volcanoes sicily aeolian islands italy hiking tour

Great hikes, beautiful coastlines, and ancient cultures combine in southern Italy

Our volcano-climbing journey includes hikes on Stromboli—literally a volcano emerging out of the sea—beautiful Panarea, rugged Vulcano, and magnificent Mt. Etna.

Photo by Brian McGilloway

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Volcanoes of Southern Italy

Hiking Mt. Etna and the Aeolian Islands
Repertory Trip: Next Offered September 26-October 6, 2016

Trip Details at-a-Glance

Cost From: $5195  
Length: 11 days
Arrive: Naples, Italy
Depart: Catania, Italy
Lodging: 9 nights small inns and hotels, 1 night aboard ferry
Meals: All meals included except 1 lunch and 2 dinners
Activity: Hiking / Trekking
Trip Level: 8 hiking days on moderate to steep trails, 3-8 hours a day on hiking days, altitudes up to 10,000 feet, van support. This is a strenuous hiking trip. Please read the “What the Trip is Like” section or contact our Europe Team for more details.


  • Hike to the summit of Mt. Etna, highest volcano in Europe
  • Summit hikes on the dramatic volcanoes of Stromboli and Vulcano
  • Explore the stunning Aeolian Islands, surrounded by azure seas
  • Taormina, an enchanting hilltown with a preserved Greek theater

This is a great trip. One high point was watching lava explosions at night on Stromboli. Stunning! Another was walking through Pompeii with our guide bringing it to life in our imaginations.Jamey H.—Newton, MA

Choosing the Right Trip

We work hard to help you choose the right trip for you, paying attention to your individual interests, abilities, and needs. If you have questions about the level of comfort or any of the activities described in this itinerary, please contact us.


We are proud to have an exceptionally high rate of repeat travelers. For more information, we would be happy to put you in touch with a client who has traveled with us.

Repertory Trip

This is one of our special Repertory Trips offered every two to five years.  It will be several years before this journey is offered again. Now is the time to go!

Our adventure in Italy’s south—the mezzogiorno—with its palm-fringed bays, shimmering aquamarine seas, seaside villages, and mouth-watering cuisine, is framed by a sublime setting: the dramatic volcano-isles of Stromboli, Vulcano, Lipari, and tiny Panarea, as well as magnificent Mt. Etna. After a hike on the crater rim of Mt. Vesuvius and a visit to ancient Pompeii, we ferry to the Aeolian Islands, believed by the ancient Greeks to be the home of Aeolus, the king of the winds. Our hikes bring us to the summits of Stromboli and Vulcano (from which all volcanoes get their name), while coastal walks on Panarea and Lipari reward us with Roman ruins and vivid views of the blue Mediterranean. The surreal moonscapes of Mt. Etna (10,500'), dominating the Sicilian skyline, are the memorable backdrop for our final hikes. We end our journey in lovely Taormina, with its breathtaking panoramas of sea and sky.

Itinerary at a Glance

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

Days 1-2, September 26 - 27, 2016
Naples / Pompeii / Overnight Ferry

After gathering in Naples, we head to the archaeological site of Cumae, famed for its evocative Cave of the Cumean Sybil, a mysterious place of long, trapezoidal galleries cut out of solid rock. The next day we hike around the far rim of Mt. Vesuvius, with a look into the abyss of its volcanic caldera, then head to the fascinating remains of legendary Pompeii, engulfed—and preserved—by Vesuvius’ ash. We enjoy a delicious pizza dinner in the city in which it was born, then board the overnight ferry bound for Stromboli in the Aeolian Islands.

Days 3-4, September 28 - 29, 2016
Stromboli Island / Panarea Island / Lipari Island

Our ferry arrives at dramatic Stromboli, a volcano-island that achieved its modern fame when Italian director Roberto Rossellini and Ingrid Bergman filmed Stromboli here in 1949. We take a sunset hike to the summit of its perfect cone—the ideal time to observe fiery displays against the night sky. Taking the hydrofoil to Panarea, we hike along the island’s rugged cliffs, then boat to the sublime island of Lipari.

