In Southern Italy, right above Sicily and surrounded by the waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea, is located one of the most beautiful group of islands in the whole Mediterranean area. We're talking about the seven pearls of the Aeolian archipelago, which consists of Lipari, Salina, Vulcano, Alicudi, Filicudi, Panarea and Stromboli.
These islands are all of volcanic origin and emerge from the crystal clear sea, with wild, unspoiled nature and an authentic Italian atmosphere. To preserve their natural beauty, they have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The best way to visit them is by taking advantage of the winds and renting a private sailboat or catamaran. In this way, you will be able to enjoy the beauties of these islands away from the bustle, at your own pace, and most of all, through a unique experience.
Some facts about the Aeolian Islands
The biggest island of the archipelago is Lipari, which attracts huge numbers of tourists on an annual basis. On the other hand, Panarea is the smallest one but still the most chic and famous destinations of southern Italy, thanks to its renowned nightlife and the presence of VIPs during summer season.
Salina, also known as the green island, is the native land of the famous wine Malvasia, and its covered in vineyards and cultivations of various nature.
Vulcano hosts some of the most amazing outdoor thermal baths, which are visitable throughout the year. Stromboli is the island with the highest volcanic activity and it's a mandatory stop for those who want to witness amazing lava eruptions.
Alicudi and Filicudi are the westernmost islands of the archipelago and are famous for their uncontaminated beauty. They're less visited by tourists, which makes them a real paradise for those who seek absolute peace! If you want to know more about the wild nature of Alicudi, read more in our dedicated blog post.
When to visit the Aeolian Archipelago
The Aeolian Islands are located northeast from Sicily, so summer are usually very hot and busy. We suggest visiting the archipelago during spring (late April to June) or late summer (September to early October), when temperatures are balmy and prices are more reasonable.
Set sail with us for a 7-day itinerary around this amazing Italian archipelago.
Day 1 - Portorosa (Messina)
Portorosa is the starting point of our itinerary and has become an exclusive point of attraction for the most sophisticated tourist clientele. The marina is fully surrounded by greenery, ensuring tourists relaxation and privacy.
This corner of sea boasts the Blue Flag, an award given by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) to the marine locations that reach good quality standards for the waters and the services provided. It is, therefore, a port that perfectly combines respect for the environment and the needs of all travelers who anchor here.
Day 2 - Vulcano
Vulcano is the southernmost of all Aeolian Islands and signals the start of the archipelago, welcoming tourists with an imposing volcano inactive since the 19th century.
One of the most amazing experiences in Vulcano is to climb up to the crater. You will literally find yourself thrown into a surreal world that almost looks like another planet. At the top, you will enjoy a spectacular view of all the other islands as well as stunning sunset. The thermal mud pool is one of the main attractions and is a mandatory stop for a moment of self-care and relaxation.
What to see in Volcano by boat
- Horse Grotto: Located in the island's western coast, it is a rocky cove that reminds of a Greek theatre. The name originates from a boulder at the end of the cave that looks just like a horse's head.
- Venus' Pool: right next to the entrance to the above rocky vault is the Piscina di Venere, filled with tuff and basalt rocks. A stunning place that requires mask and snorkel for a proper exploration!
Day 3 - Lipari
Lipari is the biggest of the Aeolian Islands. The Greeks used to call it Lipara, which means bright and fertile. This island is filled with architectural beauties, churches, unique lookouts, beaches, as well as an intense nightlife. The touristic area is located in the east side of the island and is divided into two villages: Marina Lunga and Marina Corta, both full of restaurants, shops and nice promenades. The villages offer well-organized floating bridges and docks where you can moor and take advantage of their services. Not to be missed is a visit to Belvedere di Quattrocchi, the most evocative viewpoint on the island.
What to see in Lipari by boat
- Capo Rosso: located on the north-eastern side of the island, is an unspoilt paradise that can only be reached by boat. The wild beach of Gabbiano, a paradise for snorkelers, can only be reached by boat.
- Spiaggia Praia di Vinci: another spot located in the southern part of the island, perfect for snorkelling.
