Italy – The Aeolian Islands

Named after the Greek God of wind, the Aeolian Islands are a volcanic archipelago around 60 kilometres off the north-eastern tip of Sicily in the Tyrrhenian Sea. The largest island is Lipari and so the islands are sometimes referred to as the Lipari Islands. Between April and October the winds are normally gentle and predictable. Occasionally there may be some stronger winds and there is safe shelter in the harbours at Salina, Lipari or Vulcano.

Sailing between the islands is the perfect way to get a little bit of everything the Mediterranean has to offer without having to travel great distances. From the colorful streets and charming shops of Lipari to the strange landscapes and steaming sulphur baths of the aptly-named Vulcano, this astonishing archipelago frequently proves to delight even the most experienced and widely travelled sailors.

We recommend beginning your adventure from the north and ending your cruise in Palermo. The order you visit the islands and the length of time in each one is up to you and your crew.

Lipari – 37 km²

Lipari is the largest and busiest of the Aeolian islands and it is also the name of island’s main town.  It is the ideal first stop for travellers just arriving and looking for an introduction to the culture and lifestyle of the archipelago.

Visit the Archaeological Musuem of Lipari and find out about the geography and history of Lipari and the rest of the islands making up the archipelago and then admire the splendor of the Cathedral of St. Bartholomew.

Vulcano – 20.87 km²

Vulcano island and is a nature experience not to be missed. For once, forget quaint Italian restaurants and shops and open your eyes to amazing volcanic scenery. Bring your hiking boots and follow the path to the top of the crater in the centre of the island and near the ferry port bathe in the famous volcanic mud (Fanghi di Vulcano). At the northern end of the island there is a fantastic geothermal spa and an unusual black sand beach (Spiaggia Sabbie Nere).

One small word of warning, be prepared for the smell of sulphur.

Salina – 27 km²

Salina is the second largest island  in the archipelago and is on the World Heritage list because of its vulcanology. The most recent eruption the 6 volcanoes was about 13,000 years ago. All that remains are some post-volcanic phenomena called gurgling at Rinella and a thermal spring at Pertuso.  The main ports are Santa Marina and Rinella.

It’s worth having lunch with a view of the famous salt lake in Lingua.

Stromboli – 12.6 km²

Stromboli has an active volcano and is known as the “Lighthouse of the Mediterranean”. The most recent major eruption was in April 2009 although the volcano constantly has minor eruptions and is often visible from the sea. With a population of just 500 people amenities are limited.

Filicudi – 9.49 km²

If any proof were needed of the diversity of atmosphere and culture existing between the Aeolian Islands, the contrast between Filicudi and its busier neighbours would undoubtedly be it. Unlike the stylish Panarea or the dramatic island-volcano of Stromboli, Filicudi is a haven of gentle rolling hills and verdant scenery dotted along its coast by deep grottoes opening out onto the surrounding crystal-clear sea. Drop anchor in the peaceful bay of Filicudi and explore at your leisure, perhaps taking a picnic and a gentle stroll or visiting one of the island’s small and quiet villages for lunch or dinner. For a quick and easy way to get around the island there is also the popular option of hiring a scooter for the day.

Alicudi – 5.2 km²

Alicudi is just 5.2 km² and was formed by the long-extinct Montagnola volcano. Historically, the island was known for witches and sorcerers. There are around 100 residents who mostly live off fishing or the land. There is just one restaurant on the island. All up it makes for an interesting island visit.

Panarea – 3.4 km²

In recent years Panarea has become recognised as the most exclusive of the Aeolian islands, attracting a surprising number of international VIP and celebrity guests. Its glamour is, however, surprisingly understated, and explorative visitors can feel free to discover Panarea’s distinctive treats for themselves rather than feeling the need to tour each and every one of its hotspots.

During the daytime visit the almost untouched ruins of Drauto, a Bronze-Age settlement at the southern end of the island located within the enclosed bay of Cala Junco, or head out to one of the islets lying off the east coast, offering excellent snorkelling and scuba diving. There are thermal springs near the village of Punta di Peppe e Maria.

The Bridge sushi bar is well worth a visit in the evening, and, if you feel like carrying on into the small hours the rear area of the fashionale Hotel Raya turns into a night club.

Basiluzzo – 1 km²

This is the smallest island in the archipelago.  It’s tiny, but this beautiful rock is worth sailing around and has a couple of peaceful places to anchor.

Vulcano Festival of Broom – June

Broom is a vivid yellow plant. The event is dedicated to having fun and is an excuse for everyone to relax and meet up with friends.

San Bartolomeo Celebration – 24th August

This all day celebration is for the patron saint of the Aeolian Islands. Locally, it is an important day and every island has their own celebrations.


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