Aeolian Islands: the seven islands forged by the fire
Called the Mediterranean Hawaii, the Aeolian Islands are a group of seven volcanic islands in the north of Sicily and they are named after the Greek demigod of the winds, Aeolus.
The Aeolian Islands are comprised of Lipari, Salina, Vulcano, Panarea, Stromboli, Filicudi and Alicudi. Each island has its own soul, its own identity and its own vocation. These are the perfect destination for those who love the sun, the sea, nature and sport without giving up authentic Italian cuisine.
The islands can only be reached by sea or by helicopter and the airports of reference are those of Catania and Palermo. From Palermo there is a direct hydrofoil connection (approx. 4 h cruising), while from Catania airport buses leave frequently for the port of Milazzo, from which the connections to the Aeolian Islands depart.
As I have spent many summer holidays on these islands since I was a child, I would be delighted to give you some suggestions on these Mediterranean wonders. But don’t forget that this is only a small taste … for more details, write me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Let’s start exploring each one of these seven islands!
Lipari is the biggest and the main island of the Aeolian Islands. The village is located between the two marinas: Marina Corta and the Marina Lunga. The last one is the base for the arrival and departure of the major ferries and hydrofoils that connect the archipelago with Italy (Milazzo and Naples) and with the other 6 islands.
Lipari can be an ideal solution for those who wish a visit the largest number of islands and for those who do not want to feel extremely “isolated”. This, on the other hand, makes Lipari less attractive for those who want a holiday of total relaxation and in contact with nature.
There are a lot of things to do and places to visit. You can explore the 15th Century castle, the museum, the many churches as well as the old baths of San Calogero. Is worth it to rent a car for 1 day to explore the island and to enjoy breathtaking views, specially from Belvedere Quattrocchi. Remember to visit one of the best winery in the area to enjoy the “sunset tasting experience”.
There are also many shops if you fancy a spot of shopping therapy. And what about food? The restaurants on the Island are very much traditional with excellent cuisine. Specialties on offer are mainly related to seafood and regional products, with dishes based on fresh fish caught daily, along with raw materials from the island, such as cherry tomatoes and capers.
As for the hotels, Lipari is not famous for high standard accommodations. However, there are a couple of Hotel in Marina Corta, or a good quality 4-star hotel with an excellent panoramic restaurant in Marina Lunga. Ask our winkteam for more details and I will be happy to find you the best accommodation!
If the movie “Il Postino” with Massimo Troisi has made you dream, don’t miss the Island of Salina and the beach of Pollara. The second biggest island of the archipelago, Salina represents an ideal solution for those who don’t want to experience the sense of isolation, but at the same time want a place where you can relax.
There are two inhabited centers in Salina and for this reason, despite its size, it is not crowded like Lipari. Santa Marina and Rinella are the two ports of reference of the island from which hydrofoils depart to reach the other smaller islands or Sicily.
Nature, food and wine are the three words that best represent the island.
Two volcanic cones draw the profile of the island, making it a perfect destination for trekk lovers. A third crater, half collapsed, is today a plain overlooking the sea, called Pollara. From here it is possible to admire a wonderful sunset!
The most typical product of this island is capers. There are two varieties of capers one is small and round, while the other is narrow and long (called cucunci). In the small fishing village called Lingua, you can taste the best Aeolian granita (figs and mulberries are my favorite flavours).
You can also eat delicious food called pane cunzato, a kind of large bruschetta topped with lots of different local ingredients (i.e. capers, cheese, cherry tomatoes, eggplant etc). Once you are here, you can’t miss a visit to one of the wine cellars that produce the “nectar of the Aeolian Islands”: the Malvasia delle Lipari.
In Salina there are different hotel categories, resorts with breathtaking views or family-run hotels with excellent restaurants. Let us know what kind of accommodation matches your wish, we are here for that!
As you can probably guess, the word Vulcano originates from volcano. It’s a popular island because it has therapeutic Sulphur mud baths as well as thermal baths around the island.
Vulcano is the first landing island for all ferries and hydrofoils arriving from Milazzo. Upon arrival you are overwhelmed by a very intense smell of sulfur. The beach of black sands or the beach of warm waters will be your daily destination (it is advisable to use old costumes as sulfur could ruin them).
