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Southern Italy: Volcanoes and Islands


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Southern Italy explodes with scenic beauty. Travel along the stunning Amalfi Coast to view steep cliffs, sheltered coves and quaint towns. Visit Capri, a playground of the wealthy; uncover the mysteries of ancient Pompeii; island hop among the Aeolian Islands; and explore Sicily’s Mount Etna. This active but easy walking holiday takes you to four UNESCO World Heritage Sites and four active volcanoes. Gain a real sense of Italian culture, with family activities that include kayaking, boat rides and interaction with local residents.

If you have a few more vacation days to take advantage of while you’re in Italy, consider our Rome extension. A family adventure that includes all the highlights can’t be beat.

2018 Dates
Dates Adult/Teen Children
(under 12)
06/23 - 07/03 $4,890 $4,690
07/13 - 07/23 $4,990 $4,790
08/03 - 08/13 $5,090 $4,890

Smart Traveler Advantages: book a trip 9 months ahead of the day that you want to leave and get free flight insurance, free cancellation insurance, and a GoPro Hero Session!

Triple Discount: $300 for children under 12 sharing with 2 adults

Groups: Traveling in a party of six or more friends or family members? Call us about our large group discounts.

Alumni Discount: if you are a returning Thomson guest, please subtract $500 per family from these prices.

Price includes: Accommodations based on two to a room, land transportation, most meals, bottled water & snacks in the vehicle, Comprehensive Travel Insurance.

Don't see your travel dates?

Call us, we can personalize any trip to meet your travel needs! 

Days 1-2: Depart Home / Arrive Naples

After arriving in beautiful Naples, you are transferred to your hotel in the town of Amalfi, located along the scenic coastline where houses are tucked into the cliff side.  

Day 3: Kayak Along the Coast / Free Time in Amalfi / Visit Museum of Handmade Paper

Today is all about Amalfi, once a maritime power and now known as a cultivator of lemons and maker of limoncello liqueur.  

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UNESCO considers the dramatic coastline an outstanding example of a Mediterranean landscape. The view of the coastline from the water is one of the most picturesque locations in the world and making your own sheets of paper at the Museum of Handmade Paper is an interesting activity your kids won’t forget!

Day 4: Boat Ride to Capri / Explore Underwater Caves / See Gorgeous Villas and Ruins

Discover magnificent villas, Roman ruins and designer boutiques as the aroma of bougainvillea permeates the air. 

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This glitzy island is truly glamourous and it’s hard not to fall in love with it. There is a lot of history to be seen on Capri from the Natural Arch to the ancient villas of Tiberius. Spend the day on Capri before having a delicious dinner at a local restaurant.

Day 5: Hike Up Mount Vesuvius / Wander the Ruins of Pompeii / Lunch in a Local Farmhouse

In August of 79 AD, the wealthy Roman city of Pompeii made history.  

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Mount Vesuvius erupted, burying Pompeii and its inhabitants in molten lava and ash. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it was rediscovered 1,500 years later. The well-preserved objects that lay beneath the ash tell the story of life at that time in history. 

Days 6-7: Overnight Boat to Messina / Hike to the Mount Vulcano Crater / Relax on a Black Sand Beach

Arrive in Messina in the morning and privately transfer to Milazzo, the main boarding point for the Aeolian Islands, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and volcanic archipelago in the Tyrrhenian Sea.  

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Hike to the hissing crater on top of Mount Vulcano for incredible views. Take a day to discover the island of Vulcano, home to Black Sand Beach, restorative mud baths, and hot springs. Explore the hidden caves and secret beaches as you cruise around the waters in a kayak.

Day 8: Discover the Sciara del Fuoco / View the Light Explosion / Explore Panarea Island

Head for Stromboli, where you hike toward the Sciara del Fuoco, a horseshoe-shaped depression created by collapses of the volcanic cone.  

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Two active lava flows are what produce the “lighthouse” effect toppling down to the sea. On the way back to Vulcano, stop at the Sciara to view the light explosion and enjoy a nighttime picnic dinner.

Days 9-10: Sample Sicilian Pastries / Travel to Etna Stud / Visit the GAPA Association

Travel to Catania, the city that rests at the foot of Mount Etna, Europe’s highest active volcano.  

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Gather in San Cristoforo, the vibrant old quarter, to meet the volunteers, kids and families of the GAPA Association (Youngs Absolutely for Action). Take a private trip to Etna Sud, at a height of 6,200 feet above sea level; the volcanic mountain’s summit is at 10,922 feet. Take an easy walk along the slopes.

