Stromboli is a small island which is largely covered by a volcano. This volcano is one of the most active in the world and has small eruptions every few hours and larger more violent erruptions at irregular intervals.
Stromboli is one of the Aeolian Islands, a group of eight islands off the north coast of Sicily in the Tyrrhenian Sea. The Aeolian Islands are popular with tourists and as a group have 200,000 visitors a year.
Italy is the few countries in Europe which has active volcanoes and it has three. As well as Stromboli there is Mount Etna, just a short distance away on the eastern side of Sicily, and Mount Vesuvius near Naples.
The island of Stromboli is not much bigger than the volcano itself and most visitors come for the volcano experience. Stromboli is continuously active and so it is very important that you never try to climb to the crater without a local guide and never leave the paths. If you wish to trek to the top then you do need to be reasonably fit and have walking boots, carry water etc. Walking boots can be rented locally if you arrived without any.
The hike takes around 3 hours to get up to the crater and a futher 2 hours to come back down and so give yourself plenty of time.
The last violent eruption was in 2014 and caused the summit area to be closed for 3 months.
Even though the volcano itself takes up most of the island there are two small villages on Stromboli. The larger is called Stromboli and the smaller and least accessible is called Ginostra. To get from one village to the other you need to go by boat but Ginostra is very small and most visitors stick to Stromboli.
Traditional houses on the Aeolian islands are modular cubes painted white and the islands have very strict rules regarding building (almost never) and renovating houses which must be in the local style. The black rock, white houses, green vegetation and blue sea makes the villages very dramatic. There are a few restaurants and bars in Stromboli town.
There is a sany beach at Stromboli although the sand is black! Sunbathing, swimming, snorkling and stand-up paddle-boarding are all popular activities.
The Aeolian Islands are a UNESCO World Heritage Site for their volcanic phenomena.
To get to Stromboli you can take a ferry from Milazzo on the north-east of Sicily or as a boat tour from Taormina on the east of Sicily. It is possible to take an afternoon/evening tour which visits the Aeolian island of Panarea in the afternoon and then cruises round Stromboli in the night to get views of the eruptions against the night sky. There is also a ferry from Naples on mainland Italy.
Alternatively if you are staying on Stromboli island or one of the other islands there are various boats offering trips.
Each of the islands has its own particular highlights. Vulcano has caves and thermal spa waters; Lipari has sea stacks and pumice quarries and is the liveliest of the islands; Panarea has its beautiful bay with fabulous views over the islands (see above) and geysers on the beach and Filicudi has the Bue Marino Grotto.
You can find more local travel ideas in the Sicily guide.