An Aeolian archipelago adventure! 

Join us for an unforgettable experience trekking through Sicily and the Aeolian Islands – climb Mount Etna and witness active volcanic eruptions – 13th to 20th October 2018

Last year’s trek took us to Italy and the response we received was simply tremendous. Thanks to the support and participation of almost 30 people we raised more than €100,000, which has helped support the build and development of our new palliative care facilities in Harold’s Cross, as well as helping maintain the highest level of loving care across both our Harold’s Cross and Blackrock hospices. Our thanks to all those who got involved (whether by fundraising or donating).

One bit of feedback we had last year was how much the participants enjoyed seeing Mount Vesuvius. Well, this year we’re going one better… we’re getting ready to embark upon a geological trek of a lifetime: a chance to visit not one but two active volcanoes up close.

The islands to the south west of Italy in the Aeolian Sea are home to some of Europe’s finest active volcanoes, including Mount Etna (the largest in Europe) and Stromboli (the most active in Europe); we will be visiting both of these under the careful guidance of specialist volcanologists. We will be witnessing impressive geological structures forged by the awesome forces of nature; we will visit beaches of black sand and crystal-clear waters, bathe in hot springs and mud baths; we will visit ancient archaeological sites (Greek tombs and theatres, and a prehistoric village); and we will enjoy wonderful Italian cuisine as we bask in the heat and soak up the spectacular ambiance.

… we will of course also be walking! Three to six hours each day to be precise, so bring your walking boots!


This promises to be a truly spectacular trip. The ask is similar to every year: we need you to raise a minimum sponsorship donation of  €3,100 in return for which we can promise you the experience of a lifetime, with transfers, accommodation, food, guides all included so all you need to do is bring your walking boots and a positive attitude to have some great fun while raising vital funds for the front line services of Our Lady’s Hospice & Care Services.

To help you along the way, once again this year we will be offering you a €200 discount from your total for every additional friend you bring along. Don’t forget  – the Fundraising Team here in the Hospice will be on-hand to support your efforts throughout your time fundraising, whether that be through social media, letters of verification, posters and flyers, or the provision of bag-packing / bucket-collection opportunities wherever we can. We’re also full of ideas on how you can raise funds. Just a few examples of the best fundraising activities from last year were as follows:

  • Bag packing
  • Church gate collections
  • Pub quizzes
  • Raffles
  • Ebay sales
  • Car boot sales

But if you’re new to fundraising, don’t worry, we’re here to help, and we’d be happy to help you plan your activities and make sure you have everything you need.

We do hope you’ll join us this year for what promises to be an amazing trek.

mud 2


Catani in Sicily – Mount Etna – Alcantara River – Taormina – Milazzo – Lipari (by boat) – Vulcano (by ferry) – Lipari (by hydrofoil) – Stromboli – Catania

Saturday 13th of October – Saturday 20th October 2018

7 nights – 5 days walking

3 – 6 hours per day in hot sun on tracks, with uphill walking on days 5 and 7

Walking level
Easy to Medium
Please note – If you have breathing difficulties you may get some discomfort in suphurous areas; if this is the case an alternative itinerary can be arranged for you on these days of the trek

€3,100 (including €300 non-refundable deposit)
Single room supplement €200 (limited number of rooms)

Advocate Discount

For every additional person that you encourage to join our group, we’ll reduce your fundraising target by €200, so if you have 5 buddies that want to join you in Italy later this Autumn that’s a whole €1000 off your group target.


