The Islands

Thermal springs, bubbling mud baths and black sand beaches

Welcome to Vulcano

Named after the Roman god of Fire and best known for its active, smouldering volcano and mud baths, Vulcano is the closest of the Aeolian Islands to Sicily (45mins by hydrofoil). The last volcanic eruption on the island was in 1888 when the tiny population fled the island and it only started to become repopulated again in the 1950’s.

Its location means it inevitably attracts its fair share of tourists and day trippers but anyone who ventures beyond the touristy Porto di Levante and up into the hills is richly rewarded with the sight of the island’s rugged natural beauty and landscapes. Piano, an inland village that lies between the two peaks of Mount Saraceno and La Sommata (in the basin of the first formed crater), is where most of the island’s residents live, in chalk white houses set amongst scented broom, capers, mulberries and vines.

Beaches & Coastline

Vulcano is renowned for its black sand beaches. While most of the day trippers head for Porto di Ponente, a smooth strip of sand around 10 minutes’ walk from the mud pools, the best beaches are on the far side of the island. Accessed either from the water or down a steep path from the village of Gelso, Spiaggia dell’Asino is our favourite, a stretch of black sand, fringed by crystalline water. Nearby Spiaggia Cannitello is set against a backdrop of lush vegetation. Gelso also has a couple of black-sand beaches, in addition to a pretty port.


Dominated by its smouldering active volcano, and with a rocky coastline shaped by the last eruption, Vulcano provides some dramatic natural sights. The island is made up of five volcanic structures which together give shape to the main Fossa di Vulcano. A hike to the top of the crater provides spectacular panoramic views of the other Aeolian islands.  You do need a moderate level of fitness to do the hike but there are other locations on the island with a similar vantage point such as Capo Grillo.

Close to the port, the bubbling mud baths and sulphurous springs (aqua calda) are a popular attraction but once you head up into the hills, there is a surprising amount of greenery and in spring and early summer, the winding road from the coast up into the hills is lined with oleander, eucalyptus and cascading robinia.

For those who want to learn more about the evolution and geography of the islands, a centre for volcanology is open during the summer months.

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