Aeolian Islands, Italy
Vulcano is the closest Aeolian island to the Sicilian coast, located between Milazzo and Lipari.
On Ferryhopper, you can find useful information about must-see places, beaches, local delicacies, ferries to Vulcano, and book your ferry tickets easily!
Welcome sign near the Vulcano port
Vacation in Vulcano
If you want to spend a few days in a wild, charming and authentic setting, Vulcano may be the ideal option. Even before you dock, its harsh surroundings, ominous rocks, and sulfur smell will make you want to explore the entire island.
Vulcano is ideal for trekkers, and it also has some of the most unique beaches in the Aeolian Islands. Get ready to enjoy the black sand, climb craters and take in breathtaking views. The island is ideal for a family vacation, but it can also be enjoyed with friends.
Give yourself at least 3 to 4 days to explore Vulcano and plan your adventure!
How to get to Vulcano
Vulcano can only be reached by sea. There are seasonal or year-round ferry connections from some ports in Campania (Naples and Sapri), Sicily (Milazzo, Messina and Palermo) and Calabria (Vibo Valentia and Reggio Calabria).
Learn more about the available routes in the section dedicated to ferries to Vulcano.
Useful information: you can also reach Vulcano by ferry from other Aeolian Islands. This will make it simple for you to travel throughout the archipelago and thoroughly explore it.
Fishing boats at the port of Levante, in Vulcano
What to do in Vulcano
The walk to the crater is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful things to do in Vulcano. Walking uphill, you can enjoy breathtaking views of the archipelago and arrive at a location resembling Mars.
For those who prefer to unwind, the beaches of Vulcano, as well as the island's thermal springs, are ideal. Thanks to some specialized centers, you can observe the beautiful seabed of the Grotta del Cavallo and the Piscine di Venere or go on organized tours to explore stretches of coast only accessible by sea.
In addition to the port area, which has shops and restaurants, we recommend that you visit Piano, which is mostly populated by locals. Don't miss the Gelso area, the Vulcanello peninsula, and, of course, the picturesque restaurants serving local meat and fish delicacies.
Beaches in Vulcano
Given its volcanic nature, most of the island's beaches are black sand. The combination of green, thermal waters, rocks, and dark soil creates a true color explosion.
Here are 6 of Vulcano's must-see beaches:
- Black sand beach: perhaps the most famous of Vulcano's beaches, it is a natural jewel set in the Ponente Bay. It gets its name from the color of the black volcanic sand, which contrasts with the crystal clear waters, creating a wonderful color play. It has shallow waters that are ideal for children, and a part of the beach is equipped.
- Asino (donkey) beach: surrounded by greenery, between prickly pears and brooms, this cove of black sand is one of the most beautiful on the island. It is an intimate and quiet place during the day, but it comes alive with music and fun at sunset. It is accessible by boat or a downhill path from the main road.
- Piscina di Venere: this paradise can only be reached by sea and is located in the western part of Vulcano. It is a natural pool surrounded by tuff and basalt rocks, with shallow crystal clear waters and turquoise hues. Taxi boats departing from the port can take you there.
- Gelso beach: this quiet and uncrowded beach of black sand and gravel is dominated by the same-named lighthouse. It is located in the island's south and has a beautiful blue sea. Although it is possible to walk there, it is preferable to take a taxi boat.
- Grotta del Cavallo: located in the west of the island, this beautiful cave is only accessible by sea. It is a natural rocky cove with four entrances and is famous for the presence of many seahorses in the past. The rays and seabed color the water from light green to turquoise.
- Hot water beach: this beach, also known as "Fumarole beach," is surrounded by rocks and lush vegetation. The presence of sulphurous vapors gave rise to the name. Warm currents form as water rises from the subsoil. A natural open-air SPA for a day of relaxation!
The suggestive beach of Acque Calde in Vulcano
Sightseeing in Vulcano
There are no archaeological sites or actual monuments in Vulcano. More than anything else, the island is a treasure trove of natural beauty waiting to be discovered.
Here are some of Vulcano's must-see attractions:
- The Fossa Crater, with a diameter of 500 m
- The panoramic point of Capo Grillo, from which you can see the Great Crater and even the distant Alicudi and Filicudi
- The thermal mud baths, a historic location just a short distance from the port
- The Chiesa delle Grazie, Vulcano's oldest church
- The Valley of Monsters, strange rock formations formed by ancient lava flows
- The Capo Gelso lighthouse, located on the island's extreme southern tip
- The Vulcanello peninsula's tip, from which Lipari and its stacks can be seen
The magnificent Fossa Crater and its panoramic view
Nightlife in Vulcano
Vulcano, together with Lipari and Panarea, is one of the Aeolian Islands with the most nightlife options.
Vulcano, a popular nightlife destination in the 1980s, still has that attractive atmosphere, even though many of the clubs from that era have closed. Today, the beach is a popular meeting place for young people who enjoy an aperitif by the sea or a take-away pizza while watching the sunset.
There are several bars, restaurants and clubs in the Porto di Levante area, with "Il Castello" standing out for its multi-functionality. The Stevenson Cellars, located near the port, is a must place for fans of live music and good wine.
Food in Vulcano
Vulcano's cuisine is diverse, with tasty meat and fish dishes. The island is also known for its farms and fresh cheese made on the volcano's slopes.
Local products have a distinctive flavor because of its fertile soil and this flavor inspires more than just delicious recipes.
