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), the steaming volcano that towers over the island's northeastern shores.
Vulcano's most obvious attractions – climbing the crater, strolling over to the mud baths and the black beaches at Porto di Ponente – are easily managed on a day trip from Lipari. Visitors who linger and explore beyond touristy Porto di Levante will discover a whole different island, swimming off Gelso's volcanic beaches, kayaking the wild coast or enjoying the rural tranquillity of the central plateau, filled with vegetable gardens, birdsong and a surprising amount of greenery.