- Explore three magnificent volcanic peaks: Etna, Vesuvius, and Stromboli
- Discover Southern Italy, from the Amalfi Coast to vibrant and diverse Sicily
- Walk among quaint hamlets, small vineyards, volcanic rock, and ancient ruins
- Enjoy delicious Southern Italian cuisine and stay in the comfort of small hotels
From quintessentially Italian Naples to Sicily's medieval villages and lush landscapes, our active adventure in Southern Italy offers dramatic day hikes and enlightening cultural discoveries. Our exploration centers on three iconic volcanic peaks, inviting us to enjoy a closer look and learn more about the powerful forces that formed them.
We begin with a short cruise to the magical Isle of Capri for a warm-up hike along one of the island's scenic trails. Returning to the mainland, we walk the Amalfi Coast's spectacular "Path of the Gods" and visit romantic Positano. Explore the ruins of Pompeii, victim of a devastating eruption 2,000 years ago, before hiking to the summit Mt. Vesuvius. On the Aeolian island of Stromboli, a twilight hike up to the glowing caldera reveals the wonder of a close-up lava display.
Our adventure culminates on Sicily, a land that has played host to the Greeks, Arabs, Romans, Spanish, and French. Here, we walk through quaint hamlets and small vineyards, enjoying the relaxed pace of village life before pushing on to the summit of Mt. Etna.
See more trips in Italy.
- Day 1 - Meet in Naples and savor your first taste of Southern Italian cuisine.
- Day 2 - Take a hydrofoil cruise to the Isle of Capri; walk panoramic pathways.
- Day 3 - Explore Naples and hike along the enchanting Amalfi Coast.
- Day 4 - Hike the spectacular "Path of the Gods" to colorful Positano.
- Day 5 - Tour Pompeii and hike up Mt. Vesuvius; overnight ferry to Stromboli.
- Day 6 - Hike up Stromboli for a summit sunset and watch for fiery lava displays!
- Day 7 - Hike on the volcanic island of Vulcano; soak in thermal baths.
- Day 8 - Walk from tiny Castelmola to medieval Taormina in the shadow of Mt. Etna.
- Day 9 - Summit Europe's highest active volcano, Mt. Etna (10,899')!
- Day 10 - Depart from the Catania airport for one last view of Mt. Etna.
Trip Itinerary and Details
Important Notice: Day 1 is the day you should plan to arrive at the meeting point for the trip. This may require departing your hometown one or more days in advance and traveling on an overnight flight.
Day 1 - Meet in Naples and savor your first taste of Southern Italian cuisine.
Your trip begins today in Naples, Italy. Naples can be reached via easy rail connections from Rome or by air via connecting flights from the U.S. Vibrant, chaotic, classically Italian, historic Naples invites travelers to discover its vast assortment of world-class museums, atmospheric neighborhoods and fabulous restaurants. Depending on your arrival time, you can opt to begin your exploration of this fascinating city independently or relax before our initial group rendezvous this evening. An orientation meeting will take place at 6 p.m. in our centrally-located hotel, followed by a casual dinner nearby. Dinner included.
Day 2 - Take a hydrofoil cruise to the Isle of Capri; walk panoramic pathways.
After an early breakfast, a 40-minute hydrofoil ride across the Gulf of Naples transports us to the rugged and beautiful Isle of Capri where we begin our first day's hike. From Capri Town's central piazza, we'll walk past colorful villas with flower-filled gardens to the Grotta di Matromania, a series of hidden caves tucked into the island's limestone crags and the site of ancient pagan worship ceremonies. Continuing along the path, we'll step onto the Terrazza di Tragara, a spectacular stretch of trail offering picture-postcard views of Capri's iconic Faraglioni sea stacks and the summit of Monte Solaro, the highest point on the island. Returning to town, we'll have some free time to stroll through the narrow alleyways or perhaps take a dip in the cooling Mediterranean waters. A hike to the Villa Jovis, a 2,000 year-old Roman palace built by emperor Tiberius, is also an option. We return to Naples late this afternoon for dinner and overnight. All meals included.
Hiking: 3 hours with 1000' elevation gain/loss. Optional hike to Villa Jovis: 2 hours with 500' elevation gain/loss.
Day 3 - Explore Naples and hike along the enchanting Amalfi Coast.
