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Stromboli
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Ways to Experience Stromboli Volcano
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Reviewed August 5, 2013

We did the free climb on the say-so of the Magmatrek Company as I did not have any experience climbing. It was a challenging climb but really worth it when we got to see Stromboli erupt. Definitely worth it and when I go back I will be fitter and have more climbing experience so I can go on the Magmatrek climb to the top.

Date of experience: July 2013
Thank AJ B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 30, 2013

Sorry, did this hike in Jan 2013, but just getting around to making my review!
Great hike with Magmatrek! Guide spoke a bit of english and held a perfect pace for our group of 8. My 6 and 9 year old daughters had no problem with the hike (although we do lots of hiking as a family), and the guide was very very good with them (holding hands, providing encouragement). The weather was incredible and the volcano did not disappoint!!
We were rewarded with great explosions, loud booms and at times we were close enough to feel the heat of the explosions on our face! Our guide told us that he had been leading trips for over 15 years, but that this evening was one of the best show's he had seen. The wind blew the gas and vapour away from us which provided unobstructed views - simply incredible!
We've done lots of travelling, seen lots of things, but getting this close to an active volcano is definitely a highlight!!
Bring: lots of water, snacks, warm clothes, good hiking boots, camera, video
You will be hiking down in pitch black conditions!! Your boots will fill with ash/sand; its just the way it is...
If you can schedule your trip in Dec/Jan then you'll be rewarded with cool temperatures, a small group and only one trip per day...if you schedule in summer it will be crazy hot, oversized groups, with multiple groups on the trail and at the summit....

Date of experience: January 2013
1  Thank Doug13B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 29, 2013

The hike to the Vulcano is A MUST DO! Tremendus experience.
However try to avoid "Stromboli Adventures" as guides (there are 4 guide-bureaues on the island). We had booked one day ahead (which is late) but had a confirmed booking for 17 oclock pm with an English speaking guide. When arraving we where informed, that we had been moved to a 18 o'clock group (which turned out to be 18.30). It seems as if they just enlarge the groups (beyound the max of 20 pers according to guide books) - we where 32 leaving - and the guide sure did not count us coming back :-) . 1/4 up the mountain the guide presented himself - and it turned out that the guy spoke only Italien - despite at least 1/3 of the group did not understand this.
However despite all this - The vulcano is a marvelous experience (and the climb is not that hard) - I do not know if the other bureaues are "draining the cow" to the same extent as "Stromboli adventures" - but if you have an option try some of the others.

Date of experience: July 2013
4  Thank CDL-DK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 24, 2013

Climbed late July 2013. Was a really hard & hot climb, struggled a bit. Take lots of water, some food, changes of shirt & windbreaker. Boots are a must. So worth the pain once you see the eruptions. Was truly magnificent spending the half hour on the summit watching into the crater. Hike down was not difficult, but was also v hot (at 11PM). Magmatrek were great (that's why they've been there longer than anyone else), guide was attentive to the whole group & spoke good enough English. Enjoy !!!

Date of experience: July 2013
Thank adamc8432
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 22, 2013

I will divide this review into several parts for easier reading.

Practicalities:
Getting there
There are a few different ferry companies going to Stromboli a few times a day from Milazzo as well as from Capri and the other islands. We chose to take the ferry from Milazzo as this worked out the best for us. It takes about 2-3 hours to get to Stromboli, and from Milazzo it cost about 100 euros for two people return.

Accommodation:
The island is solely inhabited for tourism, so there are many options for accommodations that are close to the port. The hotels are expensive as this is a small island. We chose the Ossidiana right by the port because of its location.

Touring Companies
There are a few local ones once you get to the island, but since we wanted to make sure we had a spot in a tour on the day we needed, we reserved a spot with Magma Trek. You have to email them to reserve and then confirm your reservation one week ahead, otherwise they will cancel it. Their office is located up the hill from the port right behind the main church/square. They are closed between noon and 4, but if you need information, you can catch them in the morning. Their cost in July 2013 was 25/person that included a guide to the top summit of 950m for 5 hours and a dust mask on the way back (more on this later). The hikes usually start around 5 or 5:30 (they will tell you in the email confirmation when to be at their office), so you should be at their office at least 30 minutes before to register and pick up gear if you're renting.

