- The view over Lipari
- Sulphur-stained Vulcano
- Nature’s fireworks from Stromboli’s volcano
- The view from Panarea
- Santa Marina, Salina
Sicily Island Hopping
- New holiday
- Half board plus
Experience the pretty Aeolian Islands
Discover the wild scenery of Italy’s Aeolian Islands, a volcanic island chain north of Sicily. See quaint hilltop villages and ancient thermal baths during a six-night stay on the archipelago’s largest island, Lipari. The rugged coastlines of Salina are just a short boat ride away and the lava eruptions of La Sciari, Stromboli’s active volcano, can be seen from the tiny island of Strombolicchio.
Spend the next four nights on Vulcano, which is shrouded in natural beauty and mythological intrigue. It was named in honour of the God Vulcan, god of fire, by the Romans and features therapeutic mud pools and black sand beaches. This laid-back tour offers the perfect mix of exploration, via included and optional excursions, and relaxing downtime to soak up the beauty of this idyllic Mediterranean setting.
12 nights in hotels
24 meals: 12 breakfasts (B) and 12 dinners (D)
Saga tour manager
- Return flights and transfers
- Welcome drink
- Porterage at all hotels
- Orientation walk in Lipari
- Scenic island tour of Lipari
- Boat trip from Lipari to Salina
- Visit to a typical Aeolian house
- Orientation walk in Vulcano
- Scenic island tour of Vulcano
Day 1 UK-Catania-Messina
Fly to Catania and transfer by coach to Messina (68 miles, 80 minutes) for an overnight stay at the 4-star Royal Palace Hotel (4Q) in the city centre.
Enjoy a welcome dinner this evening. D
Day 2 Messina-Milazzo-Lipari
Enjoy breakfast at your hotel, then transfer by coach to the port of Milazzo (25 miles, 60 minutes) to board the hydrofoil for your sea crossing to Lipari. Continue on foot from the port to your hotel, 3-star Hotel Rocce Azzurre (3Q) (just under half a mile) for a seven-night stay.
The largest of the Aeolian Islands, Lipari prospered from its volcanic origins through the mining of pumice, its main export. Although the mining has now stopped you can still see the abandoned quarries and purchase pumice from local shops.
The main town, Lipari, has a lively atmosphere; its picturesque streets lead down to the small harbour where you’ll find a selection of restaurants and bars. The town is overlooked by a Norman cathedral, reached via a staircase carved into the rock, and an ancient citadel constructed shortly after the pirate Barbarossa rampaged through the island in 1544. B, D
Day 3 Lipari island tour
After breakfast, join your tour manager for an orientation walk into the centre of town, passing colourful town houses and shops selling local capers and sweet Malvasia wine. The archaeological museum here exhibits a collection of Greek theatrical masks, mostly recovered from ancient tombs excavated on Lipari.
This afternoon an included panoramic drive will reveal more of the island, pausing at several quaint villages, and at the thermal baths of San Calogero, which are believed to have been in use as early as 50BC.
Return to your hotel for dinner this evening. B, D
Day 4 Lipari and Salina
Following breakfast at your hotel set off on an included full-day boat trip, which traces the coast of Lipari, from Monterosa to Canneto Bay, before cruising across to the peaceful island of Salina.
Enjoy some free time to explore the port before sailing past the Bay of Pollara for a view of the crater. Reaching the shore, walk to the village of Lingua where you can purchase lunch. A speciality here is ‘pane cunzato’ which consists of a large bread roll piled high with tasty fillings such as tomatoes and cheese and drizzled with olive oil, and the semi-frozen dessert, granita.
Cruise back to Lipari via the west coast and return to your hotel for dinner this evening. B, D
Day 5 Lipari
Spend the morning at leisure, perhaps relaxing at the hotel’s rooftop spa, and this afternoon you’ll have the opportunity to join an optional boat trip to Panarea and Stromboli.
This excursion is a great introduction to some of the smaller islands of the region, such as Dattilo, Lisca Bianca and Lisca Nera, and Basiluzzo. You’ll enjoy free time in the town of Panarea, call at the port of Scari to visit the town where Ingrid Bergman stayed while filming ‘Stromboli’ with Roberto Rossellini, and as sunset approaches, your boat will stop at the tiny island of Strombolicchio from where you can safely observe the eruptions from La Sciara, Stromboli’s active volcano.
You’ll return to Lipari late this evening. For this excursion lunch will be included in the hotel instead of dinner. B, D
Day 6 Lipari
This morning you can choose to join an optional wine tasting at a local vineyard, before joining your tour manager for an included afternoon visit to a typical Aeolian house. Look forward to sampling Aeolian biscuits known as sesamini, washed down with a glass of Malvasia, in the company of the home owner.
