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Expeditions > Aeolian Islands

Expedition Information:
Volcanoes of Italy, October 2019

The price is 800 euro per person.  The price includes:

  • All sea kayaking equipment: your choice of kayak, Werner or GL paddle, spray-deck, BA.
  • Safety and rescue equipment for the group - spare paddles, tow lines, radios, flares, etc
  • Logistics
  • Guiding
  • Laminated A4 maps of overview and each island
  • Group cooking equipment

The price does not include (with estimated costs per person):

  • Camping equipment, food and food preparation
  • Flight to Catania
  • Transfer from Catania airport to Milazzo (allow 40 euro pp)
  • Hotel in Milazzo (30  euro)
  • Various ferries (allow 6 x 15 euro)
  • Possible hotels en route (30 euro per night)
  • Fee for local guide on Stromboli (30 euro)
  • transfer to Mt Etna (40 euro)
  • 2 nights hotel in Etna (2 x 30 euro)
  • Etna transport and entrance fee (60 euro)
  • Transfer to Catania airport (20 euro)


The Aeolian Islands comprise 7 volcanic islands located north of Sicily.  The islands are connected to Milazzo, on Sicily, by daily passenger ferries. 

Aim of the expedition

The aim of the expedition is to explore the volcanoes of the Aeolian Islands by sea and foot.  The largest island, Lipari, is 29km around, so all islands can be circumnavigated in a day. Seven islands in 7 days, perhaps? Three days are planned for hiking on Volcano, Stromboli and Filicudi islands. Half days paddling/hiking are also likely.  See map

A map and photos of the 2017 expedition can be seen here.  A trip report by Kathy can be seen here

Expedition plan

The advertised dates allow 10 full days for the Aeolian island expedition (Oct 23-Nov 1), one day transferring to Mt Etna (Nov 2) one full day hiking on Mt Etna (Nov 3).  In the case of a favorable forecast at the start of the trip, we will take the ferry from Milazzo to Stromboli on Day 1, Oct 23, then after circumnavigating and summiting, work our way back to the bigger islands via Panarea.  Catching the ferry out to Filicudi/Alicudi from Salina is possible if time and weather allows.

In case of poor weather at the beginning then we would start at Volcano and spend a few days paddling the bigger and more sheltered islands and then go to Stromboli when the weather improves.

On Nov 2 we will take the ferry back to Milazzo from wherever we are, then get a shared transfer to Mt Etna (3 hours).  At Mt Etna we we will stay in a hotel for 2 nights and go hiking on Nov 3.

Arrival and departure

You must arrive in Catania airport by 4pm on Tuesday, October 22.  I will arrange a group transfer to Milazzo, takes about 3 hours.  We will stay in a hotel near the Milazzo ferry port, I will arrange this closer closer to the time.

On Nov 4 I will arrange a shared transfer to Catania airport at 9am, takes 1 hour.  You can depart at anytime from 11am on Monday November 4.

If you want to extend your trip in Sicily either before or after, no problem.

About the crossings

We plan to paddle the shorter crossings of the 3 bigger islands, then take ferries to Panarea, Stromboli and perhaps to Filicudi and/or Alicudi.  The daily ferries give us the advantage of spending more time paddling around the islands and less time "crossing".  However, in case of perfect conditions, such as we had for Stromboli-Panarea-Salina in 2017, we will consider making longer crossings.

Required Paddling Experience

This expedition is for strong and competent paddlers who would like to enjoy the experience of an extended sea trip, including a possible open crossings of 19km.  Experience of specialist sea kayaks is essential.  To join us you should be:

  • Fit enough to paddle up to 30km per day AND to hike to 950m from sea level on Stromboli

  • Have some experience of rough water

  • Able to control the boat down wind and across the wind

  • Able to paddle into strong wind

  • Have experience and equipment for camping in the wind and rain.

Stromboli Island

The highlight of the trip is to climb the active volcanic island of Stromboli.  The climb to the summit crater is only permitted with a local guide.  Cost is 30 euro pp.  Departure is around 2pm and takes around 6 hours.  It takes about 3 hours to reach the summit crater.  In 2017 we stayed up for about 1.5 hours and saw numerous eruptions, see a video here.  It took 1.5 hours to descend, returning at around 9pm, in the dark.

See hiking map here.  We will camp on the beach near the town in the lower left, the route to the summit is in green, zigzag up, straight down.  On the LHS of this map you will see recommended equipment.  I suggest walking shoes rather than boots and the addition of a fleece, thermals, a hat.  It was really cold on the summit in in 2017 while we were standing around waiting for the eruptions.

Mt Etna

Dominating the NE Sicilian landscape at 3329m is the volcano of Mt Etna.  After our paddling adventure we will spend one day hiking on the slopes on Mt Etna in the hope that the weather will be kind.  We will arrive by car and stay at Refugio Sapennza at 2000m.  From Refugio, there is a teleferique to 2400 m, then a 4WD bus service to 2800m.  After viewing the craters and lava flows at this level you can hike back down without a guide.  This is what we did in 2017.

If the weather is good and volcanic activity mild, we might be able to hire a guide and attempt the summit (optional).


Camping will be wild, on or near beaches.  Some are remote and there will be no facilities.  Some are near to the towns, allowing us to go shopping of for a restaurant meal.  A strong lightweight, waterproof tent is essential.  All islands have hotels near to the port area so a night or 2 in a bed is possible, which could be very attractive in case of bad weather.


The expedition is self catering:-   Usually we each look after our own breakfast, lunch and snacks and prepare a group evening meal, in turn.  There are supermarkets on all the islands, near the ferry ports so we will shop as we go to keep the boats light for carrying on and off the ferry.    An occasional restaurant meal is also an option. You are welcome to bring food items from home if you wish.

Stoves and fuel

I will provide Trangia camping stoves for the group - one per 4 persons.  The stove includes 2x2l pots, a kettle and a 22cm frying pan.  I will also provide gas.


Temperature will be in the range 15-20 degrees.  Water will be around 18 degrees.  October is teh start of teh rainy season and rain is very likely.

What to wear

For paddling,  A cagoule (waterproof paddling jacket) and neoprene trousers or similar will be required on windy or rainy days. Shorts and a shirt will be sufficient on some days.

Good hiking shoes, warm layers and a good coat will be required for

If swimming in the hot mud pools on volcano island appeals, you will need disposable swimwear as, apparently, the smell is difficult to wash out.

See a complete packing list


Sea Kayak Milos is owned and operated by Rod Feldtmann and Petrinela Vikeli, of Triovasalos, Milos Greece.       home | about Milos | about us | contact us