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Mother Nature pulled out the stops in the Aeolian Islands. Strewn like gems in the waters off Sicily’s northeastern coastline, these seven islets—Lipari, Vulcano, Salina, Stromboli, Panarea, Filicudi, and Alicudi—are home to smoldering volcanoes and thermal mud baths, black-sand beaches lapped by turquoise waters, vineyard-covered hills producing local Malvasia wine, and rugged coves lined with vibrant resort towns. Island-hopping boat tours and excursions by kayak and stand up paddleboard top the list of things to do off the snorkeling-friendly coast, along with volcano hiking and wine tasting on land.
This collection of seven volcanic islands comes to life from spring through fall, when a variety pleasure craft hailing from across the Mediterranean moor in their waters. The summer days, in particular, offer visitors a number of sights. Local feast day celebrations—including the feast of San Cristoforo, in July, and the feasts of San Gaetano and San Bartolomeo, in August—feature processions, markets, concerts, and (come sunset) fireworks.
There is only one way to travel to and between the Aeolian Islands: by boat. Ferries link the main islands of Lipari and Panarea to port cities on Italy’s mainland and to Sicily; smaller local ferries run between the islands themselves. The larger islands do not allow non-resident vehicles for most of the year, so you’ll need to use the local bus system or rent a car or scooter upon arrival. The smaller islands are closed to vehicles completely; you can explore on foot or by bike.
Many first-time visitors to the Aeolian Islands are surprised by how rocky the beaches are. Though there are a few sandy stretches—especially the dark volcanic beaches on Stromboli—most of the islands’ coastlines are covered with rocks, ranging from small pebbles to melon-sized stones. Wear water shoes (not flip flops), and bring a yoga mat or other thick material for more comfortable sunbathing on the hard, uneven surfaces.
The Aeolian Islands offer a wealth of relaxing activities and outdoor fun. Rent a scooter and zip through Lipari, the largest of the seven islands. Visit black-sand beaches, luxury resorts, and off-the-beaten-path island idylls. Other options include taking boat cruises, hiking to volcanic craters, swimming, and snorkeling....More
Yes, the Aeolian Islands are worth visiting. The 7-island archipelago off Sicily’s northeastern coast is arguably the most pristine in Italy—and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are pretty waters, active volcanoes, and black-sand beaches, with small fishing villages and off-the-beaten-track spots that are perfect for intrepid travelers....More
All the Aeolian Islands are beautiful, but minuscule Stromboli stands out with its black-sand beaches and active volcano. Watch an eruption from the deck of the night ferry, and you'll risk falling in love. Salina, the second-largest island, is the greenest of the bunch and has vineyards producing Malvasia wine....More
Yes, Stromboli is worth visiting. Watch an eruption of a Stromboli volcano from the deck of a night ferry, and you risk falling in love. One of the smaller Aeolian Islands, Stromboli has a remote, rough-and-tumble atmosphere, and it's hugely popular with day-trippers for its black sand beaches and picture-postcard villages....More
Yes, the Aeolian Islands are a popular day trip destination. Ferries to Lipari depart from Milazzo, Messina, and Palermo—if you can, hop aboard at Milazzo, with the most daily departures and shortest rides. Lipari is the transport hub. Reaching the other islands requires taking another ferry or renting a boat....More
The Aeolian Islands have a wealth of pretty waters and beaches, but Stromboli's volcanic black-sand beaches, clustered on the island's north side, stand out. The beaches of Alicudi, Filicudi, and Panarea are more remote and less crowded, while Lipari has the largest concentration of beaches, including bright-white Spiaggia Bianca....More