One kilometer south of Lipari in the Aeolian Islands , beyond the narrow arm called Bocche di Vulcano , is the smoking crater of the Fossa (or Gran Cratere) of the island of Vulcano. Adored by the jet set for mud baths and thermal springs with therapeutic properties , this small island is an enchanting place, tourists come to the island to enjoy the quiet beaches of Gelso and Cannitello , the sulfur baths , boat trips around the wild coast and the view of the Gran Cratere among the fumaroles that give off sulphurous vapors.
It is certainly the ideal destination for a relaxing holiday. Mythical forge of the god Vulcan is characterized by the presence of four volcanic cones (two of which are extinguished) and by a vast plateau of lava and tuff engraved by valleys and surrounded by undulating hills that slope down to the sea. It is the first stop for ferries from Milazzo. The Great Crater menacingly dominates the northern tip of the island, the most inhabited, and the plume of steam that escapes constantly reminds us of its silent power.
Tourists who come to tan on the black sand beaches are not discouraged by the smell of sulfur , and many others land on Vulcano to immerse themselves in the sulphurous mud, because it is ... trendy . The numerous villas and luxury hotels help to reinforce the impression that Vulcano is one of the most exclusive islands of the archipelago. Vulcano also offers beautiful excursions, some of the strangest and most interesting volcanic phenomena in Sicily and one of the most beautiful beaches in the entire archipelago. Also interesting is the tour of the island by boat, which allows you to admire the splendid scenery of the coasts dotted with stacks, tips, inlets and hidden sea caves overlooking a cobalt blue sea.
The boats dock at the Porto di Levante . On the right, looking at the island, you will see the small peninsula of Vulcanello. To see the mud baths, turn right and continue along the seafront; the pools are located at its end, hidden behind a hillock. All services are concentrated between the Porto di Levante and the Porto di Ponente, where you will find the long and suggestive black beach. Of the three volcanoes on the island, the oldest is located on the southern tip, already extinct when the first settlements arose, even if the fumarole activity continues today.
What to see on the island of Vulcano
Fossa di Vulcano
A great attraction of the island is the climb to the Gran Cratere della Fossa, the path that reaches the crater is well marked. The path flanked by " Al Cratere " signs from the port area leads south along the Provincial road, about 500 m further on, a path that climbs to the left leads directly to the Crater. It takes about an hour to reach the lower edge of the crater rim . The initial part of the climb is quite challenging due to the terrain made up of ash and lapilli. Further on, the soil becomes clayey, while the last stretch of the path is rocky. Once you reach the top, you can lean out and look into the main crater where the bottom of the volcano, less than 50 meters below, is clearly visible. A steep path, which can be covered in three minutes, descends inside the crater; there are many tourists who venture on their faces. For a 360 degree panorama that embraces all the islands aligned to the north, follow the rim of the crater clockwise. Along the way you pass by numerous fumaroles that emit sulfur vapors.
Port of Levante
To the right of the pier at the foot of the stack is the Pozza dei Fanghi; immediately next to the mud baths stands the cone of Vulcanello, where you will see the Valle dei Mostri , a group of dark rocks eroded by the wind that have taken on grotesque shapes.
Port of Ponente
On the opposite side of the isthmus from Porto di Levante is Porto di Ponente with its black sand beach , an expanse of fine sand with extraordinary stacks that stretch towards the sky. Usually on the beach it is also possible to rent inflatable boats.
Piano and Capo Grillo
Il Piano is the area where most of the population of Vulcano lives , as well as the starting point to reach Capo Grillo, which offers a wonderful view of the coast and the sea.
On the southern coast of the island there is Gelso, a magnificent marina with two black sand beaches that are never too crowded. Most tourists visit this location for a day to enjoy the beautiful beaches located not far from Gelso, reached by steep dirt paths.