While Sicily is very much part of modern Italy, it retains its own identity in many ways. The island, the largest in the Mediterranean, absolutely warrants two weeks of its own during an Italy trip. Of course, most travelers don’t want to spend ... 

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4 star rating: Recommended
September 2015

Would've given a 5 star but the only downfall of this trip was the sheer number of people on the boat. There was a mad scrum trying to get back on the boat for the light dinner. We felt sorry for our tour guide Heidi, who was trying to keep some sort of order but to no avail. She was very good with lots of information and could speak in many languages. Panarea was a lovely island, very pretty, Stromboli is quieter but again very pretty. We saw 2 eruptions which were every 15 mins, the captain of the ship made sure that everyone had at least one chance to see them. We were lucky that we saw both, we were at the front of the boat but maybe the best view would be from the back. A very long day 13 hours but well worth it. It was everything we expected and that was a lot.

Doing what: Aeolian Islands Day Trip from Taormina: Stromboli and Panarea

4 star rating: Recommended
September 2015

Fabulous day, however a bit disappointed that our guide did not accompany us up to the top of Etna as a previous reviewer's had. When we got off the jeep an alpine guide met us and another jeep full of people. He basically spoke no English and admitted he couldn't, by that time it was too late as we were half way round the crater, leading us to not knowing what on earth Etna was about. Apart from that it was an amazing trip which we did enjoy.

Doing what: Best Mount Etna Day Trip from Taormina

Aybike
Turkey

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
August 2015

YOU MUST DO IT! We had great time. Stromboli: Swimming by the side of an active volcano. Black sandy beaches. Warm sea water. Panarea: Lovely small town. Beautiful beach. We loved it. Just for your information: Get yourself ready for a pretty long, exhausting journey. You start by bus and go on by ship. And the same all the way back. The ship was so crowded and in my opinion over loaded. That was the only complaint we had. But it is worth it. Most people got seasick. Keep some nausea medicine with you. If you are planning to swim, do not waste time at lunch in Panarea. If I had known that the beach was so great I would have brought some lunch with me not to waste time at the pizzeria. I reccomend this tour to everyone.

Doing what: Aeolian Islands Day Trip from Taormina: Stromboli and Panarea

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
August 2015

A fabulous day. Everything was great. Our coach guide Elizabeth I think was very friendly and spoke really good English. She organised everything and came up with us to the start of the walking tour at the top to make sure everything was organised properly. Our walking guide was great fun and spoke perfect English.
Only problem and nothing to do with Viator was the state of the toilets at the coach stop. Too few and dirty.
Completely recommend this tour to anyone.

Doing what: Best Mount Etna Day Trip from Taormina

4 star rating: Recommended
August 2015

This is the only way to see Etna.guide and jeeps made it easy to take in the whole concept of Etna
Tour was on time and guide was informative although a little too formal.Much confusion when reaching the top as to who was going to take us around so most did their own thing-a bit of a disappointment as we missed some of the history
Overall just ok

Doing what: Best Mount Etna Day Trip from Taormina

4 star rating: Recommended
August 2015

This trip was very good. There were two guides, one for the coach journey to Rifugio Sapienza, explaining details about the area's history and geography, and another guide for the walk round the crater at the top. The weather was fine, but cloudy for a while. The views across the bay and wider area around Etna were wonderful.

Doing what: Best Mount Etna Day Trip from Taormina

4 star rating: Recommended
August 2015

A visit to Mt Etna is a 'must do', so we organised this trip in advance. No complaints at all. The service was good, the coach was modern and air conditioned, the guide informative. Everything you would want and expect really. Would use Viator again without hesitation.

Doing what: Best Mount Etna Day Trip from Taormina

4 star rating: Recommended
August 2015

Great experience. Alcantara Gorges is just alright but Etna was really cool. Wish we had a little more time to see the smoking peak.

Doing what: Mount Etna and Alcantara Gorges Day Trip with Circumetnea Railway Ride

4 star rating: Recommended
August 2015

A fantastic tour. The coach picked us up from a convenient location close to our hotel in Taormina. We then had a 1.5 hour drive to Messina and caught the Aeolian Queen boat to Panarea - a beautiful small island where we swam and had lunch. From here we went to Stromboli where we sunbathed on the black sand beach and had a swim in the warm sea. We then hopped back onto the boat for dinner - this is my only fault. The meat eaters got pasta in a tomato and tuna sauce. Us vegetarians received plain pasta - it was very disappointing and I had to buy food from the cafe on board to supplement my dinner.
After dinner we then sailed around Stromboli so we could witness the volcano erupting - it was an AMAZING sight. I loved it so much I went back another day and did a hike to the top of Stromboli did this from Lipari.
The boat had lots of seating and was very comfortable. A fantastic overall trip except the food.

