Italy Hiking – Sicily & Aeolian Islands

Trip Length 8 Days
Group Size 4–15
Activity level
Starting from
$3,899 for REI Members
$4,299 for non-members
Departures Apr 2021-Oct 2021

Spend 8 days exploring the marvelous volcanic peaks—Vulcano, Stromboli and Etna—of Sicily and three Aeolian Islands.

We begin our experience in Palermo, the capital city of Sicily, and end in beautiful Taormina. Both metropolises offer rich, historic and mesmerizing artistic wonders for everyone. As we hike and explore between these cities, we immerse ourselves in the culture and delectable cuisine of the region. A guided wine tasting on Lipari at sunset introduces us to the local flavors.

On the island of Vulcano, we marvel up-close views of the steaming fumaroles of Gran Cratere. Our second volcano hike on Stromboli provides awe-inspiring fiery displays of lava. We finish with a summit of Mount Etna, Europe's highest active volcano, and a well-deserved celebration in Taormina with our new friends.

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Trip Highlights

  • Hike the active volcanoes of the Sicily: Vulcano, Stromboli and Mount Etna
  • Explore the medieval village of Cefalú and the ruins of Rocca di Cefalú
  • Unwind on black sand beaches and take a dip in the Tyrrhenian Sea
  • Savor the local flavors of Lipari during a sunset wine tasting
  • Indulge in the street foods of Palermo and cuisine of the Aeolian Islands


This trip is rated Moderate [3]. Trip members should be capable of hiking up to 8 miles (4–6 hours) without major discomfort over terrain with some steep grades. Some trails are steep, rocky, or have areas of exposure. On Stromboli, trip members should be prepared to descend from the summit of the volcano after dark, by headlamp, on a slope covered with ash and some volcanic debris. Note: Ash and other volcanic emissions may seriously aggravate respiratory and other medical conditions.

  • Hiking

What's Included

Double-occupancy hotels for seven nights; all meals as noted on the daily itinerary; bilingual guides; certified volcano guides on Stromboli and Mount Etna; park or other admission fees or permits as required to support the itinerary; baggage transfers; all ground/water transportation within Italy as noted; wine tasting on Lipari; one glass of wine or beer with included dinners; all sightseeing excursions as noted; group transfer to Catania airport at trip's end.


Hotels, 7 nights

Your Adventure Itinerary

Day 1

Meet your guide and explore the historic center of Palermo.

Our trip begins at 3pm in Palermo, Sicily. Palermo is a rich, historic cultural center featuring grandiose architecture. Our group will tour iconic monuments and landmarks, including the Politeama Garibaldi, Massimo Theatre, La Vucciria and Quattro Canti. Dinner will consist of Palermo's famed street foods such as panelle and crocchè (chickpea and potato fritters). We spend the night in Palermo. Dinner included.

Walking: 2 miles, 2 hours

Day 2

Hike on La Rocca in the famed village of Cefalú, ferry to Lipari.

We transfer to Cefalú and visit the Cathedral of Cefalú, a UNESCO site capturing the mix of Western, Islamic and Byzantine cultures of the region. We then hike on La Rocca, an 880-foot limestone bluff dotted with ancient ruins including the Temple of Diana and an archaic medieval castle. On a clear day, the panoramic views from La Rocca will reveal the Aeolian Islands. Following lunch, we arrive at the port city of Milazzo to board a hydrofoil to Lipari, the largest island in the Aeolian archipelago. We enjoy dinner and spend the night on Lipari. All meals included.

Hiking/Walking: 2 miles, 2 hours, Elevation gain/loss: +679’/-614'; Van transfer: 2.75 hours; Ferry: 1 hour

Day 3

Hike to Vulcano’s steaming fumaroles and enjoy a sunset wine tasting.

A 10-minute ferry brings us to Vulcano island. We hike to the Caldera de La Fossa for a close-up view of the steaming fumaroles of the Gran Cratere. The La Fossa cone began to form about 11,000 years ago, and last erupted from 1888 to 1890. After a tour of the crater, we set our sights to the Tyrrhenian Sea for breathtaking views of the surrounding islands. We descend for lunch in town and free time to explore, lounge on a black sand beach, go for a swim or immerse in the island’s thermal mud baths. Returning to Lipari, we freshen up before visiting a local winery to learn about their cellars and enjoy a guided wine tasting at sunset. We spend the night on Lipari. Breakfast and lunch included.

