8 days for £1,625 3 September 2021
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Experience the beauty and power of two of the world’s most impressive active volcanoes, Mount Etna and Stromboli. Accompanied by leading volcanologist Professor Tamsin Mather whilst she is conducting fieldwork on Stromboli.
Ascend and peer into stunning volcanoes, explore the islands of Lipari, Stromboli and Vulcano whilst enjoying the scenic landscapes and warm Italian hospitality of Sicilian towns Catania and Milazzo.
Marvel at the power beneath the earth’s crust and enjoy the sights and smells of Stromboli both during day and the night when it lights up the sky almost daily with eruptions and lava flows. Then relax on volcanic black sand beaches, touring incredible rock and cave formations and enjoy local produce grown on volcanic soils.
In partnership with Travel Editions.
DAY 1: ARRIVE IN TO CATANIA
After flying into Catania, you will be transferred to the four-star NH Catania Centro Hotel for the first of two nights. Catania is an ancient port at the foot of Mount Etna and one of Sicily’s most picturesque cities.
In the evening, your experienced local tour manager Tullio Scurria will hold an introductory talk outlining the expedition ahead before taking you for dinner.
DAY 2: CLIMB MOUNT ETNA
Today is dedicated to Mount Etna, a stunning example of a stratovolcano and the highest active volcano in Europe outside of the Caucasus. The volcano itself is not dangerous apart from regular minor lava flows, ash and smoke at its peak, which is 3,327 meters above sea level.
After an earlier start it’s just an hour’s drive to Rifugio Sapienza. At 1,900 meters, it’s the highest point you can drive to before being joined by your authorized volcano guide who will take you by cable car, up to 2,500 meters, then by 4×4 to 2,900 meters. From here, you will trek to the summit at 3,327 meters to visit two of the five distinct craters, the Cratere Centrale and the Bocca Nuova. Here you will enjoy a packed lunch with local products grown or produced on the slopes of Etna. On the way down you will visit the Crateri Barbagallo, which last erupted in 2002 and the Valle de Bove (the Cow Valley) before returning to the Rifugio Sapienza.
Please note that the itinerary may have to be changed on the day should the local authorities decide certain routes or locations are potentially dangerous due to a resurgence in volcanic activity. Safety helmets will be provided when at higher altitude.
DAY 3: MILAZZO THEN FERRY TO LIPARI
In the morning you will travel north to the coastal town of Milazzo. The main port of departure for the Aeolian Islands. From the port, you will travel for just over an hour by hydrofoil (subject to sea conditions) to Lipari.
Lipari is one of seven Aeolian islands off the north coast of Sicily. The islands are one of the most traditional regions of Italy with a pace of life little altered for centuries.
You will check into the Hotel Rocce Azzurre, which commands a panoramic position and a sea-view terrace restaurant overlooking the Mediterranean and is within walking distance from the town center and main harbour. Dinner at the hotel is included for the next four nights.
DAY 4: EXPLORE LIPARI AND MEET TAMSIN
Despite being the largest of the Aeolian Islands, Lipari has a population of only 9,000 people. Today you will visit the Lipari Archaeological Museum with a collection that spans the Bronze age to the Renaissance. You will also explore the island’s notable buildings including the churches of Anime del Purgatorio, Saint Antonio, the Immaculate, Addolorata and 11th century Cathedral, the impressive castle and city walls.
In the evening, the expert volcanologist Tamsin Mather will give the first of two talks on her work around the world and why the Aeolian’s are significant for volcanology. Thus, setting the scene for the next three days.
DAY 5: ACROSS THE WATER TO VULCANO
In the morning, you will take a boat to the neighbouring island of Vulcano, where Tamsin will accompany you for an informal ‘seminar hike’ to the Solfatare di Vulcano crater. From the port at Vulcano you will climb among the high red rocks, curious pink clay corridors modelled by rainwater and broom plants. The air is heavy with the stench of nearby fumarole, surrounded by yellow sulphur deposits. At 240m is the edge of a lunar rock desert strewn with “volcanic bomb” stones and marvellous views of the nearby islands. The final climb up to the Gran Cratere, enveloped in steamy-looking vapours and overpowering sulphureous gas released by gashes in the rim, will be rewarded with spectacular views of Mount Etna and the Sicilian mainland.
Back down in the village of Vulcano, time is given to have lunch and to try the famous Fanghi di Vulcano sulphur mud baths, that attract thousands of visitors annually, or swim in the blue sea, before taking the boat back to Lipari.
In the evening, Tamsin will give a second talk on the hugely disruptive eruptions of Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland during 2010 and her subsequent research of it.
DAY 6: A FULL DAY ON STROMBOLI
After taking a sea crossing to the island of Stromboli, Tamsin will accompany you for a stunning hike with close views of the craters on Mount Stromboli. It is one of the most active volcanoes in the world and presents an almost-daily show of red-hot rocks. The hike will be about 6 hours return but will be taken early in the day to avoid the heat of the day whilst ascending.
The tour has been scheduled to coincide with actual fieldwork by Tamsin and her team. So, after descending the mountain and a well-earned relaxing lunch, Tamsin will cover some of the techniques they are using to analyse Stromboli including drones and infrared spectroscopy.
The rest of the afternoon is at rest in the charming Stromboli village where you can explore, relax on the black lava sand beach or take a relaxing dip in the sea before travelling by sea back to Lipari.
DAY 7: RELAXING IN LIPARI THEN AN EVENING VISIT TO STROMBOLI
Your final day on Lipari is at a slower pace at leisure. You can continue exploring the charming island or just catch some rays on the Hotel Rocce Azzurre’s unique floating platform before enjoying lunch from the hotel’s restaurant with views over the sea.
In the evening you will take a boat around Stromboli to watch the almost daily event of the volcano’s spectacular light and fire display with lava flows down the Sciara del Fuoco into the sea, with stones and ashes thrown high into the sky before returning tired but amazed to Lipari.
DAY 8: DEPART LIPARI BY BOARD BACK TO MILAZZO THEN ON TO CATANIA
After breakfast you will be taken to the port where you will enjoy the scenic hydrofoil ride to Milazzo. Upon arrival you will be transferred to Catania airport for your return flight.
Please note all boat excursions are subject to sea conditions as rough seas are a possibility. Although historically, the seas in September are generally calm.