Stromboli, the Mediterranean lighthouse, was the cherry on the cake of our trip. This small Eolia Island was decisive for the route of the 10-day tour we took to Sicily. We had the option of traveling either from the north or the south of the island, and as soon as we knew that one of the stops on the northern route included climbing this erupting volcano, we finally made up our minds.
Later we knew that the hiking to the volcano summit should be done with a guide company, under a possible fine of € 500. However, we did not see the signs that indicated it and luckily we did not have any setback.
Some rumors say the system of fines began after some hikers died of inhaling toxic gases. Others told us that it was simply a new way of making money for the guiding agencies since they exclusively have the right to take you to the summit.
Although we do not advise you to climb the Stromboli volcano illegally, to be honest, we do not regret sleeping while we watched the lava erupting 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 plan was to take the first ferry and return the next day as soon as possible.
We traveled 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 make stops on other islands.
Top things TO DO IN STROMBOLI IN ONE DAY
The island of Stromboli is composed by two main villages; Stromboli and Ginostra. These villages are only communicated by boat. Ginostra is much smaller and the route to climb the volcano is more difficult from there so we went to Stromboli.
In this section you can find a possible itinerary 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, you can see extensive black sand volcanic beaches.
In addition, I reccommend you to move away from the coast, losing yourself in the whitewashed alleys. Scenes that you can feel as previously lived if you have ever seen the classic Stromboli movie.
Even in July the island is a calm place where there is no rush of any kind. Stromboli has nothing to do with the hustle of other touristy areas in Sicily as Cefalu and Taormina.
When you see the size of the streets you completely understand why in Stromboli there are no cars. The only vehicles moving around the narrow lanes are motorcycles and the iconic Piaggio Ape, like the one you can see in the following image.
We also recommend you to visit the Parrocchia di San Vincenzo Ferrari, since the views from the viewpoint of the square are very good.
From there you can see the Strombolicchio, an islet just 2km away from Stromboli and which name means Small Stromboli in Sicilian. This small islet is really nothing other than what remains of the original volcano that collapsed into the sea.
The best way to spend the morning in Stromboli is on one of its black sand volcanic beaches. A couple of locals suggested us about the best beach around Stromboli: the Grotta di Eolo.
This beach is remarkable for having a cave formed by lava. However, the beach is quite hidden so I recommend that you check the location on the map.
One thing that we found curious 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 they might generate very high waves and tsunamis.
In 2002 there was a Tsunami on the island that caused a huge 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.
The green route shown would be the footpath of the Sciara del Fuoco, trail that leads to the viewpoint of the Sciara del Fuoco and from where only geologists with special permits or guardians can follow. There should be a sign advising from where it is illegal to go up, however we could not see it.
SCIARA DEL FUOCO Lookout
The Sciara del Fuoco Lookout is about two hours from the center of Stromboli. I recommend to carry plenty of water. On the way up you will not find any place to stop and get more.
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 a bit 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 stifling trekking, not so much because of the steep but because of the exhausting zigzag, we arrived at the lookout just to enjoy 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 heard perfectly 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.
Bivouac IN THE SCIARA DEL FUOCO
About two hours after starting our escalation, we were back at the starting point; the viewpoint of the Sciara del Fuoco.
With the little activity of the volcano and the darkness, sometimes a few sparks of fire seemed to be shot towards infinity. Other times a mute roar that broke the silence of the night reminded us that the volcano was still alive.
While Dani practiced with some night photos, I opened the sleeping bag and laid down to observe the volcano’s summit until I fell asleep.
Bivouac in the GROTTA DI EOLO
However, the peace did not last very long. The sky got covered with clouds and a threatening rain. We picked up the bags and decided to continue descending the volcano to find some shelter. And there was no better place than the Grotta di Eolo.
It was two o’clock in the morning when we opened 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 “Le Terraze di Eolo”. More Italian pasta and white wine to keep on with our main Sicilian diet.
The other meal we had were 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 grocery on the island. It was the “Bottega del Marano”.
Do not expect a supermarket. It is more like a local 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 everything on this small and remote island is quite expensive.
With this information we finish our guide of things to do in Stromboli in one day.