We begin the day with a walking tour of Naples' historical city center including the "Spaccanapoli" district, fascinating Napoli Sotterranea (Underground Naples), Via Toledo and Plebiscite Square. In late morning, we'll transfer by private vehicle to the Amalfi Coast, with its rocky sea cliffs and colorful villages clinging precariously to steep hillsides. Our destination is the quiet coastal village of Agerola, perfectly situated near our daily walking routes. After checking in to the hotel, we set out on an afternoon hike through the forest to the enchanting town of Amalfi. Upon reaching Amalfi, we'll have some time to explore some of the town's notable sites including the Piazza Duomo and ornate 11th-century cathedral of Saint Andrew before returning to Agerola for dinner. Overnight in Agerola for the next two nights. All meals included.
Hiking: 4 hours with 2,100’ elevation loss.
Day 4 - Hike the spectacular "Path of the Gods" to colorful Positano.
We'll enjoy an exhilarating day of hiking today along the "Path of the Gods"; an aptly named trail built high above the shoreline and affording panoramic views of the entire Amalfi Coast. The trail ultimately leads us to Positano, a lovely village of white Moorish-style houses built above a sand beach melting into a small bay. We'll take some time to explore Positano, climbing the stairs that serve as thoroughfares between the terraced levels of the town and enjoying a swim in the bay, before returning to Agerola for the evening. All meals included.
Hiking: 4 hours with 2,000' elevation loss.
Day 5 - Tour Pompeii and hike up Mt. Vesuvius; overnight ferry to Stromboli.
Considered to be one of the world's premier archaeological sites, the ruins of Pompeii offer a fantastic glimpse into Roman life as it was 2,000 years ago. The sudden, catastrophic eruption of nearby Mt. Vesuvius in the 1st century AD buried Pompeii in 60 feet of volcanic ash and hid its existence from the rest of the world for 1,700 years. Rediscovered in the mid-18th century, ongoing excavations have uncovered a city frozen in time, filled with well-preserved buildings, frescoes and thousands of personal artifacts. We spend the first half of the day visiting the ancient city with our guide and gaining insight into the history and fate of this lost civilization. Looming over the city of Naples and the surrounding countryside, Mt. Vesuvius (4,203') is the first of three volcanoes along our route and the destination of this afternoon's hike. Vesuvius last erupted in 1944 and currently sits dormant allowing for closer exploration. We'll take a short hike to the volcano's summit, the Bay of Naples serving as our backdrop, while our guide shares his knowledge of the mountain's geological and natural history. In late afternoon, we'll return to Naples and have dinner at one of the city's renowned pizzerias before heading to the port and boarding an overnight ferry to the Aeolian island of Stromboli. Overnight on ferry in a double en-suite cabin. All meals included.
Hiking: 1 hour with 350' elevation gain/loss to the summit of Vesuvius.
Day 6 - Hike up Stromboli for a summit sunset and watch for fiery lava displays!
Rising dramatically from the cobalt sea, the cone-shaped island of Stromboli is comprised of a single active volcano known for its constant mild eruptions and fiery night-time lava displays. Arriving refreshed on Stromboli this morning, we'll spend the first part of the day exploring the island's coastline and visiting the charming village of San Vincenzo. This afternoon, we'll set out on a guided hiking excursion up the flanks of the volcano accompanied by certified volcanologist guides who assist us in choosing our route and enlighten us on the forces that have shaped this unique island chain. With luck, we'll have an opportunity to see some of the famous lava displays at twilight before descending back down the mountainside and returning to our hotel. Overnight tonight on Stromboli. All meals included.
Hiking: 6 hours with 2,900' elevation gain/loss. Our descent will take place after sunset, in the dark. Please note that individuals with asthma and other respiratory conditions are not permitted to hike on Stromboli. For those who do not wish to hike to the top of the Stromboli, there is the option to hike around the base of the volcano to the Sciara del Fuoco where one can still observe the explosions above. Hiking time 4 hrs with 1300’ elevation gain/loss.
Day 7 - Hike on the volcanic island of Vulcano; soak in thermal baths.
A one-hour hydrofoil transfer delivers us to Vulcano, our second island in the Aeolian archipelago famous for its black sand beaches and hot springs. We'll spend the afternoon enjoying a 3-hour hike to Fossa, the island's volcanic center, for a close-up view of its steaming fumaroles. After our hike, we'll slow down the pace and have the option to take a relaxing soak in Laghetto di Fanghi, the island's thermally-heated mud baths. Dinner and overnight tonight on Vulcano. All meals included.
