Are you planning a week-long catamaran cruise around the Aeolian Islands and in need of some tips? Look no further! We’ve got plenty of experience and enthusiasm for one of the most fascinating sailing grounds there is.
The archipelago lies off the north-eastern coast of Sicily. It consists of seven islands and a constellation of rocks and sea stacks. There aren’t enough colours to describe all of these special islands: the pumice coastline is lapped by pale, transparent water; you can dive into emerald green beneath the cliffs, and swim in ultramarine blue with the volcanic rock seabed below.
The Aeolian Islands are a dream destination for a sailing holiday, because crossings between the islands are short. And wherever you drop anchor, you’ll find a new world to explore: from pampering yourself in hot springs and mud to hiking on active volcanoes, and of course sampling Sicily’s aromas and flavours in the village streets. So, here are some of our tips for making the most of your time there.
In this article we’ll be answering the following questions:
Perché vedere le isole Eolie in catamarano?
Anyone who loves sailing always finds it exciting to spot dry land from the sea; but there are also some practical reasons for wanting to explore the Aeolian archipelago by boat:
- Some beaches can only be reached from the sea;
- You can hop from one island to the next in your own time, without being limited by the hydrofoil timetable;
- You can truly feel the islands’ connection with the sea as you experience their pace of life, scents and colours to the full;
- In high season, the Aeolian Islands can get very busy. There’s no better way to escape the crowds and get some peace and intimacy than by boat;
- Arriving in a bay at sunset or in the early morning means you can enjoy some fantastic solitary swims;
- The best viewpoint for admiring the spectacular explosions of the Stromboli volcano is in the sea opposite the Sciara del Fuoco.
What wind conditions can you expect when sailing in the Aeolian Islands?
Even though these islands are named after Aeolus, the God of wind, it’s not a difficult area to sail around. The dominant wind is the mistral which blows from the north-west, but it never blows directly or too harshly on these islands. A good skipper will be able to check the forecasts for wind direction and strength, and plan your itinerary accordingly.
Where can you depart from for a sailing holiday in the Aeolian islands?
The most convenient harbours for renting a catamaran and setting off for the Aeolian islands are:
- Capo d’Orlando
You can also charter a boat in Palermo, but you’ll have to factor in a crossing of 50 NM (around 7-8 hours) to reach Filicudi, the safest landing place to the west of the Aeolian archipelago.
What’s the best route for a week by catamaran in the Aeolian Islands?
Many charters repeat a standard itinerary around the islands. But those who yearn to unfurl the sails will know that plans must be flexible, and should be made according to the weather forecasts. We suggest checking forecasts for the wind at the beginning of the week, and plan your route so you can be in the right places at the right time.
Here are some sights and activities we recommend you include on your Aeolian itinerary:
Pollara at sunset
This beach on the island of Salina is nestled in a natural amphitheatre. Made famous by the Massimo Troisi film “Il Postino”, it has the special quality of changing colour at different times of the day – saving its best for sunset.
An evening at the buoy field off Filicudi
Filicudi’s buoy field lies in front of the tiny village of Pecorini a Mare. Step ashore and you will find the traditional restaurant La Sirena, and the Saloon, a friendly bar that’s popular with locals and tourists alike.
A walk on Lipari
Lipari makes an excellent base for stocking up on pantry provisions or fuel. You can combine errands with pleasure as you stroll through the pedestrian town centre and as far as the Castle on the headland, high up on a clifftop.
Walking along the edge of a crater on Vulcano
The island of Vulcano offers shelter, whether there’s a westerly or easterly wind. On both sides of the island you’ll find signposts with directions for walking up to the crater. On especially clear days you can see all of the “seven sisters” from the Gran Cratere.
Exploring the prehistoric village of Cala Junco
If you moor at Cala Zimmari on Panarea, you can walk to the ruins of a prehistoric settlement from the Bronze Age. For those who want to keep walking in the direction of the centre, the path continues, winding among stone houses and bougainvillea, down to the harbour.
Eruptions on Stromboli
The intensity and frequency of Stromboli’s eruptions varies according to the period. There are two ways to see them: one is a sunset hike organised by the island’s volcanologist guides, and the other is by boat, opposite the Sciara del Fuoco. Either way, this is a spectacle to behold at least once in a lifetime.
Where is best to moor for the night in the Aeolian Islands?
The Aeolian seabeds are notorious because, due to the islands’ volcanic origins, they drop off and get deep very quickly. However, if you have the right information before you set off, you can enjoy a stress-free sailing holiday.
Mooring places in the Aeolian islands:
- Lipari: has a proper harbour, sheltered by a breakwater, with plenty of jetties in the summer. A stop-off on Lipari is ideal for buying provisions and enjoying a night out on shore.
- Salina: another island where you can spend the night, protected by the breakwater. Its small town is full of restaurants and shops selling local handicrafts.
- Vulcano: the marina at Baia Levante is equipped with floating jetties and has all the mooring services you could need.
Buoy fields in the Aeolian islands:
- Filicudi: it has two buoy fields, one to the east and one on the west side opposite the village of Pecorini a Mare. We prefer the latter as it’s panoramic and picturesque..
- Panarea: a little south of the harbour, very convenient for going onshore and wandering among the whitewashed houses in the town.
- Stromboli:indispensable for getting off at Marina del Gabbiano..
Sandy anchorages in the Aeolian archipelago:
- Porticello, Lipari: wonderfully clear water, with a white sea bottom due to the pumice quarry
- Baia di Ponente, Vulcano: sheltered from the northerly, easterly and south-westerly winds, you can drop anchor in front of a black sand beach with views of the volcano.
- Punta Lena, Stromboli: you can drop anchor opposite San Vincenzo and let the crew on shore, but we recommend your skipper stays on board.
- Cala Zimmari, Panarea: the only sandy beach on the island, also known as the red beach due to the colour of its sand.
Are you looking to rent a catamaran for your next holiday in the Aeolian islands? Contact us and together we’ll find the best solution to suit your plans: the best port to depart from, need-to-know mooring places, and must-see places to ensure you enjoy your charter holiday to the full.