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Island Hopping in the Sicilian Archipelago

Hike, kayak and wild swim the hidden coves of the Aeolian Islands and summit the volcanic peaks of Mount Etna and Stromboli

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Trip Ref #10776

Island Hopping in the Sicilian Archipelago

Hike, kayak and wild swim the hidden coves of the Aeolian Islands and summit the volcanic peaks of Mount Etna and Stromboli

DURATION
7 nights
LOCATION
Italy
ANNUAL LEAVE
5 days off work
SEASON
Apr-Oct
GROUP SIZE
Up to 14 people
MEETING POINT
Catania Airport, Sicily
ACCOMMODATION
Classic

Hotel · Mountain refuge

OVERALL RATING

0.0

This trip is brand new
DIFFICULTY
Moderate

You won’t need to be super fit, but you should be in good shape and feel comfortable hiking between 3 and 6 hours per day

Trek to the top of Mount Etna (3300m), the largest active volcano on the continent, and witness Stromboli’s spectacular Stream of Fire

Kayak to idyllic hidden beaches to reach warm swim spots in the sparkling waters of the Sicilian Mediterranean

Sail between four Aeolian Islands discovering unique landscapes and panoramic coastline views and unwind with local wine tastings

Day 1

Embark on a Sicilian odyssey

Picturesque town in Sicily. Photo: Getty 1125987368

Your Sicilian adventure begins with a welcome at Catania Airport, where you’ll be met at 14:00 for a private transfer to the coastal town of Milazzo. Surrounded by sea, Milazzo's many sandy beaches are located along a stunning protected marina. The evening will begin with a briefing by your local host, setting the stage for the adventurous days ahead. Enjoy a welcome dinner with your new travel companions.

Day 2

Hike the sea cliffs of Lipari

Hiker in Sicily. Photo: Megan Devenish/Much Better Adventures

Hiking

4hrs · 11km · 360m up · 460m down

Ease into the day with a relaxed breakfast before setting sail for Lipari, the largest gem of the Aeolian Islands. Hike to abandoned kaolinite quarries perched on the sea cliffs known as the Cave di Caolino. Then soak up the panoramic views of Salina and Filicudi, a kaleidoscope of coloured rocks, lava basalts and fragrant Mediterranean scrub. As the sun dips, you’ll discover Lipari's wine culture with an evening of wine tasting in a local vineyard. In the evening you are free to explore the culinary highlights of this charming Aeolian island.

Day 3

Kayak the coast and trek volcanic craters of Vulcano

Single sea kayak. Photo: Getty 1294163379

Hiking

3hrs · 7km · 300m up · 300m down

Kayaking

2-3hrs · 8km

Start your day with breakfast and a short hydrofoil ride to the magnificent island of Vulcano. This island in the Tyrrhenian Sea has been shaped by thousands of years of volcanic activity. Paddle out in kayaks to explore the island from the water, discovering hidden coves and secret beaches surrounded by dramatic cliffs. You’ll tuck into lunch before hiking to the summit of Vulcano's volcanic crater, taking in the sulfuric fumaroles and breathtaking panoramic views. Wrap up the day with a hydrofoil journey back to Lipari, where you can relax and enjoy another evening indulging in more Sicilian cooking.

Day 4

Trekking and wine tasting in Salina

Hiker in Sicily. Photo: Megan Devenish/Much Better Adventures

Hiking

4hrs · 450m up · 590m down

This morning you'll hydrofoil to Salina – a lush, green island a stone's throw from Lipari. Explore Salina's scenic west coast, with a trek to Pizzo Corvo, winding through terraced olive groves with picture-postcard views of Alicudi and Filicudi islands. Trek the vast woodland of heather and arbutus, before arriving at the coastal haven of Pollara where you'll take a break at a renowned winery and sample 'malvasia' (the local wine). In the garden you'll taste various Aeolian wines and enjoy them alongside local delicacies such as cheese, capers, bread, olive oil and sun-dried tomatoes. After lunch, take some free time to explore Salina before heading back to Lipari, where the evening is yours to spend wandering.

