Stromboli – The ancient lighthouse of the Mediterranean

Stromboli – The ancient lighthouse of the Mediterranean

Stromboli is the stuff of legends. The volcano island is the ancient lighthouse of the Mediterranean – it has been erupting its mesmerizing glow for over 2000 years. In such a consistent way that it actually became the geological ‘type locality’ for it. A strombolian eruption is the classification for its typical eruptive behaviour.

Obscured by clouds…

When I saw the triangular shape of Stromboli looming on the horizon, it was pulling me like a force from the centre of the earth. I bumbled up its slopes on a perfect sunny day, excited to finally see the strombolian action from up close. But when I reached the top at dusk, a relentless foggy cloud had formed around it, and the spectacular fire-breathing craters were obscured from view.

Only distant rumbling in the background indicated that they were there.

View down the slope of Stromboli, Italy.
View down the slopes of Stromboli, with worrying amounts of fog rolling in…

View into the fog-filled craters of Stromboli.
Frustration! Fog-filled craters on the top…

Lava shapes on the lower path of Stromboli, Italy.
Lava shapes on the lower path of Stromboli.

Stromboli volcano eruptions

The next evening, I was proverbially screaming out in frustration, as I watched the eruptions on the top from a distance at the observatory on the lower flank of Stromboli. In all its cloud-free glory…

I would have climbed it again without hesitation if I’d known there was a clear view that night.

Strombolian eruption, Stromboli, Aeolian Islands, Italy
Strombolian action!

Foggy slopes of Stromboli.

How to get to Stromboli

Stromboli is one of the Aeolian Islands, a volcanic island group just north of Sicily. Milazzo on the north eastern tip of Sicily is the departure port for several ferries to Stromboli (as well as the other Aeolian islands of Vulcano, Lipari, Panarea and Salina). The ferry crossing takes about 2,5 to 3 hours, depending on the route and type of boat.

Another option is the overnight ferry from Naples direct to Stromboli, taking 10 to 12 hours.

View to Stromboli village from the slopes of Stromboli volcano.

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Stromboli hiking map

This handy interactive map shows the walking route from the edge of town to the north side of Stromboli. You can also zoom in for more details of the track, and click on the icons for pictures of stunning views along the way.

And somewhere, nearly 3600 kilometres away, you can find the entrance to the underground passage to Stromboli… 😉

Signpost to the Centre of the Earth.

Signpost to the underground passage to Stromboli.

Remote Islands – Stromboli, Italy

This article was originally published as a NaturePic Challenge: pictures of epic nature with a specific theme, and places that will trigger a natural high.

Last update: 19 March 2023
First published: 8 February 2017

© All photo’s and content on this blog are my own, and subject to copyright (unless credited otherwise). Please contact me if you would like to use a picture or quote a piece of text from one of my articles. You’re welcome to share a link to my blog articles and pictures on social media, with a tag or mention to Wilderness Coffee & Natural High.

Moon over Stromboli, its craters happily steaming away in a cloudless sky. Beautiful! But frustrating…!

Moon over Stromboli volcano.

More to explore & discover

Island hopping on the Aeolian Islands – A volcanic archipelago

The walking track to Klif – The beacon rock

Ode to the mountains – The magic of Mount Taranaki

Etna – Vigorously steaming from all its craters

Fimmvörðuháls – The fiery pass across Eyjafjallajökull

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