Part of the Aeolian archipelago, the island of Stromboli is one of the most iconic destinations in Sicily. Renowned as Europe's most active volcano, the charred landscape of the island (which is in fact the mere tip of the volcano) is defined by the lava scars of constant volcanic activity and the distinctive black beaches. |
The stunning Aeolian Islands are home to some of the best resorts in Sicily and for my clients looking to experience a quieter, more authentic holiday experience, the region is one of my top recommendations. For those staying in any of the Aeolian Islands’ resorts in Sicily, a day trip to Stromboli should be high on the agenda.
For some people, simply the fact that this is a living, breathing, rumbling volcano is enough of a draw card, but there are actually quite a few things to keep you busy once you're here – especially if you enjoy the great outdoors.
Climb to the Crater
While you do have to have a reasonable amount of fitness (and an official guide) to get all the way to the top, for those with a willing spirit, the experience of reaching the summit for a front row seat to the most spectacular natural fireworks on Earth is one not forgotten in a hurry. Treks leave regularly every afternoon and you can hire everything you need, including hiking boots. It's around a four- to five-hour round trip but, for nature lovers, watching a sublime painted sunset from the edge of a real-life fire breathing volcano is the ultimate Aeolian Islands experience.
Sciara del Fuoco
Of course, summiting a volcano isn't for everyone, but you can still get the full Stromboli experience without working up too much of a sweat. Every time I visit I walk up to the Sciara del Fuoco viewpoint, which, at a height of 400 metres on the volcano's northern slope, is named for the deep lava scar it overlooks. Even from this vantage (which is just under half way up) you can still get spectacular views of the fiery explosions that emanate from the crater every 20-40 minutes.
While black sand beaches take a little getting used to, they're just as beautiful (if not more so) than the golden ones you're perhaps more familiar with. If you're looking for a little rest, relaxation and alone time, head to the tranquil bays of Spiaggia Lunga, just beyond Piscità. This is a real 'locals' area and it's got a wonderfully authentic and laidback ambience in which to catch some sun or enjoy a picnic.
Most of the action centres around Stromboli village itself, but if you venture down to the southwest of the island you'll be able to explore the tiny, picture-perfect village of Ginostra. And if you're looking for the 'real' Sicily, here it is! The one catch (which is a very charming catch) is that you can only reach Ginostra by boat.
The village is set within a natural amphitheatre facing out to the ocean, with views out to the other Aeolian islands. Wildflowers, lemon trees, bougainvillea and olive trees cling to the hillside gardens and, with no traffic or motorised vehicles at all, this is one of the most peaceful and idyllic places you could imagine. And, while it doesn't have all the mod cons of the upmarket resorts in Sicily, I can't think of a better place to spend a lazy afternoon with the locals – which I've done many a time!
If you're looking for authentic, laidback accommodation in the Aeolian Islands, Lipari and Salina offer the some of the best resorts in Sicily, but you absolutely should include a trip over to Stromboli while you're there.
John Dixon is an experienced world traveller and the Managing Director of Prestige Holidays. For over 30 years, he has been providing holidays in luxury resorts in Sicily, as well as holidays in Bermuda, Croatia and many other destinations around the globe. John tries to visit each of the destinations regularly in order to ensure the quality of his properties, and stay up-to-date about the latest local news and events. He has a taste for the finer things in life and has an interest in arts, history and culture.
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