Sicily and the Aeolian Islands Volcanoes Tour
Cost £1230 - Thursday May 16th to 23rd 2019
Details and Itinerary

This tour will give those taking part the opportunity to see some of the most spectacular sights nature has to offer, visiting three active volcanoes, one of which is in a state of constant activity. All excursions will be escorted, making use of local guides where necessary. We shall follow well-used footpaths and all viewing will be undertaken from a safe distance. The party will be led by Alan Clewlow, an experienced geologist who will be on hand to offer advice and some explanation of the features seen and guidance around the area. It will also offer a superb opportunity for photography.
The new one week itinerary includes a half day excursion to the Alcantara Gorge, filled with columnar jointed basalt lavas which have flowed from Etna. There is also some free time to visit the charming Sicilian city of Taormina.

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Sicily and the Aeolian Islands
The steaming SE crater near the summit of Etna
A coastal stack and cliffs in volcanic rocks on the south-western tip of Lipari island
Steaming fumaroles at the rim of the Fossa Cone
Snowy path to the summit of Mount Etna
The Stromboli volcano
Steaming fumaroles
The main and SE craters of Mount Etna
Coastal arch in volcanic rocks on the island of Salina
Dusk on the island of Stromboli
Lipari island, with the caldera of Volcano in the distance

Planned itinerary

Day 1 - Thursday May 16th
Leave London Gatwick on direct British Airways morning flight to Catania. Coach to Milazzo for ferry transfer to Lipari. Check into La Giara apartments for 5 nights, with dinner taken in local trattoria in Lipari Town.

Day 2
Hydrofoil to the island of Vulcano, after which all volcanoes have been named. Climb to view the spectacular main crater and see fumaroles (steam vents) passing lava flows of recent eruptions. From the rim of the crater can be seen much of the island, including the mini-crater of Vulcanello beyond the small harbour at Porto de Levante. Then descend to examine and bathe if desired in the "fanghi" (mud-pools) and bubbling hot springs.

Day 3
Chartered boat excursion to the island of Salina, which includes a circuit of both Lipari and Salina islands, viewing numerous coastal features from close range. Time spent on the island for a walk to take in its magnificent local scenery, which includes views of its famous twin-peaks.

Day 4
Free morning in Lipari Town. The opportunity to visit the Old Town and Castle, in which the local museum is based, which has displays of inhabitation of the islands dating back to Neolithic times around 4000 BC. Leave around lunchtime for Stromboli, passing the island of Panarea on the way (short stop with time for picnic lunch). Arrive mid-afternoon, followed by a steady climb to the summit, accompanied by local guides, reaching the summit by torchlight. We will spend 1 hour at the summit watching the spectacular eruptions of Stromboli by night, before returning to Stromboli town. (note: Those who do not feel up to the climb may wish to stay in Stromboli Town for the evening, and may see the eruptions from the boat, or take the shorter walk to the Observatory).

Day 5
Local bus to the north of Lipari Island to see obsidian flow and pumice deposits from Monte Pilato. Short walk to the village of Aquacalda. Continue with walk to Quattropani at NW corner of the island. Return by local bus to Lipari town for lunch. Afternoon visit to western part of Lipari island, for a stunning view of the coastal scenery from Quattrocchi. Descend via coastal path to beach, passing layered ash and lava deposits. Return to Lipari town on foot, by local path.

Day 6
Morning hydrofoil to Milazzo, with coach excursion to the Rifugio Sapienza, on the southern slopes of Etna. Optional excursion (at extra cost) to take the cable-car and 4WD-bus to view the craters in the summit area,. The chance to see various lava-flows, ash-deposits, steam vents, bombs and other features produced by ongoing recent activity. Late afternoon transfer to the 4-star Sporting Baia at Giardini Naxos, near Taormina, for 2-night stay.

Day 7
Morning excursion to the Alcantara Gorge, where the river has cut down into basalt lava flows from Etna showing spectacular columnar jointing. The coach will then return at around lunchtime giving free time in the afternoon ~ options include the chance to explore the delightful town of Taormina, with its Greek Amphitheatre and extensive Roman remains, or to venture further to Catania or one of the other nearby towns.

Day 8 - May 23rd
Free time. The chance to arrange independent excursion to another local resort, such as nearby Taormina, take the train to the ancient city of Siracusa, take the Circumetnea railway, or hire a car to explore the north side of the volcano or other sites on the island.

(Please note that this might have to be amended due to weather or sea conditions, but hopefully all planned activities will take place. The itinerary has been planned with a certain amount of flexibility so that adverse weather on one day should not prevent a planned activity being cancelled completely.)

The cost of the one-week visit is £1230. The price includes return flights between London Gatwick and Catania, coach transfers, excursions and local ferries on the itinerary listed above. Included in the cost is bed & breakfast accommodation in the high quality “La Giara” apartments in Lipari Town (on one evening the group will have an evening meal on the boat returning from Stromboli as part of the excursion). In Sicily, there will be two nights half-board accommodation, with dinner provided, at the 4-star Hotel Sporting Baia at Giardini Naxos. Single accommodation is available on request, subject to availability, but this will involve a supplement. All those taking part in the tour are expected to arrange their own holiday insurance, which can be obtained from any travel agent or insurance broker.

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