Aeolian islands on a sailing boat: one week itinerary

Are you thinking of taking a week’s holiday in the Aeolian Islands on a sailing boat?

Well, you could not have chosen anything better for your first yacht charter in Sicily!

The Aeolian Islands are, without a doubt, the most precious and natural pearls of the Tyrrhenian Sea, a magnificent archipelago of volcanic nature that occurs (several times a year) in Stromboli and Vulcano

In the other five islands (Lipari, Alicudi, Filicudi, Salina and Panarea) the eruptive activity is reduced to sporadic and fascinating gas leaks, hot water springs and thermal muds.

On the left, the rocky ridge of Lipari and a boat at anchor, in the background the island of Vulcano
On the left, the rocky ridge of Lipari and a boat at anchor, in the background the island of Vulcano

Visiting the Aeolian island on a sailing boat it’s the perfect way to explore the area and if you choose a one week tour, you will have time to visit all seven islands that are part of it. 

In fact, each of them has peculiarities that for one reason or another make them unique, which is why we do not feel like offering you an itinerary that includes visiting only some of the seven islands rather than all of them. 

We suggest you our itinerary for a week sailing holiday in Sicily, day after day, assuming you embark and disembark in Palermo. The airport Falcone-Borsellino in Palermo is in fact only 30 minutes by car from the Port of Palermo, but then it will take 8 hours to reach the first island.

Another option is to start your yacht charter in Sicily directly in Portorosa or Capo d’Orlando, although the airport in this case is further away. Fontanarossa airport of Catania (the closest to the Aeolian Islands) is almost two hours drive from the Marina di Portorosa, Capo d’Orlando or Milazzo, but then it will take only 2-3 hours to reach the islands.

Aeolian islands on a sailing boat: one week itinerary day by day

First day: Departure from the Port of Palermo and expected arrival after about eight hours for the island of Alicudi with its shape of an inverted cone.

You will love the island for its surreal atmosphere, because here time seems to have stopped at an era without cars and electric energy.

The island, which rises up to 670 meters above sea level, has for years been a meeting point for underwater fishing enthusiasts due to its crystal clear waters and abundant and varied marine fauna.

Overnight at anchor in front of the port and when the few lights turn off, you will be able to sleep under the sky full of stars.

Second Day: Departure in the morning for Filicudi and arrival at the rock of “Canna“, where it will be possible to spend a few pleasant hours in its splendid waters and snorkel in a very large area characterized by outcropping rocks and natural pools.

We will then have lunch in the cove in front of the Bue Marino cave whose coolness is exceptional after a morning of exposure to the sun.

The turquoise waters of Grotta del Bue Marino, on the eastern side of the island of Filicudi. You can't miss it if you sailing the Aeolian Islands
The turquoise waters of Grotta del Bue Marino, on the eastern side of the island of Filicudi

In the evening, the week-long cruise to the Aeolian Islands continues in the small port of Pecorini a Mare, where a fish dinner at the restaurant on the seashore and particularly well-finished traditional dishes is a must. Overnight at anchor in front of the marina in Filicudi.

The beach of Pecorini a Mare, in Filicudi, and some boats at anchor.
The beach of Pecorini a Mare, in Filicudi, and some boats at anchor.

Third day: Departure for Salina, stop in the splendid bay of Pollara for a wonderful swim and a good lunch. In the afternoon, stop in Santa Marina di Salina where it will be possible to rent scooters and bicycles for a short tour of the island. Among the many things to do in Salina, one of the most interesting is to visit the places where “Il Postino” by Massimo Troisi was filmed. 

On the other hand, for those who love trekking, it may be pleasant to stay one more morning for an excursion on the crater, now called “Fossa delle Felci“. 

Fourth day: The Aeolian tour on a sailing boat continues in the afternoon with departure for the island of Panarea, the capital of vice and worldliness, where it will be advisable to drink abundant coffee in the afternoon to resist the island’s night marathons. 

Fifth day: We set sail for the very popular Cala Junco, a characteristic pan-shaped bay with an archaeological site behind it. To continue with the natural beauties, we move to the rocks of Lisca Bianca and Basiluzzo to the east of the island itself.

Detail of Cala Junco in Panarea, seen from the drone.
Detail of Cala Junco in Panarea, seen from the drone.

Then departure for Stromboli, where we could wait for the dark before disembarking on the island and take advantage of a short navigation to the fascinating “Sciara” del fuoco (the eruption of the volcano). Alternatively, you can dine in one of the charming restaurants within the picturesque village.

