Sailing to the Aeolian Islands
Lipari is the oldest and largest (48 square km) of the Aeolian Islands. This elevated and craggy island has spectacular beaches and breathtaking ragged coasts whose walls rise from below the sea. Besides the town of Lipari there are four more villages on the island; Canneto, Acquacalda, Quattropiani and Piano Conte. Visitors to Lipari can enjoy not only the sea but also its archaeology, art, castles and museums. On the east of the island is the port of Lipari which is the largest of the Aeolian Islands and there is fuel, water and amenities available. There is anchorage at Sotto Monastero where a lot of ships arrive. It is close to Marina Piccola which is a lovely small village however it is not protected from easterly, north-easterly and south-easterly winds. If there is a sudden change in the weather it is advised that you leave immediately and move to the other side of the island between Le Formiche and Punta La Grotticelle, here you will find good anchorage and beautiful crystal clear waters for swimming and snorkelling. On the north side of the main harbour is Monte Rosa where there is a spectacular beach of white sand and pumice. In the past there was a factory here. Porticello in the north east also boasts beautiful beaches. There is an interesting Sea Museum and there are Roman ruins nearby the Monastery which is situated above Sotto Monastero.
Salina is the second largest island (26.8 square km) and is only 2 miles from Lipari. It is the only Aeolian island with blooming vegetation and more than 400 different types of plants grow here. It is also the island with the highest peaks such as the three volcanoes that originated it: Monte Fossa dell Felci (962m), Monte dei Porri (860m) and Monte Rivi (850m). There are three villages; Santa Maria Salina, Malfa and Leni as well as five hamlets: Lingua, Rinella, Valdichiesa, Pollara and Torricella. The main port is Porto Santa Marina where there is fuel, water and amenities available. There are some excellent restaurants here such as Porto Bello, Mamma Satina and in Lingua, a small village 2 miles from Santa Maria (where it seems as though time stopped 200 years ago) the restaurant of La Cannata. Salina provides good protection from strong winds and as Salina is the only safe harbour of the Aeolian islands it is a very busy place and it is difficult to find quay anchorage. On the south side of the Marina between Punta Lingua and Santa Marina there is good anchorage with protection from westerly, north-westerly and south-westerly winds. Rinella on the south side of the island has a small harbour and lovely bay. It is a wonderful place to stop at night and it was here that the famous Italian movie “Il Postino “ was filmed. Pollara has excellent views and sunsets and provides protection from easterly, north-easterly and south-easterly winds. On the north of the island near Malfa is a lovely place for a visit in the day but not recommended to stay overnight. The whole of Salina is very beautiful and has a timeless, unspoilt feel to it. It is worth renting a bike, car or scooter to explore the island and enjoy its volcanic areas and typical architecture.
Alicudi is the most isolated of the Aeolian Islands and is in fact an extinct volcano that rises out of the sea. It has spectacular shores and an interesting underwater panorama. There are only approximately 150 inhabitants, it is a very traditional place and it feels as if time stopped here more than 100 years ago. There are no cars on Alicudi, only donkeys. It is surrounded by very deep waters and it is difficult to anchor. There is only one place to anchor which is between Palomba and Punto Fucile in the south east of the island. It is only possible to anchor here in good weather and the yacht must never be left alone. Alicudi has a single village that rises up to Filo dell’Arpa, offering a spectacular panoramic view. We recommend Alicudi for a day visit.
Filicudi is a spectacular island where like Alicudi it seems that time stopped centuries ago. It is only in the last 10 years that electricity arrived. It is the most ragged of the islands and its steep slopes, rocky coastlines and craters are its main features. The tallest of the craters is Fossa dell Felici (773m). The Grotta del Bue Marino is a huge sea cave on the north side of the island and is a must to visit. To experience the true beauty of these waters the southern area between Capo Graziano and Pecorini must be explored. There is a small quay and buoy anchorage (payment necessary) where there is good protection from easterly and north-easterly winds and the small village has a wonderful bar and restaurant. Pecorini has only been connected to Filicudi Port for the last 10 years, before this the two were connected by boat only. The waters surrounding the area re said to be the most beautiful of the Aeolian Islands with a vast fish population, beautiful caves and panoramas. On the east side of the island is the main harbour, Filicudi harbour where ferries and boats arrive. There is buoy anchorage (payment necessary) and it provides protection from westerly, north-westerly and southern winds. In the harbour area there are excellent restaurants.