Doing what: Aeolian Islands Day Trip from Taormina: Stromboli and Panarea

3 star rating: Worth doing
August 2015

Staff were personable, knowledgeable, and nice.
Crowded onto a boat with several other tours so seating was at a premium, photo opportunities were a bit frantic, and a distinct lack of a personal touch. Couldn't hear/understand the tour guide due to poor sound quality on the boat speakers, meant that the trip would have been almost exactly same had we not had a guide.
The islands are amazing and the stromboli eruption show was fantastic. The boat then took off within a few seconds of it finishing so only had one opportunity where 2 would have been easily achievable without too much more waiting.
If you just want to get out to the islands, take a ferry. If you want to see the night show, its a good one but doesn't stay for long so maybe try a company on the island. If you want a smaller crowd with a more personalized trip, I'd recommend a different tour.

Doing what: Aeolian Islands Day Trip from Taormina: Stromboli and Panarea

2 star rating: It was OK, but could have been better
August 2015

I found the start of the trip very frustration. We had to meet at the bus station where there was 5 or 6 bus waiting, there was no indication which bus was for our trip, they were all going to Etna. We joined 5 queues in the heat only to be told our name was not on the list. Finally a bus arrived and oh joy our names was on the list but oh no we did not have a scrap of paper confirming we had paid for the trip. A heated argument ensured over the validity of the e-voucher provided. Eventually the tour rep relented and we were allowed on the bus. Great start to the day. Once the tour started it was worth the effort to visit Etna, the tour rep and mountain guide were knowledgeable and both spoke good English.

Doing what: Best Mount Etna Day Trip from Taormina

2 star rating: It was OK, but could have been better
August 2015

There was not much to do in Panarea. Had an hour to wonder around the island, however could not swim. Went for a drink at RAYA - don't waste your time if you don't want to feel welcome. Not map provided of the island, so really just waited for the boat to come back.
Stomboli was better, was able to swim.
The dinner on the boat was highly unorganised. Squashed everyone together and separated friends and family as they did not calculate seating properly.
Would only recommend this tour if you REALLY want to see these islands.

Doing what: Aeolian Islands Day Trip from Taormina: Stromboli and Panarea

2 star rating: It was OK, but could have been better
August 2015

See that image to the left...these islands look nothing like it. Firstly, its a VERY long day which I knew going into this, but if the actual sites were worth seeing i would have been okay with it. Bus ride to catch the boat is 2 hours. Air-conditioned luckily. Panarea is probably as big as on level of a shopping centre and there really isn't much to see or do besides little take away stores and restaurants that over charge for everything. You are only on there for 2 hours and the beach they recommend going to is a 50minute walk so by the time you get there it's time to head back to catch the boat. Stromboli, is another hour and a half from Panarea and is nothing better. Maybe as big as two levels in a shopping centre but nothing different to Panarea. The beaches are with black rocks and sand and the beach we chose to go to which looked the cleanest was a 20 minute walk from where the boat drops you off. It was so hot and sticky that day that we decided to get into the water.Now the water, is PITCH BLACK obviously because of the black sand and rocks, but nonetheless, we still got it because we were so hot. but BEWARE - I got stung by a jellyfish. and had I not the kicked and screamed like a crazy person, it was going in for a second sting. this would be the WORST thing ever to happen to me. It was the most painful thing of my life, swelled up instantly and was stinging like nothing before. It went all white and spotty. No one could speak English to help me and ended up just putting freshwater on it which was a tip from a local. Waited another hour in pain for our boat. Got on at our agreed time of 7.15 for our dinner nothing special - pasta and bread but the other 2 tour groups decided to get on at the same time and there were no seats left.
So much for allocated times for each tour group so be prepared to fight for a seat.Putting aside the jellyfish incident it still not something i'd recommend. home at 12am and disappointed on what we saw, or lack thereof!

Doing what: Aeolian Islands Day Trip from Taormina: Stromboli and Panarea

2 star rating: It was OK, but could have been better
August 2015

Mt Etna was magnificent but the upgraded tour DOES NOT go to the summit - this is false advertising. We got the coach from a convenient location close to our hotel and it was around 1.5 hours to 'base camp'. From here those who chose the summit option went on the cable car upwards and then into a 4x4 mini bus even higher. Once there we got a 15-20 minute guided tour around the 2006-7 craters and then we had 2 hour 'free time' which we could spend at this height, around the top of the cable car or around base camp. When I asked if we were going to walk to the summit I was told no, this tour didn't do that. Other companies clearly do as I did see a group heading off in that direction. I was very disappointed and quite upset by this misrepresentation of the tour as I was desperate to get to the top.
If I were to go to Etna again I would research companies that actually do go to the summit or do the much cheaper tour to base camp as that was fantastic and had some great craters within easy walking distance. You don't gain much by going for the upgrade.

