Peppering the Tyrrhenian Sea just off Sicily’s northeast coast, the Aeolians are a group of seven picturesque islands with volcanic origins, providing stunning cruising grounds for a scenic and relaxed yacht charter. The area is protected by UNESCO and the landscape, as well as the atmosphere, varies significantly from island to island. Exploring by yacht allows the ability to visit each island and experience the many delights on offer.
The main island, Lipari, has a vibrant town and is a great place from which to explore the exciting selection of Aeolian Islands on a charter yacht. Lively and bustling, the ambience is warm and the residents friendly. Here there are plenty of shopping opportunities plus some excellent restaurants, while anchorages opposite white pumice beaches offer the perfect chance for a dip in crystalline waters. Choosing to relax on board or explore ashore, there are choices galore.
Vulcano is famed for vast and sweeping black sand beaches and mud baths. The fossa is still an active volcano, hike up to the crater for amazing views across the azure sea to the other six sister isles. Perhaps hire a quad bike or Mini-Moke to take a tour around the fascinating island and head to the thermal waters of Laghetto dei Fanghi where your skin will love a muddy treat.
Another fire giant of this archipelago, remote Stromboli is dominated by the active volcano Gran Cratere. Offering incredible views for adventurous hikers and regular magma firework displays at night, these are quite a spectacular view from on board a yacht. An ancient, alluring and mysterious island, the beaches are again black sand dotted with a variety of reeds and brooms.
Those who prefer a gentle walk can drop anchor off Salina, a lush, hilly island, crammed with history. With its three towns of Santa Marina, Malfa and Leni, this is the second largest of the Aeolians. Olive groves, caper bushes, fig and citrus trees thrive, no wonder there are a variety of local delicacies that you really must try. Enjoy the local sweet Malvasia wine, typically produced in the Aeolians and don’t miss Pollara – a beautiful bay with an underwater crater, great for divers and snorkellers alike.
Panarea is the smallest and yet the most popular of the islands. With an upmarket shopping street and a number of quaint hotels dotted between huge, private villas in lush gardens, the island is gaining note as a culinary haven and has a surprisingly vibrant nightlife. If you want privacy, ask your charter yacht captain to take you to one of the private bays – for example Lisca Bianca, Il Bottaro, or Dattilo – and relish tranquil seclusion.
For ultimate escapism, head west to the smallest islands, Filicudi and Alicudi, drag a line and catch your own fish and wash it down with some Sicilian wine. On the uninhabited west coast of Alicudi, sheer rock walls make for a great swimming and snorkelling spot in total privacy and do visit Le Punte beach for amazing rock formations. On Alicudi it is time to embrace nature, with the characteristic lava rock giving a primordial appearance. There is no nightlife, so just listen to the sound of the sea – this is the place to really kick back and relax with a sundowner, and a smile, on deck.
For some highlights, why not:
Try some fresh involtini (aubergine rolls) and huge, ripe Sicilian capers
Have sushi and sundowners on the terrace of the Hotel Raya, from which you can watch the boats come and go and see Stromboli’s volcano bubbling
Swim around volcanic rock formations and caves on Lipari where the pumice rock gives the water a cobalt hue
Take these romantic islands at your own speed. Weave between them, drop anchor for a dip here, take the tender for supper there, stop for a drink at the beach bar and be back in a secluded bay before the sun goes down. One of the ultimate places to indulge in leisurely pursuits, a yacht charter in the Aeolian Islands is a truly blissful getaway.
Nicholas Dean is Managing Partner of Ocean Independence. Ocean Independence is a global leader in luxury yachting, providing a bespoke experience across yacht charter, sales and management.
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