Hiking: 3 hours with 1,300' elevation gain/loss.
Day 8 - Walk from tiny Castelmola to medieval Taormina in the shadow of Mt. Etna.
After another short over-water transfer, our Mediterranean odyssey continues in intriguing Sicily as we arrive in the tiny Sicilian hamlet of Castelmola. In addition to its serene landscape of almond trees and vineyards, Castelmola is known for the breathtaking panoramas of Mt. Etna and the sea as seen from its quaint cobblestone streets. From Castelmola, we'll begin our mostly downhill hike to the medieval town of Taormina, located along the shores of the Ionian Sea. We have time on our own to visit the town's Greek Theatre – originally built during the 3rd century BC and still used today for performances during Taormina's annual summer arts festival – or take advantage of the town's great shopping opportunities and perhaps sample some refreshing mulberry gelato. The final leg of today's adventure has us boarding our vehicle for the 1½-hour drive to our lodge on the southern flank of Mount Etna in preparation for tomorrow's full day on the legendary mountain. Overnight near Mount Etna. All meals included.
Hiking: 3 hours with 1,000' elevation gain/loss.
Day 9 - Summit Europe's highest active volcano, Mt. Etna (10,899')!
Along with our mountain guides, we'll spend an amazing day exploring the largest and highest active volcano in Europe (10,899'). A combination of cable car and 4 x 4 vehicles transport us up to 9,100' where we'll begin our hike to Etna's four summit craters (access dependent on current conditions). Walking among the giant lava dunes, we'll appreciate the fantastic views of the Ionian Coast stretching out below our feet before descending down the mountain. Later this afternoon, we transfer to nearby Catania – designated as a UNESCO World Heritage City for its beautiful baroque architecture – and check in to our hotel in the city's historic center. Tonight, we'll enjoy a final celebration dinner with our traveling companions and newfound friends. All meals included.
Hiking: 6 hours with 1,800' elevation gain and 4,700' loss. Please note that individuals with asthma and other cardiovascular conditions are not permitted to hike on Mt. Etna.
Day 10 - Depart from the Catania airport for one last view of Mt. Etna.
This morning, a group transfer will be provided to the Catania airport for departing flights to the U.S. (via a connection through Rome or other European city). Breakfast included.
Although we do our best to adhere to the schedule listed above, this itinerary is subject to change for numerous reasons beyond our control including weather and terrain conditions.
Please check with us before purchasing your airline tickets to ensure your trip has the necessary minimum number of participants required to operate.
Hotel accommodations and cabin on overnight ferry to Stromboli; all meals beginning with dinner on Day 1 through breakfast on Day 10; English-speaking local guides; certified volcano guides on Stromboli and Mt. Etna; baggage transfers; all ground/water transportation within Italy as noted; transfer to Catania airport at trip's end; all sightseeing excursions as noted including entrance to Napoli Sotterranea, Pompeii and Vesuvius.
Air transportation to/from Italy; transfer to Naples hotel at start of trip; gratuities; excess baggage charges; alcoholic beverages; entrance to Taormina's Greek Theatre; airport taxes and items of a personal nature such as laundry expenses, immunizations or insurance of any kind.
This trip is rated Moderate . Trip members should enjoy hiking and be in good physical condition. We spend 4-6 hours hiking on most days at elevations ranging from sea level to over 10,000' (Mt. Etna). While some hikes are on well-maintained trails, others involve walking over loose dirt, rocks, ash and many stone stairs and include stretches with some steep ascents and descents. To maximize your enjoyment of the trip and to avoid sore muscles, we strongly encourage participants to begin a conditioning regimen at least three months prior to departure consisting of hiking, walking/running and/or cycling. If you live in an area conducive to hiking, try to get out on those hills if possible and work some elevation gain and loss into your training regimen. The better shape you are in, the more you'll enjoy all that this unforgettable adventure has to offer.
Spring and fall are desirable seasons to visit Southern Italy generally offering an abundance of sunshine and more moderate temperatures than mid-summer. Average daytime temperatures typically range between 65° - 85° F (depending on specific location and elevation above sea level) with evenings cooling down into the 60s and 70s. Early and late summer departures can be warmer with daytime temperatures rising into the high 80s at lower elevations. As some of our hikes take place in the mountains, weather can change unexpectedly and trip members should arrive equipped with some warmer clothing and rain gear.
