Ragusa is one of the most picturesque towns in Sicily. the view from the upper town over Ragusa Ibla on its own separate hill top is quite breathtaking.
Vulcano Aeolian Islands | Best things to do on this island
Vulcano, how did we get there?
The route to Vulcano. After leaving Rome we headed to Palermo on an overnight ferry which was an experience in itself. We booked our ferry through Direct Ferries and with it being our first time, chose the most competitive option which was a seat rather than a cabin. After spending a rather uncomfortable night we said if we travelled again on an overnight ferry we’d always choose a cabin option.
Our Ferry Tips
- Spend the extra few Euro’s to get a cabin as its an uncomfortable night in a chair.
- Book ahead of time online to ensure you get a cabin and the date you want.
- The restaurant on board is really good. Self service with the usual Italian fare and good salads
- Get up early (approx 6am) to see the boats arrival to Sicily, it’s a beautiful sight.
- Make sure you take everything with you when you depart – Some lucky person got Chris’s brand new walking boots!
The journey itself, apart from the uncomfortable seat, was good and we left Rome at 8pm and arrived in Palermo at 8am the following morning. Arriving in Palermo we immediately headed for the train station as we had a long journey by train to Milazzo. From Milazzo we’d catch a hydrofoil that would take us to Vulcano our first of the Aeolian Islands we were visiting on this trip.
Where did we stay on Vulcano?
We prebooked a fabulous little hotel right at the base of the volcano of Vulcano. Hotel Aura was small, comfortable and offered a fabulous continental breakfast and guess what? It had a pool. There was a little church nearby and you could hear the soft ringing bells at different points of the day which was lovely. The price for our stay was around the £80 mark for a night, so super competitive and excellent value for money. It was a great start to our Aeolian Islands adventure.
Climb Vulcano, the volcano
This was one of the best things we did on our visit to this Aeolian Island. The smell of sulphur, the view into the crater and the views to the other islands were spectacular. Its not a steep nor arduous climb and the path is fairly wide and totally easy to follow with signposts guiding the way. The views at the top were spectacular and you could see all the way to Stromboli and all the other Aeolian Islands in between.
Hire a quad bike
We hired a quad bike and took a picnic to the other side of the island where we spent the afternoon on a deserted black sand beach. It was idyllic, well that was until a big gust of wind blew black sand all over our meats and cheeses, uh oh!
You can hire a quad bike from a vendor quite close to the port area of Vulcano, Nolo Sprint da Luigi and it wasn’t expensive at all. He had other vehicles for hire, scooters, bikes etc. I cant exactly remember the price but it wasn’t expensive and worth it to do a bit of exploring.
Visit the Valley of the Monsters
The most overrated attraction we’ve ever seen in our lives but worth it for the giggle factor and its really something you have to go and see for yourselves. The Valley of the monsters is a group of lava flows which have solidified into Godzilla like shapes. You have to use your imagination here but definitely should be on your list for a visit.
The mud baths | Vulcano’s best attraction
With the Aeolian islands being volcanic, the majority of the islands have volcanic attractions and here on Vulcano there is a delightful mud pool close to the centre of town that is very popular with locals and tourists alike. The mud has sulfuric properties which is said to be really good for you but you’ll need a peg for your nose as its a bit whiffy!
What about the food?
Vulcano has a few restaurants, snack bars and take aways to choose from. We were there towards the end of the season so they were all really quiet but the food was good. Here are a couple of places we tried and would recommend.
Ristorante Maurizio – this was the first restaurant we ate in when we arrived on the island. We’d been travelling all day by train and the previous night in an uncomfortable chair on a ferry so we were exhausted. We did try the restaurant again as it was sooooo good. A bit special with some dishes that you’d find in a fine dining restaurant. Definitely worth a visit.
Geco Bar – this was our first stop of the evening for an aperitivo. It was the first time we tried that strange looking orange drink that we all now know as Aperol Spritz. A couple at the next table had them and I asked the waitress what they were and we’ve never looked back. Our aperitivo of choice was born.
Ristorante Il Castello di Vulcano – best pizza in town. We visited here twice. Once as a sit down meal and once as a take away, both times were fab. Traditional Italian trattoria food. Perfecto!
Alternatively what we like to do is visit the local deli and bakers and get ourselves some local meats and cheese and build our own lunch. So delicious
Booking resources for your trip
Tours & Tickets
You can book your visits as you go at the entrance to your chosen attraction or site. Or you could use the following links to book in advance or just to find out what your choices are in the area. GetYourGuide and Tiqets are our go to choices you could try Viator to see how they compare.
For a full list check out our resources page. Don’t forget always shop around to find the best deal for you. What works for us should be good for you but it’s always reassuring to check.
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San Vito lo Capo is on the western side of Sicily just West of Palermo and we chose this town as we wanted a few days of relaxing on the beach, swimming in the sea and eating delicious seafood and this town fit the bill.
Palermo is on the North Western tip of Sicily nestled in the Bay of Palermo in the Tyrrhenian Sea and is the capital of the island of Sicily.