Date of visit: March 2014
Tour or pre planned: Tour
Magmatrek Hiking Blog
I’ve been through the Christchurch earthquake, as well as tornado chasing in the states, so next on the bucket list was to see an active volcano in full force. We signed up to a hike up Stromboli, one of the many Aeolian Islands to the north of Sicily. Magmatrek is a company which specializes in hikes up the mountain with experienced guides, and for a low fare of 25 euros per person, you can get up close and personal with mother nature’s craters.
We turned up at the allotted time of 4pm to meet up with Lorenzo Russo and were greeted by his team and meet our guides, Lorenzo (the second) and Umberto. We were the last group to leave base camp at about 5.30pm (about 5 groups of 15-20 people each, spaced 15-20mins apart) to start our adventure. The walking pace was slow, but allowed us to take in all the scenery, and allowed for a wide variety of different fitness levels. We took frequent stops every 25-30 minutes where our guides would shed some light on the history of the island, the native plants, different types of volcanic rocks, and much more.
The hike up the mountain took about 2 and a half hours before the breath-taking instant where you saw the clouds of smoke from the craters. Picture this, the sun setting in the background, with an eruption from the volcano in the foreground. Absolutely brilliant!
We even took up some marshmallows to roast, but unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) we did not get up too close to the lava, but were well within viewing distance and still able to get some awesome pics from a standard phone camera.
We stayed up the top for about 45 mintues before making the homeward trek down in the darkness of the night sky.
All in all, I would rate this hike a massive 8/10. Well organised by Lorenzo and his team, great explanations of the local environment, and of course, mother nature coming to the party and putting on a great show.
The only thing that could have achieved the 10/10 was an earlier departure from the base as it would have been nice to see the volcano from the top while the sun was still up. As I said, we were the last group to leave, so by the time we got to the top it was dusk for about 15 minutes before the night sky set in
Top tips: Dress warm. Being Kiwis, we said ‘she will be right’ and wore shorts, not thinking about the altitude and wind chill factor. Also, you will need a good solid pair of hiking boots (you can hire them at a shop near by for 5 euro), and a torch for the way down.
An amazing trip, and we will not be forgetting this one any time soon. See a selection of our photos below.
Would you recommend this destination: Yes
Overall rating destination: 4 out of 5