Stromboli is an amazing very small Italian volcanic island in the Tyrrhenian Sea just north of Sicily (province Messina). It is one of the Aeolian Islands. The island of Stromboli is little more than just the 900 m high volcano itself and thus has a very small size of only 12.6 square kilometres. Two kilometres northeast of Stromboli is the small, uninhabited sister island Strombolicchio. The island is unique because of the Stromboli Volcano: This continuously active volcano is one of the few in the world where a visitor can see an eruption "up close and personal" most of the time, at regular intervals (every 15-20 minutes) which spew out incandescent lapillus and fragments of magma down towards the sea along a steep slant named sciara del fuoco. Here you will find the pure elements of our planet: earth, fire, water, air. The fire-spitting mountain in the cobalt blue sea is simply a miracle of nature.
Our Stromboli house sits just a few metres above sea level. It is built in the peculiar style of the Aeolian Islands: a cubic-shaped white house clinging on a narrow path with its staircases and flourishing courtyard. The rocky cliffs of lava stone are just below the house. A little footpath with a few steps separates the house from the little beaches of dark volacanic sand (100 m). The house has been furnished with simplicity and functionality, and it has a terrace with pergola equipped for open-air dinners. The views of sea and sky are simply wonderful. Located in the area of Piscità, a grocery shop is 80 m, pizzerias and restaurants are 300-700 m from the house.
There are two villages on the island, the larger Stromboli and the much smaller Ginostra, a former fishing village rarely visited by tourists. It is not yet feasible to walk between the villages (although a trans-island hiking trail is under construction as of 2007), and the only way to travel between them is by boat. Together, both villages only have about 400 inhabitants. Due to the absence of a touristic harbor and large hotels the island has kept its original atmosphere: life in this spot of the world is simple and relaxing.
Due to the size of the island and lacking streets, neither cars nor buses or trains exist. The only available means of transport are "ape-cars", small motorbikes and boats. The only other way to move around the island is by walking. The residents have decided to light the streets at night exclusively by torches, lanterns and starlight... a new dimension out of time... a sensational and marvellous atmosphere. Since there are no streetlights in either village, and if you're out after dark, you'll be well advised to use a flashlight. We recommend light clothing for beach life and more thick and sporty clothing for trekking excursions to the volcano.
What to see and to do?
The villages, which are almost unchanged by tourism, are worth a closer look, especially the rather hidden Ginostra with the smallest European port (one boat only!) at all is nice to see. There is a nice beach with fine black lava sand in Stromboli, where one can relax and swim in the sea. Most visitors to the island come to climb (or at least hike on) Stromboli Volcano. However, other opportunities for outdoor recreation exist.
Stromboli Volcano: This continuously active volcano is one of the few in the world where a visitor can see an eruption "up close and personal" most of the time. Excursions to the craters, whose visit with licensed guides is recommended, is a unique experience but quite demanding as it requires 3 hours walking along footpaths to reach the volcano logic observatory just 100 metres from the 3 active cones. In most conditions you can hike unaccompanied to an elevation of 400 meters, but beyond this level you will need a guide. A reliable guide service is Magmatrek, Via Vittorio Emanuele (telephone +39 090 9865768) but there are other guide services in town that are also satisfactory. Don't climb without a guide; the access limitations are enforced (sporadically) and fines are substantial. Stromboli gives its name to a type of volcanic eruption that's frequent visually spectacular, and fairly safe to approach most of the time. "Strombolian eruptions" are characterized by nearly continuous emission of blobs of lava shot a small distance into the air as "fire fountains". They're seen to best advantage at night, and a camera capable of timed exposures of several seconds is required to get the most interesting photos.
Take a boat ride around the island. The picturesque little village of Ginostra is on the opposite side of the island from Stromboli town and is only reachable by boat. Outfitters near the harbor in Stromboli town offer rides, which can usually be arranged on site.
Scuba diving is possible at the small island of Strombolicchio, offshore from Stromboli town. The water is very clear, and you can see the continuation of the volcanic plug comprising Strombolicchio far below the surface. Dry-land activities on Strombolicchio are generally not allowed as the island is a nature preserve. Lighthouse on top.
In Stromboli there are a handful of trattorias and pizzerias. If there's any place in Stromboli village that can be called "bustling," it's probably the open-air bar next to the large church. Gorgeous views out to sea, and adequate munchies to accompany your libations as you enjoy the view.
Sightseeing trips to 6 islands nearby: Lipari, Volcano, Panarea, Salina (some of the film "Il Postino" was shot here), Filicudi and Alicudi.
Get in and out
Access is by boat, there being no place on the island to put an airport. The hydrofoil and ferry operators SIREMAR, Ustica Lines, and NGI all connect Stromboli village and Ginostra to other points in the Aeolian Islands and to Sicily and the mainland. You may have to change boats in Lipari. Don't even think of bringing a car with you, as you'll have no place to use it. Consequently, it's highly advantageous to ride the fast hydrofoil rather than a ferry.
During high season we strongly recommend to book ferry tickets for Stromboli in advance. Please contact your local travel agency for the ferry tickets.
Getting there via Naples: Flights to Naples (BA/Alitalia/Easyjet from London Gatwick or Stansted). From Naples, two options: 4 hours in hydrospeed (Aliscafo) from the company SNAV (telephone +390814285555) the last departure is around 2 pm. Or a whole night crossing with company Siremar (telephone +390813172999). Book a cabin. Departure from Naples at around 9 pm, arrival at 6 am at Stromboli.
Getting there via Milazzo, Sicily: Daily connections between Milazzo and Stromboli with Ustica lines or Siremar. Stops at Lipari, Vulcano, Salinas, Panarea, Ginostra, Stromboli with Ustica (2 1/2 hours). Lipari, Panarea, Ginostra, Stromboli with Siremar (2 hours). First boat leaves around 7 am and last boat around 1 pm. There is a train from Rome to Milazzo which arrives early morning in Milazzo. Otherwise the closet airport is Catania.
Further information and time table: http://www.eoliando.it/arrivo/arrivo_eng.htm
Additional amenities include: 4-ring-gas hob, 2 sun loungers and 4 sun chairs as well as outdoor furniture for al fresco dining....Read more
As featured in USA TODAY and recommended by Travel + Leisure in its annual Villa Guide:
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