With beautiful cobalt-blue, sparkling coastlines, plentiful nature and off-the-beaten-track adventures, plus the exquisite food and wine that comes with travelling to Italy, sailing the Unesco-protected Aeolian Islands really is paradise. And with these islands relatively speaking right on our doorstep, just off the northern coast of Sicily, we highly recommend adding them to your summer holiday wanderlust list.
Our Co-Founder and CEO Phoebe shares her insider’s guide on what each of these stunning UNESCO protected islands has to offer.
First stop on the island-hopping adventure is the island of Vulcano. Known for its miniature active volcano and volcanic mud baths, the island is for both active wellness addicts. If you can tolerate the smell of sulfur, the mud baths are a lot of fun followed by a soak and swim in one of the stunning nearby beaches. If mud baths aren’t your vibe, you can climb to the top of Volcano which stands at almost 400m tall, so have your walking shoes ready. The island’s typical mediterranean pace creates the perfect environment for a holiday stop.
Filicudi is a quiet town, definitely one of the least developed of the islands. It’s full of nature and stunning walking paths for a post-lunch hike or even a morning jog if you so fancy. The beaches offer serene views with crystal clear, glistening water, and there are ocean-side seafood restaurants aplenty, making it an idyllic location to spend a few hours or a couple of days.
La Terrazza del Phenicusa specialises in classic Aeolian seafood dishes, and you can sit out on the sea-front and gaze out across the sea to the other islands.
Known for its endless food and wine, Salina is blanketed by countless vineyards, olive groves and citrus trees. Its numerous fresh water springs keep the island looking gloriously green, and along with the six different volcanos that cover the island, Salina offers a truly stunning landscape. We took advantage of the local wine culture and spent some time at Hauner Winery, where we indulged in local cheeses, fruits and were spoilt for selection with their finest wines.
Following our wine tasting, we continued to one of the three small towns on the island where we had plenty of restaurant options offering Italian cuisine and fresh sea food.
The remote island of Stromboli hosts one of the most active and ancient volcanos on Earth, which has been in almost continuous eruption for the past 2,000 years. For those in search of a challenge, the volcano is able to be climbed, however a guide is required if you would like to get up close and personal.
If hiking 6 hours is not your thing, enjoy a stroll through the small village during the day before taking a boat trip around the island at night for a spectacular display of glowing lava eruptions. We watched on from our yacht as Mother Nature put on a show of her real life fireworks – the most magnificent experience.
Panarea is the ideal destination for an elegant island escape, similar to a tiny Mykonos or Santorini with whitewashed buildings lining the coast. For the smallest of the Aeolian Islands, Panarea is well equipped with restaurants and cafes, where laneways are filled with boutiques and cocktail bars. Panarea is also great for diving – an English shipwreck from the 1900s laying beneath the ocean’s surface provides a fantastic spot for divers.
My recommendation is to visit the rooftop bar of the terrace at Hotel Raya – a picture-perfect view where they serve irresistible cocktails and lovely Italian canapes.
Top tip for Panarea: Swap your heels for your flats as there are no cars on the island! Panarea is walking only.
The final island of the trip was the largest and most populated of them all. Lipari boasts translucent blue waters, towering cliffs and rugged coastlines.
You can’t miss a visit to Bianca Beach – home of the most ideal turquoise water. Interestingly, the old pumice mines on the island have caused the beautiful white seabed for Bianca Beach, formed by pumice sediment over the years. A real contrast from the familiar black sand in the area!
The bustling town has endless restaurants and cafes to choose from. We spent an evening dining at Kasbah, a modern Italian restaurant hidden away from the hustle of the busy town. A fantastic end to a spectacular trip.
The best way to visit the islands? On a yacht of course. Check out the Aeolian Islands route with Yacht Getaways.