Hiking with a cultural historian on the flanks of Mount Etna.
Expansive views over the Aeolian Islands.
Delicious Italian cuisine.
From across the aquamarine waves, their call can be heard for thousands of leagues. Ulysses surely wasn’t the first to hear their sound as he crossed the Adriatic, Aegean, and Tyrrhenian seas on his Odyssey, but he definitely was a notable visitor – Sicily’s Aeolian islands, home of the sirens.
When speaking of Sicily, or the Aeolian Islands, it is also impossible to go without speaking about the volcanoes. They are the reason why people first came to the region, and the soil that resulted from their eruption is the reason why everything that grows here has that special, magic quality. Traveling to the craters and looking down into them has been intriguing to travellers for centuries – in fact, St. Willibald once traveled to the crests of a local volcano to see if he could catch a glimpse of hell.
The characters of the islands are also friendly, bombastic, and oftentimes caricatures of themselves. Although many of the people on the islands have made the shift from agriculture to tourism over the past decade, there are still a few locals, notably a fellow known as “The viking” on Stromboli, who still makes his living catching fish and shrimp daily with a spear and his hands. Speaking of which, it is also highly doubtful that you would go to Italy without having the food at least be an equal, if not greater reason, than the hiking – and trust us, on this trip, there is no shortage of gastronomical excitement.
After touring all of the islands, you’re sure to dread the prospect of leaving. Perhaps you’ll start looking for the sirens to blame this on, and maybe you’ll be in the right for doing so!
Begin your trip in the Sicilian city of Catania/Taormina. Catania is the airport and Taormina is a nearby town where Greek ruins, Roman walls, and Norman buildings speak of the great history belonging to this land. After one look around, you’ll come to understand why everyone who has ever visited this land tried to invade it. Transfer independently by bus from the airport to Taormina where you will settle into a truly superior and perfectly located hotel.
Your trip will focus heavily on minimally developed volcanic islands so we feel it is in your best interest to sepend the day getting to understand Sicilian culture and history on the flanks of Mount Etna. We have secured a well-renowned cultural and social historian to escort us on a half day excursion around greater Taormina. Return to your outstanding Taormina hotel and stroll the beaches or relax in the afternoon.
Today starts with a ferry to the island of Vulcano, known for it’s black beaches, warm seas and sulfuric atmosphere. This healing smell claims to cure many ailments and while hiking up to have a peek into the Crater and the fumaroles within, witness the abounding geysers awaking your senses to the source of the odorous phenomena. A steep climb brings you to an incredible view into the crater and a great vantage point of the other islands. If time permits, other sites to see are the House of Monsters, the Grotto Horse and the Venus Pool. If you are in need of some rest and relaxation, return to town for a soak in one of the geothermal baths, setting you up for a good night’s sleep at one of Vulcano’s finest hotels.
Ferry transfer to the Island of Lipari. A shuttle will meet us at the ferry port and transfer our luggage to the hotel. Today’s hike will take you to the summit of Monte S. Angelo. You will be in the hamlet of Veresana. From the top, enjoy great views of the south side of the island, Vulcano and Mt. Etna in the distance. Retrace your steps back to your hotel.
Hop on a ferry or hydrofoil and travel to the island of Salina, the most fertile and green of all the Aeolian islands. It’s been rumored that on this very island Dionysus himself would serve capers at a cocktail party before pouring his guests generous helpings of Malvasia dessert wine. Despite being arguably the most beautiful of all of the Aeolian islands it has almost entirely escaped the waves of movie stars and VIP tourism that have plagued some of the other Sicilian islands, leaving the land rural and perfectly pastoral – great for us! After summiting the peak of the resident volcano, you will retire for the evening at an excellent hotel with a classic Aeolian exterior and colorful and modern interior.
Today, you are off to the fashionable Panarea, a host island to international jet setters, such as Tom Cruise, George Clooney, and the like. Hike Punta del Corvo, one of the grandest treks in all the islands. This 421 meter peak is the tallest on the island and it’s western flank slants sharply into the sea while the eastern side slopes more gently as it rises from the pebble beaches below. Tonight, you are in an elegant three star hotel.
Explore this magical island during the day, and hike the active volcano of Stomboli at midnight to observe the magnificent eruption.