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Stromboli is quite separate from the other Aeolian islands, to the north-east of the main group, and is as close to mainland Italy as it is to Sicily.
The island is best known for its dominant volcano - a volcano that is constantly active (typically 'small' eruptions take place several times an hour) and frequently has more substantial eruptions (it is one of the most active volcanoes to be found anywhere on earth).
For a long time the eruptions were reasonably predictable and tourists were able to visit the summit of the volcano, but in recent years this has changed slightly and since 2007 (when two new craters appeared on the volcano) the summit itself has been frequently closed to visitors for reasons of safety. The viewing platform at Sciara del Fuoco is only 400 metres away and also provides impressive views.
At all times there is limited access to the summit - a local guide is necessary (and can be arranged in Stromboli). Note: it is a 'proper' walk requiring sturdy shoes and a general level of fitness. The hike to the crater takes around 3 hours to get to the top and another 2 hours or so to get back down again.
Remarkably perhaps there are two small villages on Stromboli, and a few hotels etc for those wishing to pass the night (eruptions are at their most impressive when seen at night). Stromboli is the larger of the two and has the facilities (and is where boats arrive) while Ginostra is much more remote.
Building on Stromboli is very restricted and rarely possible and any rennovations have to conform to the traditional housing design of the Aeolian Islands which is to have modular houses painted white. This means the white villages with the black rock of the volcano and the blue of the sea is very striking.
The beach is sandy though gritty and black and is popular for snorkling and sunbathing though it is for the volcano that you will have come.
To get to Stromboli you can take the ferry from Milazzo or one of the boat tours from Taormina which include night trips around the island to view the erruptions against the night sky. As the volcano throws up a thirty meter fountain of ash and fire every twenty minutes or so it really is quite dramatic!
You can also get here from the other Aeolian Islands including from Panarea.
If you are staying on the island of Stromboli you can arrange boat trips around the island or to Ginostra from Stromboli town.
Stromboli and the other Aeolian Islands are a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of their volcanic creation and activity.
Places to visit nearby
Each of the Aeolian Islands has something different to offer. Vulcano also has volcanic craters as well as caves and a thermal spa. Panarea has beautiful views and geysers on the beach. Filicudi has the Bue Marino Grotto and Lipari is the liveliest of the islands if you are looking for shops and some nightlife.
You can find more local travel ideas in the guide.