- Watch Stromboli’s almost constant eruptions
- Walk amongst the most famous active volcanoes in the world
- Island hopping through the Aeolian Islands
- Immerse yourself in Sicilian culture with mouth-watering local dishes and wines
- Explore the small picturesque Mediterranean fishing villages
Experience the constantly changing colours of Sicily in a week of self guided walking in the Aeolian Islands and on the slopes of Mount Etna.
Sicily is a whirl of constantly changing colors. The green, turquoise and blue sea, the white fishing villages, the lush green slopes of Mount Etna streaked by black lava, the sulphur yellow fumaroles and ochre archipelago of the Aeolian Islands.
Your week begins in the volcanic arc of the Aeolian Islands north east of Sicily. Based at a three star hotel in Lipari for the first four nights of your trip you can explore Lipari, Stromboli, Vulcano and Salina Islands. Take in the rugged coastal walks on Lipari, get up close to the volcanic eruptions on Stromboli (in the dark), smell the sulphurous yellow “Gran Cratere” on Volcano Island, take in the tranquil atmosphere of Saline Island, where “The Postman” was filmed.
Your base for the latter half of the week is the four star Etna Hotel on the outskirts of the historical town of Giarre, close to the Mount Etna National Park. The perfect base from which to explore the ancient theatre at Taormina, the lava fields of Etna and the turquoise coast of Sicily.
In Sicily daily life passes slowly, following the rhythm of the seasons, all strongly influenced by rituals and tradition. The vivid colours and fresh flavours of Sicilian food and wine are just one more reason to walk in this special corner of Italy.
Your trip includes four nights accommodation in a three star family run hotel in Lipari, three nights at a four star country hotel in Giarre, transfers from Giarre train station to your hotel, a delicious breakfast each morning, a detailed information pack complete with turn by turn route notes, local information and maps and emergency support from our local representative.
DAY 1: Arrive in Lipari
Arrive in Sicily at Catania Airport and take the bus, train or pre-booked private transfer to Milazzo or Messina where you board the hydrofoil to Lipari.
Lipari, your base for the first few nights, is the largest of the Aeolian Islands, a volcanic archipelago of rugged beauty.
Lipari is the most interesting of the islands historically, although summer visitors come mostly for the beaches. Lipari town, is a charming town that boasts a largely reconstructed Norman-Era church and a fine archaeological museum.
Overnight:: 3 star Hotel Villa Augustus
The Hotel Villa Augustus is a family run 3 star hotel just 100 metres from the beach and 10 minutes from the Archaeological Museum. A renovated country house the hotel has a large garden, terrace with panoramic sea views and all rooms have air-conditioning.
DAY 2, 3 and 4: A selection of walks from Lipari
For the next three days you have a selection of walks and excursions you can choose from.
Lipari Island: The southern tip and Mt. Guardia - 11km
Enjoy a varied walk on the southern tip of Lipari, with great views of Volcano Island. The walk starts in the town of Lipari that has an impressive castle and interesting archaeological museum.
Lipari Island: Walk from Quattropani along the west coast - 15km
After a short local bus journey to Quattropani you can look forward to a varied walk along the west coast, with views of Salina, Filicudi and Alicudi. You pass through half forgotten old villages and active fumaroles finishing back in Lipari.
Lipari Island: Walk Piano Conte, Mt. Sant’Angelo and Pirrera - 11km
A demanding, but very beautiful walk, especially when the weather is clear. Walking on rough paths high above Lipari town to the summit crater you can look forward to views of the town of Lipari, much of the island and Salina, Panarea, Stromboli, Filicudi and Sicily.
Visiting Stromboli, with it’s almost constantly erupting volcano, is a highlight of this trip. There are three ways you can visit Stromboli.
Option 1: You can take the public day boat to Stromboli and do the walk up to the viewpoint 450m above sea level on your own. You are not permitted any higher without a guide but if you start late in the evening you can get views of the eruption in the dark.
