Etna

- 9-days walking & study tour to Stromboli, Lipari, Vulcano and Etna with a volcanologist -

Itinerary 9 days

Day 1: Arrival in Catania, Sicily

Sunrise over the bay of Catania seen from the snow covered slopes of Mt Etna
Sunrise over the bay of Catania seen from the snow covered slopes of Mt Etna
Narrow streets in the old center of the town
Narrow streets in the old center of the town
View of Mt Etna and a small ash cloud from Catania
View of Mt Etna and a small ash cloud from Catania
Upon your arrival, you are picked up from the airport and transferred by taxi or private minibus to our first night's accommodation in the old center of Catania, one of Sicily's famous cities and Italy's most beautiful towns. Depending on your arrival time, you can use the afternoon to stroll through the historic center of the town and explore ancient Greek and Roman ruins, medieval castles, baroque palaces, churches, museums, lively markets, nearby beaches... In the evening the group meets up for an evening walk through the narrow cobbled streets and a welcome drink at a local bar followed by a first delicious Sicilian dinner.
Acc.: hotel**** in the old town of Catania (D)

Day 2: Transfer to Vulcano island and La Fossa crater

View across  Vulcano´s active "La Fossa" crater
View across Vulcano´s active "La Fossa" crater
Volcanic "spa" (warm mud pools) on Vulcano Island
Volcanic "spa" (warm mud pools) on Vulcano Island
Sulphur deposits on the rim of "La Fossa"
Sulphur deposits on the rim of "La Fossa"
We drive with a private minibus to the port of Milazzo and get on board of a hydrofoil that takes us to the volcanic island of Vulcano. Our accommodation here is a comfortable hotel directly on a volcanic fine black sand beach. The afternoon is free to relax and discover at your own pace: you can enjoy the beach, shop for souvenirs in the village, and explore the warm, bubbling volcanic mud pools and sulfurous steam vents just a few 100 m away from the beach. For a magnificent sunset and view over the Eolian archipelago, we set out to climb the active crater (300m high, ca. 1h hike) "La Fossa del Vulcano" ("The Mouth of the Volcano"), which last erupted in 1888. After nightfall, we return to the hotel where we enjoy a delicious dinner with Eolian specialties on the terrace right above the waves.
Acc.: Beach hotel*** on Vulcano Island (B, D)

Day 3: Transfer to Stromboli and hike to Sciara del Fuoco

Stromboli volcano seen while approaching the island from the sea
Stromboli volcano seen while approaching the island from the sea
Watching the sun set over the Eolian islands from the Sciara del Fuoco viewpoint
Watching the sun set over the Eolian islands from the Sciara del Fuoco viewpoint
Activitiy at the summit craters and trails of glowing bombs rolling down the Sciara del Fuoco
Activitiy at the summit craters and trails of glowing bombs rolling down the Sciara del Fuoco
In the morning we travel by speed boat to Stromboli where small 3-wheeled motor vehicles bring us to a comfortable hotel on the beach. The rest of the morning and midday are free for you to relax, swim in the sea or explore the unique ambiance of Stromboli.
In the afternoon we hike to a beautiful viewpoint on the Sciara del Fuoco from where we have a good view towards the active craters and large ash slope along which glowing blocks can roll down into the sea. We conclude the day with a dinner nearby at a uniquely located pizzeria from where the eruptions are still visible.
Acc.: Beach hotel on Stromboli *** (B, D)

Day 4: Climb to Stromboli's summit and close range eruption viewing

Your hotel on Stromboli is build atop steep lava cliffs and has a small private beach
Your hotel on Stromboli is build atop steep lava cliffs and has a small private beach
Hiking up to the summit of the volcano
Hiking up to the summit of the volcano
High activity with simultaneous explosions from different summit craters
High activity with simultaneous explosions from different summit craters
After breakfast you have the morning and midday free to swim, relax or stroll around in the picturesque village of Stromboli.
In the late afternoon, equipped with sandwiches for the evening, we set out for the 3-4 hours climb to the summit craters and arrive around sunset at a natural viewpoint which is located directly above the active craters at 918 m asl. From here, one can cautiously observe eruptions from the several active craters from a close range. Many travelers describe this as one of the most awe-inspiring natural spectacles they have seen in their lives - and the place and time where they became addicted to volcanoes… After enjoying the fireworks for about one hour, we descend on a different route that brings us down a steep ash slope directly back to the village of Stromboli (ca 1.5 h).

