One of Sicily’s most fascinating characteristics is the juxtaposition of constantly changing colors.The sea is a predominant feature, with its many shades of green, turquoise and blues, contrasting sharply with the intense whiteness of the fishing villages and the black lava of the archipelago of the Aeolian Islands. Most of the islands are active volcanoes of which we only see a small tip.Mount Etna, the ever present, overpowering giant rises 3323m above sea level. The rugged cliffs and razor-sharp crests offergreat panoramas to the walker’s eyes as do the small villages built like eagle’s nests on themountain slopes and the greens, and yellows and browns of the seemingly infinite succession of cultivated fields.Here, daily life passes away slowly, following the rhythm of the seasons, all strongly influenced by old rituals and traditions. The hard life is made sunnier by the excellent Sicilian food and wine that uses many fresh vegetables full of vivid colors
♦ Island hopping through the Aeolian Islands
♦ The Roman remains in Lipari
♦ Climbing up smoking and erupting volcanoes, Mt. Vulcano, Mt. Stromboli and Mt. Etna
♦ Wonderful beaches, incredible views, small picturesque Mediterranean fishing villages
Day 1: Lipari
Arrive in Catania Airport. Here you take a bus or a train to Milazzo or Messina where you board the hydrofoil boat to Lipari where you stay for 4 nights.It is also possible to pre-book a private transfer from Catania airport to Milazzo/Messina. Lipari is the liveliest centre of the Eolian islands: you can visit the old fortress, stroll around the fish market or enjoy some good music in a bistro of Marina Vecchia.
For the next days you have a selection of walks and excursions you can do. You are free to choose which ones to do and in which order.
A) Lipari Island: The southern tip and Mt. Guardia
This varied walk on the south point of Lipari, with views on the Island of Vulcano, starts and ends at the Port. In the first part you walk to an astronomical observatory, overlooking Vulcano and the rugged cliffs called “faraglioni”. In the second part you descend to the old town centre of Lipari, with its historical and artistic beauties.
Distance: 11 km , +350/-350 m ,4.5h.
B) Lipari Island: Walk from Acqualcalda to Canneto
From Lipari take the local bus to Acquacalda where you walk from one beach to another other, through the evergreen
vegetation of the Mediterranean scrub. On your way you have pumice caves and magnificent views on the surrounding islands. Take your time to absorb the views at the panoramic point (346m) before descending to Canneto, the most important beach of Lipari, where you can enjoy a refreshing swim before taking the local bus back to Lipari.
Distance: 5 km , +350 m /-350 m , 2h.
C) Lipari Island: Walk from Lipari to Quattropani
From Lipari take the local bus to Quattropani, the starting point of this walk along the western coast of the island, the wildest part of Lipari and a real plunge into wilderness! After some magnificent land and sea views you reach the San
Calogero thermal baths, thought to be the oldest spa in the Mediterranean, dating back to the Mycenaean period. You then walk back to Lipari, through villages and fumaroles.
Distance: 13,5 km , +330 m/-700m , 4,5h.
D) Vulcano Island: Round walk to the Gran Cratere
Vulcano is a small and spectacular island. Here you walk up through an almost lunar landscape to the “Gran Cratere” the great crater, yellowish from the sulfurous smoke constantly emitted. From the top you have exceptional 360° views of the island and the volcanic archipelago. The descent along green slopes offers amazing contrasts of colors with the blue sea and the dark grey rocks. You return to Lipari with the afternoon boat.
Distance: 5.7 km , +290m /-290m, 2.5h.
E) Salina Island
Salina is an island with a magical, out-of-time atmosphere a short hydrofoil ride from Lipari. Take the bus to Semaforo of Pollara where the walk along the western coast of Salina starts. It is a demanding climb through steep ups and downs, but your efforts are rewarded with amazing views on the Filicudi and Alicudi islands The walk ends in Rinella, where you can take a bus back to the main port of Salina.
Distance: 7,6km, +383 m/- 617m , 3h.
Day 5: Lipari - Stromboli Island
Today you transfer to Stromboli, at the port your luggage will be taken to the hotel while you stroll through the narrow whitewashed streets to the hotel. The walk on Stromboli is a one of a kind and spectacular experience as this volcano is constantly erupting.
