Aeolian Islands picture1 of 3
Aeolian Islands2 of 3
Photo by Gianni Sarasso/Getty Images

Details

Beaches, Recreation, Sightseeing, Tours Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
4.7scorecard
  • 3.5Value
  • 5.0Facilities
  • 5.0Atmosphere

There are many lovely islands off the coast of Sicily, and the hardest part may be choosing which ones to see. A popular choice is the Aeolian Islands, located near Messina and composed of seven main islands, which were created by active volcanoes. There you will find incredible sites like a Greek acropolis, a Norman cathedral, beautiful beaches, volcanic vents and even lava running into the sea.

Past visitors recommended visiting Stromboli volcano (seeing it at night when erupting is extra spectacular), the Museo Archeologico Regionale Eoliano on Lipari, the Scalata al Cratere on Isola Vulcano and Chiesa Vecchia di Quattropani on Lipari, as well.

To reach the islands, you can take a hydrofoil, ferry or helicopter from various cities in Sicily. By hydrofoil, you can reach the islands in as little as 40 minutes. The islands do have some hotels and resorts for overnight stays (Lipari is one of the most popular), but they also make for a great daytrip. Check the Liberty Lines website for hydrofoil and ferry routes.

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Mount Etna1 of 14
 Greek Theatre of Taormina2 of 14
Type
Time to Spend
#2 Mount Etna

Located on the island's east coast, Mount Etna is perhaps Sicily's best-known geological feature encompassing nearly 48,000 acres within Etna National Park. A UNESCO World Heritage Site and the highest volcano in Europe known for its frequent activity (it's erupted as recently as spring 2019), Mount Etna hosts hikers in the summer months and skiers during the winter. It is a great stop for nature lovers. In addition to the volcano itself, there are several interesting geological features like caves, grottos and even a glacier. The Etna Park Visitor Center offers naturalist-guided tours that depart from the center.

Visitors recommend taking the Circumetnea Railway nearly 130-mile ride around the volcano, but advise you may have to pay to park and suggest bringing layers of clothes for changing temperatures. You can also opt for a cable car operated by Funivia Dell'Etna followed by a bus ride to reach the upper crater area of the volcano. The south area with cable car access, Rifugio Sapienza, offers free parking. You can also hike at any point, but certain elevations require you to have a guide.

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