Gear
In the reservation email, you will be told what to bring. Some people didn't bring the basic things that were recommended and didn't have such a good time of it (more on this later)
The mandatory gear are hiking boots and a flashlight/head lamp. If you don't have your own, hiking boots can be rented from a place nearby for 6 euros and they have all sizes. Boots are a must - they won't let you climb in sneakers, and even low hiking shoes are not so great because there are very rocky parts and you need lots of ankle support. The higher boots are also mostly necessary for the hike down, as a different path is taken and it's through quite deep black lava sand, so if you don't have boots, sand will get in your shoes and that is not comfy.
Flash/light or headlamp is mandatory because you are coming down the volcano at night. I haven't seen any flashlights for rent but there may be some.

Other things to bring:
The hiking boots and the flashlight are things you won't be allowed to climb without. The remaining items listed below are recommended, but in my opinion should also be mandatory, because it makes the hike much easier:
1. Change of t-shirt. Even though the hike starts close to sunset, it is still 30 degrees out, and climbing up works up quite a sweat - by the time you reach the top you will be soaked, guaranteed. It's quite chilly at the top - about 10-15 degrees, so a big difference from the ground. If you don't have a shirt to change into you may catch a cold or just be very uncomfortable.
2. Fleece. As you're climbing up, it gets windier and colder, so a fleece really saves the day.
3. Windbreaker. See #2 - this is especially important for the very top. There are wind breakers to be rented at the rental shop.
4. Good, tall socks. Because of the sand on the way down, it's good to have taller socks to prevent as much sand as possible from getting in your shoes. If you have those shoe ankle covers, those are even better.
5. 2L of water per person. You will sweat a lot, and lose a lot of water, so water is essential.
6. Snacks/granola bars, etc. You'll want a snack at the top, as it's a 2.5 hour hike up.
7. Back back to put all this in - preferably as small as possible, as it's quite hot and you'll want to have the least stuff as possible on you.

Some people in our group didn't bring some of these things and didn't have a good time of it. If you're into taking good photos - a tripod may be good as most of the good shots will be at night. Some people got some cuts on them from the shrubs, so maybe a bandaid or two couldn't hurt.

The Hike
The hike starts fairly easy and level, and then it quickly starts ascending through dirt paths and vegetation. Since it's super hot, especially at the very beginning until you've reached the point where the sun has gone behind the mountain, the pace is super slow. We are a couple in our early 30s that don't work out regularily and get very little exercise (about 30 min walk every day to work), and we found this pace too slow, but for some people even this was too much (one couple turned back halfway). Most people however were fine. Halfway up, the bath starts being more rocky and sandy, and the last 300 metres is only rocks, so this is where the hiking boots help quite a bit. The path zig zags up as it's very steep. The last 100 metres or so are easy, as it's fairly flat sand. Once you're at about 800 m, you can finally see the other side of the island and the sun setting over the horizon, as well as the two of three craters of the volcano.
We took plenty of breaks, and our guide was informative about different areas of the mountain and the history of the area.

The Peak:
There are several groups at the peak when you arrive, so each group gets a designated spot as not to get in each others' way. There is plenty of space for everyone so don't panic about not being able to have a good spot for pictures. The view is simply astounding. The sun is setting over the horizon and the volcano below is bubbling away with lava. There are three craters - the small one constantly has lava bubbling at the top, and is always visible. The big crater erupts every 30 minutes in the form of either black smoke or full out lava. We weren't lucky enough to get the lava coming from the big crater - we only got a big dark puff of smoke, that filled the entire summit with a cloud. We left soon after, as our guide told us that once this happens, the cloud doesn't dissipate until the morning. So, unfortunately for us, we didn't experience the full effect of Stromboli, but nonetheless, the experience was unforgettable.

The Descent.
It takes about an hour to get down the mountain, and the bath taken down is different than the path taken up, as it's much less dangerous in the dark. The path down is mostly just mounds and mounds of black sand. Your foot keeps sinking down halfway before you can lift up your foot again to make another step. It almost feels like snowing down sand. This is another place where the hiking boots really help - both to support your ankles and to let as little sand as possible in. There are rest breaks when you're allowed to empty out your shoes.
For those people with bad knees, walking sticks may be useful here.
After the sandy part, you enter the dusty paths with vegetation, at which point, the guide will hand out a dust mask. It's necessary, as you'll witness - sometimes it's hard to keep your eyes open from the dust.

The hike ends at the same place where it started, and you can return your rental equipment right then. If you don't bring any ID for your rental equipment, you'll be asked to leave a deposit (we were asked for 30 euros).

Overall, this was one of the best hikes I've been on - it wasn't too difficult in terms of terrain, it was just very hot at the beginning, and on the way down, the sand surfing sometimes felt uncomfortable. For the adventurous types out there, this is definitely a must!

Date of experience: July 2013
25  Thank Travel_Bug81
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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