Option 2: Book the optional afternoon organized boat excursion to Stromboli. Swim in quiet bays, walk to the Stromboli viewpoint at 450m, enjoy a pizza with views of the eruption or rejoin the boat to view the eruptions from Sciara del Fuoco. Return to Lipari around midnight. (Cost approx €40 - must be booked in advance)
Option 3: Book the optional afternoon organized boat excursion to Stromboli and an ascent of Mount Stromboli to 900m (5h walk) with a volcanologist guide. Arriving at sunset you get a really close up view of the volcanic eruptions. You descend in the dark and catch the boat at 11pm back to Lipari. (Cost approx €80 - must be booked in advance)
Volcano Island: Round walk to the Gran Cratere - 7km
Walk to Volcano’s “Gran Cratere”, a landscape stained yellow by the constantly emitted yellow sulphur smoke. From the crater you have exceptional views of the whole island and the volcanic archipelago. After the walk head for the thermal mud baths. If you can stand the smell cover yourself in the warm mud which reputedly has healing properties. Alternatively head for a swim at the tranquil beach. Return to Lipari with the afternoon boat.
Salina Island – Walk from Rinella to Malfa - 5km
Salina Island has a very special ambience, beautifully captured in the film “The Postman”. After disembarking at Santa Marina Salina Port take a local bus to the village of Rinella. From here a relaxed stroll to the picturesque village of Malfa, a relaxed swim and perhaps some lunch are the ideal way to spend the day before returning to Lipari.
DAY 5: Optional morning walk, afternoon boat to Milazzo & train to Giarre
Enjoy a last leisurely morning in Lipari with perhaps a walk or some shopping before catching the boat to Milazzo or Messina.
From Milazzo/Messina you catch the train to Giarre (1h30/2h00) at the foot of Mount Etna, where a taxi will be waiting to take you to your hotel on the outskirts of Giarre where you will be staying for 3 nights.
Giarre is a city of cultural and historical importance in the Etna National Park. Founded in the late 1500’s numerous sites including the Mother Church, neoclassical and baroque buildings and several excellent museums make Giarre a delightful base.
Overnight: 4 star Hotel Etna, Giarre
The four star Etna Hotel occupies a converted farm complex dating from the 16th century. Set amongst orange orchards with views of Mount Etna. The hotel has a pool and is just 800m from the Mediterranean. Warm service and traditional sunny Sicilian food complete the picture.
DAY 6: Walking from Graniti to Taormina
After breakfast a taxi will take you to Graniti from where you start a wonderfully panoramic walk with exceptional views of Mt. Etna as you go over the mountains and down to the famous town of Taormina where you have plenty of time to visit its innumerable ancient monuments including the amphitheatre.
Walk: 15km, 6 hours
Overnight: 4 star Hotel Etna, Giarre
DAY 7: Linguaglossa circular walk
A short walk takes you to the local Circumetnea Train Station where you catch the train to Linguaglossa. Here you start a beautiful circular walk on the northern side of Mount Etna through lava fields and Mediterranean Maquie. You return to Giarre by train.
(The train does not run on Sundays and national holidays).
Walk: 15km, 6 hours
Overnight: 4 star Hotel Etna, Giarre
DAY 8: Arrivederci!
After breakfast, or when convenient, a taxi will take you to Giarre train station to catch the train (30min) to Catania airport for your flight home.
Your first four nights are at the 3 star Hotel Villa Augustus on Lipari. The Hotel Villa Augustus is a family run 3 star hotel just 100 metres from the beach and 10 minutes from the Archaeological Museum. A renovated country house the hotel has a large garden, terrace with panoramic sea views and all rooms have air-conditioning.
For the final three nights of your trip you will be staying at the 4 star Hotel Etna in Giarre. This family run hotel occupies a converted farm complex dating from the 16th century. Set amongst citrus orchards with views of Mount Etna. The hotel has a pool and is just 800m from the Mediterranean. Warm service and traditional sunny Sicilian food complete the picture.
During high season you might be booked into a different accommodation which is not listed in the description. Any alternative accommodation will be of the same or better standard as those described. We will let you know if this is the case on confirmation of your booking.
A delicious breakfast is included each morning. Lunch and dinner are not included. Your accommodations are happy to provide a packed lunch - this should be requested on arrival. Or you can pick up lunch in the village or stop along the trail. Your route notes have details for each day. Dinner is available either at your accommodation or nearby bars, cafes and restaurants.
