Walking Sicily and the Aeolian Isle | Langdale Guided Walking Holidays

Vibrant culture, ancient history and breathtaking natural wonder, a little piece of paradise awaits every turn of our exploration of Sicily and the UNESCO protected Aeolian Islands...

Old Fiat Castelmola Village Italy

  • Mount Etna, Europe’s highest active volcano
  • Guided walks in unique volcanic landscape
  • Aeolian Islands including Lipari, Stromboli and Vulcano
  • Island hopping using local boat services
  • Explore picturesque, rustic villages
  • Visit the Neocropolis of Pantalica, carved out of the canyon walls
  • Two centre holiday – Taormina in Sicily and the island of Lipari
  • Chance upon Stromboli's incredible eruptions
  • Sample typical wines of the area in local vineyards
  • Soak in the volcanic sulpher hot springs and thermal baths

Separated from the Italian mainland by the Strait of Messina, Sicily is part of Italy, but distinct in its unique landscape and culture, not to mention the host of several impressive active volcanoes, including Mount Etna - the largest active volcano in Europe.

Explore the world of the Iliad and The Odyssey, where Ancient Greek theatres and temples sit tucked away among the canyons and volcanoes of this mesmerising landscape. Witness the breath-taking natural wonder of Stromboli's dramatic eruptions, island hop across the deepest blues of the Mediterranean and sample fine wine and cuisine in a region renowned for its quality of ingredients and its authentic culinary traditions.

Thousands of years of competing histories and culture, from the Phoenician, Greek, Roman, Arabic, Byzantine and Norman periods have made their presence felt across the island. It’s no wonder that Sicily feels like one big open-air museum, with picturesque towns and villages that are a melting pot of Ancient Greek, North African and Italian culture.

With four nights in Taormina, Sicily and three nights on Lipari (one of the most beautiful islands of the Mediterranean), set out on an escorted tour and see the awe-inspiring Sicilian landscape up close and on foot over a week of expert-led guided walking, accompanied throughout by a professional tour leader and local bilingual guide.

Walking Grade: Grade: Moderate

Day 1: Friday 11th October: Fly to Catania and Transfer to Taormina

Land in Catania, whereupon we meet our agents and board our private coach to the Hotel Ariston, Taormina.

Meet up with our local guide. Welcome drink and dinner at the hotel.

Accommodation at Hotel Ariston in a Superior rooms with sea view and balcony.

Dinner and overnight at Hotel Ariston in Taormina.

Accommodation: Hotel Ariston

Meals: Dinner,

Day 2: Saturday 12th October: Mount Etna

We take breakfast in the hotel, before travel by private coach to Mount Etna, Europe’s highest active volcano.
Our destination is the Crateri Silvestri, taking the cable car up to an elevation of 2.500m. From here we walk to the middle crater (2.950m), hiking around the crater’s rim before making the return back down to the cable car station (2.500m).

You may be compelled to stop and take in the panoramic views over the Bove Valley (situated on the northern side of Etna) on the descent. This impressive landscape before us offers insight into the effects of the last eruption, where a dramatic horseshoe formation was carved out of the eastern side of the volcano.

Returning to the coast, we have a visit to a the area’s notable, high-altitude vineyards, with a wine-tasting session arranged, accompanied with local delicacies.

Picnic lunch is provided by the hotel.

Dinner at a local restaurant in Taormina and overnight at the Hotel Ariston in Taormina.

Walking: Moderate: 3 hours, 6km | Elevation gain uphill/downhill: 400m↑ – 400m↓ | Elevation max/min: 2.950m↑ - 2500m↓

Accommodation: Hotel Ariston, Taormina

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner,

Day 3: Sunday 13th October: Pantalica and Ortygia

Today we head south by private coach for Pantalica.

The Necropolis of Pantalica is the largest of its kind in Europe, with over 3,000 tombs dating from the 13th to the 7th centuries BC (designated a UNESCO site). Pantalica is situated in the valleys of the Anapo and Calcinara rivers, in the south-eastern area of Sicily. We make our way through the canyon valley, composed of freshwater streams, lush river vegetation and vertical rockfaces dotted with some 5000 tombs.

Walking along the old railway line, we encounter small lakes, tucked away into the canyon before joining the path uphill to the archaeological area where we are met with a far-reaching vantage point over the canyon landscape.

After our picnic lunch, we make a short stop in the Ortygia Peninsula, the historical centre of Syracuse, with its beautiful narrow streets and impressive Cathedral.

Dinner tonight under your own arrangements. Overnight at Hotel Ariston in Taormina.

