Sicily and the Aeolian Islands

Stromboli, Panarea, Salina, Filicudi, Lipari, Vulcano

There is only one place on the planet where you can enjoy a spectacular dinner of swordfish rolls and stuffed calamari, sipping perfect chardonnay and having a midnight swim in crystal waters under the herculean fireworks of an active volcano. And this place is Stromboli.

Our top 3 SAILPRO anchorages

1. Cala Giunco - Panarea

2. Cala Milazzese - Panarea

3. Pollara - Salina

Our Sailing notes

Sail at night under the Stromboli volcano, where hell meets paradise, with a bottle of Chardonnay and a dish of swordfish rolls, and you'll forget all the troubles you went through to sail  here. The Sicilian dreadful logistics, the bottomless anchorages, the missing harbours and the lack of water will disappear in the face of the powerful, bewitching magic of the Aeolian islands.  But it must be like that, beauty, pure and distilled beauty is hard to achieve and must be deserved. It's like the Sea,this perfect archipelago: magical, pure and indifferent of human ways. 


Weather and anchorages: the British pilot would state that anchorage around these islands must be prompted by necessity and without any hope of tranquillity. Luckily enough, in summer there are only two dangers: westerlies  and thunderstorms Thunderstorms are not always predicted but easy to spot on the horizon. Needless to say the skipper are recommended to keep a good watch at all times.

Gourmet and restaurants: the prudent cook shops on the mainland, like at Milazzo for example, where there is a local fish market that can bring tears to sensitive eyes. Some tuna and swordfish they chop up deserve a calendar, like the prawns, mussels, clams and basically all you can hope to keep fresh aboard. There are also several supermarkets and wine stores. Butchers are plenty. Very good the one in Salina and in Lipari. 

You won ’t have shortage of surprises when you sit down at the table in this area. The locals like their suppers long and substantial, and you might experience a slight sensation of overfilling. When you eat around here, you understand the full value of a siesta and stop wondering why the locals close their businesses between 12 and 4… 

Wine: Sicilian wines are worth serious research. Planeta produces our favourites, but there are many excellent brands. Salina has its own wine, with two companies producing probably a little too much if compared to the surface of the vineyards. 


Puntazzo in Ginostra (Stromboli)

Barbablu - Stromboli

Pina - Panarea

L'avvocato, Pecorini a Mare - Filicudi

Our itinerary

Stromboli is the must: it’s impossible to overestimate the subtle charm and violent beauty of this unique island. With its continuous volcanic fireworks, the fiery furnaces of hell are closer to the sky than the tolling of the church bells. Sometimes, with westerly winds, a violent thunder remind the bar-going visitors that indeed one is standing on an open scar on the Earth’s crust. The pyrotechnic show can be either leisurely enjoyed sailing at night under the Sciara of the W side, or deservedly admired from the top after a 3-hour hike. From Stromboli it's just 12 miles to more sheltered Panarea, the trendiest destination in the archipelago. Panarea flies high in the central days of August and rapidly falls into a quiet somnolence for the rest of the year. The good anchorage of Milazzese allows tranquil stays in westerlies. Not a place where to stock up, but certainly Panarea offers the best swimming spots in the area at Basiluzzo, Lisca Bianca, Cala Nave and Cala Giunco.

Another short hop of 12 miles and you reach Salina: this double-cone island offers good shelter just S of the Santa Marina harbour. The town of Santa Marina lives around the main street, running between old Sicilian houses, stylish balconies, nice shops and big churches. The fishmonger right at the harbour is among the best in the islands, so is the butcher in the main street. Try a fresh cannolo at Matarazzo, right behind the terminal. Another interesting destination is Pollara, the vilage on the W end where the movie ‘The Mailman’ was filmed. The bay at the bottom of the cliff is spectacular, its waters crystal clear.

In case you have more than just a week, sail west to Filicudi where in cal days you can anchor in the shallow areas west of the islands close to the caves. 

My relationship with Lipari was not love at first sight, mainly because the ferry and hydrofoil captains should be put behind bars when they arrive well over the speed limit. Pignataro is a sheltered harbour but too far from downtown, while the very nice havens by the old citadel are too small to be of any use. Still, the town is definitely worth a visit, and there are a couple of coves on the west side of the island excellent for a quick swim.

Vulcano has two main bays, one bottomless and the other ugly, and both stink of sulphur. In case of easterlies and calm weather enjoy a spectacular sunset at Cala Mastro Minico, or the smaller cove just south of it, along the west coast. 

For more information download the .pdf

Sicily and the Aeolian Islands :: leave here your cruise review