If you are looking for adventures, we suggest to climb to the crater of the volcano. It will take you about 50 minutes to get to the top with breathtaking views of the entire Aeolian archipelago. You may spend a day in Gelso in the south of the island to enjoy the Asino beach (20 mins driving) and to have dinner in a family run trattoria, a few steps from the beach.
A stay at a wonderful resort in Vulcanello, would be the best way to experience this island! Contact us for more details about it.
Panarea is located between Stromboli and Lipari and is known as the most glamorous island, easily reachable by hydrofoil. Is the ideal destination for those looking for vitality and nature.
The island is charming, with freshly painted walls, tidy gardens and well-kept lanes setting off the natural attractions. Famous for its white houses, it is somewhat reminiscent of the style of the Greek islands. It has only one port and one center. There are no big or glitzy hotels here, and no ugly developments. This island combines a beautiful sea and nature with a vivid social life.
We strongly recommend that you rent a boat to enjoy the beauty of the sea and bays that cannot be reached by land. A dip in the bay of Calajunco can not be missed and, once you are in the area, do not miss the ruins of the prehistoric village. For those staying in Panarea, we recommend a day trip to Stromboli by boat until evening to see the lava flow (if erupting).
Panarea, although small, has a great nightlife. There are a number of places to have aperitivo before dinner, lots of restaurants to choose from and even some nightclubs should you wish to go dancing.
This small Island offers a very local trattoria with typical cuisine but with touch of refinement. Write to me for the list of the best restaurants of the Aeolian Islands.
Although all the Aeolian Islands are islands of volcanic origin, only Stromboli gives us the true feeling of “island of fire”. His continuous Strombolian activity, in fact, offers shows that can hardly be forgotten. It is often a destination for writers, artists, or simply nature lovers. The island looks like a real black volcanic cone.
There are basically three things to do on Stromboli:
- potter around the main village, admiring the views.
- take a boat trip around to the Sciara del Fuoco, the steep black lava scar down the volcano’s side, where you can see Stromboli’s explosions. This is most dramatic after dark, when fiery emissions are clearly visible.
- The third activity, not for the faint-spirited, is to climb the volcano and see eruptions at a much closer distance. Walking up Stromboli, climbing the volcano is only permitted with an official guide. Guides will generally provide the protective helmets which you’re required to wear. The outing takes around five hours, and should only be attempted if you are confident of your fitness.
And what about a dinner in one of the best restaurants on the island with a panoramic terrace? Write to me, I would be delighted to share more details with you.
Alicudi & Filicudi:
These are the two most remote islands of the archipelago.
Filicudi could be the perfect choice for diving lovers and for those people are looking for pure nature. With a seabed that’s home to scores of ancient shipwrecks, Filicudi offers some interesting diving. If you don’t dive, take a boat trip around the island to see the hidden sea grotto. The port is the least attractive part of the island. Head instead for the tiny fishing port of Pecorini a Mare, where there’s little to do except eat good food and walk up to the clifftop belvedere to watch the sun set over the rock known as La Canna.
Alicudi is the most remote and has the smallest population of the islands, with its peace broken only by infrequent ferry arrivals. Alicudi island is the most “isolated” Island of the group: two grocery stores, a post office, a hotel, a church, a small number of houses and about 100 inhabitants. In summer, of course, these islands attract a fair number of visitors. Unless you are a lover of nature and meditation, we do not suggest spending more than a day on this island.
Cuisine in these wild Islands is mostly base on fish, capers and figs, which are the basic ingredients of the local cuisine.
Activities not to be missed:
– Visit to a winery producing Malvasia
– Boat trips
– fishing day experience
– Trekking on the Vulcano Island crater
– Bath in the hot waters in Vulcano Island
– Trekking on the Stromboli volcano
– Evening boat tour to Stromboli
– Eat Pane Cunzato and Granita in Salina
I hope that you enjoyed this insight into the Aeolian archipelago and that you are inspired to learn more or see for yourself! If you enjoyed this blog post, share it with a friend and if you are interested in learning more about traveling to this area or any other region in Italy, please contact us for more information.
Stay tuned for more blogs about other regions in Italy and be sure to click the link below for an example of tours we offer in the Aeolian archipelago.