There are also beautiful bays and caves on the south-west side and between Punta Perciato and Scolgio Giafante. In these last places it is recommended to only anchor for the day. In the north-west there is the great rock “La Canna” a natural wonder that rises from the sea in a long thin line. Punta La Zotta also offers good anchorage and beautiful swimming and snorkelling opportunities.
Stromboli is Europe’s biggest active volcano after Etna. It is a 924 metre high lava mountain which dramatically drops down 2000 metres below sea-level. By day you can see the smoke of the peak joining the steam rising from the water and at night from the water you can see the red hot flow descending towards the sea. There are two small villages on opposite sides of the volcano and Stromboli has the blackest beaches of all the Aeolian Islands. There is no quay anchorage at the port where the ferries and boats come in however there good buoy anchorage on the west side of the harbour and water and fuel are available. There is good anchorage for the day only in front of the beautiful port of Ginostra. To the east side of the quay there is a spectacular black beach however anchorage is restricted.
There is also good anchorage south of Ginostra. The sea depth ranges from 100-1000 metres so extra care must be taken. It is a very nice walk from the port to the town’s piazza where there are excellent restaurants, bars and clubs. The contrast of black rock with traditional white houses makes Stomboli a truly magical place. The cuisine is a fantastic mix of Neapolitan and Sicilian foods and the traditional sweet cannoli must be tried in Stromboli. A 30 minute walk will take you to an Observatory and restaurant with fabulous views of the eruptions of the volcano. We suggest an organised tour for a visit to the volcanic area.
From Stromboli sailing towards Panarea we suggest a stop at the island of Basiluzzo. Basiluzzo is uninhabited and a fantastic place for swimming, snorkelling and fishing. There is also nearby the beautiful small islands of Lisca Blanca, Dattilo and Lisca Nera. These are all good places to stay for a day as overnight anchorage is not recommended.
Panarea is the smallest but astoundingly picturesque. The main village is called Contrada San Pietro and consists of a group of white houses clustered along the eastern side of the island. The other two villages north and south of San Pietro are Ditella and Drauto. Panarea it can be said is the liveliest of the Aeolian Islands with famous nightclubs and pubs. There is no real safe harbour so boats must never be left alone. There is anchorage out of the quay where the ferries arrive or at the front of a famous club “Raja” where there is fair protection from wind however in the morning if the east wind arrives it is not safe. A beautiful place to anchor overnight is the bay Baia Milazzese on the east side of Punta Milazzese. On the west of this point there is the spectacular bay of Cala Junco. There are restrictions in place so as with all areas we recommend checking beforehand with the local tourist office or harbourmaster.
Vulcano is famous for its baths in the warm waters of its submarine springs. It is studded with fantastic formations, both above ground and under water. There are three volcanoes on the island which are extinct or dormant with only the fumaroles active on one. An interesting place to visit is the Faraglione della Fabbrica just outside the Porto di Lavante which is a crag with a natural swimming pool renowned for its therapeutic mud which can be found inside one of its grottos. There are two bays; Porto di Levante and Porto di Ponente. Porto di Levante has good anchorage and provides protection from westerly, north-westerly and south-westerly winds. Porto di Ponente is a natural bay that also has good anchorage and protection from easterly, north-easterly and south-easterly winds. All around the island there are spectacular views, interesting bays and black rock formations. The most beautiful bays for swimming, snorkelling and fishing are situated on the south side of the island between Punta dei Porci and Porto Bandiera and the north west side between Punto Monaco and Testa Grossa. There is no water or fuel available at Vulcano however it is only 2 miles to Lipari.
Ustica is 36 miles from Palermo and is surrounded by deep sea. It is sometimes called the “Black Pearl” because of the colouring of its volcanic rock forms. It has a beautiful coastline rich in bays, caves and grottos. The Azur Grotto is is a half-submerged cavity with crystal clear waters and walls decorated by sponges of various shapes and charming colours; the Pastizza Cave and the Academy Cave have a tunnel almost on the surface which brings to several dark grottoes with typical organisms; the Green Cave is characterised by the colour of the Briozoi colonies. The Natural Pool created by the volcanic structure and Sidoti Bay, which is the restricted area of the natural marine park, are just a few of the pleasant bathing places.