Days 5-6, September 30 - October 1, 2016
Lipari / Vulcano

On Lipari we hike a spectacular coastal path to the old Roman thermal baths at San Calogero, with glorious views of Vulcano Island and other rock formations rising straight out of the blue Aeolian Sea. The next day we ferry to Vulcano, from which all volcanoes get their name, and hike to the top of the volcano itself.

Days 7-8, October 2 - 3, 2016
Sicily / Mt. Etna Hike

Ferrying to the Sicilian mainland, we hike on the north face of Mt. Etna, the highest active volcano in Europe. We view craters of the Monte Pizzillo area, which date from Etna’s 19th century explosion, then end our hike at the “Bocche del 2002,” the mouth of the huge lava flow of 2002. The following day we take a 4WD vehicle up to 9,000 feet, then hike to the summit at 10,500 feet. The views are incredible!

Days 9-11, October 4 - 6, 2016
Alcantara Gorge / Taormina

At the base of Etna, we hike above the spectacular Alcantara Gorge, a 100-foot-deep lava flow that has been water-carved into fantastic formations to create an amazing natural wonder. Our relaxing grand finale finds us in enchanting Taormina. From the town’s spectacular Greek theater, Mt. Etna dominates a view little altered since the theater was built in the 3rd century BC. We depart via Catania on Day 11.

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

What the Trip is Like

This trip is Level 4, moderate to strenuous, according to our trip grading system. Our hikes range from three to eight hours in length. Our daily mileage is not long, but some of our ascents and descents are steep, and some of our hiking is on volcanic terrain, so it may be a bit rougher than you expect for such moderate altitudes. The ridges and pockets of lava flows and the soft volcanic ash can make footing tricky at times. This hiking trip is designed for hikers who have at least some experience of mountain hiking and who enjoy hiking over uneven terrain. Sturdy, well-fitted hiking boots are essential on this trip! For your own enjoyment, we recommend you make a special effort to be in good physical condition. Daily brisk walking and/or regular hiking (or using a stair-climbing machine at your gym) are excellent preparatory exercises.

Explanation of Trip Levels


Departures & Leaders

This is one of our special Repertory Trips offered only every two to five years. This journey will not be offered again for several years. Now is the Time to Go!

Sep 26-Oct 6, 2016

Trip Cost

Prices are for 2016
$5195 (11-15 members)
$5695 (7-10 members)
Single supplement: $520
more on pricing

Trip Payment Schedule

At time of reservation: $600
90 days prior to departure: Balance

Cancellation and Transfer Fee Schedule

Up to 91 days prior to departure: No charge!
61-90 days prior to departure: 25% of trip cost
46-60 days prior to departure: 50% of trip cost
45 days or less: 100% of trip cost

Trip Cost Includes:

  • Expert leadership of a Wilderness Travel Trip Leader and local guides
  • accommodations
  • All meals included except 1 lunch and 2 dinners
  • A glass of wine or beer with dinner
  • Land transportation, transfers to and from airport on Day 1 and Day 11
  • Entrance fees to museums and visitors sites, and sightseeing as noted
  • Ferry and hydrofoil transportation during the trip

Trip Cost Does Not Include:

International airfare, internal flights, cost of train travel, transfers for independent arrival or departure, any meals not specified after each itinerary day in the Full Trip Brochure, airport departure taxes, optional tipping or gratuities to leaders or staff, additional hotel nights that may be necessitated by airline schedule changes or other factors, expenses such as medical immunizations (if any), travel insurance, or passports and visas, and other expenses of a personal nature (alcoholic beverages, laundry, and so on).

Arrival & Departure Information

You are responsible for your own transportation to the arrival and from the departure cities listed below. For more detailed information, including transfers, please download the Detailed Itinerary.

Please do not purchase your tickets until you are confirmed on the trip. Once your tickets have been purchased, please send us a copy of your airline schedule.