Walking: Easy: 3-5 hours, 10km | Elevation gain uphill/downhill: 260m↑ – 260m↓ | Elevation max/min: 325m↑ - 50m↓

Accommodation: Hotel Ariston, Taormina

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,

Day 4: Monday 14th October: Ferry to The Aeolian Islands and Hiking in Lipari

Today marks our departure for the Aeonian Islands. Check out of the hotel after an early breakfast and transfer by private coach to Milazzo for the boat to Lipari. The ferry leaves at 9:00 am, making it necessary to leave the Taormina area at 7:00 am approx.

Check-in at the Hotel Aktea, Lipari Island.

After a (optional) refreshment stop, we can look forward to exploring the western side of Lipari island, a more untouched, wilder area where the former white volcanic rock (pumice stone) quarries are located. Our hiking route follows a ridge around the distinctive volcanic rocks (Tuff Rocks) of Timpone Pataso, known for its prevalence of fossils. From here, our trail takes us further south to the San Calogero thermal baths, remnants of one of the oldest ancient thermal baths. Along the trail we will stop at various look out points for panoramic views over the surroundings islands.

Dinner and overnight at the Hotel Aktea.

Walking: Moderate: 3-5 hours, 7km | Elevation gain uphill/downhill: 350m↑ – 200m↓ | Elevation max/min: 360↑ - 130m↓

Accommodation: Hotel Aktea, Lipari

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner,

Day 5: Tuesday 15th October: Stromboli

Time to relax this morning before catching the boat service to the island of Stromboli.

After brunch in the hotel we leave early afternoon for a boat trip to the island of Stromboli. Today’s route takes us through the village of Stromboli passing typical Aeolian houses as we start our two –hour hike to the edge of the Sciara del Fuoco viewpoint at 400 metres above sea level, with a dramatic, distant view over the volcano’s crater. During active periods
Picnic lunch provided by the hotel.

We then take the boat back to Lipari at about 8 pm. After a short stop in front of Stromboli island to admire the eruptions from the sea, arriving back at the hotel in Lipari at about 10 pm.

Dinner and overnight at Hotel Aktea.

Walking: Moderate: 3 hours, 9km | Elevation gain uphill/downhill: 400m↑ – 400m↓ | Elevation max/min: 400↑ - 0m↓

Accommodation: Hotel Aktea, Lipari

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner,

Day 6: Wednesday 16th October: Vulcano Island

After breakfast we head for the harbour for a journey by boat to Vulcano, the southernmost island of the Aeolian archipelago. Our route up to the top of the crater starts directly from the port of Levante. We’ll come across spectacular view from the summit over the Aeolian Islands and the active Fossa di Vulcano (Gran Cratere).

Picnic lunch provided by the hotel.

After our descent there will be an opportunity to bathe in one of the famous hot sulphur springs (extra fee) or spend some leisure time on the black sand beach, before taking the boat back to Lipari.

Dinner and overnight at Hotel Aktea.

Walking: Easy to Moderate: 3 hours, 7km | Elevation gain uphill/downhill: 390m↑ – 390m↓

Accommodation: Hotel Aktea, Lipari

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner,

Day 7: Thursday 17th October: Monte Venere and Taormina

It’s an early start to take the ferry back to Milazzo after breakfast, before heading to Taormina by private coach.

Today, our route takes us to the summit Monte Venere, named after the Roman Goddess of Beauty. We follow old mule tracks from Taormina, with a 45 minute hike along the “Saracen Path” which takes us to the beautiful village of Castelmola. From here we have sweeping views out over the Gulf of Taormina and the coast. It’s in this picturesque rural village that we can sample the characteristic almond wine of Castelmola.

Our route climbs towards the summit further, through lush Mediterranean fauna to the top of Monte Venere, where we find beautiful views of the east coast, from the Straits of Messina to the Mount Etna.

Retuning to Castelmola village, we disembark by private coach to Taormina whereupon we visit the town’s world-famous Greek Theatre.

Accommodation at Hotel Ariston in a Superior rooms with sea view and balcony.

Farewell dinner at a restaurant in Taormina and overnight at Hotel Ariston.

Walking: Moderate: 3 hours-6km | Elevation gain uphill/downhill: 650m↑ – 160m↓ | Elevation max/min: 850m↑ - 250m↓

Accommodation: Hotel Aktea, Lipari

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner,

Day 8: Friday 18th October: Return Flight to UK

After breakfast in the hotel we transfer by private coach to the airport for the return flight to UK.

Meals: Breakfast,

Hotel Ariston 4* - Taormina

Taormina

Four nights of your holiday is on the Sicilian mainland, where we will be within the centre of Taormina town with views stretching right over the bay from your balcony.

Taormina's famous Greek Theatre is located 15 minutes away from the hotel grounds - arguably one of the most dramatically situated theatres in the world, perched at the side of the cliff-face with spectacular views over the Mediterranean Sea and Mt. Etna.

 

hotel-akteaHotel Aktea 4* - Lipari

Your island stay over three nights of the holiday is in the Hotel Aktea, Lipari. Just a short stroll from the harbour and old town, you can expect bright, spacious and colourful surroundings with a large terrace looking out over the island's coast.

