A 7-day itinerary to discover the wonders of the Aeolian Islands aboard your sailboat

Nestled in the waters between the deep blue and emerald green of northeastern Sicily rise the Aeolian Islands-a small paradise on earth with unique and unforgettable personalities. Lipari, the largest of the archipelago’s seven islands, offers a perfect combination of tourist development and tranquil atmosphere. Its highlands are ideal for trekkers, while its rugged coastline and sheer cliffs offer ideal scenery to be discovered by boat. Panarea, the smallest, is a hidden gem, one of southern Italy’s chicest destinations renowned for its intense social life and nightlife. And then there is Salina, the green island, where the scent of wild fennel and oregano intoxicates the senses and malvasia, the famous local liqueur, makes you dream with its delicate and refined taste. Vulcano, with its breathtaking views of the smoking craters and its outdoor hot springs, and Stromboli, with its volcanic activity and spectacular pyrotechnics, provide unforgettable experiences unique to the world. And finally there are Filicudi and Alicudi, the embodiment of the most authentic and wild nature where one can take refuge from the chaos of daily life in a realm of peace and serenity.

Day 1: Volcano

Casting off your moorings, you’ll set sail en route to Vulcan, the island of the god of fire, black with lava and yellow with sulfur, amid fumarole vapors and sulfurous mud with therapeutic properties. Just a few nautical miles from the coast of Sicily and recognizable from a long distance, this volcanic island marks the beginning of the Aeolian Trail and offers memorable views from the tops of its hiking trails.

Nothing strikes newcomers like the sight of Vulcan and its crater: already near the harbor, you will be amazed by the beauty of the place and the acrid smell of sulfur that permeates the air.

Panoramic view from Vulcano over Vulcanello in the Aeolian Islands in Sicily

Day 2: Lipari

Lipari gives many opportunities for the morning. If you prefer to stay at sea, on board, you can visit the famous Horse Cave and dive into the crystal clear waters of the Venus Pool. Otherwise, you can head ashore for an organized excursion to Vulcanello, with its Valley of the Monsters or climb up to Gran Crater la Fossa, or even go to the natural hot springs area.

Later, you can sail southwest to the Faraglioni and then stop in Lipari, a dynamic town that offers many activities, from shopping to hiking. Strolling from Marina Lunga to Marina Corta, passing through the Fortified Citadel, will allow you to relive centuries of history and culture.

Toward evening, from aperitifs to dinner, you can experience the mundane side of the island and spoil yourself with live music from the open-air nightclubs and discos with very atmospheric locations.

Panoramic view from the sea at Marina Corta in Lipari | Aeolian Islands, Sicily
Marina Corta

Day 3: Panarea

Before setting course for Panarea, you will stop at the northern tip of Lipari for a swim in the beautiful Pumice Quarries Bay, with its white pumice mountain that becomes a beach characterized by a very white sandy bottom.

The first stop in Panarea is the beautiful Cala Junco, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The cove is set in the promontory of Punta Milazzese, on which is the archaeological site of a prehistoric village. Panarea, a favorite vacation spot for VIPs, is the smallest and oldest of the Aeolian Islands. Thanks to the moonlight reflected on the white parts of the houses, which makes it elegant and exotic at the same time, the island does not need street lighting.

At dusk, an aperitif on the terraces of Hotel Raya is a must. You can decide whether to dine on board or ashore at one of the island’s chic restaurants. After dinner, music will guide you from terrace to terrace until late at night.

View from shore of Cala Junco in Panarea | Aeolian Islands, Sicily
Cala Junco

Day 4: Stromboli

In the morning set sail for Panarea’s constellation of rocks and islets such as Basiluzzo, Lisca Bianca and Bottaro, in whose vicinity underwater eruptive phenomena make the water boil. Alternatively, diving with experienced escorts (a visit to the wreck of Lisca Bianca is interesting), yoga classes or relaxing and therapeutic massage sessions can be arranged, either aboard your boat or on a terrace with a view.

You will then set course for Stromboli: you will be captivated by the contrast between the dazzling white of the houses with the deep black of the sand and the colorful hues of the volcano’s explosions. Stromboli is one of the most active and monitored volcanoes in the world, symbolizing the strength of the earth. Its inhabitants call him Iddu, Lui, in Sicilian, a confidential exorcism of danger. On the island, experienced guides will take you to the ascent of the craters to appreciate their spectacularity after sunset. At the basin of the Sciara del Fuoco, you can enjoy the explosive spectacle.

View of Stromboli Volcano in eruption | Aeolian Islands, Sicily
Stromboli Volcano

Day 5: Filicudi

In the morning you will set course for the northwestern side of Salina to anchor in the enchanting bay of Pollara Beach, made famous by Massimo Troisi’s film Il Postino. A place of rare beauty, thanks to the sheer cliffs within which it is enclosed, the natural rock arch of Punta Perciato, and the Balate, the ancient fishermen’s shelters embedded in the rock.

After stopping in Salina, you will sail to the northeast coast of the island of Filicudi: primal, quiet and informal. Its rugged and majestic cliffs plunge into a sea of crystal clear hues, providing exciting diving experiences and fascinating nature and archaeological trails.

Arrive at the belvedere to enjoy an indescribably beautiful sunset over the scenery of the Canna and its stacks, and then descend to the southwest side of the island, to the village of Pecorini, where an aperitif rendezvous is a must.

View from shore of Pollara Bay in Salina at sunset | Aeolian Islands, Sicily
Pollara Beach

Day 6: Salina

When you wake up in front of the village of Pecorini, in addition to the opportunity to participate in diving with the local diving center, you can reach the rocky complex of Canna and Scoglio di Montenassari, which, with a visit to the Sea Ox Cave, complete the unforgettable Filicudi experience.

Next, your route will take you back to the enchanting island of Salina, but this time on the west coast, to Santa Marina, the island’s capital. Salina is known as the greenest island, and you will be fortunate enough to be able to explore its every nook and cranny, from the majestic Fossa delle Felci at 960 meters, to the extensive grape crops that produce the sweet, velvety Malvasia.

This island undoubtedly deserves to be experienced all-around, even overland, perhaps on a cheerful Vespa. You can enjoy food and wine experiences amidst breathtaking views, tastings of fine wines and local products at famous local wineries.

Sea view of the Canna complex and Montenassari Rock of Filicudi | Aeolian Islands, Sicily
Canna and Scoglio di Montenassari

Day 7: Lipari & Return to Base

An unfailing island ritual awaits you in the morning in the nearby town of Lingua. Breakfast of granita and brioches, an unmissable Sicilian specialty, is a must here.

From this point, begin the way back by heading to the southwest coast of Lipari to reach the enchanted bay of Valle Muria beach and take one last dip before returning to the Marina di Capo d’Orlando or Marina di Portorosa in the afternoon.

Once you arrive at the base, you can decide whether to continue relaxing on your boat moored in the harbor, or take a sunset stroll among the marina’s cozy venues or along the nearby beach. You can then disembark the next morning.

Your Aeolian Islands adventure will leave a lasting memory in you, one that will make you want to return to this wonderful corner of paradise soon!

Panoramic view from the ground of Valle Muria Beach in Lipari Aeolian Islands, Sicily
Muria Valley Beach