Updated: Oct 16, 2020
Italy is one of our favorite sailing destinations. If you are heading to the southern tip, read on, and follow in our wake if you wish. You will not be disappointed!
Typically, your yacht charter would start from Portorosa, Sicily to sail the Aeolian islands. We strongly recommend a two week charter so you can combine some coastal cruising along Sicilian incredible coastline with cruising this unique archipelago.
With its smoking crater and sulphurous fumes, Vulcano makes an unforgettable first impression. The ancient Romans believed it to be the chimney of the fire god Vulcan's workshop, but today it remains famous for its therapeutic mud baths and hot springs. The main attraction is the steaming volcano that towers over the island's northeastern shores.
Vulcano's attractions are many– from climbing the crater, strolling over to the mud baths and the black beaches at Porto di Ponente. Those who explore beyond popular Porto di Levante will discover swimming off Gelso's volcanic beaches, kayaking the wild coast or simply enjoying the view from their yacht.
Panarea is the smallest and most glitzy of the Aeolians, attracting international jet-setters, elite and fashionistas. In summer, luxury yachts fill the tiny harbour and their occupants explore the car-free whitewashed streets of San Pietro, the port and principal settlement. Panarea is a lively summer-only destination but if you arrive between November and April you'll find most places closed and hardly anyone there.
If you are sailing from Vulcano, after about 10 NM sailing, you should stop at Cala Zimmari, near Punta Milazzese. There you can enjoy swimming or snorkeling in the clear water of a characteristic cobalt blue color.
In the late afternoon we recommend that you set sail to the Dattilo reef for the night at anchor..
San Vincenzo and 'Sciara del Fuoco'
The next day you should set off for Basiluzzo, known as the “eighth Aeolian island” because of its size. You should circumnavigate the islet to fully experience the amazing coastal morphology consisting of little grottos, high walls of layers of lava, and other bizarre rock formations that look like monuments from the way they rise from the sea.
En route to Stromboli you can admire the Iddu volcano, which is so precious to the islanders, but also a constant threat. It is the most active volcano in Europe: in fact, the earth constantly trembles on this island. Those who visit are rewarded with an unusual black beach and the pretty village of San Vincenzo. You should visit the village or go on a guided tour to the volcanic crater: You can finish off your afternoon at the Ingrid Bar for a drink.
We suggest that you spend the evening on shore in order not to miss the sight of the “Sciara del Fuoco”, a steep and wide wall of volcanic sand that blankets the north east coast of the island, covered in spilling lava, burning cinders and rock from the crater that run all the way down to the sea. If you prefer to stay on board of your yacht, you can still view this unique spectacle from where you anchor for the night.
Sallina and the Bay of Pollara
Salina is the largest island of the archipelago, with incredible diversity of landscapes. It is the most fertile of the Aeolian islands, and rich in water: there they cultivate high quality grapes that are used for production of the famous “Malvasia delle Lipari” which is a sweet wine, and capers that are loved for their very high quality all over the world.
The Bay of Pollara is famous for being the setting for the film “Il Postino”. It is remarkable for its shape of an amphitheater, as well as the visible part of a submerged rocky crater that has been shaped by the nature. From there, after approximately half an hour sailing, you will reach Santa Marina. You can drop anchor in the harbor and go ashore to visit the village.
From Santa Marina, you can head for Filicudi, located west of Alicudi and the other islands. You will sail along the Capo Graziano. We suggest that you go for a swim surrounded by a splendid backdrop and luminous colors. Afterwards, you should sail towards Pecorinia Mare, the only fishing village on the island.
Sailing is the best way to get to Filicudi, the only other ways are along mule tracks that lead into the countryside, bordered by rocky cliffs, and descend directly into the sea. At sunset you can relax at the Saloon, the famous Zio Nino club, with a cold drink in hand and fantastic views.
La grotta del Bue Marino
Set sail towards the western part of Filicudi to see the Canna, a huge rocky cliff that rises about 70m above the water.
Enjoy a refreshing swim and the chance to experience the incredibly beautiful backdrop of the island. While there, hop into your dinghy and explore the Grotto del Bue Marino, notable for its unique array of stunning shades of color. Finish off by going through the rocky arch of Perciato.
In the afternoon, we suggest that you set sail and make for the island of Lipari. Lipari is the last island of the archipelago and the final stop of your one week sailing holiday.
LIpari to base
Lipari is the largest town that provides tourist facilities for all the Aeolian islands. Spend your morning there sampling the delights of Subba, the pasticceria on the Corso that was founded in 1930. Indulge in some cannoli, granite, cassata cakes and other local specialities. Feel free to bring some back on board of your yacht and indulge some mone while underway. Make a quick stop at the pumice quarries where the colors of the sea are reminiscent of the Caribbean. While underway, pick any of multitudes of scenic swimming spots to round off your unforgettable sailing adventure in the Aeolian Islands.
Aeolian islands have become more and more popular sailing destination over the last decade. They are relatively close to the northern coast of Sicily, which offers even more sailing ground if you are chartering for more than a week.
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