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Suddenly, from the black crater, a demonic fountain of red-hot liquid earth erupts. The other hikers and I gasp in awe – then, after a moment, break into applause and cheers.

There is a familiar hiss and more red molten earth bursts from another vent on Stromboli’s charred crater – it sprays into the air, met with the camera flashes of our group. 

It’s an exhilarating, impressive sight. There aren’t many places where eruptions such as these can be witnessed in relative safety. All the same, I check that my yellow helmet is fixed properly, just to be sure.

We then descend in the dark of night, guided by the flashlights attached to our helmets. Sliding down scree fields, we arrive back in Piazza San Vincenzo in the village in no time.  

I grab a beer in the piazza with Canadian Jamie. We share a certain look on our faces – a look that has been plastered on us since reaching the summit. It is dumb-struck awe mixed with the trace of a budding addiction – a desire to head back up the volcano and experience the raw power of nature again as soon as possible. 

You can only reach the summit of the volcano if accompanied by a professional guide. Magmatrek runs group tours from around £23pp. Must be booked one week in advance. A good level of fitness is recommended.  

Getting there: You can reach Stromboli by ferry from Sicily or Naples. The easiest point of departure is from Milazzo on Sicily, where ferries or hydrofoils get you there in between three and six hours. Prices from around £35 return.   usticalines.it

 

Eat, drink, sleep

Eat

Budget: With jaw dropping views out over the sea, Ritrovo Ingrid is a great spot to grab a cheap bite to eat or drink before heading on a guided mountain trek. Pizzas from around £8. (Piazza San Vincenzo)

Midrange: It’s a steep trek up the side of the island, but L’Osservatorio is worth it for the views and the pizza: you can see erupting lava glowing at night. Bring a flashlight for the dark walk back down an old goat path – there are no streetlights. Affordable meals at around £20 for a main and wine. (Salvatore De Losa, tel. 0039 90 98 63 60)

Luxury: A pricier option, Ristorante Punta Lena offers a wide selection of local seafood. Find it along the waterfront from the ferry terminal. Main courses range from around £25-£35 and it’s recommended you book ahead. (Via Marina Ficogrande, tel. 0039 90 98 62 04)

Drink

Budget: Pardes Wine Bar is located in a peaceful garden with a great view of the volcano. Perfect for a happy hour glass of wine. (Via Vittorio Emanuele 81)

Midrange: Bar Ingrid is an open-air affair that’s always buzzing and comes with gorgeous views out to sea. (Via Cincotta Mario, tel. 0039 90 98 60 83)

Luxury: La Tartana ramps it up in the evening with dancing out on the terrace. If you’ve been hiking, make sure you scrub up nice, as the crowd makes an effort. The place to go for a cocktail. (Via Marina, tel. 0039 90 98 60 25)

Sleep

Budget: On an island known for vacationing movie stars, reasonably priced accommodation isn’t easy to find. Hotel Ossidiana is one of the more affordable options. It’s also conveniently located near the ferry terminal. Double rooms start at around £60pn. 

MidrangeIl Giardino Segreto is a small, six-bedroom B&B that promises either mountain or sea views from every room. Average room price is around £104pn.  

Luxury: On a more secluded side of the island, Hotel Villagio Stromboli is blessed with serene sea views. Picture a grand white-washed building and gorgeous sunrises in a quiet location. Average nightly price (high season) for a double room with sea-view is £120pn. 

 

Photos: Thinkstock; Flkr: Ginger Phil, Johannes Zielcke, Simone Pelliconi, Rita Alexandrea, Navnetmitt, Luigi Strano


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Into the inferno: Trekking the active volcano on Stromboli island, Italy
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