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Volcanoes of Italy with Ulla Lohmann

13 – 21 September 2023

Location: Italy

Join adventurer and National Geographic photographer Ulla Lohman in Italy to photograph volcanoes up close. Climb and photograph the spectacular surroundings and craters of Mount Etna and Stromboli. You will get to experience and photograph active volcanoes up close.

Our days together are filled with volcano and landscape photography as well as hikes, but we also explore historic towns, small villages and enjoy good food and the Sicilian lifestyle.

Image: Ulla Lohmann


  • Visit and photograph famous active volcanoes Mount Etna and Stromboli
  • Experience the volcanoes in different conditions – including during sunset and at night
  • Visit the island of Stromboli, explore its buildings, and inhabitants.
  • Boat trip between the Aeolian Islands.
  • Historic Taormina with sunset on Isola Bella.
  • The Sicilian lifestyle and the great food.
  • Lectures, image editing and image criticism by Ulla Lohmann.

Stromboli. Image: Ulla Lohmann

Volcanoes of Italy Itinerary

Day 1 (13/9) – Arrive in Sicily

Arrive in Catania, Sicily no later than 15:00. At the airport, you will be met by Ulla Lohmann and her husband Basti for transport to Hotel La Terra dei Soigni which will be our base for the first four nights. The hotel is located along the coast about 40 km north of Catania. Our first trip takes us to Taormina.

Located on a hillside, the city is considered one of the most beautiful in Sicily and we explore the narrow alleys and experience the rich history of the city. From the city we have a fantastic view, including of Etna, which in the coming days will give us many fantastic photo opportunities.

Back at the hotel, Ulla will present the program of the week and what you can expect from the days in terms of photography. Afterwards, dinner is served. (D)

Image: Ulla Lohmann

Day 2 (14/9) – Mount Etna

Today it is time for our first encounter with the mighty volcano Etna and its dramatic surroundings. A cable car will take us up to 2,500 meters altitude where you are an unbeatable view meets you.

Ulla is close at hand to help you with everything from camera settings to composition and we will also learn a lot about the fascinating world of volcanoes. Those who want to hike can take a photo hike of about 1.5 hours instead of going down with the cable car. For those who take the cable car, there are great photo opportunities to explore just behind the station while waiting for the rest of the group.

When the group is reunited, we will photograph Mount Silvestri as well as finding the best photo spots to take pictures of the spectacular sunset. Depending on the weather conditions during the evening/night we can photograph a beautiful starry sky with Etna as the foreground. (B, L or D)

Day 3 (15/9) – Mount Etna

Another day of amazing photo opportunities. Depending on the volcanic activity of Etna, we will explore the best place to see and photograph a possible eruption. The contrasts on the mountain are great, and our subjects can range from hot lava flows where the temperature reaches over 1,000 degrees Celsius to imaginative formations of cooled lava that spark our photographic creativity and bring fantasy movies to mind.

During the day, we will also visit local photographer Dario Lo Scavo to learn more about volcano photography. In his gallery, we will also have the opportunity of seeing pictures from major eruptions over the years. When we explore the northern parts of Etna, we have the possibility of a hike to Monti Sartorius where we are greeted by a fantastic view of Mount Etna and a view that stretches towards the sea.

After a day of exploration and photography, a sumptuous dinner with wine is served. In the evening, there are additional opportunities to take a picture of the stars with Etna as foreground. (B, D)

Image: Ulla Lohmann

Day 4 (16/9) – Stromboli

Time to enjoy a delicious breakfast followed by check-out. Afterwards, we go to Milazzo and take the ferry to Stromboli. Upon arrival in Stromboli, we check into our hotel, Il Gabbiano Relais.

We will enjoy a homemade meal and then hike to “Osservatorio” to photograph and observe the volcanic eruptions on Stromboli from one of Ulla’s secret photo locations. Be prepared for goose bumps when you see your first volcanic eruption, an equally amazing photography experience as well as nature experience. We then return to the hotel. (B, L or D)

Day 5 (17/9) – Volcano Photography

The morning is spent by ourselves before we meet up for photo editing and image critique. Ulla will provide constructive feedback with tips and advice that we will take with us for the afternoon and evening photo shoot.