If you are traveling alone and specifically request single accommodations, you will be asked to pay the single supplement fee. There is no single supplement fee for those willing to share accommodations, and we will assign you a roommate of the same gender if possible. Please be advised that there are a limited number of single accommodations available.General Information
This trip is subject to the booking information set forth in the current REI Adventures Reservation Information. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A full gear list and pre-departure information is sent upon sign-up. We highly recommend the purchase of travel insurance through REI Adventures. If coverage is purchased at the time of your initial reservation, the 'Pre-existing Conditions Exclusion' is waived (certain exclusions apply).
We look forward to having you join us for the trip of a lifetime! Why wait? Space is limited, reserve your adventure today.
Vesuvius to Etna: Hiking Southern Italy's Volcano Route Gear List
The key to staying comfortable while on an active trip is layering. To get maximum comfort with minimum weight, you need versatile layers that mix and match to create the right amount of insulation, ventilation and weather protection. Try to bring only what is necessary—this will help you and the field staff.
- Valid passport
- Airline tickets
- Large duffel bag or soft sided suitcase (wheels and retractable handle are okay)
- Daypack (2000 - 2500 cu. in.) to carry your camera, water bottles, lunch, extra clothing
- Luggage tags and luggage locks
- Passport pouch or money belt
- Bring a few lightweight easily washable items for travel and city wear
- Rain jacket, waterproof and breathable
- Rain or wind pants, waterproof and breathable
- Midweight fleece or wool sweater
- Lightweight thermal underwear top and bottom, synthetic or wool
- Hiking pants, lightweight and synthetic, zip-off legs work great!
- Hiking shorts, lightweight and synthetic
- Long-sleeve shirts (quick-drying, synthetic)
- T-shirts (quick-drying, synthetic)
- Sun hat
- Low-cut gaiters
- Wool or fleece hat
- Lightweight gloves
- Lightweight hiking boots, waterproof, broken-in, aggressive tread
- Comfortable shoes for evenings and travel
- Hiking socks
- Liner socks
- Casual socks
- Lightweight travel towel
- Two (2) one-quart water bottles or hydration system
- Trekking poles
- Headlamp or flashlight and spare batteries/bulb (required for night descent on Stromboli)
- Sunglasses and retainer strap
- Sunblock and lip balm (SPF 15+ minimum)
- Toiletry kit
- Personal first-aid kit
- Motion sickness remedies
- Daypack rain cover or heavy duty plastic trash bags in case of rain on the trail
- Pocket knife
- Knee supports
- Insect repellent
- Camera, memory cards and spare batteries
- Battery charger for electronics
- Small binoculars
- Watch with alarm or travel clock
- Favorite energy snacks and/or drink mixes
- Spare contact lenses or glasses
- Reading and writing materials
- Electrical adapter plug
- Ear plugs/eye mask
- Sewing kit
Things to Consider
- Please remember to always pack essential items such as your passport, money, eyewear, a change of clothing, hiking boots and medications in your carry-on baggage, in case your luggage is delayed.
- Please be sure to bring luggage you can handle on your own to facilitate transferring it on and off the ferry boats. Bringing a headlamp is required.
- When descending Stromboli in the dark, a headlamp is necessary to illuminate the trail and will allow you to be hands-free so you can use your trekking poles.
- Sarongs make excellent lightweight, quick-drying and compact travel towels. Another good option is the REI MultiTowel Lite (available in various sizes) or similar. See www.rei.com for details.
- Cotton is wonderful in warm weather. However, once it becomes wet, it will drain your body heat. Bring wool or synthetics such as Capilene, MTS and Thermax.
- Always test your layers before a trip. Your outer layer should fit easily over the inside ones without binding and bunching up.
- Make sure boots are broken-in. Bring moleskin or blister remedies for foot treatment. Thin liner socks made of silk or synthetic fibers worn under regular hiking socks may minimize the risk of blisters. Test your sock combination before you go on the trip.
- Stuff sacks are great for sorting gear. Use different sizes/colors to differentiate the contents.
- We recommend a daypack rain cover or a small, sturdy garbage bag to line your pack and keep you gear dry should inclement weather be encountered.
Feel free to give us a call at (800) 622-2236 should you have any questions regarding the gear list. The staff at our stores and Direct Sales (800-426-4840) will also be happy to help you with gear questions. Or check out www.rei.com/learn. The Expert Advice section on our "Learn" page has great information to help you prepare for your trip.