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13-27 Oct 2017: Volcanoes of Italy - the Grand Tour - Southern Italy
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Volcanoes of Italy - the Grand Tour

- 15-days study & walking tour from Vesuvius to Etna -

Observing Stromboli´s explosions from the volcano´s summit
Observing Stromboli´s explosions from the volcano´s summit
Vesuvius volcano looming over the city of Naples
Vesuvius volcano looming over the city of Naples
Complete tour itinerary - click to enlarge it!
Complete tour itinerary - click to enlarge it!
Itinerary for the Bay of Naples region (day 1-5)
Itinerary for the Bay of Naples region (day 1-5)
Tasting local delicacies during lunch break
Tasting local delicacies during lunch break
View from Lipari to the island of Salina
View from Lipari to the island of Salina
Boat trip around Stromboli island
Boat trip around Stromboli island
View from the sulphur deposits on Vulcano´s crater rim towards Lipari
View from the sulphur deposits on Vulcano´s crater rim towards Lipari
The ruins of Herculaneum with Mt Vesuvius in the background
The ruins of Herculaneum with Mt Vesuvius in the background
Stromboli volcano in eruption
Stromboli volcano in eruption
Natural arches in the volcanic rocks of Lipari´s coastline
Natural arches in the volcanic rocks of Lipari´s coastline
Watching a lava flow on the flanks of Mt Etna
Watching a lava flow on the flanks of Mt Etna
Standing on the summit of Vesuvius volcano
Standing on the summit of Vesuvius volcano
Swimming in the hydrothermal seawater at Vulcano
Swimming in the hydrothermal seawater at Vulcano
Fish on the menu, fresh and locally caught
Fish on the menu, fresh and locally caught
Group photo on Bocca Nuova, one of Etna´s active craters
Group photo on Bocca Nuova, one of Etna´s active craters
The island of Stromboli and its volcano
The island of Stromboli and its volcano
Mt Etna in eruption under a full moon and the city lights of Catania
Mt Etna in eruption under a full moon and the city lights of Catania
Tasting wines from one of the many excellent vineyards near Vesuvius
Tasting wines from one of the many excellent vineyards near Vesuvius
Basaltic columns in the cliffs of the Alcantara gorge near Mt Etna
Basaltic columns in the cliffs of the Alcantara gorge near Mt Etna
This tour starts where the science of volcanology was born: at Mt Vesuvius that destoyed the Roman towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum during its catastropchic 79 A.D. eruption. In 2 weeks time you will explore all active volcanoes of Italy whilst traveling in a small international group guided by an experienced volcanologist. The first 4 days of discovering the volcanoes around the Gulf of Naples are followed by exploring the Eolian islands for 5 days with the permanently active Stromboli, the Lighthouse of the Thyrrhenian Sea, smoking Vulcano and Lipari, famous for its obsidian and pumice deposits. A 4-days adventure on and around Etna volcano, the largest and most active volcano of Europe, is bound to be the Grand Finale of this classic itinerary that ends in style in the charming Sicilian town of Catania.
  • All active volcanoes of Italy in one tour!
  • Travel in a small international group
  • Archeological highlights such as Pompeii and Herculaneum
  • Beautiful beaches and relaxing boat trips
  • Wonderfully located hotels
  • Delicious South-Italian food and wine
  • Experienced volcanologist as tour guide

Itinerary (15 days)