You have two walking options on the volcano :
A) A circular walk to 272 m. a.s.l from where you can see the lava flow field called the “Sciara di Fuoco”: this option is open to everyone, and is normally always accessible.
Distance: 8,3 km , +325m /-325m , 2,5h.
B) A strenuous there and back climb to the top of Mt Stromboli with an authorized volcanologist guide in a guided group walk to the top 900m a.s.l. The walk starts in the late afternoon, reaching the top at sunset where you stop for a good while to observe the constantly erupting volcano from close up. The descent is at night, you need to bring a flashlight as there is no public street lights on this island. The climb/descent of the top half of the volcano is on volcanic ash.
Distance: 14km , +1000m / -1000 m , 6h.
IMPORTANT: Access to the top is limited to 80 people at a time and only if accompanied by a volcanologist/mountain guide. This walk may be restricted or cancelled at short notice due to volcanic activity or bad weather.
The guided tour to the top Stromboli is prebooked, as it can be difficult to book a place once there, BUT has to be paid on the spot,
Day 6: Taormina
Today you go from Stromboli to Milazzo by hydrofoil and then take the train or bus to Taormina. You have the whole afternoon to explore on your own this beautiful and lively city. Visiting the Cathedral and the ancient Greek Theatre, built in the 3° century B.C. and wonderfully preserved. Quench your thirst with a frozen “granita”, a local specialty made up of shaved ice and syrup accompanied by a delicious brioche.
Day 7: Taormina
After breakfast you are transferred to Piano Provenzano, where an easy guided walking trip takes you up the big giant, the majestic Mount Etna. You will walk through lush vegetation, on old and new lava flows and enter a lava flow cave carved into the mountain. Included lunch is in a local winery serving locally sourced produces. The afternoon continues with a visit to unique Alcantara Gorge with it’s strange rock shapes formed as the ancient lava flow entered the freezing cold river. You return to Taormina around 6.30pm where you can enjoy a last evening in town.
Distance: 10km , +450 m /-450m. , 4.5-5h.
Day 8: End of the tour
The trip ends after breakfast unless you have booked other services.
How to get there:
The best airport to flight into is Catania Airport “Fontanarossa”. Your flight must reach Catania by 4.15pm. From here you can take a bus to go directly to Milazzo or take a local bus to reach the
railway station to go to Milazzo or Messina. Then you take the hydrofoil/boat from Milazzo or Messina to Lipari. For Hydrofoil/boat timetable check the Ustica Lines company www.usticalines.it/en/ustica-lines_navigazione-veloce oraristagionali.asp or the Siremar one www.siremar.it
There are 2 bus companies going to Milazzo from Catania airport: for the first one you can find timetable and informations on the website www.eoliebooking.com/navetta/indexeng.asp
ATTENTION!!! Reservations must be made before 13:00 hrs. on the day before the intended journey.
The second direct bus service is Giunta Bus, there are a few rides so please visit the website www.giuntabus.com or call 0039.090.673.782.
As an alternative you can take one of the several rides of the AMT “457 ALIBUS” coach to go from Catania airport to Catania Train Station, please visit www.amt.ct.it/percorsieorari.php or call the number 0039.095.751.91.11
In Catania railway station take a local train to Milazzo, check the website www.trenitalia.it
To reach Messina, you can take the local bus AMT “457 ALIBUS” from Catania airport to Catania Train Station and then take a train to Messina. For informations, websites and phone numbers are indicated above. You can also take a bus called SAIS Autolinee from Catania to Messina and back, visit the website www.saisautolinee.it/ricerca/index.asp
This is only provided on Stromboli Island between the port and the hotel. On arrival and departure, when you travel with public transport, you always take your luggage with you.
This walk is graded introductory to moderate. We expect participants to take responsibility for their fitness and preparations on a consistent basis prior to departure, and INCREASE the regular weekly training schedule in the two months leading up to departure. That way, when you start walking, you will feel relaxed and comfortable and strong,
having done more than sufficient preparation for the trip. You will also have more energy to enjoy the views, take photos and explore the sights in your spare time, rather than just make it to the next hotel.