Stroll over to the famous viewpoint, Quatroocchi ('four eyes') for beautiful coastal views over the harbour and surrounding islands - especially the plumes of smoke emanating from the neighbouring island of Vulcano. Lipari's tiny island museum happens to have one of the most finest collections of its kind in Europe, housing the vast array of Greek-Roman and Bronze Age artifacts originally found on the island.

 

 

Availability Status: Available To Book

Option Price p.p Notes
Holiday inc. flight £1,950 Based on two sharing a twin/double room, includes economy flight departing from Manchester or Gatwick
Single supplement £265


What The Standard Price Includes

  • International air travel from UK
  • Private airport transfers
  • Accompanying tour leader
  • Local qualified English-speaking guide
  • Private coaches in connection with the walks and visiting places of interest
  • Welcome reception
  • Local boat services to the three Aeolian Islands
  • Mount Etna cable car
  • Visit to a winery
  • Entrance fee to the Greek Theatre
  • Almond wine tasting
  • Support of our local agents, Michelangelo International Travel
  • Four nights at the 4-star Hotel Taormina
  • Three nights at the 4-star Hotel Aktea
  • Breakfast each day in the hotel
  • Dinners in hotels or local restaurants
  • Picnic lunches for the walking programme

Not Included

  • Drinks
  • Travel insurance
  • Gratuities to guide, which are optional

 

Please Note: For reasons of safety, weather conditions and unforeseen circumstances, it may be necessary to make changes to the programme without advance notice. Every effort will be made to avoid this if at all possible.

Outbound

Friday 11th October: Fly to Catania, Sicily and transfer to Taormina
Arrive at the airport, London Gatwick or Manchester, under your own arrangements for the flight to Bucharest. Please check-in at least two hours before departure time.

Depart London Gatwick:

  • Deaprt London Gatwick: 07:20
  • Flight Time: 3:05
  • Arrive Catania–Fontanarossa: 11:25

Flight time: 3hr 05
Carrier: British Airways BA2586

Depart Manchester:

  • Depart Manchester: 07:00
  • Flight Time: 3:30
  • Arrive Catania–Fontanarossa: 10:30

Flight time: 3hr 30
Carrier: easyJet

Return

Friday 18th October: Return Flight to UK
Private transfer to Catania–Fontanarossa Airport.

Depart Catania: 

  • Depart Catania–Fontanarossa (BST+1): 17:25
  • Flight Time: 3:10
  • Arrive London Gatwick: 18:35

Flight time: 3hr 10
Carrier: British Airways BS2585

Depart Catania–Fontanarossa:

  • Depart Catania–Fontanarossa (BST+1): 11:30
  • Flight Time: 3:05
  • Arrive Manchester: 13:35

Flight time: 3hr 05
Carrier: easyJet

Flight times are the latest known and are subject to confirmation from the airline. All flight times are local time (BST+1).

October Weather

Average Temperatures
21 C° high
14 C° low
Average Rainfall
48 mm / month
19 days / month
Average Sunshine
6 hours / day

Useful Information

Currency: Euro (EUR). £1 will get you (roughly) 1.15 Euros, with the average price for a cup of coffee in Italy being 1.34 € . There are ATMS in Taormina and Lipari. You can exchange money in post offices and banks, which will generally give you a better rate (without commission) than the dedicated exchange offices (cambio). You may need your passport or ID on hand when exchanging money.

Language: Italian is the dominant language, but there is a strong dialectic variant in Sicily - which even native Italian speakers can have difficulty understanding (signs, menus etc are however in standard Italian, with English translations in hotels, restaurants and other tourist areas). You may find it difficult to communicate in English outside of hotels and restaurants, especially with older generations of Italians.

Timezone: Time alternates between Central European time (GMT+1) and Central European Summertime (GMT+2).

How Fit Do I Need to Be? Hiking trails do not exceed anything above a moderate pace, with the most challenging among our guided walking routes being the ascents of places like Mount Etna and Stromboli. Walking in the historic centres of the towns, villages and cities is at a more relaxed pace, best suited to sightseeing. Our policy is always to set the pace to the needs of the group, and we are happy to take regular breaks if necessary.

By keeping group sizes at a manageable level, we can cater to a range of comfort levels while out on the path, but we generally find that you are more likely to get the most out of these tours if you’re at a confident level of fitness prior to your departure.

Dressing for the the Sicilian Climate: Hiking boots will be the only technical bit of clothing necessary, with lightweight layers appropriate for higher altitudes, to be taken on and off where necessary. We travel in October, with mild and bright weather best suited for hiking excursions.

Power Plugs and Sockets in Sicily: Wall outlets will typically accommodate the European two and three-pin plugs, if you're travelling from outside the European mainland you will need an adapter.

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