The Aeolian Islands are one of the best sailing destinations in Italy, if not in the world. These seven islands located just off the northern coast of Sicily offer everything you need to create your perfect sailing holiday - the beautiful sea has nothing to envy to places like Sardinia, excellent restaurants are easy to find, and jaw-dropping beauty will surround you everywhere you look. 

The Aeolians are a true adventurer's playground - you can spend the morning swimming and snorkeling, and the afternoon hiking an active volcano, before heading to one (or more) of Lipari or Panarea's bars to dance until the small hours. Sailing the Aeolian Islands means having the freedom to decide what to do day by day, without having to deal with crowds and fully-booked hotels. Just rent a boat or arrange a yacht charter, and our local operators will be glad to guide you to their favorite, secluded spots, sharing their precious insider's knowledge with you! Each of the seven Aeolian Islands have something special to offer - let's have a look at them one by one, to create your perfect Aeolian Islands sailing itinerary!

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Sailing the Aeolian Islands - Where to Go


1) Lipari

Let's start with Lipari, the largest Aeolian Island - unless you're crossing from Portorosa in Sicily, you'll probably start your Aeolian sailing adventure there. The island has a lot to offer in terms of sights and attractions and it's probably the only one in the archipelago where you can enjoy a bit of 'city' life, as well as having all the shops you need to pick up supplies for your sailing trip.  You may be tempted to get away from Lipari as soon as possible to head for more remote and offbeat paradises, but our operators always recommend spending at least one day in Lipari to check out all there is to see and do. Lipari is famous for its shining white beaches like Pietra Liscia - pumice stone once used to be mined on the islands, and there are still the remains of pumice quarries, dismissed when the islands became UNESCO-listed in 2000.  Other places to see in Lipari include the Quattrocchi Belvedere, where you can enjoy a wonderful view over the island, as well as Valle Muria Beach, where red and black sand reveal the volcanic origin of the island, and Praia Vinci, another spectacular beach that can only be reached by boat.
2) Salina If Lipari is the largest Aeolian island, Salina is definitely the best known, having been put on the international hall of fame by legendary movie Il Postino. Cinephiles make a beeline for Pollara beach, where the movie was filmed, and also a wonderful sunset location. In the first week of June Pollara hosts the yearly Sagra del Cappero, a day-long food extravaganza dedicated to capers, Salina's most famous produce.  Salina is also worth a visit because it's the greenest in the Aeolian Islands and offers trekking and birdwatching opportunities - the five-hour hike to the top of Monte Fossa delle Felci is definitely worth the effort if it's not too hot, not only for the view from the top but also for the fairytale forests you encounter along the way. Don't miss the whitewashed village of Malfa, one of the most beautiful in the island, and the black beach near Rinella, perfect for snorkeling!


3) Vulcano

Did you know that the Aeolian Islands are home to not one, but two active volcanoes? One is Vulcano, which actually means volcano in Italian - you won't find spewing lava and hot burning rocks here, but mud baths, and the smell of sulfur that accompanies you as soon as you drop anchor, a sign of volcanic activity.  There are two main reasons to visit Volcano during your Aeolian Cruise - enjoying some DIY wellness treatments in the mud baths, which are located not far from the island's marina, and hiking to the Gran Cratere, the summit of the island's volcano - the hike is fairly easy, so if it's not too hot and decide to opt for a full-day hiking outing you can also visit Vulcanello, once a separate island now linked to Vulcano with an isthmus of land after a volcanic eruption, and the Valle dei Mostri, a volcanic amphiteather with rock formations reminiscent of monsters. 


4) Stromboli

Stromboli will definitely be one of the highlights of your sailing adventure around the Aeolian Islands! The island's volcano is one of the most active in the world and one of the very few places where you're pretty much guaranteed to see a volcanic eruption on your hike - provided the weather assists you, of course.  The Stromboli volcano hike can only be undertaken with a licensed guide for safety reasons - our operators will be glad to arrange the tour for you, including pickup from your yacht charter. The hike takes place at sunset, to see the burning lava at its best, a thrilling experience that will remain with you forever.  Besides the volcano, Stromboli is also worth a visit for its cute car-free villages and for an excellent ice-cream parlor called Lapilli, translating as 'lava fragments'! Since you're sailing, don't forget to pay a visit to remote Ginostra, a hamlet on Stromboli that is only accessible by boat.


5) Panarea

Panarea is so beautiful, it doesn't even look real. It's the Aeolian Island most beloved by the rich and famous and its atmosphere is polished and rarefied, a stark contrast from wild Stromboli and Salina. Having said that, it's worth a visit for its great nightlife - Hotel Raya is home to a super-chic club, attracting famous DJ in summer, but if you're not a club person you can just head to Bridge Sushi Bar or Hotel Lisca Bianca for an aperitivo on a panoramic terrace.  Panarea is also known for its great beaches like Cala Junco, with spectacular aquamarine waters surrounded by a rock amphitheater, and the prehistoric village of Capo Milazzese, one of the most famous archeological sights in the Aeolian Islands. 


6) Alicudi

You may be tempted to give Alicudi a miss, since it's the westernmost in the Aeolian Islands and home only to a village of 80 souls - but its remote, end-of-the-line feel is part of its charm, and here you'll really feel as if you've left the crowds of Panarea, Lipari and Salina behind, and found your very own paradise to explore.  Alicudi is pure nature. There are no cars on the island, and most supplies are still carried by mule or donkey cart. There are no roads, just paths connecting the few houses and shops on the island. Don't miss hiking to the top of Monte Filo - from the summit, you should be able to see the other six islands, if it's a clear day.


7) Filicudi

Filicudi is another rough diamond, not to be missed on your Aeolian Islands sailing expedition - a place where time seems to flow slower than normal, as you make your way down the island's mulattiere (mule tracks) to pristine black-sand beaches. The coast of Filicudi is wild and rugged, with some coastal grottoes like Grotta del Bue Marino, only accessible by boat - the light filtering from the ceiling turns the sea into a kaleidoscope of colors.  Another not-to-be-missed Filicudi experience is sailing to the faraglione (sea stack) near La Canna, the symbol of the island, and Zucco Grande, a now-abandoned village at the end of an easy panoramic hike.  Make sure you allow enough time to visit Alicudi and Filicudi during your sailing tour of the Aeolian Islands - the charm of these islands is not in their sights but in their relaxed atmosphere, that will no doubt captivate you and make you want to stay longer!

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