Holidays in Stromboli: an island and a volcano worth seeing
Why, when traveling in Sicily, visit the tiny island of Stromboli in the Tyrrhenian Sea? Three villages, no airport and not even cars! But there is an active volcano. How many travelers can tell you that they have seen a real volcano erupt? But you can. And you can even show a photo!
How to get to Stromboli from Sicily
You need the port town of Milazzo in Messina. There you can get to the islands of Lipari (which include Stromboli) by sea. There are two travel options:
One-day cruises are two companies: “Navisal” and “Tarnav” (on their websites you can also find mini-cruises, visiting two islands a day). Both companies tend to take tourists to Stromboli at night to give the opportunity to see the spectacular volcanic eruption. Ustica Lines and Siremar take you to the island regularly.
If time is short, it is preferable “Ustica” and “Siremar”, they take on “Aliscafo” (high-speed hydrofoil boats). But you won’t see the sea. Cruise boats “Navisala” and “Tarnava” are more comfortable – travelers admire the sea from the upper deck, bow and sides, they have a buffet with drinks and snacks, they feed dinner (the simplest – pasta, cheap wine).
At this link, you can book a fascinating trip that will first take you to the smallest of the Aeolian Islands, Panarea, where you can explore for 3 hours, and then go to Stromboli to enjoy the volcanic eruption.
The dramatic life of the volcano
Stromboli volcano is low (only 926 meters above sea level), but very stubborn: its activity has been constant for 2500 years with a regularity of 15 to 16 minutes. The “explosive” activity of the volcano has been called the Strombolian activity. This is the emission of red-hot gases, ash and so-called volcanic bombs into the air.
Serious and catastrophic eruptions with the flow of lava and huge rock debris are rare: the last one, which screwed up the nerve of the island’s residents, happened in December 2002 and lasted until July 2003 (then even had to evacuate residents, as the debris caused landslides and tsunami waves in the sea, and one of them landed in the village of Ginostra and ruined several houses). But there is no danger for tourists: the “mood” of the volcano is carefully monitored, and in case of its hyperactivity on the island they simply will not be allowed.
The Sciara del Fuoco (“Fire Stream”) volcano looks impressive and reminds of its dangerous past. It is a horseshoe-shaped depression carved into the rock by large rock fragments that once flew here during eruptions. A stream of red-hot lava flowed into this place, hence the name.
Who and Where Live on Stromboli
The inhabitants of Stromboli (not even 800, even with the tourists “hanging out” on the island) are considered Sicilians, and San Vincenzo, where you arrive, is considered a town – it has a church, an observation deck, a pizzeria, a bar and a museum of volcanology. San Bartolo and Ginostra are more like villages. But the atmosphere in the three tiny settlements is almost the same: small white houses, narrow streets, underpants drying on ropes, teenagers on mopeds, all residents – one big family, the main subject of common concern – how the sea behaves and whether there will be a storm (the communication with Sicily is only by boat and by boat).
Beaches of San Vincenzo
San Vincenzo has the famous beach of Scari – it consists of pebbles and blue-black volcanic sand. According to vacationers, you can get a tan on it with a very special shade! There are also other beaches: pebbly Forgia Vecchia, sandy-pebbly Piscita, Punta Lena, Fico grande. Unfortunately, we can`t call them well equipped.
Hotels in Stromboli
Hotels, guest houses and apartments in Stromboli are plentiful – many people want to see the eruption of the volcano with three craters. But two of them have the best reviews: Sirenetta Park (4*) and Ossidiana (3*).
Sirenetta Park has clean and comfortable rooms decorated in a Mediterranean style, delicious cuisine (Italian, also a paradise for lovers of fish dishes), a beautiful garden, an outdoor pool with sun loungers and umbrellas, a roof terrace. Scari beach is 650 meters away. You can book a room at the hotel by following this link.
Ossidiana is close to the port and a hundred meters from Skari Beach. The hotel is in no way inferior to the Sirenetta Park, but the price per room is cheaper, and while the rooms at Sirenetta are simply minimalist, the rooms at Ossidiana look more cozy and homely. The table here is buffet and rather continental, but nearby there are restaurants with traditional Sicilian cuisine. The panoramic view of the sea is from the salon. If you prefer the Ossidiana, you can book a room here.
Both hotels are suitable for couples and singles, but Sirenetta Park is better for active holidays (more sports activities) and Ossidiana for family holidays (entertainment for children is provided).
All accommodation options in Stromboli can be found here.
What to do in Stromboli
Many tourists who come to the island of Stromboli for the volcano, ask themselves the question: what to do in their free time? Five interesting ideas that are sure to be worth doing when you come here:
- Visit the only noisy place on the island, Ingrid Bar. Strange that a woman’s name is not Italian? The bar is named after the film actress Ingrid Bergman, because Stromboli is a movie star island. Back in 1950, Roberto Rossellini filmed “Stromboli, Land of God”, about a refugee from the Nazis having an affair on the island with a local fisherman. They starred as locals, and the fisherman, again, was a local, and it all ended with the “refugee” Bergman’s affair with the director. Their house has been preserved here.
- Hire a local boat or boat and swim to the 43-meter cliff Stromboliccio in the northeast (this is all that remains of an ancient volcano). Climb the 200 steps to the lighthouse, admire the sea, take spectacular photos. By the way, divers love to dive at Stromboliccio – the water is cleanest, you can admire the rock wall dozens of meters below the surface of the sea.
- Again by boat, go around the island and visit the village of Ginostra. It is especially recommended to the victims of the consumer society who are tired of everything. They will see a place where electricity appeared only in 2004, water is taken from wells and occasionally brought from Naples, the pier can only take one boat, the role of land transport is played by donkeys. All that the village consists of is a square, a church, a grocery store, an infirmary, two restaurants and a war memorial. Here you can fully feel what isolation from the world and dependence on the natural element – the sea.
- To try a masterpiece of local cuisine – a “volcanic” pie, namesake of the island, with a “crater” in the middle of the top crust, where the mozzarella cheese erupts. The pie is delicious; those who have already tasted it recommend it!
- Meet the sunset or sunrise on the black sand of Skari Beach.
The main “highlight” of the trip, of course, will be climbing the volcano – of course, accompanied by a guide and as part of a tour group. Amateurism is not encouraged, it is fined, and then it is just dangerous. Visitors have nowhere to know the hiking trails, it is still climbing a mountain more than 900 meters high for about 3 hours. You can book such a climb at this link. However, the guide speaks only English, French and Italian.
You will need equipment (from trekking boots to a flashlight) provided by the firm, but you will have to take care of some things by yourself. Take:
- at least 1.5 liters of bottled water;
- Snacks – depending on your preferences;
- if you take medication due to chronic health problems (asthma, cardiology, dizziness) – don’t forget your mini-medication kit.
It will be more comfortable and safer to watch the volcanic eruption from the sea if you: