Sailing and trekking to the Aeolian Islands
A week of Sailing and Trekking to the Aeolian Islands
A guide to the seven most beautiful excursions to do in a sailing week in the Aeolian Islands, among volcanoes, sea, nature and history. Right after sailing, one of the most beautiful experiences to do in the Aeolian Islands is undoubtedly trekking. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, these seven islands of volcanic origin are full of paths, views, places to discover on foot to enjoy, with the right timing, the authentic beauty of these jewels.
There are many circuits for trekking in the Aeolian Islands, but also easier walks to choose from for a full immersion in nature.
Being able to move easily between one island and another on a sailing boat, we have chosen seven itineraries, one for each of the seven "sisters" that make up this magical archipelago.
Before leaving, however, here are some tips on theclothing needed for a safe and easy trekking in the Aeolian Islands: it is essential to be well equipped, in Stromboli as well as in Lipari, the two largest centers, there are plenty of shops where you can rent everything you need without spending too much.
The advice, however, is to pack a suitcase:
- socks suitable for hiking shoes, which can also be rented on site,
- a medium sized backpack,
- a couple of cotton T-shirts,
- a k-way sweatshirt,
- a front torch
Never miss a packed breakfast, water and a few energy bars.
For the most demanding excursions, but if you would also like to go for easier walks, it is always advisable to rely on expert guides, as we do when we propose an excursion to our clients.
Day 1 - Trekking in Stromboli: the ascent to the volcano.
After having admired, even at night, comfortably from our sailboat, the wonderful spectacle that the Stromboli volcano's sciara del fuoco, one of those essential appointments, the day after our suggestion is to see it up close, maybe climbing the volcano at night.
The main moorings of the island are those of Scari and Ginostra, but there are two other docks in the area of Ficogrande.
Leaving our sailboat generally in the afternoon around 17 there is the meeting in the main square (Piazza San Vincenzo) from which we leave for the excursion. We'll be back down by 11:30
For this walk a minimum of athletic preparation, trained legs and a bit of courage is required, and as we said be well equipped.
The ascent to the crater will take about 3 hours, and we will reach the top at sunset: you will find yourself at more than 900 m to witness a unique spectacle in the world.
The behaviour of the volcano is so emblematic that volcanologists around the world generally identify all similar explosive volcanic manifestations with the term "Strombolan activity". At rather irregular, but relatively frequent intervals, volcanic explosions occur at the top of Stromboli with the emission of lapilli and lava fountains that descend to the sea along the sciara del fuoco in the north-west part of the island.
Your descent, which will last about an hour and thirty minutes, will be all in the sand, you will sink your legs to the calf in the ash and sand, I recommend a dip in the sea before returning to the boat. We are sure that you will return happy to have had this experience that will fill your eyes and heart.
Day 2 - Trekking in Lipari: from the mine to the thermal baths
For trekking in Lipari, the largest of the Aeolian Islands, we propose a unique itinerary, among the most suggestive.
We dock with our sailboat in Marina Corta or in Sottomonastero and our walk starts from the mines of Caolino, an ancient quarry with particular colours, winding between still active fumaroles and uncontaminated nature on the west coast of the island.
From the fumaroles we descend into a valley and in about 20 minutes walk we reach a plateau. We continue along the coast taking a panoramic road to the left. Another 20 minutes and we reach the ancient spa San Calogero.
The site is 3500 years old and was built on overlapping blocks of lava. The first thermal baths were founded in 1867 but their activity has been stopped since the 70s of 1900 waiting for someone to buy them and make them active again.
The trek will last about 2/3 hours and the difficulty is medium.
Day 3 - Trekking at Vulcano: the ascent to the Gran Cratere.
For this trekking itinerary we promise you an atmosphere of Dante's circle, full of emotions, between wild nature and almost lunar landscapes to reach the summit and admire one of the most beautiful views of the entire archipelago.
We dock with our sailboat in the Port of Levante and set off for the ascent to the Grand Crater. The beginning of our route starts from a path that is just 5 minutes from here.
The smell of sulphur accompanies us for the entire hike that along the way takes us face to face with hot springs of hot water and boiling mud from which the vapours of the fumaroles come out, real volcanic baths.
Here, too, climbing along the well-marked path on the left of the base of the volcano's mouth, the legs sink into the ash but in about an hour the effort is rewarded.
