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brenno
2013-05-11 10:49:04
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Vulcano, Aeolian Islands, Sicily
For anybody with any interest in volcanoes and geology in general, the Aeolian Islands north of Sicily are an absolute treat – and Vulcano, the island in the archipelago closest to the mainland provides a nice easy introduction to walking in these incredibly beautiful islands.
The main walk is from the small ferry port to the top of the Gran Cretere which rises to a height of 500m at the highest point of the crater rim. This is a pretty easy walk, although might be a bit more difficult in high summer when temperatures are regularly above 35 degrees. If it is hot, maybe do this walk early or late in the day, and bring loads of water. There is no shelter from the sun anywhere on the walk.
Follow the tarred road from the port for about 500 metres until there is a clearly marked trail on the left which winds its way up the side of the volcano until it reaches the crater rim. The going is pretty gentle and occasionally a bit rough underfoot, but it shouldn’t take more than an hour to reach the crater rim.
From there, simply follow the crater rim in an anti-clockwise direction until you reach the high point at 500m. When we went up you couldn’t complete a full circuit of the crater rim and had to go back the way we came. Views from the top are fantastic – to the north and west are the rest of the Aeolian Islands – including the perpetually active Stromboli to the far north east, to the south is the Sicilian mainland with Etna dominating the skyline. Vulcano hasn’t been volcanically active since 1890, but the crater has loads of yellow fumaroles emitting sulphur dioxide.
After you get down you have the option of going to the thermal mud springs (costs a couple of euro) and which are supposed to have lots of health-giving properties. Be prepared though to dump your swim togs after the mud springs – you’ll never the sulphur stink out of them! Either that or simply go for a swim on the black sand beach while you wait for the ferry.
Not much in terms of accommodation on Vulcano – apart from one expensive hotel but there’s loads of accommodation at all price levels in Lipari, the main island in the archipelago which is a 20 minute ferry ride away. Vulcano is best done as a day trip from Lipari.
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