- Pumice Cave Bay: the old pumice cave located in this bay is now a white mountain side that extends towards the sea and creates an amazing white sand beach with turquoise waters.
Day 4 - Panarea and Stromboli
Panarea is one of the most renowned islands of the archipelago. This is the island of celebrities and amazing nightlife, with narrow streets full of boutiques, lounge bars and discos. It's located about 1 hour and 40 minutes by boat from Lipari and it's a mandatory stop if you are sailing towards Stromboli. Panarea is surrounded by various islets, all worth a visit for some snorkeling in the beautiful waters, yet quite dangerous for sailing especially at night as they are not marked.
What to see in Panarea by boat
- Cala Junco: denominated a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its amazing natural beauty and the archeological site located nearby, it's a beautiful corner of paradise reachable by boat.
- Anchor between the islets of Bottaro and Lisca Nera: in the channel between the two islets, you will be able to anchor on a shallow sandy bottom and have a swim in the amazing waters. This point is particularly famous for the sulfatare, hot air bubbles coming from the seabed that create a natural jacuzzi.
From Panarea, you can easily reach the beautiful Stromboli. The charm of this island is given by the unique colours and scents: high cliffs and beaches of black sand, white Mediterranean houses, olive and citrus trees that rest on a rugged volcanic cone. Have a swim in the black waters and enjoy the characteristic town.
What to see in Stromboli by boat
- Strombolicchio: this volcanic rock is only reachable by boat and is definitely worth a visit. It's high cliffs violently break into the sea, creating an breathtaking scenario. Will you spot the heart-shaped rock on the cliff facing south?
- Volcanic eruptions: sail at sunset on the west side of Stromboli to admire the enchanting lava explosions coming out of the craters and falling down the side of the mountain shaped by the lava rivers. We recommend checking sailing distance protocols before adventuring in this area.
Day 5 - Salina
Salina is the greenest island of the Aeolian archipelago, famous for the natural reserve that occupies more than half of the territory. This island is covered in vineyards and other local cultivations. The town of Santa Marina hosts the largest and most equipped marina in the Aeolian Islands, and it's a beautiful village full of shops and restaurants where you can also visit the Museum of Wine. This is, in fact, the native land of the famous Malvasia. Salina is also known for its nightlife made of clubs and bars.
What to see in Salina by boat
- Pollara Bay: this beautiful bay became famous after filming the movie "Il Postino" (the postman), it's a secret treasure of the island and one of the most beautiful in the archipelago.
Day 6 - Alicudi
We set sail to Alicudi, the wildest island in the archipelago. This is one of those places where time seems to have stopped: there are no ATMs, pharmacies and bank offices, nor trendy clubs, pubs or discos. There are no roads and people move around with donkeys. This is the charm of Alicudi: living off the essentials and the beauty of nature. A real paradise in miniature.
What to see in Alicudi by boat
Read our article about Alicudi to discover everything you need to know about this enchanting place.
Day 7 - Filicudi
Along with Alicudi, Filicudi is a paradise of unspoiled nature. As soon as you arrive at Filicudi Porto, you can admire the wild charm of the island. From here you can reach Monte Guardia, one of the most exclusive places of Filicudi as well as the only point from which you can enjoy the beautiful view of the six sisters and the Sicilian coast. Climb up to the promontory of Capo Graziano, about half an hour's walk from the port, to admire one of the most important places for wind archeology.
What to see in Filicudi
- Ox Cave: also known as the green cave for its amazing watercolors. You can enter the cave with a small boat and admire the rock formations while swimming in emerald waters.
- Canna di Filicudi: a scenic and solitary 85-metre high stack in the middle of the sea, only reachable by boat. From here, you can also reach the nearby Montenassari rock.
Filicudi is the last stop of our 7-day itinerary around the Aeolian Islands. These enchanting places of unspoiled nature and immense beauty will steal your heart and will make you experience an amazing vacation.
If you got inspired by this article and wish to plan your next holiday in the Aeolian Archipelago, we suggest checking our boat availability in Sicily.