shutterstock 185800496
4.5
| 4 reviews

Island Hopping in the Sicilian Archipelago

7 nights
Moderate

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

What's Included?

Activities & Certified Guides

All itinerary activities with local, expert, English-speaking guides

Hotel & Mountain refuge

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 & Permits

Everything you need for kayaking is provided, with Etna summit permits included and arranged for you

Small Like-minded Groups

Solo-friendly by design, join our small n’ sociable groups of up to 14 like-minded, active and outdoorsy people
From

excluding flights

What's it like?

4.5
| 4 reviews
A great hiking, sea-kayaking and wine tasting adventure
April 2024
Janet M.
shutterstock 185800496
Image from Megan
GettyImages-1150309620

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

Key Information

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 bar. In the evening you are free to explore the culinary highlights of this charming Aeolian island.

Day 3

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 4

Kayak the coast and trek volcanic craters of Vulcano

Single sea kayak. Photo: Getty 1294163379

Kayaking

2-3hrs · 8km

Hiking

3hrs · 7km · 300m up · 300m down

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 5

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 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.

Day 1

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 2 – 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. Occasionally your host may use an alternate property of a similar style and standard during the itinerary. Your host would advise you pre-departure of any required changes.

Please also note that there is a €2 per night local tourism tax payable on arrival your accommodation. It is recommended to have some Euro's in cash for this purpose and other on trip personal expenses.

This trip has been rated as Moderate

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.

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.

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.

Group airport transfers are included in the main price if you arrive on Day 1 and depart on Day 8 at the specified times. For those arriving a few days 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 North America, there are indirect flights via the major European hubs such as Rome.

For those arriving on Day 1 after the included group transfer at 14:00 from Catania Airport, it is possible to get a bus to Milazzo; the journey time is approximately 2hrs and bus tickets cost around €15. There is also a train option but this is less frequent. Your host can provide more details on request via your booking.

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

Items required for summiting Mount Etna

  • Wind and waterproof jacket and trousers
  • Puffy insulated jacket
  • Warm hat and gloves
  • Light fleece sweater or similar
  • Sturdy hiking boots (worn-in)
  • Trekking poles and gaiters (recommended for the volcano hiking)

Items required for island hikes and kayaking

  • T-shirts
  • Lightweight long-sleeve top for kayaking in the sun
  • Lightweight trousers/shorts/skirts
  • Underwear and socks
  • Something to sleep in
  • Swimwear
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunhat
  • Sandals

OTHER

  • Universal travel plug adapter
  • Power bank or solar charger
  • Passports (and visas)
  • Travel insurance documents
  • Cash and debit/credit card (Euros in cash is best for paying the €2 per night local tourism tax at your accommodation)
  • Ear plugs
  • Insect repellent
  • Suncream
  • Personal first-aid kit (inc. blister treatment)
  • Quick-dry towel
  • Headtorch for hiking on Stromboli & Etna
  • Reusable water bottle x 1.5 litre
  • Energy bars and snacks - read our article on Best Hiking Snacks
*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)

Sarah G.(May 2024)
First and foremost, our guide

First and foremost, our guide (Tony) was incredible! He was very knowledgeable about all the islands and trails, and he was very effective at solving problems and ensuring everything ran smoothly, including finding alternative activities for the days we had cancellations due to weather. He was also very kind and provided great recommendations for food throughout the week, as well as for future travel plans for those who stayed in Italy longer.

In terms of the trip itself, the hiking and kayaking sites were all very beautiful. Highlights for me were hiking up to the crater of a volcano and a beautiful trail in the mountains with constant views of the sea and wildflowers in bloom all around. This was my first MBA trip so I wasn't 100% sure what 'moderate' difficulty meant, but the hiking and kayaking were a bit more difficult than I expected. The wine tastings were all great - the one near Mt. Etna in particular was in a beautiful location.

As noted above, we had a few canceled hikes throughout the week due to weather, which was a bummer. I wonder if having scheduled these earlier in the week could have allowed for them to be rescheduled later in the week?

My final comment is that the week did feel a bit go-go-go at times - lots of early morning boats taken between the islands / not too much downtime overall, so this is something to keep in mind!

Sarah B.(April 2024)
A great exploration of the islands

A great was to explore the Sicilian islands. An awesome tour guide, a like minded group and great scenery and culture.

Rhiannon P.(April 2024)
Really fun trip

Really enjoyed island hopping, the vineyards were both amazing - great wines and great food to go with them. Sadly weather meant we didn't get to Stromboli or to go up Etna - perhaps we did the trip too early in the year. Additional hikes were great and the sea kayaking and snorkeling were really really fun. A great trip!

Janet M.(April 2024)
A great hiking, sea-kayaking and wine tasting adventure
A great hiking, sea-kayaking and wine tasting adventure

Really good balance between activities and tourism. Our hiking guide Tony and sea-kayaking guide Eugenio were brilliant and very professional and the wine-tastings were superb.

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. There is flexibility within the itinerary for day 3, the visit to Stromboli, to be moved to later in the trip should conditions require. 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. Please also consider the potential impact of bad weather when packing for this trip and refer to our Kit List

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, weather on Sicily and the Aeolian Islands 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.

When hiking on Mount Etna, as the summit is 3350m high, you should be prepared for freezing temperatures and even snowfall. Due to it's prominence it is typically effected by strong winds. The best you can do is to be prepared for anything: come equipped with warm layers of clothing and wind-proofs (see the Kit List for more information). Your host will be monitoring the weather conditions during the course of the trip and will suggest alternative, safer hiking routes should the weather get really bad.

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.

Our team of Adventure Hunters create exclusive adventures with highly vetted, specialist hosts. We only work with independent, local in-destination experts who know the very best places to explore and how to stay safe. See here for more info about the local teams we partner with.

Private trip

Got questions? We've got answers

Our friendly and expert team is on hand to help you choose one of our adventures. So if you want answers to questions like "Who else is going?" or anything else about this trip – please get in touch.

We've got your back

Guaranteed to run

All our trips are now guaranteed to run. Once you’ve booked your spot you can immediately make your travel arrangements, no uncertainty, no hanging about (excludes 'request to book' departures). Full details

Flexible payments

Secure your spot with the minimum deposit and pay off the remaining balance in as many instalments as you like, with no interest or fees. Full details

Happiness Guarantee

We’re so confident you’ll have an amazing time we’ll put our money on it. Full details

Full financial protection

To give you complete peace of mind we’re backed by ABTOT, ABTA and ATOL memberships. Full details

Tried & Trusted

We’re rated ‘Excellent’ on Trustpilot with over 900 verified trip reviews averaging 4.8/5.

Connect before you go

You'll be invited to join a WhatsApp group to get to know each other before your big adventure together. Full details

DEPARTURE DATES

September 2024

Saturday • 21st September 2024

to Saturday • 28th September 2024
Guaranteed to run
Fully Booked
Private trip

Go private and split the bill with ease.

Forget complex logistics, we've taken care of all the details to ensure a hassle-free get together. All of the adventure, none of the faff.

Still Undecided?

A few other trips to tickle your fancy

From