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Note:
In case access to Stromboli's summit is prohibited by the local authorities, e.g. during times of particularly high levels of activity, the excursion will instead go to a viewpoint above the Sciara del Fuoco at 400m.
Acc.: as before (Stromboli) (B)

Day 5: Boat trip around Stromboli island

Strombolicchio, the volcanic neck from Stromboli´s predecessor
Strombolicchio, the volcanic neck from Stromboli´s predecessor
Stromboli´s large collapse scar below the active crater terrase, the Sciara del Fuoco
Stromboli´s large collapse scar below the active crater terrase, the Sciara del Fuoco
Lunch on the Eolian islands can be a real feast!
Lunch on the Eolian islands can be a real feast!
After breakfast we embark on a scenic boat tour around the island (ca. 3 hours). We first take a closer look at Strombolicchio, the tiny islet of vertical rock cliffs that is all that remains of the volcano that was the predecessor of Stromboli. We then visit the secluded village of Ginostra on the opposite side of the island before continuing our around-the-clock round trip and sailing right in front of the Sciara del Fuoco.
After a light lunch in the village of Stromboli you have the rest of the day free. Besides swimming, relaxing and enjoying the village atmosphere your options include a second climb to the summit craters, a hike to the viewpoint at the Sciara del Fuoco, ...
Acc.: as before (Stromboli) (B, L)

Day 6: Lipari island - history, obsidian flow and pumice deposits

The colorful old town of Lipari
The colorful old town of Lipari
Obsidian with spherolites from Lipari´s historic lava flow
Obsidian with spherolites from Lipari´s historic lava flow
View onto pumice cliffs and old quarry
View onto pumice cliffs and old quarry
After breakfast we take a speed boat to Lipari Island, where we have an extended stop over on our way back to Sicily in order to visit the historic castle with its archaeological museum and hike to the world-famous obsidian and pumice deposits. In the afternoon we continue our journey by boat to Milazzo from where a private minibus brings us directly to Mount Etna. The next 3 nights we will be lodging in a comfortable hotel high up the volcano´s slopes at ca 1900 m a.s.l. with great mountain views of Catania.
Acc.: Mountain hotel*** on Etna (B, D)

Day 7: Excursion to Etna's summit craters

At the crater of Bocca Nuova (one of Etna's summit craters)
At the crater of Bocca Nuova (one of Etna's summit craters)
October 2013 view onto Etna´s summit area with different craters and an only 3 day old lava flow coming down in between
October 2013 view onto Etna´s summit area with different craters and an only 3 day old lava flow coming down in between
Descend through a volcanic moonscape of ash, scoria and cinder cones back to the hotel
Descend through a volcanic moonscape of ash, scoria and cinder cones back to the hotel
After a copious breakfast from the buffet we gather at the reception for a long day of hiking. We start our ascend with the cable car and then take special jeeps to quickly reach about 2700 m elevation before we continue on foot. Weather conditions and volcanic activity permitting, we can climb one or several of the summit craters of Etna, explore there fumaroles and sulphur fields and stare down into the smoking vents. From the summit craters we make our way back to the hotel on food, descending along a variety of unique landscapes and vegetation as well as interesting volcanic features, for example the cinder cones that formed in single eruptions in 2001 and 2002-2003 and old lava flow channels. Back at the hotel we restore our energies with a delicious 3-course dinner and local red wine.
Acc.: Acc: as before (Etna) (B, D)

Day 8: Etna excursion to the Valle del Bove

View down into the Valle del Bove from Etna´s summit area
View down into the Valle del Bove from Etna´s summit area
Descend into the Valle del Bove along a steep ash slope (this is great fun!)
Descend into the Valle del Bove along a steep ash slope (this is great fun!)
Sunset view across Etna´s lower slopes with cinder cones and the Bay of Catania in the background
Sunset view across Etna´s lower slopes with cinder cones and the Bay of Catania in the background
This day could be exchanged with the previous day and is again fully dedicated to Etna's upper region and sites of possible volcanic activity (if accessible). Normally this day will be used to discover one of Etna's most spectacular features: the Valle del Bove, a giant depression formed by repeated flank collapses of the volcano. From ca. 2500m altitude we descend into the Valle del Bove, along an extremely steep but soft sandy slope where we can run or slide down as if skiing (great fun and not dangerous!) in order to descend about 1000 m in less than 15 minutes. At the bottom of the giant depression an almost alien and rarely visited landscape awaits us... Surrounded by magnificent volcanic dikes and steep walls of ancient lava rocks, we are on the vast lava fields from the 1991-1993 eruption. Along an unmarked but easy trail we cross the Valle del Bove until we reach one of its lowest points of the SW border where we can easily climb out. From there we take a path downhill through forests, along a giant vertical basalt wall and to one of the very few springs at Etna before arriving at the road from where we are transferred back to the hotel. This evening there we will drive down to the lively village of Nicolosi for an aperitif in a local bar on the lively piazza before having our well-deserved Sicilian dinner in a busy garden restaurant.
Acc.: as before (Etna) (B, D)

Day 9: Tranfer to Catania - end of tour

There are small markets and stalls all over the city of Catania
There are small markets and stalls all over the city of Catania
Etna´s eruption and lava flow seen from Catania mid June 2014
Etna´s eruption and lava flow seen from Catania mid June 2014
The tour ends today with a transfer to Catania airport according to your departure time. If you have some time it is definitely worth to explore the lively city of Catania itself as it offers more than enough to visit: the famous local market (especially the fish-market is spectacular!), numerous Ancient relics, baroque architecture, or simply enjoy its buzzing charm from one of the plenty street cafes.
If you have more days to spend, we recommend you extend your stay in Sicily or on the islands as options of things to do and see are nearly unlimited!
Acc.: none (B)
Note:
Due to weather conditions and volcanic activity, the exact itinerary might vary slightly.
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