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Bucket list experience:

Last updated: 15 November, 2022
Expert travel writer: Dana Facaros

Northernmost of Sicily’s eight Aeolian Islands Stromboli stands out as one of the world’s most active volcanoes – and one of the best to see up close.

Since 1932 it has been belching fire and ash every ten to fifteen minutes – so regularly that its nickname is the ‘Lighthouse of the Mediterranean’.

Around 500 people live under the 925m (3038ft) smoking peak – because it always erupts to the northwest, down the lava and ash-scarred Sciara del Fuoco.

There are several ways you can see one of nature’s most spectacular pyrotechnics show – from the sea, on a boat tour, or from the crater itself, on a guided hike to the summit. The hike up the 400m cone is a relative breeze, given the spectacle that awaits at the top.

Halfway up the slope you’ll find Osservatorio, a pizzeria, where you can also stop to see the show from their terrace. Where else in the world can you watch a volcano erupt while eating pizza?

Price: Free
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 13+
When: All year around

Getting there & doing it

Regular slow and fast ferries to Stromboli sail from Naples, and from the Sicilian ports of Palermo, Messina and Milazzo (the closest, 90 minutes away by hydrofoil). In summer speedboat tours run from Milazzo and Tropea on the coast of Calabria.

The 400m ascent requires a reasonable amount of fitness and takes around four hours in all, depending on how long you stay at the top. Book a (mandatory) walking tour and hire any equipment you need at Il Volcano a piedi.

It can get very windy and cold on the volcano after dark. Wear sturdy hiking boots and long trousers.

When to do it

Guided walks take place from March to October. Depending on the season, they depart between 3.30pm and 5pm, so you can take in the sunset.

Several boat tours pass by the Sciara del Fuoco during the day; the tours that sails by after dark are far more rewarding.

In bad weather, or if the volcano is exceptionally active, the guided hike up the volcano and the boat trips may be cancelled.

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