Day 5

Trek to Stromboli's erupting volcano

Hiking Aeolian Islands, Sicily. Photo: Getty 508747214

Hiking

4hrs · 9km · 400m up · 400m down

Today, you’ll head off by boat to the most unique of the Aeolian Islands – Stromboli. This volcano is in a near-constant state of eruption, with regular small explosions occurring. This unique characteristic makes it one of the few volcanoes on Earth that displays continuous, mild explosive activity. After a couple of hours at sea, you’ll arrive at at the island, setting out on a hike with panoramic views of the coastline, and the beautiful islet of Strombolicchio in the foreground. The trek will take you to just over 300m away from the volcano's crater. From here, you can see the spectacular Sciara de Fuoco ('Stream of Fire'), with the black lava flow sinking into the blue sea. On the return journey to Lipari, you’ll get unique views of the volcano from the water. Enjoy another relaxed evening in Lipari with dinner at your leisure.

Day 6

Wine tasting and refuge on Mount Etna

VIVERA winery, north Etna, Sicily. Photo: VIVERA Winery

Enjoy a relaxed breakfast as you take the late morning hydrofoil back to the port of Milazzo on Sicily. From there, you'll be transferred to the foothills of Etna, stopping at a local winery on the volcano's slopes for a wine tasting along the way. Late afternoon, you'll get whisked off to Etna Nord, wild and quiet side of the volcano, where you'll arrive at your refuge for the night – the perfect spot to avoid the crowds. Located at 1500m above sea level, it is surrounded by lush pine forest. You’ll enjoy dinner at this relaxed and cosy refuge with local and seasonal products, including typical mountain dishes that honour Sicilian traditions. Rest up and get ready for tomorrow's epic hike.

Day 7

Summiting Mount Etna

Hikers on Crater of Mount Etna, Sicily. Photo: Shutterstock 179367866

Hiking

4hrs · 10km · 500m up · 500m down

Get ready for an epic day ahead – the journey to the top of the majestic Mount Etna. After breakfast, you’ll drive to the meeting point at Piano Provenzana-North Etna (1800m) where you’ll meet your specialised volcano guide. Drive in special off-road vehicles along the panoramic path on the northern side of the volcano – one of the highest tracks in Europe – then trek 5km across the volcanic scoria to reach the edge of the central crater of Mount Etna at 3300m. From here you can marvel at the unique volcanic activity and breathtaking views from the highest point in Sicily (visibility can change depending on the weather or volcanic conditions). Descending along the crater you come to the Pizzi Deneri Volcanological Observatory, from where you'll be transported back to Catania. As the day comes to a close, immerse yourself in the lively streets where people gather for an aperitivo. Tonight, enjoy dinner and share stories of the day's adventures over a well-deserved final meal together.

Day 8

Goodbye Sicily!

Catania, Sicily. Photo: Shutterstock 1976000081

After enjoying a final Sicilian breakfast, check out and take some time to discover the charm of Catania before heading back to the airport for your journey home – you'll be transferred to Catania Airport at 12:00.

Included

Guides

Local, expert, English-speaking guides

Accommodation

6 nights in comfortable, locally-run hotels, 1 night at a mountain refuge

Meals

All breakfasts, 1 lunch, 3 dinners

Transfers

Airport transfers, hydrofoils and everything in between

Equipment

Everything you need for kayaking is provided

Permits

Etna summit permits are included and will be arranged for you

Not Included

Flights to and from the meeting point

Travel insurance

Personal expenses

Tips for your guides

Some meals as described

Visas where required

Day 1

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 2 – Day 3

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 4

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 5

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 6

Mountain refuge · Multi share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 7

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 8

Departure day

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

What is the food like?