Day 1: Arrival in Naples
Arrival in the city of Naples and your hotel in the historic center of Naples. The group meets in the evening for a welcome dinner in a typical restaurant in the lively city center.
Acc.: hotel*** in downtown Naples (D: dinner)
Day 2: Vesuvius volcano, wine tasting and Herculaneum
Morning visit of Vesuvius with short hike around the famous volcano´s crater and walk in the Valle dell'Inferno, lunch and wine-tasting at one of the excellent vineyards on Vesuvius´s lower slopes, and afternoon - evening visit of the excavated Roman city of Herculaneum.
Acc.: as before (Naples) (B, L, D)
Day 3: Vesuvius volcano observatory and Pompeii
Morning visit of the historic Volcano Observatory of Mt Vesuvius with its interesting museum and afternoon exploration of the excavated city of Pompeii and the Antiquario di Boscoreale
Acc.: as before (Naples) (B, L, D)
Day 4: Campi Flegrei (Phlegrean Fields) and Pozzuoli
Day trip to explore the volcanoes of the Campi Flegrei (Phlegrean fields): the Solfatara, Monte Nuovo, Lago di Averna and Pozzuoli, ending at the famous Cape Miseno view point before enjoying dinner at a nice beach restaurant.
Acc.: as before (Naples) (B, L, D)
Day 5: Free day and evening departure for Stromboli
Free day in Naples to further explore the city´s rich cultural heritage (e.g. museums, second visit to Pompeii, optional guided visit of the historic center of Naples, ...) In the evening we go to the port of Naples to take the night ferry to Stromboli island.
Acc.: double cabin on ferry (B, D)
Day 6: Arrival on Stromboli Island and eruption viewing from the Sciara del Fuoco
Early morning arrival on Stromboli and sunrise breakfast, midday to relax at the hotel or explore the small town, evening climb to the Sciara del Fuoco to watch the volcanic activity.
Acc.: beach hotel*** on Stromboli Island (B, D)
Day 7: Climb to Stromboli's summit (if access allowed) and eruption viewing
Free morning and midday before we undertake the more challenging climb to Stromboli´s summit (highest point is Pizzo at 918 m asl) in the afternoon. Reaching the summit area around sunset we have about one hour to view the eruption from close range before we start our nighttime descend.
Acc.: as before (Stromboli) (B, L)
Day 8: Boat tour around Stromboli island and free afternoon
Another full day to further explore Stromboli. In the morning we have a boat trip around the island and after lunch you are free to relax and/or undertake an additional climb to the summit craters, hike to the Sciara del Fuoco,...
Acc.: as before (Stromboli) (B, L)
Day 9: Sail to Lipari Island: obsidian & pumice
Morning hydrofoil transfer to Lipari and afternoon hike to visit this volcanic island´s spectacular pumice deposits and historically used obsidian flow.
Acc.: seaside hotel in Lipari (B, D)
Day 10: Archeological museum of Lipari and day trip to Vulcano Island
Morning visit of the archaeological museum of Lipari before we take the speed boat to Vulcano island. After a hike around the active crater and optional visit of the hot mud pools and/or fumaroles on the beach we return to Lipari in the (late) afternoon.
Acc.: as before (Lipari Island) (B, D)
Day 11: Transfer to Etna
Morning boat to Sicily and transfer to our hotel on Etna volcano. In the afternoon we offer an optional hike (2.5-3 hrs) to a great viewpoint for a first impression of Mt Etna´s dramatic landscapes.
Acc.: mountain hotel*** on Etna (B, D)
Day 12: Excursion to Etna's summit craters (volcanic activity allowing)
If the volcanic activity and weather conditions allow so, we spend a full day on the summit region of Mt Etna to observe its smoking craters, volcanic deposits and historic lava flows and cinder cones.
Acc.: Acc: as before (Etna) (B, D)
Day 13: Etna excursion to Valle del Bove
Second full day hiking excursion on Mt Etna which focuses on a the giant Valle del Bove depression on the volcano´s SE flank.
Acc.: as before (Etna) (B, D)
Day 14: Lava cave - Alcantara Gorge - Taormina - Catania
Spare day, if not used for Etna we visit attractions nearby around Etna: a lava cave we can walk through, the Alcantara Gorge, Taormina with its Greek theatre. In the evening, drive to Catania where we celebrate the last night in its lively historic center.
Acc.: hotel**** in the historic center of Catania (B, L, D)
Day 15: Departure from Catania or own tour extension
The tour ends today with transfer to Catania according to your departure time. Probably, you still have time enough to explore a bit of Taormina or the lively city of Catania itself, which offers more than enough to visit: the famous local market (especially the fish-market is spectacular!), numerous Ancient relics, baroque architecture, or simply enjoy its buzzing charm from one of the plenty street cafes.If you have more time, we recommend you extend your stay in Sicily or on the islands - options of things to do here are nearly unlimited, and we are ready to give you advice.
Acc.: none (B)
Tour code: ITA_GTI
Tour type: Walking & study tour: active volcanoes - nature & culture - archaeology
Difficulty: Easy-Moderate
Group size: 6-12
Duration: 15 days (14 nights)

Dates:

13-27 Oct 2017
12-26 Oct 2018
11-25 Oct 2019

Price (p.p.): 3590 €  ? 

Included:

  • 14 nights accommodation in double room (upper mid-range category)
  • Most meals (breakfast + lunch snack + full dinner menu incl. wine, beer, coffee etc. in reasonable amounts)
  • All transports and excursions as described
  • Entry fees to museums, volcanoes, archaeological sites etc. as described
  • Volcanologist guide from our team

Tour guide:

For the Grand Tour of Italy, normally Tom will be your tour guide:
Dr. Tom Pfeiffer (1970) is a German volcanologist with a PhD degree in geology about the volcanic history of Santorini volcano from the University of Aarhus in Denmark.
For over 20 years, Tom has been both working (at the Hawai'i and Vesuvius volcano observatories), traveling to volcanoes around the world, and organizing guided tours to volcanoes such as to Santorini, Etna, Stromboli, Kilauea on Hawaii and volcanoes in Africa and Indonesia. During his travels, he found his strongest passion in photography (link to his book) and the sharing of his knowledge and the living adventures outside the scientific community.
In 2004, he founded VolcanoDiscovery as a tour company, where he guides most tours in Greece and Italy as well as pilot and special eruption tours.

Other activities include a large number of articles about volcanoes published in newspapers and magazines such as National Geographic, Scientific American (April 2003 issue about Etna) and others. More recently, Tom participated in documentary film productions about Santorini (“The myth of the lost city of Atlantis”, "Mystery Hunters", both on Discovery Channel) and Stromboli (“Quarks and co: Vulkane” on the German television channel WDR), and the ongoing series "Volcanic Odysseys" by Canadian filmmaker Michael Dalton (Love Nature & Smithsonian Channel).

Tom speaks English, Danish and Italian fluently (besides German, of course) and Greek and French with some Spanish quite well. He has spent a total of about 2 years in Italy (Rome, Sicily, Naples Volcano Observatory), a year on Santorini in Greece, as well as worked for 4 months at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, lived in Denmark for 7 years before moving to Athens in 2004.
Volcanologist Dr. Tom Pfeiffer on Santorini

Arrival info:

Travel arrangements to Naples and from Catania are not included in the tour package, in order to give everybody the best chance to plan his/her trip according his preferences. Naples is easily reached by plane or train (e.g. from Rome airport or other cities). When the tour ends in Catania on Sicily, a connecting flight to the departure airport (e.g. Naples, Rome, Milan) can be easily booked for you at low additional cost. The tour can be ideally combined with a preceding or extension program in Italy, including e.g. visiting cities like Rome, Florence or spending more time on Sicily or one of the islands. We will be happy to make suggestions and can help you with such travel arrangements, as well as assist you with your international travel to Italy.

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