Trip idea / Aeolian Islands

Italy's Alluring Islands

Individual Charm

Exploring the Aeolian islands

The lowdown

  • Getting there

    Ferries and hydrofoils to the Aeolians depart from various Sicilian ports, as well as Naples. Schedules vary depending on the season but we can pre-arrange tickets.

  • When to go

    Pleasant temperatures and fewer crowds make spring and autumn lovely times to tour the islands. Book ahead for summer.

  • Combine with

    Spend some extra time discovering Sicily’s ancient ruins, baroque towns and beautiful bays on an independent fly-drive.

Found just north of Sicily, the alluring Aeolian Islands are home to dramatic rockscapes, volcanic thrills and black-sand beaches. Each unspoilt, rustic gem has an individual charm to reward island-hoppers. Two of the islands are active volcanoes – Vulcano is famed for restorative mud baths and smoking craters, while thrilling excursions to climb permanently-erupting Stromboli and witness its natural fireworks can be arranged.

Visit the bustling Sicilian city of Catania and three of our favourite islands on this suggested journey.

  1. Highlights:

    • Explore lush Salina’s hidden coves and hiking trails
    • See Stromboli’s smouldering volcano on a night hike or boat trip
    • Take a restorative mud bath on Vulcano
    • Travel by ferry and hydrofoil between islands
    • Relax on the beaches

    Catania

    Fly to Sicily’s east-coast for a one-night, get-your-bearings stay in Catania. Explore the city’s lively fish market and handsome historic centre, all as an imposing Mount Etna backdrop provides a first taste of the volcanic views to come.

  2. Capers & Coves

    Take a ferry or hydrofoil from the port of Milazzo to Salina, the greenest and most fertile Aeolian island, famed for its salted capers and sweet Malvasia wine. Upon arrival we’ll transfer you to family-run haven Hotel Signum.

    Set among citrus groves near the sleepy village of Malfa, the Signum’s airy rooms are individually decorated with tiled floors and nice antiques. Many also feature private terraces and striking Tyrrhenian Sea views. Enjoy light lunches (and leisurely degustation dinners) at an open-air restaurant where fresh local produce is the order of the day. Then, while it’s tempting to simply slumber in fragrant gardens or beside a large infinity pool, we suggest you explore.

    Wander down to the nearby pebbly beach at Scario, or head to the seaside village where scenes from Il Postino were filmed. The narrow cove here, backed by striking sandstone cliffs, is one of the Aeolians’ loveliest locations. Serious walkers can hike a flat trail from here to the traditional countryside town of Leni, or climb the island’s two volcanic peaks which dominate the landscape. Exploring the rocky coastline by boat is another must; the crystal-clear waters suit snorkelling and diving. Day-trips to neighbouring islands, like lively Lipari and chic Panarea, can also be arranged.

  3. Volcanic Activity

    Hop on the boat to Stromboli, the northernmost Aeolian island. There’s a palpable sense of drama as you approach its smouldering, still-active volcano. The island stretches 12.5 square metres and yet is completely car-free – with just a couple of coastal settlements along the volcano’s lower slopes.

    Experience the volcano’s molten might at its most striking courtesy of a thrilling night hike. With headtorches lighting the way, your guide will lead you up steep but well-marked paths. As you approach, ominous rumblings of Stromboli’s regular eruptions can heard, and lava seen spewing from its fiery red crater. If that all sounds too close for comfort, there’s the option to enjoy the show from the safety of an evening boat tour instead.

    The place to stay is La Sirenetta Park, conveniently set just behind black-sand Ficogrande beach. Spend your downtime relaxing by the pool or playing a few sets of tennis on an idyllically positioned court. Sundowners on the terrace are a must, as is dining on sumptuous seafood specialities at the gourmet restaurant.

  4. Bath Time

    Known for its bubbling mud baths and therapeutic hot springs, the island of Vulcano is your final stop. Positioned between inky cliffs and blue sea, Therasia Resort specialises in blissful spa treatments, mouth-watering cuisine and phenomenal sunsets.

    Soothe your aching limbs at the hotel’s standout spa, where black-sand scrubs rub shoulders with classic therapies. Then lay in languor beside tiered infinity pools, or plunge directly into the sea from a bathing platform. Beach-lovers are also well served by the nearby trio of dark-coloured coves.

    Just five minutes from the hotel are those famed outdoor mud baths. Cover yourself in healing sulphur, then dive into the sea where underwater fumaroles act as natural hot tubs. It’s a unique experience – but do be prepared for the strong sulphuric aroma (which thankfully doesn’t reach the hotel). We recommend bringing an old swimming costume!

    There’s food to suit any mood at the hotel, from pizza and prosecco at I Grusoni to Mediterranean influenced Michelin-starred fine-dining at Il Cappero.

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