Your guide to a Sailing Holiday in the Aeolian Islands

MED aeolian Islands

White washed harbour towns, ancient UNESCO sites and volcanic wonders abound in the incredible Aeolian islands. If you’re looking for an authentic Mediterranean travel experience, a sailing holiday in the Aeolian islands certainly ticks a lot of boxes! The crowded hotspots of Italy’s Amalfi coast or even Sicily seem a world away in this idyllic archipelago. Delight in the natural wonders of this UNESCO world heritage site, hike to your hearts content and indulge in the local Italian cuisine. Keep reading to discover our guide to the very best of the Aeolian islands.

MED aeolian Islands

Why Choose a Sailing Holiday in the Aeolian islands?

A sailing holiday in the Aeolian islands is the best way to explore and admire the breathtaking natural beauty of each individual island, waking up to a new view each day. For the active traveller, find adventure and hands on sailing on traditional brigantine Florette. Or, for some classic Mediterranean relaxation, unwind in luxury on yacht Chronos and schooner Kairós.

Our Guide to the Aeolian Islands

Seven islands make up the Aeolian archipelago: Alicudi, Filicudi, Lipari, Panarea, Salina, Stromboli and Vulcano. The archipelago derives its name from Greek mythology, as the god of the wind, Aeolus, once lived here, making it the perfect destination for a sailing holiday powered by the wind! These fascinating islands are distinguished by their distinctive volcanic landscape. Located in the Tyrrhenian Sea off the coast of Sicily, they are sometimes also referred to as the Sicilian islands.

Lipari

Dreaming of a picture perfect Italian summer? There’s nowhere better than Lipari. Although it may be the largest of the Aeolian islands, Lipari still retains its authentic Sicilian character. Often called the best Aeolian island, once you’ve arrived into port you’ll soon discover why! Start your exploration with a stroll through the old town. The main street of Corso Vittorio Emmanuele is home to an abundance of colourful shops and cafes, waiting to tempt you with fresh gelato and espresso.

lipari aeolian islands


It’s not just the picture perfect scenery that’s to love in Lipari. Culture lovers will be in paradise with the opportunities to discover ancient history up close. Explore the fortified headland and the former citadel where the heart of the town used to lay. Strolling through the castle walls, you’ll soon find yourself immersed in life from centuries past. Whilst passing through an excavated area of the citadel you’ll get a first hand view of the history of our civilisation, with remnants of neolithic times and the Greek and Roman civilisations that once inhabited this island. Unsurprisingly, Lipari is home to one of Europe’s best archaeological museums, well worth a visit on your Mediterranean adventure. 

Stromboli

The active volcano of Stromboli is a fascinating sight to see while on holiday in the Aeolian islands – a true natural spectacle. With regular “minor” volcanic eruptions, the island holds the nickname ‘Lighthouse of the Mediterranean’. The sparks of glowing lava mean Stromboli has been an orientation point for seafarers at night since ancient times, although our fleet now uses slightly more sophisticated orientation methods. Still, it’s a marvel to sit on deck, watching in wonder as the volcano sparks and spews lava, illuminating the sky with a fiery glow, just as sailors have done for centuries before you. 

Before you’ve even arrived at the dock of Stromboli you may sail past the small islet of Strombolicchio. ‘Small Stromboli’, is home to the remains of the original ancient volcano that has since collapsed into the sea. Arriving into the port, you’ll get an incredible view of the volcano that awaits your exploration. If you’re in need of some old fashioned relaxation, visit one of the best hidden beaches in the Aeolian islands, Grotta di Eolo. Notable for its secret cave formed by the volcanic landscape of Stromboli, with fine black sand, the beach is a favourite of the locals.

Salina

Known as the Green island, Salina has become a hub of agriculture, with an amazing array of local Italian produce. It also makes the cut in the debate over which is the best Aeolian island, having won the title of most beautiful island in Italy. Olive groves and vineyards stretch for miles, making it any gourmet lover’s dream destination. Indulge in the famous local dessert wine, ‘Malvasia delle Lipari’, for a true Italian taste for the senses, and sample some local nibbles, including the region’s world famous capers. 

You do not need to be a culinary connoisseur to enjoy all that the island of Salina has to offer. A holiday in the Aeolian islands is a top choice for all active travellers wanting to get their hiking boots out. Salina is home to the highest peak in the entire archipelago. Take a meandering hike immersed in the pine and chestnut forests, and before long you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views over the entire island chain, perhaps even spotting your own boat anchored in the bay.

Vulcano

Although it is home to an active volcano, wellness takes centre stage in Vulcano. The island is best known for it’s sulphur deposits, lauded for their healing powers for centuries. Wallow in purifying mud and enjoy a healing sulphur bath, leaving with glowing skin and an inner sense of calm. 

If a mud bath doesn’t quite entice you on your holiday in the Aeolian islands, why not try a relaxing bathe in the sea close to shore? Here, fumaroles, sulphurous gases that rise from the sea bed, create nature’s very own version of a hot tub with added healing properties!

Panarea

The smallest of the seven islands, don’t discount Panarea as a contender for the best Aeolian island. Elegant and chic, it provides a lovely balance to the wild and untamed nature found on other Aeolian islands. As one of the most expensive destinations to visit in the Mediterranean, a sailing holiday is the best way to stay in close proximity without breaking the bank. Admire the views from the boat and hop ashore to explore. 

Step off the boat at the port of San Pietro, where you can find the iconic Mediterranean picture perfect architecture. The labyrinth of streets are lined with white washed houses with dazzling blue roofs, enveloped in sweet smelling bougainvillaea plants. Whilst exploring Panarea, make sure to pay a visit to the church of San Pietro. Dedicated to the patron saint of the island and fishermen, the church has a fascinating history and an incredible view of the sea where your vessel will be docked.

Ready for a sailing holiday in the Aeolian Islands?

If you’re ready to experience a picture perfect Italian getaway, jump on board a sailing holiday in the Aeolian Islands with us. Anchor in secluded bays, explore quintessentially Italian harbour towns, hike volcanic hiking trails and wonder at the many UNESCO hotspots.

With breakfast freshly prepared for you on all our voyages (and included in the price!), spend each morning relaxing on deck whilst planning your adventure for the day. All our sailing holidays in the Aeolian islands have on-board water toys, allowing you to swim, snorkel or paddle-board in the crystal clear waters whilst admiring the dark beaches made of fine, black lava sand. Choose from hands-on traditional sailing with historic brigantine Florette, or 5* luxury sailing with classic yachts Kairos and Chronos. No matter which you choose, a sailing holiday in the Aeolian islands is guaranteed to be a magical adventure you won’t soon forget!