Enjoy dinner at your hotel this evening. B, D
Day 7 Lipari
Today, you can choose between a day at leisure and a full-day optional boat trip to Alicudi and Filicudi, the westernmost islands of the archipelago. Alicudi is the most remote Aeolian Island and has the smallest population; there are no roads and donkeys are the main mode of transport.
You’ll have time to explore the tiny port before cruising past La Canna stack, La Grotta del Bue Marino and the promontory of Capo Graziano to Filicudi, known for the cultivation of capers and figs, which dominate local cuisine.
Step ashore and enjoy the wild scenery before returning by boat to Lipari and dinner at your hotel. B, D
Day 8 Lipari-Vulcano
Enjoy your final morning in Lipari after checking out of your hotel. Perhaps do a spot of shopping or simply relax at a cafe in the marina before making the sea-crossing to the island of Vulcano.
Travel the short journey to your hotel on foot (your luggage will be portered separately). You’ll spend the next four nights at the 4-star Hotel Mari del Sud (4Q) and your tour manager will give you a quick guided tour of the hotel on arrival. B, D
Day 9 Vulcano
Join your tour manager for an orientation walk around the local area, where you’ll find a scattering of shops and cafes, a large therapeutic mud pool and adjacent beach (the small charge to access this area is not included). The mud pool has a high mineral content and is great for your skin, but not so good for swimwear. There are public beaches nearby with black, volcanic sand and the sea water is, in some parts, pleasantly warm, due to volcanic gases escaping from fumaroles on the sea bed.
Spend the rest of the day at leisure, returning to your hotel for dinner this evening. B, D
Day 10 Vulcano
Set off this morning on an included scenic bus tour, stopping at the island’s beauty spots, as well as visiting a local cheesemaker to sample their produce.
Spend the rest of the day at leisure and this evening you have the opportunity to join a local guide on an optional excursion involving an hour-long walk up to the 500-metre-wide crater ‘Della Fossa’, where you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views across the sea and out towards neighbouring islands as the sun sets on the horizon. The downhill walk back to your hotel should also take around an hour. B, D
Day 11 Vulcano
Enjoy an included morning boat trip taking in the coastal landscape of Vulcano, pausing to view the triangular opening of the Grotta del Cavallo, Levante Bay and Vulcano Gelso with its abandoned lighthouse.
Spend the afternoon as you choose, perhaps make the most of the hotel’s outdoor pool or browse the local souvenir shops. B, D
Day 12 Vulcano
Spend your last full day on Vulcano at leisure. You may be tempted to relax and rejuvenate in the mud pool, enjoy a stroll along the black sand beaches or take a boat to one of the neighbouring islands. B, D
Day 13 Vulcano-UK
Check out after breakfast and head to the port for your boat crossing to Milazzo. From here you’ll transfer by coach to Catania airport (88 miles, two hours) for your return flight to the UK.
En route to Catania there will be a stop in Acireale, where you can purchase lunch, and at the seaside town of Aci Castello. B
This 4-star hotel has a central location in Messina, and is well-placed for trips to the Aeolian Islands.
Facilities at the hotel include a restaurant, bar and gym. The 103 spacious bedrooms feature air-conditioning, telephone, mini-fridge, safe and free Wi-Fi.
Dinner at the hotel includes water and wine.
With a scenic setting on the clifftop, overlooking the clear blue waters of the Aeolian Sea and the little bay of Porto delle Genti, the family-owned Hotel Rocce Azzurre is a great base from which to explore the attractions of Lipari.
The hotel is traditionally furnished throughout, with attractive tile flooring in many of its public spaces. Look forward to typical Aeolian cuisine at dinner and international buffet-style breakfasts in the hotel’s restaurant, which has its own terrace overlooking the sea.
Other facilities at the hotel include a spa located on the Roof Garden with a jacuzzi and sunbeds overlooking the sea (treatments extra charge), and a bathing platform with direct access to the sea.
Each of the 33 rooms has a balcony or terrace, satellite television, safe, hairdryer, fridge and free Wi-Fi. Sea-view rooms are available for a supplement.
The Hotel Mari Del Sud nestles within secluded, well-maintained gardens, close to the port of Vulcano.
The hotel’s main restaurant serves Mediterranean-style cuisine and is open for lunch and dinner. There’s a Coffee Corner and a Terrace Bar, where you can enjoy aperitifs and al fresco dining, and there’s also a pizzeria located on the Baia di Ponente, where pizzas and focaccia’s are cooked to order and can be taken away.
Within the extensive grounds you’ll also find an outdoor swimming pool, complete with a pool-bar and plenty of sun loungers.
Each of the hotel’s 90 bedrooms are simply furnished in traditional Aeolian style and include complimentary Wi-Fi, television, mini-fridge, hairdryer, telephone and a safe. Bathrooms include a shower or a bath with an overhead shower.