The aeolian archipelago comprises 8 islands that represent the subaerial part of a large volcanic complex, most of which lies under the sea. The islands formed in the last 260,000 years but the underwater portions are older, the oldest, Alicudi, which is 1.3 million years old. Today there are two active volcanoes – Stromboli and Vulcano but the volcanic activity of steaming fumarole and thermal waters are on most of the islands.
Isola Vulcano is the closest island to Sicily. We arrived late in the afternoon and were anchored in a busy harbour with frequent ferry and tour boat arrivals/ departures. The island has extinct craters which originally appeared from the sea in 183BC and one active crater. There are bubbling mud pools and hot mineral springs on the island. Reportedly the mud pools are therapeutic but Karolina and I did not feel the urge to immerse ourselves in the mud. We rented a buggy and drove up to the largest extinct crater where agriculture is dominant. This also offered some spectacular views of the other islands. In the early morning when the sea was calm, I noticed bubbles coming to the surface around the boat, from the seabed. Quite a warm early morning swim. Due to the constant sulphur smell we were ready to move on.
Isola Stromboli, “the lighthouse of the Mediterranean” dubbed from ancient times to present. This volcano has continuous emission of gas and in frequent explosions emitting jets of hot gas and fragments of glowing lava and solid rocks. Arriving to the island in darkness we could see the red glow from the crater and were presented with at least 5 mild explosions Quite a spectacular fireworks show by mother nature. We then continued around to the NE side of the island where we anchored and woke up to see this amazing island up close. We enjoyed a walk around the main village of Stromboli and a visit to the Volcano information center. We watched a short video of a major explosion from 2002. This eruption caused a tsunami and fortunately did not cause damage as did the major tsunami after a eruption in 1930. The most recent eruption was April 2009.
Isola Panarea, there is archaeological evidence on the island dating back to approximately 1200BC. Today it is a fashionable vacation destination with many nice villas, B&Bs and small hotels. Several nice upscale restaurants and many cafes. It is very pleasant to walk around the paved stoned paths offering a quiet and calm atmosphere.
Isola Lipari, is the largest island of the archipelago and most populated. The island has 3 peaks and is quite mountainous. Lipari town is charming to walk the narrow streets. Excavations have uncovered historical civilisations: Phoenician, Greek, Carthaginian, Roman, Byzantine, Norman and the Spanish. We anchored just below the fort of the castello. They had colored lights placed on the walls which offered a nice view for dinner on board. A very pleasant place to enjoy for a few days offering those extra special Silician deli and pastry boutiques in addition to all the historical sites.
With the weather forecast looming we left the islands and found refuge at Marina di Portorosa Sicily where we spent a few days in the heavy rains, thunder and winds. It was also more convenient for Karolina to get to the airport for her return home.