Sicilian Volcanoes, September 2018

An exciting and challenging week with Exodus Travels, exploring the volcanoes of the Eolian Islands and eastern Sicily.
There were 16 people in the group, along with the local guide, Marco, a geologist who has a PhD associated with vulcanology.

The volcanism in the region is due chiefly to the prescence of the tectonic boundary between the Eurasian Plate and the African Plate which runs through the islands here north to south.

The trip started and finished in Catania, with walks on three of the Eonian Islands - Vulcano, Lipari and Stromboli. There are regular fast hydrofoil services between the islands and from the Sicilian mainland, for example, the trip from Stromboli back to Milazzo took less than two hours.

For the final two days we returned to the Sicilian mainland, with a couple of hours to visit the hillside town of Taormina before arriving at the huge Etna volcano complex, which covers 460 square miles.
Etna rises to 3,329 m (10,922 ft) and is the highest peak in Italy south of the Alps.
Of the three volcanoes we explored, Vulcano was the most sedate, its only visible activity being fumeroles, or vents emitting steam and gases such as sulphur dioxide, hydrogen sulphide and carbon dioxide.

During our trek up to the rim of the crater we passed through clouds of gas and steam along an arc of fumeroles and had to breathe through handkerchiefs or scarves to avoid inhaling the acrid gases.

The most memorable of the three was Stromboli, a classic island volcano which is constantly active, with minor eruptions every few minutes from its three craters, each erupting in different ways, see the movies I took to see them in full action.

Etna is also constantly active, though when we reached the central crater there was only steam and gases emerging, with a mysterious sound coming from deep in the vent, as if there was a rough sea down there, with lapping waves!


16 SeptAir: Gatwick - Catania. Bus to MilazzoMilazzo
117 SeptHydrofoil to VulcanoWalk up and around dormant volcanoLipariclick
218 SeptBus to west coast of LipariWalk down coast, picnic and east to townLipariclick
319 SeptHydrofoil to StromboliWalk to ash slopes below active volcanoStromboliclick
420 SeptWalk about in morningEpic guided walk to crater of volcanoStromboliclickclick
521 SeptHydrofoil to Milazzo. Bus to Taormina & EtnaWalk round TaorminaEtnaclick
622 SeptCable car, 4x4 bus & walkGuided ascent to central crater, EtnaCataniaclick
723 SeptBus to airportGuided walk in Catania before bus to airportGatwickclick