Expect to indulge in the flavours of Sicilian cuisine, as each region offers its own unique twists and specialties influenced by the geographical location and culture. In the Aeolian Islands, seafood takes centre stage, with dishes of fresh fish and shellfish such as swordfish, anchovies, cuttlefish, pasta with sea urchin, and various seafood stews. Don't miss the local specialties like caponata, a Sicilian eggplant dish, and cannoli for dessert, a pastry filled with sweet ricotta. Catania, famous for its vibrant street markets and rich culinary tradition, is home to Pasta alla Norma, a local favourite made with pasta, tomatoes, eggplant, and ricotta salata (salted ricotta). Arancini, deep-fried rice balls filled with meat or cheese, are also popular street food. You’ll also discover dishes that incorporate locally produced honey, pistachios, olive oil and cheeses. When it comes to wines, you'll have your pick of a wide range of varieties. From the refreshing whites of Lipari to the bold reds of Etna Nord, these distinctive wines are renowned for their volcanic terroir. Best tried with local delicacies such as cheese, olive oils and sun-dried tomatoes. Vegetarians, vegans and other dietary requirements and allergies can be catered for - please just request on your passenger info form.

What is the accommodation like?

Milazzo

On the arrival night, you will stay at Hotel Milazzo, a 3-star hotel conveniently located near the marina. Venture out to explore the historic centre or visit the nearest beach, just 800m away. Here, you will stay in twin-share rooms with private bathrooms, elegantly decorated in a modern style with bathrooms equipped with soft slippers and hydromassage showers. In the mornings, a sweet and savoury buffet breakfast is served either in the garden or the dining room.

Image from google listing of hotel
Lipari

This family run hotel, Enzo il Negro, in the historic centre of Lipari is not far from the fishing port of Marina Corta. The hotel has a terrace with sea views, free Wi-Fi and air conditioning. Start the day enjoying a continental breakfast that includes freshly baked pastries, cappuccinos and herbal teas served on the terrace. Lipari, known as Meligunis from the Greek “melos” (which means honey) is the largest island of the archipelago, known for its obsidian and pumice stone.

Photo from trip advisor
Etna

Your night on Etna will be spent at the cosy Chalet Clan dei Ragazzi - a warm and welcoming refuge in the heart of the most beautiful forest on Etna. The outside is like a fairy tale, with a camping and picnic area, and barbecue. You’ll stay in quad rooms with private bathrooms among the greenery of the Ragabo pine forest.

Photo from Booking.com
Catania

Your night in Catania will be spent at the La Collegiata Guest House, providing a home away from home. In the morning, enjoy a rich Italian buffet breakfast with a views of the Via Etnea, just 100m from the cathedral. In the evening, take a leisurely walk through the streets of the historic centre, filled with pubs, restaurants and Baroque style buildings.

Upgrades

For solo travellers looking for their own space, an optional private room can be booked for an extra charge. however, please note that solo rooms are not available at Chalet Clan dei Ragazzi in Etna. Please see Optional Extras for the price and request this at the time of booking as this is subject to availability.

The Area

map

Logistics

Starts

Catania Airport

Arrive by 14:00 on Day 1

Ends

Catania Airport

Depart at 12:00 on Day 8

Transfers

On Day 1, arrive at Catania Airport before 14:00, when you and the rest of your group will meet your local host and be driven to Milazzo.

On Day 8, you will be transferred back to Catania Airport, with drop-off scheduled for around 12:00. We recommend booking a return flight that departs no earlier than 14:00.

Airport transfers are included in the main price if you arrive on Day 1 and depart on Day 8. For those arriving early or wanting to stay on longer, extra nights at the hotel can be arranged with your host at an additional cost. Please see Optional Extras for more information.

Travel options

There are direct international flights to Catania from the UK and various major hubs in Europe, as well as indirect flights which transit via other European cities.

From the US, there are indirect flights from the major hubs.

Enjoy 12.5% Off Outdoor Gear

In need of a few more items? All bookings receive a 12.5% discount to use at Cotswold Outdoor, Snow + Rock and Runner's Need.

What's included?

  • All equipment and safety gear for kayaking will be included

What do I need to bring?