Hiking: 3 miles, Elevation gain: +1,070'

Day 4

At Sciara del Fuoco, we get our first views of Stromboli’s fiery displays.

Spend the morning with your guide on an optional 3-hour hike of Lipari’s rugged landscapes and craggy cliffs or explore the impressive 16th century Castel of Lipari on your own. In the afternoon we ferry to the cone-shaped island of Stromboli, known for its constant mild eruptions and fiery night-time lava displays. At sunset, we hike along the coastline, then begin an uphill hike to view Sciara del Fuoco, the blackened lava scar running down Stromboli's northern flank. We may catch a colorful eruption in the distance before heading back to the coast for dinner with views of Stromboli’s magnificent displays. We walk back to our hotel with headlamps for a well-deserved rest. Breakfast and dinner included.

Hiking: 3.6 miles, 2.5 hours, Elevation gain/loss: +1,250'/-1,047'. Optional hike: 5.6 miles, 3 hours; Elevation gain/loss: +1,050'/-1,117'

Day 5

Hike on Stromboli with a certified volcano guide, descending by headlamp.

In the morning, you are free to relax on a black sand beach, visit the quaint village of San Vincenzo, or board a sightseeing boat to circumnavigate Stromboli. Late in the afternoon, we set out to hike with a certified volcano guide to reach the summit area of Stromboli. We may witness the pyrotechnical activity of the volcano, including dramatic lava fountains and spurts of molten rock. Dinner is alfresco and we descend the slopes of the volcano by headlamp to return to our hotel. We spend the night on Stromboli. All meals included.

Hiking: 7.5 miles/up to 6 hours with a nighttime descent by headlamp, Terrain: Dirt paths, loose rock, ash/pumice dust, Elevation gain/loss: 2,900'

Note: Individuals with asthma or cardiovascular conditions are not permitted to hike on Stromboli. Optional substitute is a night-time boat tour to see volcanic eruptions from the sea.

Day 6

Hike to Taormina and discover the sights of this scenic town.

Spend a relaxing morning at our hotel or rise early for a swim before we catch a ferry to Milazzo, Sicily. In the afternoon, we hike from Castelmola to Taormina with time to explore this charming town. We recommend a visit to the third century Teatro Greco, an open-air theatre with amazing views of the Ionian Sea, Sicily’s coastline and Mount Etna. We eat dinner and spend the night in Taormina. All meals included.

Hiking: 3.4 miles, Elevation gain/loss: +650'/-2,200'; Van transfer: 1.5 hours; Ferry 2.75 hours

Day 7

Head up Mount Etna, then celebrate our time together in Taormina.

With a certified mountain guide, we spend the day exploring Mount Etna, the highest active volcano in Europe (10,899 ft). A combination of cable car and 4x4 vehicles transport us to 9,100 ft, where we begin our hike to Etna's four summit craters (access dependent on weather and other conditions). Walking among the massive lava dunes, we soak in the inspiring views of the Ionian Coast before descending the mountain. Returning to Taormina we gather for dinner and celebrate a week of travel with new-found friends. All meals included.

Hike: up to 9 miles, up to 5.5 hours depending on weather conditions, Terrain: Loose rocks, scree and possibly snow, Elevation gain/loss: +1,450'/-4,600'; Cable cars/4x4 vehicle: 40-50 minutes round trip; Van transfers: 2.5 hours

Note: Individuals with asthma or cardiovascular conditions are not permitted to hike on Mount Etna.

Day 8

​Depart from Taormina, transfer to Catania

After breakfast, there's the option to take the private group transfer at 10am to the Catania airport (1+ hour drive from Taormina). Schedule your departure from Catania's airport anytime after 1:30pm. Breakfast included.

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.

What to pack

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Travel documents

  • Airline Tickets (Confirmation and Itinerary)
  • Final Bulletin (Emailed Prior to Departure Date)
  • Valid Passport

Contact Us

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 REI Expert Advice , which has great information to help you prepare for your trip.