The Aeolian Island of Stromboli

For outdoor enthusiasts and those working through an adventurous bucket list, the fairytale-like, fire-forged island of Stromboli should be on the itinerary. This imposing peak, an active volcano, surges skywards from the calm, blue Mediterranean sea. The white houses clustered on the lower slopes by the shore are mirrored in the white of the cloud that often rests upon its point summit. This island is often visited on a day trip from the hub of the Aeolian Islands, Lipari, or from one of the other islands nearby. But for a certain chance of seeing the volcanic activity at its best and up close, and a relaxing holiday with friendly people in timeless villages, a stay actually on this island is a very good idea.

Most people will witness the pyrotechnic displays from an evening beat ride around the island. The volcano will sometimes deliver a firework-like display that will have boat passengers oohing and gasping, applauding one of nature’s most dramatic sights. But volcanic activity is fickle and from a boat, while you will enjoy the views of the geological formations of Stromboli and the nearby rock fortress island of Strombolicchio, views of a lava eruption are far from guaranteed.

For the best views of the eruption and the best chances of witnessing a fiery show, visitors should really stay on the island for at least a few days. Those who are fit enough to attempt the summit should do so. A little training to make sure you are in tiptop condition for this fairly strenuous hike would be a good idea and the temperature should not be underestimated. Be sure to wear sensible footwear and the right clothing and bring plenty of water with you. Though it can be very warm on the ascent, be warned that it can sometimes get a little chilly on the summit, so bring a jumper or jacket. The climb up to the crater, the Vancori volcano is 924m, should only be undertaken with a guide. There are many companies who offer these tours.

Those who do make the ascent will be rewarded with views of the explosive power of the Asceta crater from only a few hundred meters away. The displays are particularly good at night, so for the best experience, walkers are recommended to ascend in late afternoon and walk back down at night. The whole trip usually takes around 4 hours for experienced walkers.

The crater climb is not the only walk that will appeal to keen hikers. There are several other walks, including one to the observatory, which is the most accessible point from which to see the Sciara del Fuoco. This steep, boulder strewn slope is where fragments and large chunks of debris thrown from the volcano roll down towards the sea. A more gentle walk is possible along the nature trail which links S. Vincenzo to Punta Labronzo. Take a picnic at one of the scenic spots along the route and enjoy the breathtaking panoramas.