BAGS

  • Soft overnight duffel bag or rucksack
  • Daypack (25-30 litres)
  • Waterproof daypack liner

CLOTHES

  • Wind and waterproof jacket
  • Light fleece jacket or similar
  • Lightweight trousers/shorts/skirts
  • Hat and gloves summiting Etna
  • T-shirts
  • Lightweight top for kayaking in the sun
  • Underwear and socks
  • Something to sleep in
  • Swimwear
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunhat
  • Hiking shoes/boots (worn-in)
  • Sandals

OTHER

  • Universal travel plug adapter
  • Power bank or solar charger
  • Passports (and visas)
  • Travel insurance documents
  • Cash and debit/credit card
  • Ear plugs
  • Insect repellent
  • Suncream
  • Personal first-aid kit (inc. blister treatment)
  • Quick-dry towel
  • Headtorch for hiking on Stromboli
  • Reusable water bottle x 1.5 litre
  • Energy bars and snacks - read our article on Best Hiking Snacks
  • Trekking poles and gaiters (optional)
*Requests for optional extras can be made after booking on your “My Bookings” page

Additional Night in Catania Single Room

Payable Before Departure

Additional Night in Catania Single Room

Additional Night in Catania Twin Room

Payable Before Departure

Additional Night in Catania Twin Room

Additional Night in Milazzo Single Room

Payable Before Departure

Additional Night in Milazzo Single Room

Additional Night in Milazzo Twin Room

Payable Before Departure

Additional Night in Milazzo Twin Room

Optional Private Room Upgrade (excluding night at Etna refuge)

Payable Before Departure

Optional Private Room Upgrade (excluding night at Etna refuge)

This trip is brand new

We’re still waiting to collect any reviews from other travellers on this trip. However, all our hosts go through an extensive vetting process to ensure that your adventure is awesome.

We partner with the World Land Trust to ensure this trip achieves Net-Zero emissions. We also support their Buy an Acre programme, helping local communities to buy and protect natural habitats in perpetuity.

What's the number?
It works out on average at 242kg of CO2 emissions per person, including all local transport, accommodation, food, activities, guides, staff and office operations.

The only thing it doesn’t include right now is flights and travel to the destination. We do make an overall estimate across all our customers separately, but as we don’t book flights, have customers from all corners of the world, and no way of reliably knowing their travel plans, we simply can’t include an individual number in the figure on display here. We’ve got a goal to fix that, so that when you book, there is a way to measure and mitigate the carbon emitted by your flight too.

But what does the number mean?
Yep, hard to picture eh? To give you an idea:

  • Driving 1000miles/1609km would be approx. 281kg of CO2 in an average car (or 140.5kg per person if there was 2 of you in it).
  • A return economy class flight London - New York would be approx. 1,619kg (1.66 tonnes) per person.
  • 10 trees in a temperate forest are estimated to remove approx. 250kg of CO2 from the air in a period of 5-10 years.

What are we doing about it?
Our trips are relatively low-carbon by design, and we're working with all our hosts to develop long term carbon reduction plans. We partner with the World Land Trust to ensure this trip achieves Net-Zero emissions. We also support their Buy an Acre programme, helping local communities to buy and protect natural habitats in perpetuity, ensuring the protection of the reserve and its wildlife.

Want to know more?
Amazingly, no international travel company has ever publicly published their carbon measurements before, as far as we know. We believe that must change, quickly. So we’re openly sharing the method we used in the hope that other companies will be able to more easily follow suit and build on what we've done so far. You'll find it all here.

To enjoy this trip, a moderate level of fitness is needed. This is a real Mediterranean hiking holiday, with a reasonable amount of walking on most days. You’ll average between 3 and 6 hours walking each day, with between 400-900m of ascent. The excursion on Stromboli and on Mount Etna are the most demanding of the day-hikes.

Due to the unpredictable nature of the volcanoes, the weather and the sea conditions, the itinerary may change slightly. The access to Etna and Stromboli craters is currently allowed, but this can change at any time. The volcano guides reserve the right to decide whether or not to climb to the craters according to safety measures, the weather and also the physical condition of the trekkers, and the civil authorities can impose altitude restrictions and limit routes at any time.

Sturdy single kayaks are provided as standard. The kayaks have a maximum weight limit of 100kg (15.7 stone/220 lbs) per person.