- vulcanara spaghetti (with anchovies, capers and cherry tomatoes)
- marinated or cacciatore rabbit (hunter-style stew recipe)
- goat milk ricotta (creamy cheese)
- fresh grilled fish
- pane cunzato (bread with olive oil, oregano, tomatoes, and anchovies)
- granita with whipped cream
Tip: the famous Remigio bar is a must-see on the island. The best granita with cream is served here, along with freshly baked brioches.
Brioche with granita, the ideal Vulcano breakfast!
Here are 3 tips that we hope will be useful to you during your stay in Vulcano:
- Even if you go to Vulcano in the summer, bring a jacket with you, as it will come in handy when hiking on the crater. Don’t forget your hiking boots as well!
- Avoid crossing the fumaroles on the way to the Great Crater of Fossa. The soil is extremely hot and the fumes may be toxic.
- Don't miss a visit to the cheese factory La Vecchia Fattoria, renowned for its goat ricotta.
Useful information about Vulcano
Vulcano is the third largest of the Aeolian Islands and provides a variety of services to visitors.
The majority of the tourist-oriented activities, including bars, restaurants, and shops, are located in the port area. The island's inhabitants (the "Vulcanari") instead live in Piano, which also has a middle school.
There are numerous accommodation options in Porto di Levante, but there are also some in Gelso, Lentia and Vulcanello.
Near the port are also the post office, pharmacy, medical guard, and the only gas station.
Important phone numbers for your stay in Vulcano
Here are some numbers that may prove useful during your vacation on the island of Vulcano:
- Medical Guard: +390909852220
- Municipal Police: +390909852577
- Pharmacy: +390909852244
- Scaffidi bus: +390909853017
- European emergency number: 112
Transportation in Vulcano
Vulcano can be explored on foot or by using various means of transportation.
Since the island is not very big, you can travel around on a car, motorcycle, or bike (even an electric one). You can either take your vehicle on the ferries to Vulcano (if permitted) or rent one at the port.
The option of renting a Citroen Mehari is also offered by some rental companies. This legendary ‘60s car can seat up to 4 people and is an unusual way to get around Vulcano.
If you prefer public transportation, look for Scaffidi buses. There is a yearly connection from Porto di Levante to Porto di Ponente and Capo Grillo, and there are daily trips to Gelso in the summer.
Important: from June to September, the influx and circulation of motor vehicles belonging to those who do not permanently reside on the island are usually prohibited.
The walk to Vulcano's crater and the breathtaking panoramic view
Port in Vulcano
Known as Porto di Levante, the port of Vulcano is situated on the island's northern part. This includes both the pier where ferries and hydrofoils arrive and the area of the marina where boats and yachts dock.
Bars, restaurants, shops, a pharmacy, and a company that rents out hiking gear are all located close to the port.
If you don't have a car, you can get to the port of Vulcano by Scaffidi bus or taxi.
Island hopping from Vulcano
The Aeolian archipelago is made up of 7 islands, with Vulcano being the closest to Sicily. After a few days, you should think about visiting the nearby islands and taking a full tour of the archipelago.
You can take the ferry from Vulcano to Lipari, Salina, Panarea, and all the other islands. The ferry companies Siremar and Liberty Lines operate all year on the routes from Vulcano to the other Aeolian Islands.
Check out all the available routes on our Map of ferries and plan your trip in the Aeolian Islands!
Tip: choose which Aeolian island is right for you and continue your adventure by the sea!
Vulcano ferry: schedules and tickets
Ferries to Vulcano leave from various points in southern Italy.
Depending on the season, you can reach the island of Vulcano from the ports of Milazzo, Palermo and Messina in Sicily, Naples and Sapri in Campania, and Vibo Valentia and Reggio Calabria in Calabria.
The ferry or hydrofoil connections to Vulcano are run by 4 ferry companies: SNAV, Alilauro, Liberty Lines, and Siremar. Some routes operate all year, while others are seasonal.
Here you can find more information about the ferry routes to Vulcano:
- Milazzo - Vulcano ferry: there are up to 10 daily crossings between Milazzo and Vulcano, with more frequent connections during summer. The trip duration ranges from 50 minutes to 1.5 hours depending on the the type of vessel and ferry company.
- Palermo - Vulcano ferry: the ferry from Palermo to Vulcano operates seasonally, from mid-June to early September. There is usually 1 daily crossing and the trip duration is around 4 hours and 10 minutes.
- Messina - Vulcano ferry: the Messina-Vulcano ferry route is seasonal, with 1–3 daily crossings. Depending on the route, the trip duration can range from 1.5 hours to 1 hour and 45 minutes.
- Sapri - Vulcano ferry: the connection from Sapri to Vulcano is seasonal and runs from June to the end of August. On Monday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, there is usually only 1 crossing.
- Vibo Valentia - Vulcano ferry: the connection from the port of Vibo Valentia to Vulcano is seasonal. There are usually 2 weekly crossings, with sailing durations from around 3 hours and 35 minutes.
- Reggio Calabria - Vulcano ferry: the connection from Reggio Calabria to Vulcano is seasonal, operating from June to September. The crossing operates up to 7 times each week and the rides last 2 hours 45 minutes.
Vulcano's coast as seen from the sea
Where to book ferry tickets online to Vulcano
On Ferryhopper, you can find all connections to Vulcano, compare prices and companies, and departure times and book your ferry tickets online. Get ready to explore the Aeolian Islands and have relaxing holidays on the island of Vulcano!