2016 Departures

Meeting Place:
Naples, Italy
Date: Day 1

Suggested Arrival Airport:
Naples, Italy (airport code NAP)
Suggested flight arrival time:  10:00 am for those arriving Day 1, or anytime one day prior
Taormina, Italy
Date: Day 11

Suggested Airport for Departure:
Catania, Italy (airport code CTA)
Suggested flight departure time: after 11:00 am

Hotel Palazzo Alabardieri

Hotel Palazzo Alabardieri

Day 1 (1 night), Naples, Italy

Set on a pedestrian side street just a few blocks from the waterfront and close to historical sites, restaurants, and high-end fashion shops, the ...
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Overnight Public Ferry

Overnight Public Ferry

Day 2 (1 night), Naples-Stromboli, Italy

To get to Stromboli from Naples, we take an overnight public transportation ferry. We reserve the best-available staterooms with private baths; they ...
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La Sirenetta Park Hotel

La Sirenetta Park Hotel

Day 3 (1 night), Stromboli, Italy

This family-run hotel is in an idyllic location, at the edge of the village and right across the street from a black sand beach. Guest rooms are ...
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Grand Hotel Arciduca

Grand Hotel Arciduca

Days 4 to 6 (3 nights), Lipari, Italy

We stay three nights in Lipari, a relatively large town that can get quite lively. Our hotel is located in a quiet neighborhood away from the noise ...
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Shalai Resort

Shalai Resort

Days 7 to 8 (2 nights), Linguaglossa, Italy

This small elegant hotel (just 13 rooms) lies in Linguaglossa, an off the beaten track Sicilian town on the slopes of Mt. Etna. A renovated 19th ...
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Hotel Villa Diodoro

Hotel Villa Diodoro

Days 9 to 10 (2 nights), Taormina, Italy

The Villa Diodoro has a fabulous cliffside location next door to public gardens that link to the main street of town for a scenic and peaceful walk ...
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Note: Listed above are our signature accommodations for this trip. Although it is highly unlikely, we may make substitutions when necessary.

Our Trip Leaders

Here are the Trip Leaders scheduled for this journey (please note that leader assignments are subject to change).

Stefano Baldi

Departure Dates: September 26-October 6, 2016

Stefano Baldi, of Tuscany, has led hiking trips in Europe for us for nearly 15 years. He has spent most of his life living in the beautiful rural countryside of Tuscany, except for a few years in Florence as a student. His love for nature led him to found an agricultural co-op with friends in the ...
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Sebastiano Leone

Sebastiano Leone knows that traveling through Italy is always better when you’re being led by your senses. From guiding hiking and cultural trips that offer incredible views and insights to Italy’s colorful history, not to mention knowing the local hotspots to sip and savor authentic ...
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Tania Masi

Departure Dates: September 26-October 6, 2016

Born in Florence, Italy, of an American mother and proud Florentine father, Tania Masi was raised with an appreciation for both American and European cultures. With nine languages and a Master of Geography under her belt—not to mention a career as a journalist and documentary film director ...
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Daniel Windham

Daniel Windham, born in Georgia's foothills, discovered his passion for the mountains at an early age while backpacking on the Appalachian Trail. After moving to northern Italy, becoming a mountain guide, and running a mountain hut with his Italian wife, he returned (via a couple of years in Costa ...
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Client Comments

This is a great trip. One high point was watching lava explosions at night on Stromboli. Stunning! Another was walking through Pompeii with our guide bringing it to life in our imaginations. Jamey H., Newton, MA We loved this trip and seeing the different types of volcanoes and experiencing the variety of southern Italy, especially through its cuisine. The hike up Stromboli was a special highlight. We fell in love with southern Italy, especially the Aeolian Islands. Carol and Jim B., Kensington, MD
Please keep this destination! It's a truly amazing experience. Having three guides allowed for each of us to have a unique experience. Pam M., Lake Forest, IL