Sure can! Over 70% of our travellers travel solo, it’s a great way to meet like-minded people.

Tips are not included in the trip cost. These are entirely at your discretion and the amount should be reflective of your perception of service and quality - a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.

Tap water in Sicily is generally safe to drink, and there will also be filtered drinking water available at each night’s accommodation. Please bring along your own reusable water bottles (at least 1.5L) to fill up.

In spring, late summer, and early autumn, Sicily is warm and pleasant, ideal for outdoor pursuits. There's a low chance of rain but the Mediterranean climate can be changeable, with occasional storms.

Daytime temperatures range from 19ºC to 30ºC with cooler evenings from 10°C to 19°C/66°F - consider packing a light jacket for cooler nights.

We recommend checking out the country specific information and also talking to a travel nurse.

Our recommended travel insurance provider is Campbell Irvine.

Travel insurance is compulsory for all of our adventures and you are required to provide your policy information before departing.

Your insurance should include adequate protection for overseas medical treatment, evacuation/repatriation, your baggage and equipment and the specific activities involved on your adventure. We also strongly recommend it includes cancellation and curtailment insurance, should you be unable to join your trip for specific reasons such as illness.

We fully endorse Campbell Irvine as their insurance offers all of the above, so get in touch with them or call on 020 7938 1734 to get your insurance sorted. We suggest that you book travel insurance as soon as you book your adventure, just to cover you for any last-minute life changes. We know you’re an active lot and injuries do happen!

We automatically convert prices from the local currency that a host receives to your chosen currency. We update our exchange rates on a daily basis so this does mean that prices displayed on the site are subject to currency fluctuations, which is why you may see them change over time.

If you wish to change the currency you pay in, head to the bottom of the page.

All of our group adventures are specially designed for adults to enjoy (18+) as we want these adventures to bring together outdoorsy people who are truly like-minded. Children can be accommodated on some private departures.

You're always in good company on one of our adventures.

Our trips are typically made up of a mixture of solo travellers and small groups of 2 or 3 friends, with most in their 30s-50s.

Our sociable adventures are solo-friendly by design and naturally attract outdoorsy people with a shared mindset; a love for adventure, a desire to push themselves and meet awesome, like-minded people along the way.

It’s this camaraderie that has so often turned a great adventure into a life-changing one.

Don't just take our word for it:

  • 95% of people rate the group dynamics on our trips 5/5
  • 90% of people recommend joining a trip to make new friends
  • 75% of people have met people on our trips that they would now consider friends

See here for more info about the Much Better Adventures tribe.

Interested in a more exclusive experience? Opt for a 'Private Group' through the dates and prices tab to book this adventure for just you and your chosen companions.

Your trip is led by carefully curated local hosts and expert guides. See here for more info about the guides we work with.

TRIP DEPARTURE DATES

April 2024

Saturday • 13th April 2024

to Saturday • 20th April 2024
3 Booked • 11 Spots left
Guaranteed to run
Last Minute - 1 spot left at 10% off

Saturday • 21st September 2024

to Saturday • 28th September 2024
2 Booked • 12 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Saturday • 5th October 2024

to Saturday • 12th October 2024
2 Booked • 12 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Saturday • 12th October 2024

to Saturday • 19th October 2024
4 Booked • 10 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Saturday • 12th April 2025

to Saturday • 19th April 2025
14 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Saturday • 3rd May 2025

to Saturday • 10th May 2025
1 Booked • 13 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Saturday • 24th May 2025

to Saturday • 31st May 2025
14 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Saturday • 7th June 2025

to Saturday • 14th June 2025
14 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Saturday • 21st June 2025

to Saturday • 28th June 2025
14 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Saturday • 5th July 2025

to Saturday • 12th July 2025
14 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Saturday • 13th September 2025

to Saturday • 20th September 2025
14 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Saturday • 27th September 2025

to Saturday • 4th October 2025
14 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Saturday • 11th October 2025

to Saturday • 18th October 2025
14 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Pay In Installments

You can choose to pay for this trip in as many installments as you like, with no interest or fees.

Full Financial Protection

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