Vulcano is the island that gave its name to all volcanoes. Famous for its mud baths (‘fanghi’) and its still smoking main crater. Depending on the wind, you might be immediately hit by the characteristic sulphurous smell coming from the hot springs. Vulcano gets very crowded in July and August, and the quality of the restaurants is not particularly good. But the walk up to the impressive crater and a visit to the small villages of Gelso and Piano (you can rely on the local bus service or rent a scooter) make an interesting and pleasant day trip.
With its visibly smoking crater and vile sulphurous fumes, Vulcano makes an indelible first impression. The island's volcanic nature has long been impressing visitors: the ancient Romans believed it to be the chimney of the fire god Vulcan's workshop, and today it remains famous for its therapeutic mud baths and hot springs. The main drawcard, however, remains the Fossa di Vulcano (Gran Cratere).
For spectacular sea and island views without the physical exertion of climbing Fossa di Vulcano.
On the island's southern coast, down a sinuous, narrow paved road, Gelso is a minuscule but picturesque port with a pair of family-run restaurants and a couple of black-sand beaches that rarely get very crowded.
Vulcano's beach scene is centred on this smooth strip of black sand at Porto di Ponente, about 10 minutes' walk beyond the mud pools on the western side of the peninsula.
This beach, one of two small black-sand stretches on the island's southern side near Gelso, is surrounded by lush, almost tropical greenery.
One of two small black-sand beaches on the island's southern side near Gelso, this crescent of black sand gives onto inviting waters.