How to Book
The Etna and The Aeolian Islands tour is available from March to October. You can start your holiday on any date in the season. To make a provisional reservation select "Book" for the itinerary you are interested in.
Option prices will be displayed as part of the booking process.
Because every walking holiday we book is bespoke, availability changes from day to day and our booking process works as follows:
- You provisionally book the tour you are interested in for your preferred dates and pay a 20% deposit online or by phone.
- We confirm availability and book all your accommodation and options and send final confirmation as soon as everything is confirmed (max 5 working days).
- If we are unable to accommodate you on your confirmed dates/tour or an alternative of your choice your deposit is fully refunded.
Grade & Fitness
This tour is graded easy to moderate. The walks are along well-trodden, although sometimes uneven trails, footpaths, mule tracks and asphalt roads. The walks are suitable for families and children aged 6+. In summer it is hot but walking distances are generally short between 7 and 15km, leaving plenty of time to go swimming.
Navigation, Route Notes & Maps
Some of the walks on this trip are way marked but many are not and you will need to follow the route notes and maps supplied.
It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the activity and emergency evacuation and hospital care.
The distances and ascent/descents are approximations of the recommended routes. Please be prepared by packing all necessary items, for example, proper rain gear (jacket and pants), sun hat, sunscreen. Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes for the cooler months and lightweight clothing for summer, and a day pack.
Airport transfers, ferries and trains are not included in the price. Transfers to and from your hotel in Giarre are included as is a transfer from Giarre to Graniti. Airport transfers can be booked on request.
Getting to Lipari
By Air - Catania is the closest airport and served by BA and Easyjet from the UK and numerous other airlines from Europe and Italy.
Detailed public transport information from Catania Airport to Milazzo/Messina Ports and on to Lipari is included in your pre-departure information pack. The train/bus journey takes about 2 hours to both and the onward hydrofoil/ferry takes 1h30/2h00 to Lipari. Bus, train and ferry tickets can be booked online in advance.
Flight arrival times - The last hydrofoil leaves from Milazzo around 19.10. So, the latest useful bus you can take from Catania Airport to Milazzo is at 15.20. The last hydrofoil leaves from Messina around 18.55. So, the latest useful bus you can take from Catania Airport to Messina is at 16.30.
Getting from Giarre to Catania Airport
You will be dropped at Giarre train station on your last day. The train from Giarre to Catania is approx. 30mins and from Catania you can either take a taxi to the airport or book a shuttle service.
- 4 nights on B&B basis in a good 3 star family run hotel in the town of Lipari
- 3 nights on B&B basis in very good 4 star accommodation, family run country hotel in Giarre
- Transfers from Giarre train station to the hotel on arrival in Giarre
- Transfer from Giarre to Graniti
- Transfer from Giarre to Giarre train station
- Detailed route book, maps and pre-departure information pack
- 24-hour assistance by phone
- Flights, airport transfers, boat tickets and any other public transport
- Lunches, dinners, drinks & snacks
- Travel insurance
- Personal expenses such as drinks, phone calls, extra transfers, tips, etc.
- Any items not specifically mentioned in the program
- Extra Nights
We are often asked the following questions and I hope that you will find the answers useful. Don't hesitate to contact one of our Italy specialists if you have any further queries.
How fit do I need to be?
This walking holiday is graded easy to moderate and involves between three and seven hours of walking each day. On the longer days there is always a shorter option available but the minimum daily walk is three hours.
When is the best time of year?
The walking is fabulous from April through October but May through June is a great time to walk, July and August can be hot so you will have to start early to miss the heat of the day, although the towns and villages are buzzing which is great.
How far in advance do I need to book?
We suggest you book as soon as your plans are finalised as this area is extremely popular. You will find up to date availability on our website and we will always try and accommodate your plans so just ask.
What personal equipment do I need?
You will need good walking shoes/boots, comfortable walking clothes, waterproof jacket and trousers, a daypack and hats/gloves etc.
Which is the best airport?
Catania Fontanarossa is the best airport to fly into.