More Info

See below more details about the Sicily Trek 2018:

Itinerary [+]

Day 1

  • Arrival in Catania. Private bus transfer to hotel in heart of city. Free time to explore

Day 2  (Approx 7km walking today; driving time 1.5 hrs)

  • Explore local town in morning; bus pick-up / transfer to Mount Etna
  • Sartorius Mountains (part forest, part old lava); spectacular views of Strait of Messina
  • Travel to next hotel (the highest hotel on Mount Etna); walk over the Crateri Silvestri (formed by a Volcanic explosion of 1892).
  • Dinner in hotel followed by documentary

Day(4 hours walking with option to extend to 6 hours)

  • Explore the summit of Mount Etna (Europe’s highest, active volcano)
  • Cable car to 2500m, then 4×4 transport up to 3000m. Easy trek from here to the top!
  • Refreshment break before visit to one of the craters
  • Downhill walk with great views of Valle del Bove in which you will see many lava flows, one atop the other. If active flows are visible your guide will show you these from a safe distance.
  • Return to the hotel by cable car (or if a longer walk is preferred, walk back to the hotel)
  • Please note: if weather conditions do not allow an ascent to the top we will take an alternative walk over one of the most impressive cones, the Montagnola, and along the edge of the Bove Valley

Day 4 (Walking time 4 hrs; driving time 1.5 hrs)

  • After breakfast, bus transfer through scenic Via MareNeve, to see the most recent lava flows where we will take a walk to see where lava burst out.
  • Visit the charming little town of Lingualossa for lunch and sample the local cakes.
  • Travel on to the sea via the valley of the Alcantara river and take a short, easy walk through the spectacular canyon here.
  • Arrive at Taormina for an optional walk through the city to see the theatre.
  • Continue on to Milaxxo Harbour and take the ferry to the Island of Lipari (largets island in the archipelago). Dinner in hotel

Day 5  (3 hrs walking)

  • An easy morning walk to the southern side of the island to the old Roman Spa near San Calogero; great views of nearby island of Volcano
  • The afternoon is free to explore the local natural and cultural treasures, which include remains of Greek tombs and theatre and a prehistoric village near the castle. There is a good archaeology museum here also.
  • Freshen-up in the hotel then wander the Marina’s many small streets; stop for a pre-dinner aperitivo
  • Your own choice of evening meal in a local restaurant (evening meal not included on this day)

Day 6  (3 hrs walking)

  • After breakfast we take the ferry to the island of Vulcano, dominated by the spent crate of Volcano della Fossa (named after the Roman God Vulcanus); the Roman name for this Island led to the word volcano being used in most modern European languages.
  • The island is famous for its black beaches, thermal springs and sulphar mud baths. Our tour will take us to see gas fumaroles (where super-heated water turns to steam as it emerges from the ground); then we will return to the beach to relax where we can also enjoy the thermal springs and mud baths.
  • Later in the afternoon a hydrofoil brings us back to Lipari where we will have dinner together.

Day 7  (3 hours walking)

  • Early morning start – hydrofoil to Island of Stromboli, northern most island of the archipelago and home to one of the most active volcanoes in the world. It was this site that inspired Jules Verne’s A Journey to the Centre of the Earth.
  • Walk towards the top of the volcano and witness active explosive eruptions of ash and incandescent molten rock, reaching up to 120m into the sky.
  • Please note that due to the active nature of this crater our guide might decide it is not safe to take this walk, in which case we will visit Sciara del Fuoco, which is a large horseshoe-shaped depression in the summit that offers wonderful views.
  • Time available to explore the fishing hamlet of Stromboli before we take a boat back to Lipari, where we enjoy a last supper together.

Day 8

  • The tour ends in Catania after breakfast today. Coach transfer to Airport.
  • For anyone wishing to extend their tour an overnight boat will take you to Naples from here.
Hotels [+]


Accommodation is on a half-board basis (except for days 5 and 7 in Lipari)

On Mount Etna you’ll eat on the premises, while on Lipari 2 dinners will be at the hotel and 2 dinners will be local restaurants. Picnic lunches are included and can be prepared through the accommodation.

Prices Includes [+]
  • Airport transfers
  • 7 nights Hotel
  • Meals
  • City taxes
  • Private transfers, public transport & entrance fees
  • Group transfer from location to location, together with guides
  • Excursion: Mt Etna
  • Specialist volcano guide (day 4)
  • Boat trasnfers (day 7)
  • Private English speaking tour leader for 8 days
  • Picnic lunches