We reach the Fossa Volcano and its summit at 300 m altitude. Here among white fumes of sulphur dioxide and brooms, we can relax our eyes, heart and body while enjoying the breathtaking view of the Aeolian Islands.
The trek to the Grand Crater takes about 3 hours in all and the route, although not very easy, is still of a medium easy level.
Day 4 - Trekking in Salina: to the top of Monte Fossa delle Felci
We'll dock at the port of Santa Marina.
One of the most suggestive and "perfumed" trekking routes is the one we propose up to the top of Monte Fossa delle Felci.
The best path, less hard, starts from the Sanctuary of the Madonna del Terzito, in Valdichiesa, take the road on the left, then turn immediately right and after 100 m you go right again. We then climb for two hours, and depending on the season we will find different blooms and scents and we can admire views of the archipelago, the vineyards of Malvasia and Monte dei Porri.
Among brooms, strawberry trees and fragrant caper flowers (in spring), we reach an altitude of 962 m above sea level on what is an ancient volcano extinct for centuries, now covered with fragrant plants of the Mediterranean maquis.
Even from here the view largely repays the effort of the climb!
Day 5 - Trekking in Panarea: the Conca delle fumarole della Calcara
Even in what is the most "VIP" of the Aeolian Islands we suggest a healthy dip in nature, away from cocktails in the square and shopping empty wallet, which we can still do in the afternoon, after a healthy walk to discover the beauty of this volcanic jewel.
The island is very small, surrounded by micro islets. Similar to a Greek island, it offers a breath-taking walk, not for the fatigue, which is minimal, but for the beauty of the landscape.
We dock with the boat at the port of Ditella and move towards the church of the Assunta. From here starts a short path that from the left side of the church, proceeding northwards towards Iditella, among geraniums and lush bougainvilleas in bloom, takes us over the basin of the fumaroles of the beach of Calcara.
The spectacle is breathtaking, all the more so as you can admire the sea literally simmering driven by the boiling geothermal currents blowing from underground.
Alternatively you can follow the path of medium difficulty recommended by the Italian Alpine Club that from the centre of San Pietro allows you to reach the top of the island (Pizzo del Corvo 400 m above sea level), a volcano still active and then descend from the other side towards the prehistoric village of Capo Milazzese admiring the bay of Calajunco, all in 3-4 hours. But our itinerary is simpler and the emotions are still intense.
Day 6 - Trekking in Alicudi: on the summit of Filo dell'Arpa
Alicudi, the wildest and farthest from the mainland, is a way apart. That's why walking and visiting it is not only enjoyable but practically the only way to explore it. There are no cars or electricity here. At most you can travel by sea in a sailboat, or on a donkey.
We dock, therefore, in the small port and from here we follow a path of lava stone steps along which it will be immediately clear how man has adapted to nature and not the other way around.
In less than two hours we reach the summit of Filo dell'Arpa (650 m above sea level). If you are tired you can stop at the church of S. Bartolo (340 m a.s.l.) and walk among the houses of the village letting yourself be transported to another dimension, among nature, scents and an unreal silence.
Day 7 - Trekking in Filicudi: the prehistoric village of Capo Graziano and the village of Zucco Grande
Last stop of our week of trekking to the Aeolian Islands is the wild island of Filicudi.
Like Alicudi is a place where you still follow the slow rhythms of nature. As a formation, among the islands, it is the oldest. Three inhabited villages: Pecorini, Valdichiesa and Filicudi port, where we will dock with our sailboat.
From here there are two very fascinating itineraries, between uncontaminated nature and Mediterranean maquis, with views of the coast and contrasts between the intense green of the vegetation and the cobalt blue of the sea.
The first trekking route is very simple. From the port we take an ancient lava stone staircase that takes us up to the promontory of Capo Graziano. Here at an altitude of 100 meters above sea level we reach a fascinating prehistoric village for a real time travel in one hour of walking.
Alternatively, always from the port, we can take a more challenging route, about 3 hours, which winds through small roads and old mule tracks to the village of Zucco Grande (250 m above sea level); a handful of houses abandoned for some time but which offer a panorama of great impact, a leap back to a bygone era.
Turn the Aeolian Islands on a sailing boat is in itself a privilege and a unique experience, admiring them from a different point of view, discovering every cave, every crease and secret of its coasts is fascinating.
But in our opinion, just as magical is then docking and trekking to discover these seven small worlds surrounded by the sea, feel the scents of nature that is the protagonist here and enjoy views from above, among ancient villages and suggestive atmospheres.
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