Sixth day: After a pleasant awakening with a swim in the deep waters of the island, you can leave for Ginostra, a tiny and characteristic town on the island of Stromboli, accessible only from the sea.

Stromboli should be part of your itinerary if you decide to explore Aeolian islands on a sailing boat
Stromboli Island

Here you can have the chance to take a short walk with the only means of transport in the town: the mule. After lunch, departure for Lipari, the capital of the Aeolian archipelago. Stop and overnight at the port of Lipari. Alternatively, stop and overnight in Vulcano with a swim in the warm thermal waters of the Levante bay. 

Seventh day: Departure early in the morning and short stop at the Pumice Beach (Lipari Island) for a swim in the blue and crystalline waters of the bay. Continuation of the journey with return to the port of Palermo in the late afternoon.

The Gulf of Mondello seen from the drone
The Gulf of Mondello seen from the drone

We recommend a last stop to take a dip in the Gulf of Mondello before entering the port and conclude in a perfect way this beautiful sailing holiday in Sicily.

How much does a week charter on a yacht in Sicily cost?

There are various factors that affect the cost of a one week sailing holiday in Sicily.

A lot clearly depends on the type of boat you decide to rent: the bigger the boat, the more expensive its rental will be. The age of the boat can also have a significant impact on the price: a newly built boat will certainly be more expensive than one that is already a few years older, for the same model.

Aeolian islands on a sailing boat: one week itinerary

You should also consider that if none of the participants has a sailing license, it will be necessary to hire a skipper who must be paid separately.

Keep in mind also the costs related to moorings, galley, fuel and final cleaning (costs that nautical charter companies usually charge to the customer). 

To summarize, the expenses to be considered when renting a sailing boat in Sicily are:

  • Cost of renting the boat 
  • Possible remuneration of the skipper (approximately € 150 per day) 
  • Fuel (approximately € 250 for a sailing boat that goes from Palermo to the Aeolian Islands) 
  • Outboard engine (about € 150 for a week) 
  • Galley for a week (about € 250 for 7/8 persons) 
  • Moorings (mooring for a boat about 14 meters long costs on average € 110 per night in the Aeolian Islands) 
  • Final cleaning (depending on the size of the boat, approximately 120 € / 170 €)
  • Sheets and shower towels (they are rented for around 10 € / 15 € per person)

Let’s find out more about the Aeolian Islands

  • Alicudi and Filicudi have kept rugged and wild places that still retain intact evidence of Aeolian architecture. The internal routes between archaeological excavations and natural landscapes can be made using the mule tracks. The coasts offer extraordinary views, inlets and caves of ancient origin. 
  • Lipari is the largest of the islands of the archipelago and has a real urban layout which includes the Castle, the Cathedral, the churches, the park and the Aeolian Archaeological Museum “Bernabò Brea” and sections of sixteenth-century fortifications. 
  • Panarea is the smallest island of the archipelago and the most fashionable. Luxuriant vegetation welcomes the visitor and denounces its volcanic origin with sparse fumaroles. The houses with white domes, the hibiscus and bougainvillea plants, the quiet coves and the sharp rocks emerging from the sea characterize the landscape of the island. 
  • Stromboli is made up of a volcanic cone, about 900 meters high, around which the houses climb. It is in permanent activity and offers the visitor extraordinary emotions such as the “Sciara del fuoco”, magma channeled between two ridges, that can be observed at night from the sea. 
  • Vulcano is characterized by black sand beaches and volcanic manifestations present in much of the island: sulfur fumaroles emitted by the Great Crater, thermal waters and the large sulphurous mud pool. 
  • Salina is the most fertile island of the Aeolian and rich in water; precious grapes are grown from which the “Malvasia delle Lipari” is obtained, a wine with a sweet flavor and capers, exported all over the world. Another important resource for the island is tourism.

Aeolian islands on a sailing boat for seven days: final tips

It goes without saying that the holiday people (Italians, but above all Germans, Austrians and Dutch) concentrate the charter on a yacht in Sicily mainly in the months of July and August. 

It follows that in that period it is very hard to find moorings available and you could be forced to remain at anchor.

Beautiful sunset at anchor.
Beautiful sunset at anchor.

The advice is therefore to book in advance your mooring on the quay as well as a possible buoy, to avoid finding yourself in difficulty on the spot. 

It is also good to book the berth in time because this way you can take advantage of cheaper rates, since many marinas offer discounts to those who book in advance, already knowing the day and time of entry and exit from the port.

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