Vulcano trip planner

A volcanic island of bubbling mud pits, fizzy warm seawater, black sand beaches, and sulfurous craters to climb in the Aeolian Islands of Sicily

Vulcano guide
• Sights
• Hotels
• Restaurants
• Planning FAQ
This is a simple, low-key resort island cashing in on its volcanic nature: a black-sand beach; open-air, stinking, bubbling hot mud baths next to a Jacuzzi-like beach of fizzy water heated by natural gas; and two volcanic craters to climb, the larger still smoking with hot, sulfurous fumes.

The Fanghi and the natural Jacuzzi beach

TK. After a maximum of 15 minutes smearing yourself with the supposedly salubrious mud—do not under any circumstances get it anywhere near your eyes—hop across the rocks to the beach just beyond, where underwater hot gas jets give it an effect somewhere between a jacuzzi and acqua minerale frizzante (the underwater rocks near the vents can be scalding, so watch your toes).

The best beach on Vulcano

Although there's a stretch of yellow sand running up from the Fanghi Jacuzzi spot, those muds make it a bit scummy as a beach. Instead, continue along the main road away from the port and, where it turns sharply right to head toward Vulcanello, turn left off the road where signs point to boat rental outfits for a long and crowded black sand beach, the best swimming on the island.


From here, the road continues arrow-straight toward Vulcanello, [TK history of crater].

The 20 minute clamber to the top is rewarded with a view into the pint-sized crater, a calliope of those seemingly unnatural colors volcanoes disgorge: mud gray, burnt orange, dusty hot pink, egg-yolk yellow, dirty pea green, violet, rust, bone white, and black. Against one wall is a short tunnel that marks where a Scottish chap profitably mined sulphur and other minerals until TK sent him running; the cool cavern is filled solid with flies, but you can scramble down into the crater to admire the weird wavy erosion effects of the surrounding rock.

The trailhead to the top is far from obvious; after the main road turns sharply left, turn up the gated driveway across from the see-around-the-bend road mirror. The driveway climbs and curves right, just after which there's a low gate and parking space on the left; hidden among the trees at the back of this is the path up to Vulcanello.

On the back (north) side of Vulcanello, set into the black sands that slope down to the water, is the rather grandiosely named Valle dei Mostri (valley of the monsters) where a few bread crust bombs spewed forth from the last eruption have weathered into eerily twisted shapes. You can reach it by going back to that main road and following it to the end (at the fork, take the right path and turn left before the gate).

Gran Cratere

Bring a handkerchief or pull your shirt over your nose when passing through the choking clouds emanating from the sulphur vents.

Tips & links


Visitor information: The seasonal tourist office (tel. +39-090-985-2028) is set up in a different spot every year, but signs will point it out. Its open only mid-June to mid-October, Monday to Saturday 8:30am to 1pm and 4:30 to 7pm.

The provincial website for Lipari and the Aeolian Islands is packed with good info: There also great info on the islands' Pro Loco site ( plus on and the official (but buggy)

There are permanent tourist offices on Lipari at Corso V. Emanuele 202 (tel. +39-090-988-0095) and in Milazzo on Piazza Caio Duilio (tel. +39-090-922-2865).

For more info:

Hotels on Vulcano
Planning your time

You could just alight from the ferry at Vulcano, spend a few hours at the fanghi, then hop another ferry to continue on to Lipari or elsewhere. Most visitors, of course, spend at least one night. (More tips on spending from one to four days exploring the Aeolian islands)

At the fanghi (mud pits)

Remove all jewelry before you get in (so it will not get discolored) and don't get any mud in your eyes. (Note: That's not some joke about the old "here's mud in yer eye" toast; it's an actual warning. There are caustic chemicals in the mud that can burn your eyes.)

How to get to Vulcano

You can only get to Stromboli by boat—a hydrofoil (aliscafo) will be twice as fast, twice as expensive, and half as romantic as a ferry (traghetto).

Ferry companies to the Aeolians
All boat companies charge pretty much the same prices, so choose based on convenience of departure times. Buy your tickets one-way so you’re free to choose among the companies for the most convenient departures times as you go along, either to the next island or back to the mainland. View current schedules and ticket prices at the websites of the various ferry and hydrofoil lines, listed in the box on the right.

The main Sicilian port for the Aeolians is Milazzo, on a promontory 40km (24 miles) west or Messina—though there are also limited services from Messina, Palermo, Cefalù, and Naples.

  • How to get to Vulcano from Lipari, Panarea, or Stromboli: Most boats island-hop, stopping at all the major islands (and sometimes at smaller Aeolian islands not detailed on this site). As you'll see below, most boats from any port are also going to stop at the three other Aeolian islands, so you can easily pick them any of them to get from elsewhere in the Aeolians to Vulcano.
  • How to get to Vulcano from Milazzo: In winter, expect about half as many runs as listed here, and not always daily ferry service to Stromboli (hydrofoils, however, will run daily). (Read how to get to Milazzo here)

    • The hydrofoil from Milazzo—Siremar or Ustica Lines (see box above to right for contact info on all companies)—runs 7 times daily to Vulcano (40–60 min.) and Lipari (55–60 min.), 4 times daily to Panarea (1.5–2 hr.) and Stromboli (1–3 hr.).
    • The ferry from Milazzo—Siremar or N.G.I.—runs 9 times daily to Vulcano (85 min.) and Lipari (2 hr.), 1–2 times daily to Panarea (4–5 hr.) and Stromboli (6–7 hr.).
  • How to get to Vulcano from Messina: Ustica Lines runs 5 hydrofoils daily to Lipari (1.5–3.5 hr.), 4 to Vulcano (2–3 hr.), and 3 each to Panarea (2–3.5 hr.) and Stromboli (1.5–3 hr.). [The hours look funny because while some island-hop, others are direct.]
  • How to get to Vulcano from Naples: June to early September, there is a 2:30pm SNAV hydrofoil from Naples to Milazzo that stops at Stromboli (5 hr.), Panarea (5.5 hr.) Vulcano (6.5 hr.), and Lipari (7 hr.). In July and August there is a second run Saturdays leaving Naples at 9am (though it skips Vulcano).

    Siremar runs a 8pm ferry from Naples to Milazzo at least twice weekly that stops at Stromboli (9–10 hr.), Panarea (11–12 hr.), Lipari (13.5–15 hr.), and Vulcano (14.5–16 hr.). If you take the ferry, be on deck around 5am to watch Stromboli erupt as the sun rises.
  • How to get to Vulcano from Cefalù: Ustica Lines runs one hydrofoil daily that leaves at 8:15am and stops at (among others) Lipari (just over 2 hr.), Vulcano (3.5 hr.), Panarea (just under 4 hr.), and Stromboli (4.5 hr.).
  • How to get to Vulcano from Palermo: Ustica Lines runs 2 lines daily that stop in Lipari (4–4.5 hr.), Vulcano (4.5–5 hr.), Panarea (4.5–5 hr.), and Stromboli (5–6 hr.).



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