Day 11: Depart Catania / Arrive Home

Say arrivederci to Italy and prepare for your flight home.  

Minori Palace

Just a few feet from the sea is the gorgeous and wonderful Minori Hotel. The hotel has kept much of its original architecture while still staying up to date with modern design. This is a truly “new classic” style of Italian hotel. The rooms are spacious and elegant with soundproof walls, a TV, and Wi-Fi. The staff is friendly and attentive and the location is perfect, right in the middle of town and steps from the beach. This hotel will have everything that your family needs to feel safe and comfortable while enjoying an adventure on the Amalfi Coast.    

Hotel Eros

The result of a marriage between an old villa with features of fishermen’s houses, Hotel Eros overlooks the enchanting bay of Levante with views of the volcano. Its 25 air-conditioned rooms feature private patios. Grab a drink from the poolside bar and take a dip in the glistening pool, relax on the rooftop terrace, or enjoy a massage or facial in the spa.

Grand Hotel Baia Verde

The best feature of the Grand Baia Verde is the view. Situated high up on a cliff and overlooking the water, it will be hard to find a better view anywhere on the island! The rooms are spacious, comfortable, fully renovated, and equipped with air conditioning. The hotel offers free Wi-Fi, a bar and lounge area, a restaurant, a spa, and a fitness center. 

Why Italy?


UNESCO World Heritage  
 Italy has garnered an amazing number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, a mix of manmade and natural attractions. The scenic Amalfi Coast, an area of dramatic cliffs and medieval villages tucked into the rugged folds, holds the honor. Pompeii, once a wealthy Roman city, earned a place in history — and on UNESCO’s list. It was buried in ash (and nearly perfectly preserved) when Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD. Sicily’s seven volcanic Aeolian Islands earned a position on the list because of their importance to scientists studying volcanoes. Mount Etna, also on Sicily, is the highest Mediterranean island mountain and also Europe’s most active stratovolcano — a UNESCO natural site.

Breathtaking natural landscapes  
  Combine towering cliffs braced against a crystal-blue sea with whitewashed houses trellised with colorful blooms peeking out from the folds, and the result is breathtaking coastal beauty. That’s Italy’s stunning Amalfi Coast. Add a massive volcanic archipelago in the Tyrrhenian Sea, hidden sea caves, secret beaches, vineyard-clad hills and a stoic mountain that also happens to be a powerful volcano, and it’s easy to see why Italy is una bella terra (a beautiful land.

Four active volcanoes
   Italy’s volcanic action is best remembered through the story of ancient Pompeii, buried by the molten lava of the now dormant Mount Vesuvius. However, it is home to a total of six active volcanoes. The Aeolian archipelago north of Sicily in the Tyrhhenian Sea is a volcanic arc, made up of three active volcanoes: Stromboli, Vulcano and Lipari. Stromboli is the only one of the three to consistently erupt — as it has been doing for 2,000 years. The largest volcano in Italy, dominating the island of Sicily, is iconic Mount Etna. Its seismic activity is closely monitored because it’s in a nearly constant state of activity.  Mount Etna has been the subject of legends since the days of the ancient Greeks who believed that Vulcan, god of fire and metalwork, had his workshop there. Polyphemus, the one-eyed Cyclops, was thought to be a neighbor living in a cave on Etna’s slopes.


Why with Thomson?


Active adventure  
  If part of your idea of a vacation is to run the kids ragged with adventures, Italy is the place to do it. Thomson has arranged a variety of activities for your entire family to share in. Water enthusiasts enjoy kayak excursions, a boat ride, a hydrofoil ride and swimming. Landlubbers are not disappointed, either, because your family adventure in Southern Italy brings chances to hike around volcano cones and mountain slopes. With all the activity, we know that you’re going to be hungry (and thirsty), so we’ve included a stop at a pasticceria for sweet treats and at a winery for a tasting of local Sicilian wines. We haven’t forgotten the pizza; you’ll have dinner in a pizzeria one night.

Getting to know the locals 
  Part of what separates a Thomson Family Adventure from the others is the importance we place on developing relationships during your journeys. It’s one thing to see sights and have fun, but meeting the locals brings it all home and keeps the memories alive. When you’re in Catania, the city at the foot of Mount Etna, you have a wonderful opportunity to connect with the volunteers, children and families of the GAPA Association (Youngs Absolutely for Action). They all work together to provide and promote leisure activities for the local school. You have the chance to talk with them about life in Sicily, and your kids can play with the Sicilian kids, perhaps forging new friendships. To further your understanding of local life, you are invited to join the locals for a dinner that they have prepared for you.