101 Wild Bucketlist Items Before You Die

How to see an active volcano- You could see lava and live to tell the tale!

The idea of seeing an active volcano may be a vaguely crazy bucketlist goal, but don’t you find it tempting?

I chose to visit Stromboli, as it’s an active volcano close to Sicily, just off the coast of Italy, that tourists regularly enjoy, and return unharmed. You also don’t need much in the way of ninja skills- it’s easily accessed by short cruises and surrounded by gorgeous islands. Your visit to Stromboli might even feature an incredible display of nature.

You’ll love the Sciara del Fuoco or Stream of Fire which is a lava crossed crater in the side of the volcanic mountain.


visit Stromboli mountain

So here’s how to visit Stromboli and see an active volcano without dying in the process!


#Step 1: Plan a holiday in Sicily

Most Stromboli volcano tours leave from Milazzo which is one of the smaller ports, but totally charming, or Taormina which is somewhat larger. Ryanair flies in to Catania for less than 50 euros without luggage, and the bus to Milazzo from Catania Airport is only 5 euros. You could stay anywhere in Sicily, so long as you get to the port for 10 am on the day of your volcano expedition.

Needless to say, the island of Sicily is charming and draws you back in time, so no time wasted there!

Visit Stromboli and charming Sicily- to see an active volcano in its splendour

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Step #2: Board a tour of the Aeolian Islands to visit Stromboli

I travelled on the Stromboli and Panarea by night tour from Milazzo, which is intensely romantic. It cost only 55 euros with dinner included, in 2014, and you’ll be greeted by stunning views of the volcano effervescing into the night.

For the incredibly brave, you have the chance to climb 400m to the crater and look down on the world. There are Stromboli volcano tours that will allow you to spend the night at the top of the crater, then catch a different boat back in the morning, too.

Stromboli is a helpful volcano that causes very little harm to humans, these days, but also regularly erupts lava and puts on an unbelievable show. At the same time, it IS a phenomenal force of nature and could change at any moment, so pay it some respect! Always go with a qualified guide and check the latest meteorological alerts.


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Pin image adapted from Mark Ireland@Flickr CC 2.0


Step #3: Finally, watch the sun set behind this wall of fire

During the day you’ll have had the chance to swim in crystal blue sea, or go ashore at several beautiful Aeolian Islands. There’s plenty of history and unique Italian culture to see, with fresh food to enjoy at the island cafes. But the real fun starts at dusk…

Visit Stromboli erupting volcano

The volcano is an ever bubbling hive of activity, with a constant trickle of blood-red lava. For several hours as the sun descends it becomes a focal point in the sky. You will never forget what you’ve seen! #bucketlistgoals. As you sail back to port around 8pm, the glow of Mount Stromboli will still be reflected in your eyes.


Ready for more bucketlist adventures to inspire you?


  1. Jean

    May 20, 2017 at 6:17 pm

    Oh this looks like so much fun! I’m tempted to go here now.

  2. Abby

    May 20, 2017 at 7:38 pm

    Wow Danni! I wish I’d read your blog a month ago. Then I could have picked Stromboli over Vesuvius. To actually see lava is amazing.

  3. Alina

    May 20, 2017 at 8:20 pm

    What a place! I wonder, is it safe to take camera gear with you, should an underwater case be used so all the dust and ash doesn’t get in?
    This is one of the places I have wanted to visit for a long time, but looks like this summer I won’t have a chance to, although I am heading to Italy. So many lovely places to see, so little time!

  4. Julie Cao

    May 23, 2017 at 12:25 am

    The beautiful view of Sicily, the sunset over the volcano and the beautiful blue sea will literally make people dying in the process. Climb up to 400m to view the world and view the volcano eruption at night will be an experience you will never forget, and it is amazing that overnight stay is allowed so visitors can see the changing activity of the volcano. It also reminds us how beautiful and powerful the nature is.

  5. Christina Pfeiffer

    May 23, 2017 at 12:39 am

    What a fabulous adventure you had. I’m sure you’ll be talking about it forever. Italy has so many attractions but I do think Stromboli stands out as one of the more adventurous places to visit.

  6. Sandy N Vyjay

    May 23, 2017 at 5:33 pm

    Have never seen an active volcano. The closest we came was to see some dormant volcanoes in the distance on a recent trip Rwanda, in East Africa. Would love to see an active volcano though. I think volcanoes are indeed one of the most fascinating natural phenomena on earth.

  7. Kim-Ling

    May 23, 2017 at 11:39 pm

    This looks amazing! I would try to work up the courage to do one of the tours that take you 400m into the crater! That would be unreal! Did you do it? I can’t believe you can swim nearby without danger too. I am so keen to visit Stromboli now!

  8. Paige Wunder

    May 24, 2017 at 1:25 pm

    This is seriously awesome! I went to Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park last summer hoping to see lava flow like this. While we did see a really cool glow coming from the volcano, it wasn’t anything like this – it is flowing really well now, of course. I think this is now at the top of my Italy list, though! Cheers!

  9. Danielle Desir

    May 25, 2017 at 10:25 pm

    Sounds like a long day but absolutely worth the experience. I hiked up a volcano in Guadeloupe and I couldn’t see any lava but only saw and smelt the sulfur emission. I’m heading to Rome this summer, I’d love to add this to my itinerary.

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