- 10 berths
- 3+1 cabins
- 2 WC
Located near the northern shores of Sicily, in the southernmost region of Italy, there lies a timeless scenery of sulfur, pumice, and obsidian that emerges from the deep, dark waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea.
The physical shape of this area is typical of islands formed by volcanic activity, molded by the forces of nature over countless centuries. Like skilled artists, the sea and wind have diligently crafted this landscape, resulting in the breathtaking scenery we witness today. It is not a mere coincidence that the Aeolian Islands were recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2000.
Each of the seven Aeolian islands has its distinct landscape and offerings. Walking on extinct (and active!) volcanoes, bathing on black sand beaches, and visiting the incredible rock formations and caves off the coast are just some of the highlights. Hiring a boat to explore them all allows you to visit them all in a playful itinerary that gets better each day.
This is a circular itinerary that will take you from Vulcano all the way to Filicudi, written in collaboration with a local Sicilian skipper, Giovanni Arena. With several years of experience on his shoulders, Giovanni shares some nautical nuggets and insider tips on the Aeolian Islands that you will hardly find somewhere else!
There are two main ports from which you can set sail for the Aeolian Islands:
1) Portorosa, 15 NM from the island of Vulcano (the closest one to the mainland) - about 2h30min sailing
2) Capo D'Orlando, 16 NM from Vulcano (about 2h45min sailing).
Vulcano is the third largest and southernmost island in the Aeolian group. It is from here that our boat trip begins. In the past, the volcanic activity that periodically takes place in the Gran Cratere has resulted in people having to evacuate the island.
Today, the activity is limited to the fumaroles found in the area around the Fossa and on the isthmus between the Faraglioni and Vulcanello. A strip of land separates Vulcanello from the island, giving rise to the bays of Porto Levante and Porto Ponente from where it is possible to reach the village.
Anchoring is possible in front of the beach with a sandy and muddy seabed. Buoys are available in the bay or moor at nearby jetties. It is recommended to book in advance during peak season.
Anchoring here is only recommended during the daytime by dropping your anchor inside the bay immediately to the south, circumnavigating the Pietra Quaglietta rock on the outside. The bay has a sandy seabed in the centre with large boulders near the cliff.
Especially for trekking lovers, the free excursion to the island's crater. Estimated time 1 hour to reach the summit. To enjoy an excellent Sicilian granita, I recommend Ritrovo Remigio in front of the commercial port. Get a taste of the typical Aeolian cuisine at La Bottega Restaurant right in the village centre.
Lipari is the largest and oldest of the Aeolian Islands, located 6 NM from Vulcano. It is divided into two villages, Marina Corta and Marina Lunga. The island has white beaches with pumice quarries, clear seabeds, obsidian flows in Acquacalda, and impressive cliffs on the western side. Exploring by boat allows for a unique view of coves, caves, and rock formations not visible from land.
Other bays worth a stop are Capo Rosso, on the northeastern side of the island, only reachable by boat, and Spiaggia Praia di Vinci at the southern end of the island, perfect for snorkeling.
On Lipari, I suggest hiring a car or moped to explore the island. The landscapes, as well as the amazing restaurants, are worth a stop; Trattoria del Vicolo, where you will find traditional Sicilian and Aeolian dishes reinterpreted in a modern key; la Kasbah, housed in an old theatre, is nestled in the alleyways of Lipari; and finally, Ristorante da Filippino for tasting the excellent fish.
Don't forget to try the delicious granita of La Pasticceria d'Ambra in Marina Corta or Subba in Marina Lunga.
Panarea is 10NM from Lipari (about 1h40min) and is famous for its nightlife, lounge bars, discos under the stars, boutiques, and white houses with blue doors and windows, but above all for its crystal clear water ideal for snorkelling. From the harbour area, you can visit the quaint city centre on foot.
At the island's southern tip, there are two main coves: Cala Zimmari and Cala Junco.
If you want to visit the island and anchor the boat in a safe spot, I recommend you take one of the many buoys with taxi service included in the price positioned along the east coast of the island. It is possible to book them in advance or directly on the spot.
Pay a visit to the prehistoric village between Cala Junco and Cala Zimmari and trek along the path from Cala Zimmari around the whole island.
The restaurants Cusiritati and Da Pina are perfect for a fish dinner, while Il macellaio offers delicious meat or pizza. For an elegant and suggestive aperitif, I recommend Raya restaurant with a panoramic terrace overlooking the bay of Panarea and Stromboli.
Stromboli is undoubtedly the most surprising of the archipelago's islands. Its volcano, in perpetual explosive activity, gives incandescent plays of lava that, especially at nightfall, offer unique emotions. Navigating from Panarea to Stromboli is fascinating and unique throughout the journey that separates them (about 2 hours of navigation).
The most popular activity on the island is trekking up the volcano with a guide to see the magma pouring out of the crater. Bar Ingrid is a recommended stop for delicious food and a beautiful view over Strombolicchio islet.
On the west side of Stromboli, you can admire the rocky wall shaped by magma flows over the years. For the more experienced, I recommend sailing at sunset to be enchanted by the explosions of fire and lapilli rolling down to the sea. Always check the local protocols on the distance necessary from the coast on this side of the island.
Salina is the second-largest island of the Aeolian Archipelago, after Lipari, with an area of about 27 square kilometers. The rich vegetation of ferns, poplars, oaks, vineyards, and capers also makes it the greenest, especially in the spring and summer seasons.
Lingua is a village on the extreme south-eastern tip of the island where you can anchor on a bottom between 5 and 12 metres for a day or night stop.
The lake is very suggestive: it was built by the Romans to collect the salt used to preserve capers and fish. Let yourself be delighted by the Pane Cunzato and granitas of the Ristorante da Alfredo before returning to the boat.
Together with Alicudi, Filicudi is the furthest island from Sicily, characterized by a rocky coastline and formed by a group of craters. With no roads, the locals often travel on donkeys. Both islands are perfect for those who want to get off the beaten track.
It distances 10NM from Salina, about 1h40min by boat.
On the west coast of the island of Filicudi, you can admire the beautiful Grotta del Bue (Ox Cave), and half a mile further out to sea, you can see the Canna - a solitary 85-meter high stack in the middle of the sea.
Don't forget to try the Malvasia, a liquored wine typical of this island!
Alicudi is the smallest of the Aeolian Islands. It has a surface of 5,10 square kilometres, with a few dozen of people as inhabitants; it is quite far from Filicudi, about 10 miles heading west - 1h40min of navigation.
The island has a coin shape, therefore you will not find many sheltered bays, and the seabed drops rapidly. If you want to visit it, I recommend mooring at the buoys available in front of the small village.
It is also good to check the weather forecasts to make sure you find favourable wind and sea conditions.
Whether you are an experienced sailor or a skipper, you will know that traveling by boat requires flexibility in planning.
Always consider wind and current conditions to modify your return route. The predominant winds during the summer season are those coming from the northeast (Grecale). In the winter season, winds from the southwest (Libeccio) and west (Ponente) are more frequent.
"I come from a small fishing village on the Strait of Messina, and since I was a child, I grew up in close contact with the sea and boats. I started having my first experience at sea with a sailing dinghy at the age of 14. A few years later, at the age of 19, I obtained my sailing license and immediately afterward the title of Yacht & Monotype sailing instructor, the latter obtained on Lake Garda. Here I had the opportunity to work for a couple of seasons in a sailing school as an instructor, interspersed with skippering experience in Italy and Greece."
Folllow Giovanni on Instagram @vita_da_barca