After a late lunch at the hotel, we climb up to the volcano along with a guide from Magmatrek. How high we go will depend on the volcanic activities. The hike is about two and a half hours including breaks and photo stops.

Our experienced guide will share rich knowledge of Stromboli and what it is like to live near an active volcano. Our hike will provide lots of great photo opportunities, including at sunset we have the opportunity to photograph the eruption of the volcano up close. Ulla, who has visited the area many times, will show us how we can create creative images using long shutter speeds. Memorable moments and stunning photos are guaranteed. (B, L or D)

Image: Ulla Lohmann

Day 6 (18/9) – Tour of Stromboli

During this morning you will have the option of sleeping in or taking photos of the lovely sunrise. In the late morning we meet for photo discussions and an inspiring photo show where Ulla will show pictures and give us tips and advice on how to photograph people, portraits or capture snapshots in a village, something we will try with our own cameras during the afternoon.

We continue the day with a boat trip where, among other things, we make a stop at “Strombolicchio”, a volcanic cliff out in the sea, perfect for both photography and a cooling dip in the water.

Our next stop is Ginostra, a small, picturesque village of 40 inhabitants nestled on the slope of the mighty volcano with plenty of photo opportunities. During the day we will also photograph “Sciara del Fuoco”, when stones of lava from Stromboli tumble into the water with a characteristic hissing sound.

In the evening we head back up to the volcano, this time via a shorter route and to a viewpoint at an altitude of 290 meters. (B, L or D)

Day 7 (19/9) – Image processing and volcano photography

On this day, we will combine image processing with photography. During the day, Ulla will show us how to work with image processing of volcano photos. You will also have the opportunity to go up to the volcano one last time and photograph the unique spectacle of huge explosions and glowing lava. (B, L or D)

Day 8 (20/9) – Return to Sicily

On the last morning on Stromboli, we get up very early to photograph the sunrise. After breakfast and check-out we head to the port for a relaxing trip with a cargo boat. This is a great way to see the Aeolian Islands and photograph them from an elevated point of view.

During the five hours of this journey takes, you will marvel at the turquoise waters and at the same time enjoy the views as we pass the islands of Panarea, Salina, Lipari and Volcano – the island that gave its name to volcanoes.

On arrival at Milazzo we continue to La Terra Dei Soigni. We can stop for a swim in the beautiful Alcantara River along the way or relax by the hotel’s pool during the afternoon. Before the evening’s ending dinner, Ulla will choose “best photo of the trip” which automatically goes to the final of Zoom Photo Travel’s competition “Photo of the year 2023”. (B, D)

Day 9 (21/9) – Journey home

After breakfast it is time for check-out and then the journey home begins, by your own devices. (B)

Image: Ulla Lohmann

Price: £2100/ $2570

What’s included?

  • All ground transfers according to the itinerary.
  • Accommodation in a shared room (£280/$335 single room supplement)
  • Meals according to itinerary (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner).
  • Activities according to the itinerary.
  • Participation by Ulla Lohman the entire tour.
  • Workshops during the tour.
  • A tour leader from Zoom Photo Tours.
  • Hotel taxes and other local fees.
  • Travel documents and other travel information.

Excluded: Flights to Italy, personal expenses, cancellation and travel insurance.

Flights to and back from Italy is not included in the price. You should arrive in Catania, Sicily no later than 15:00 on September 13th. Your return flight you can book whenever you want on the September 21st.

What should I bring?

  • A camera
  • We recommend taking a wide-angle lens of at least 24mm and a telephoto lens such as 70-200mm.
  • A mono- or tripod
  • Extra batteries, charger etc

A more detailed equipment list will be provided in the information material you will receive prior to the expedition.

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