Stromboli Boat Tour – How to Visit Europe’s Most Active Volcano

Stromboli Boat Tour

About Stromboli Volcano

Stromboli is a volcanic island and active volcano in the Tyrrhenian Sea just north of Sicily. It is one of the most active volcanos in the world, with small eruptions every 20 minutes or so. It’s possible to take a Stromboli boat tour, stay overnight on the island, and even climb the volcano.

Around 300 people live on the island with the constant threat of a large eruption ever-present. There is a black beach perfect for swimming and sunbathing (if you can put up with the odd sulfurous whiff) and a small village/town serving tourists.

In July 2022 I took a Stromboli tour and spent an afternoon exploring the island, before heading back out to sea to watch an eruption of Stromboli at night. My plan had been to stay overnight and hike to the top of the volcano, however I got sick on the road and my schedule meant I didn’t have enough time.

Below I will recount my experience and tell you how you can take your own Stromboli boat trip from Sicily.

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Tours to Stromboli

There are many different Stromboli boat tours available, and I chose this one departing Milazzo in northern Sicily.

I paid €70.00 which included the boat from Milazzo, a stop on the Aeolian island of Panarea, the trip to the volcano and a Stromboli night boat tour.

Seeing Stromboli at night is recommended as it’s much easier to see the lava spitting out of the crater.

Here are two of the best tours:

Panarea and Stromboli Night Tour – Book Here

Stromboli Hike to Sciara del Fuocu – Book Here

It’salso perfectly possible to plan your own trip without taking a tour too. Just book one of the daily ferries and you can visit for the day or stay overnight at one of the accommodation options on the island (see below).

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How Long Is a Stromboli Boat Tour

Milazzo to Stromboli Ferry
View of the volcano on my Stromboli boat tour

Most tours last all day as it takes at least a couple of hours to get to the island from Milazzo. The tour I chose was 10 hours in total. This included:

  • two hours travel time to Panarea
  • two hours on Panarea
  • one hour to Stromboli
  • three hours on Stromboli
  • two hours return trip to Milazzo

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How Much Does the Tour Cost?

I paid €70.00 which included all transport from Sicily to Panarea, Stromboli, and back again.

Food, drinks etc on the islands are extra and be aware that it’s a lot pricier than on the mainland. I paid €6.00 for a beer that cost no more than €2.00 in Milazzo.

How to Book a Stromboli Tour

I booked online through Get Your Guide. On the morning of the tour I went to the office opposite the ferry terminal. Here they scanned my online ticket, handed me a paper ticket and instructed me to cross the road to the waiting Stromboli ferry.

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About the Tour

Volcano in the Ocean
Stromboli Volcano as seen from the boat

The Boat

The boat had two large inside decks, an upper and a lower. There was also seating out the back and front, and it was possible to walk around the boat outside to take pictures. There were also clean toilets on board.

Panarea and the Aeolian Islands

You’ll have a chance for a couple of hours to explore the small village and beaches of Panarea. Some of the highlights include:

Capo Milazzese – the main village on Panarea with shops, cafes and restaurants

Cala Junco Bay – a beach in the shape of a Roman amphitheater perfect for snorkeling and diving

Cala degli Zimmari – a sandy beach perfect for sunbathing and swimming

Stromboli

Stromboli Night Tour
Stromboli Volcano from the island

The highlight of the trip of course is visiting Stromboli and walking around in the shadow of an active volcano. While I was there I swam at the black, volcanic beach and the water was exceptionally warm. It also got deep very quickly!

The main beach is rocky and painful to walk on barefoot, so make sure you bring sandals or flip-flops.

Saint Vincent’s Square / Piazza San Vincenzo is the main square on the island with lots of shops, cafes, restaurants and market stalls. You can also see the house where Ingrid Bergman lived while filming Stromboli terra di Dio (Stromboli Land of God).

Stromboli Night Tour

The last part of the Stromboli volcano tour is saved for last, namely the Stromboli night tour from the boat. We set off just before dusk and waited for the sun to set.

Smoke billowed from a crater at the top and as it got darker you could make out bursts of orange flashes into the night sky.

We stayed for maybe thirty minutes to an hour and I was completely transfixed. It wasn’t as spectacular as some of the pictures I had seen (like the stock image I’ve used at the top of this article), however it was still very impressive to be able to witness these small eruptions.

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Things to Note

Getting to Porto di Milazzo is easy as it’s in the centre of town. If you are coming by train from Palermo or Messina then you’ll need to take bus number 2 into town.

See the location of the port here here

Stromboli Tour
Hiking Stromboli Volcano

Dangers

It should come as no surprise that travelling to an active volcano does come with some inherent risks. With this in mind, it’s important that you have a good insurance policy in place.

When hiking the volcano you should only do so as part of an authorised guided tour which includes safety gear such as a helmet, flashlight and experienced guide.

Do not attempt to hike up to the crater on your own as this is basically suicidal.

Our partners at SafetyWing are able to provide insurance cover even if you’ve already left for your trip. You can get a free, no-obligation quote here.

Stromboli Hotels

There are plenty of Stromboli hotels, apartments and rooms for rent for overnight or longer stays. Below is a small selection for each price range.

Budget: Case La Pergola

Mid-range: Hotel Ossidiana

Luxury: Il Gabbiano Relais

Apartment: Apartment Mareblu

Conclusion

Having spent an entire day discovering Panarea and walking around Stromboli was an experience I’ll cherish forever. The fact that I was able to witness some small eruptions made it all worthwhile. My only regret is not doing the Stromboli hike, but I will return and do it in the near future.

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About the author:

Steve Rohan is a writer from Essex, England. He has travelled to over 60 countries, lived in China and Hong Kong, and is now living the digital nomad life on the road.

Steve prefers “slow travel” and has covered much of Europe and Asia by train, bus and boat.

Where I am now: Turkey 🇹🇷

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