Doing what: Best Mount Etna Day Trip from Taormina

1 star rating: I do not recommend this
August 2015

Shocking. A waste of money a lesson was learned to never book this type of tour
A complete waste of a day
Spent most of the day on either a coach or a cramped boat
The evening meal and wine were terrible guide was nice

Doing what: Aeolian Islands Day Trip from Taormina: Stromboli and Panarea

1 star rating: I do not recommend this
August 2015

On honeymoon @Taormina. As instructed we were nice and early we watched two other uptodate shiny coaches pull up for the same tour all ontime.
At 10am!the departure time we were concerned. At 10:15 an old rickety double decker turned up and off we went collecting people enroute so there was not a single space left not expected The old AC could just about serve up lukewarm air as we made the 1:30 h not 1 hour as described to Milazzo. Then aboard boat - the day just went from disappointing to a complete ordeal. Our group and all the other coaches that we had seen earlier crowded on and packed in like refugees - mental! We ended up squished up on the deck and we're constantly in the way of the crew who grumpily barged passed. This was our experience for 1 h it took to get to Panarea yep got sunburnt!. Panarea is a tourist hell - our boat and at least 4 more arrived at the same time to this tiny island - the beach was rammed as we cruised passed before we hit port. We followed our guide to a nice restaurant off the main harbour area, just enough time for lunch and then back to the boat via a quick gelato. Again all the boats stuffed to the rafters and off to wreak tourist havoc onStromboli - somehow this seemed slightly and I mean slightly less crowded and the volcanic island is certainly dramatic! We wandered through the backstreets and back to the boat via the black sands of the beach. Then dinner on board. This consisted of bread, carton wine, and a plastic plate of tuna pasta in tomato sauce not bad but seriously underwhelming - my wife is a vegetarian and we had specified this in advance... her meal plain pasta in olive oil!!! Headed upstairs as other group fed off to see the explosions at sunset - not the best just unlucky but couldn't see most of the action as ship was the wrong way round apart for a cursory 5 minutes. Return route, back in Taormina at 12:15! That's 14:15 hours not c.13! Plus humourless tour guide :@ exhausting ordeal - avoid!

Doing what: Aeolian Islands Day Trip from Taormina: Stromboli and Panarea

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
July 2015

Fabulous, like nothing on earth. We had a clear day which helped so the views were incredible. Other people at our hotel had cloudy days and were cold and a bit disappointed. It was like a moonscape at the summit. Guides didnt speak much english but were helpful. Not many toilets !!

Doing what: Best Mount Etna Day Trip from Taormina

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
July 2015

Very good in every single way!

Doing what: Best Mount Etna Day Trip from Taormina

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
July 2015

Excellent trip to the top of Etna. Tour consists of approx. 75 mins on a bus, followed by a short cable car ride and then about 15 mins in a jeep to the top. Keep in mind the temperature difference between the town and the summit: When we were there in early June, the temperature was 30 C in Taormina town, yet we experienced thunderstorms, hail and torrential rain at the top! But even despite the poor visibility on that particular day, the scenery on Mount Etna itself was still beautiful - the landscape appears almost 'lunar'.

We particularly liked the fact that after the tour of the summit, you are free to choose whether to spend the remaining time at the summit or at the first or second stations. Only very minor quibble is that the bus left Etna relatively early and we were back at Taormina bus station a good half an hour before the advertised finishing time. But overall, highly recommended.

Doing what: Best Mount Etna Day Trip from Taormina

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
July 2015

This is a fantastic day out. It's a long day and pretty tiring, but really worth it for the easy opportunity to see these islands. Panarea is a beautiful island with a nice little village. While there, we chose to eat at the restaurant called Antonio's, as recommended by our tour guide, and had a really nice meal. We thought the village on Stromboli was less picturesque and there was less to see there, but the really good part was afterwards when the boat pulls out and gives you the chance to see the sunset and the explosions of the volcano. Unfortunately there were no spectacular explosions when we went, but the weather conditions were great and the sunset was awesome. We were knackered at the end of the day and didn't get back to our hotel until around midnight - but it was well worth it.

Doing what: Aeolian Islands Day Trip from Taormina: Stromboli and Panarea

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
July 2015

Fantastic tour. Lots of variety and activity.

Doing what: Mount Etna and Alcantara Gorges Day Trip with Circumetnea Railway Ride

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
July 2015

excellent trip! It's a very long day, very hot and lots of walking. Bring plenty if water. Very informative, the guide was excellent!

Doing what: Best Valley of the Temples and Villa Romana del Casale Day Trip from Taormina

4 star rating: Recommended
July 2015

Knowledgeable tour guides at the top made the experience interesting even if it was a rather cloudy day.

Doing what: Best Mount Etna Day Trip from Taormina

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