Stromboli, the Mediterranean lighthouse, was the cherry of our trip. This small Eolia Island conditioned the 10-day travel we took to Sicily. We had the option of traveling to the south of the island or to the north, but when we knew that one of the stops on the northern route included climbing this erupting volcano, we decided.
Later we knew that the hiking to the volcano summit should be done with a guide, so as not to face a possible fine of € 500. However, we did not see the signs that indicated it and luckily we did not have any mishap.
Some say that the system of fines began after some hikers died of inhaling toxic gases. Others told us that it was simply a collection measure and that since they banned the route by free, the agencies that organize these excursions earned a lot of money.
Although we do not advise you to climb the Stromboli volcano illegally, to be honest, we do not regret having slept watching the lava fall from the volcano.
HOW TO GET TO STROMBOLI
The easiest way to get to Stromboli is from Milazzo. From its port, several ferries depart daily to the Aeolian Islands: Lípari, Vulcano, Salina, Stromboli, Filicudi, Alicudi and Panarea.
Our time in Sicily was very limited so we had only booked one day to visit Stromboli. That’s why our idea was to take the first ferry and return the next day as soon as possible.
We travel with the Usticaline company with a round-trip price of € 45 per person. The ferry takes about an hour and a half to Stromboli and stops on other islands.
Top things TO DO IN STROMBOLI IN ONE DAY
The island of Stromboli has two villages, Stromboli and Ginostra. These villeage are only communicate by water. Ginostra is much smaller and the route to climb the volcano is more difficult from there so we went to Stromboli.
In this section we will tell you an itinerary that you can follow if you visit Stromboli in one day.
Arriving at the Stromboli port you will see the imposing volcano that you are about to climb.
If you walk the main avenue to the right, to explore the villeage, you can see extensive black sand beaches.
In addition, I reccommend you to move away from the coast, losing yourself in whitewashed alleys. Scenes that you will know if you have seen the mythical Stromboli movie.
Even in July the island is a calm place where there is no rush of any kind. Stromboli goes to another rhythm and the tourists who visit it do not manage to end their inherent peace.
When you see the size of its streets you will understand why in Stromboli there are no cars. The only vehicles capable of navigating the narrow lanes are motorcycles and the iconic Piaggio Ape, like the one you see in the following image.
We also recommend you to visit the Parrocchia di San Vincenzo Ferrari, since the views from the viewpoint of its square are very good.
From here you can see the Strombolicchio, an islet just 2km away from Stromboli and whose name means Small Stromboli in Sicilian. This small islet is really nothing other than what remains of the original volcano that collapsed in the sea.
The best way to spend the morning in Stromboli is on one of its black sand volcanic beaches. A couple who lived in Stromboli confessed to us which was the best of the beaches: the Grotta di Eolo.
This beach is notable for having a cave formed by lava. However, the beach is quite hidden so I recommend that you check its location on the map.
One thing that we found curious and found on the way to this beach was a poster with the action protocol in case of tsunami. In Stromboli, earthquakes are quite common and if they are large scale may generate very high waves and tsunamis.
In 2002 there was a Tsunami on the island that caused a lot of damage, so since then it is easy to find such posters.
Hiking TO THE STROMBOLI VOLCANO by yourself
However, the best part of our day in Stromboli was climbing the volcano.
In the map below you can see in blue the path of the guided tours. It is done counterclockwise, since going down is easier by a slope of volcanic ash for which it is impossible to climb.
The green route that appears would be the footpath of the Sciara del Fuoco, route that leads to the viewpoint of the Sciara del Fuoco and from which only geologists with special permits or guardians in charge of fine can follow. There should be a sign advising of when it is illegal to go up, however we did not see it.
SCIARA DEL FUOCO Lookout
The Sciara del Fuoco Lookout is about two hours from the center of Stromboli. I recommend you take a lot of water. On the way you will not find many places to stop to shop.
At the beginning it is simple. You just have to walk following the Northwest, either via Via Vittorio Emanuele or Via Regina Elena, if you want to see the coast. Then you will follow Via Piscità.
When you arrive at the osservatorio the path can be more abrupt by the undergrowth, which practically covers you. In addition, the path becomes steeper, making it more difficult and harder.
The osservatorio was a center of study and monitoring of the activity of the volcano, although nowadays it is only used as a restaurant.
After a fairly hard trekking, not so much because of the unevenness but because of the exhausting zigzag, we arrived at the lookout just to see the sunset. This viewpoint is located about 290m above sea level. It has two levels. From the second one you can see the Sciara del Fuoco, the path through which the lava flows down to the sea.
We got to see smoke coming out of the volcano and some stones rolling downhill. As any natural phenomenon is impossible to control and it turns out that during our trip to Stromboli, the volcano was in one of the periods of least activity.
THE SUMMIT OF THE STROMBOLI VOLCANO
We were very close to the summit, about 900 meters high (the highest point is 924 meters).
We listened perfectly to the voices of those who made the guided tour of the volcano. We saw the lights of their lanterns a few meters away. But at that moment we realized that maybe we should not be there and to avoid a conflict with the guides we decided not to join the guided groups and go down where we had come from.
WHERE TO STAY IN STROMBOLI
A few days before traveling to Stromboli, Dani and I decided to cancel the accommodation we had booked. The prices in Stromboli are very expensive, so as we were traveling with a low budget we decided to try to make a bivouac either in the volcano itself or in one of the beaches.
VIVAC IN THE SCIARA DEL FUOCO
About two hours after having started our escalation, we were back at the starting point; the viewpoint of the Sciara del Fuoco.
With the little activity of the volcano and being very dark, sometimes a sparks of fire seemed to shoot towards infinity. Other times a mute roar that broke the silence of the night made us know that the volcano was alive.
While Dani practiced with his first nocturnal photos, I opened the sleeping bag and lay down to observe the volcano’s summit until I fell asleep.
VIVAC in the GROTTA DI EOLO
However, the peace did not last all night. The sky got covered with clouds threatening with rain. We picked up the bags and decided to continue descending the volcano to find a place to sleep sheltered. And where better than in the Grotta di Eolo.
It was two o’clock in the morning when we redeployed the sleeping bags inside the cave. The temperature was perfect. Also there were no mosquitoes and we were able to sleep the rest of the night.
The next morning we got up early, with the first lights that crept into our cave and we headed to the port where we took the ferry back.
WHERE TO EAT IN STROMBOLI
During our day in Stromboli we made two meals. The first was just before embarking on our adventure to the volcano. Of all the restaurants we found, we ate at La Terraze di Eolo. More Italian pasta and white wine to start what we had been waiting for so long.
The other meal we did was some sandwiches for dinner at the Sciara del Fuoco viewpoint.
The same Sicilians who recommended us the beach of the Grotta di Eolo also told us the cheapest store on the island. It is the Bottega del Marano.
Do not expect a supermarket. It is more like a grocery store where they sell pickles, water and sandwiches. And by the way, to be the cheapest store in Stromboli it was quite expensive (€ 10 per sandwich), but the island itself is expensive.
With this we finish our guide of things to do in Stromboli in one day.