There is a remarkable diversity of travel experiences to be enjoyed in the tiny archipelago of the Aeolian Islands, from erupting volcanoes and thermal mud baths to unspoilt beaches and delicious local seafood and wine. Neighbouring Sicily similarly enchants, with its rich history, melting-pot culture and wonders both natural and man-made. Titan’s outstanding value tour brings these treasures together, with a selection of optional excursions which invite you to balance your own holiday time between well-deserved relaxation and all-out exploration.
8 nights in hotels (accommodation as specified or similar)
Make your own way to London Heathrow Airport for a scheduled Alitalia flight to Catania via Rome. Upon arrival on Sicily’s east coast, we transfer to Milazzo Harbour for a short ferry journey to the island of Lipari. Our comfortable base for the next five nights is the Hotel Tritone Lipari (4T), set in pleasant gardens five minutes’ walk from the seafront on the island’s southern peninsula.
Day 2 Lipari
An included half-day tour reveals the many highlights of Lipari, largest of the Aeolian Islands. Lipari Town charms with its distinctive pastel-coloured seafront, and there are delightful vistas of rugged coastline and azure Mediterranean waters to appreciate elsewhere. The remainder of the day is at leisure to relax or make your own explorations.
Day 3 Lipari
Spend today at leisure or experience the neighbouring island of Vulcano on an optional half-day mini-cruise today. Nowhere is the volcanic heritage of the Aeolian Islands more accessible than here, with its sulphurous atmosphere and ever-smoking crater (which the Romans believed to be the chimney of the fire god Vulcan’s forge). The excursion includes a visit to the famously therapeutic geothermal mud baths.
Day 4 Lipari
A couple of optional excursions invite you to discover very different Aeolian Islands. Salina is a hidden gem - peaceful and beguilingly beautiful, it played a starring role in the 1994 film ‘Il Postino’. Don’t miss the chance to sample the excellent local wine. Alternatively combine the natural wonders of pretty Panarea, with its dark gold beaches, and Stromboli, a volcano which has been erupting almost continuously since 1932. Arriving here after sundown adds further drama to the lava flow.
Day 5 Lipari
A final optional excursion introduces yet another aspect of the enthralling Aeolians - the simplicity and beauty of two tiny, traditional islands. Filicudi offers no more sophisticated pleasures than eating fresh seafood and exploring unspoilt, shell-strewn beaches, but is all the more enjoyable for that. And pocket-sized Alicudi is home to only about 100 permanent inhabitants - a wild playground of nature in the midst of a deep blue sea.
Day 6 Lipari - Milazzo - Taormina
We return to Sicily and transfer to the Hotel Caparena (4T), which will host us for the next three nights. En route we take some time to discover the sublime hilltop resort of Taormina. Its rich history is engagingly apparent in its grand buildings and in its spectacularly located ancient theatre, overlooking Mount Etna and the stunning Bay of Giardini Naxos.
Day 7 Mount Etna
An included half-day excursion today takes us to Mount Etna, one of the most iconic and storied volcanoes on earth. It is Europe’s tallest, at 3,350m, and is regularly active (including 2016) - no wonder it held such fascination for the ancients; according to legend, this was the home of the one-eyed Cyclops and the place where Zeus buried the giant Enceladus, who causes an eruption every time he breathes. The remainder of the day is at leisure.
Day 8 Taormina
Take advantage of a further day at leisure to enjoy the excellent hotel amenities or shop for souvenirs.
Day 9 Taormina - Catania - London
Transfer to Rome Airport for a scheduled Alitalia flight to London Heathrow via Rome. Upon arrival, you are free to make your own way home.