"What do you miss about Sicily? U scrusciu du mari."

Andrea Camilleri

Catamaran charter in the Aeolian Islands

Describing a catamaran vacation in the Aeolian Islands is very complex, because words cannot fully capture the intense emotions one feels while sailing in this archipelago.

Lands of dizzying contrasts, brilliant colors here will catch your eye at every turn: the white pumice and black obsidian, the deep blue of the sea and the dazzling red of lava eruptions, the yellow of sulfur and the bright green of Malvasia crops.

Our catamarans are based in the modern Marina of Capo d'Orlando in northern Sicily, easily accessible from the airports of Palermo and Catania. Once we set sail, we will reach Vulcano in about three hours.

Aeolian catamaran charter

Vulcano

First in order of appearance of the Aeolian Islands is Vulcano, with its huge crater towering over the delightful village. The island's name comes from Greek mythology, which identified here as the forge of the god Hephaestus, later renamed Vulcan by the Romans. Geothermal activity is directly perceptible here, so much so that in Fumarole Beach some points of the water suddenly become warm, heated by undersea gaysers.

Very close to the village there is a pool of thermal mud (2) for those who want to purify their skin and lungs, while sportsmen can reach the top of the crater in a two-hour walk to enjoy a stunning view of all the other islands in the archipelago.

Along the west coast you can swim in the beautiful Pools of Venus (1)  the name comes from the myth in which the goddess dived into these waters to regain her virginity - or visit by dinghy the picturesque Grotta del Cavallo at Ignuda Bay.

The entire island is dotted with scenic bays with sheer cliffs, such as Cala del Monaco and Cala Formaggio. For the night we can anchor our sailboat in the Cala delle Sabbie Nere, from which to enjoy a spectacular sunset aperitif.

Lipari and Vulcano in the Aeolian Islands

Lipari

Lipari is the largest of the Aeolian islands and its capital: the harbor (3) is teeming with life, and you can wander in to discover the local crafts and cuisine, which combines the abundance of the catch with the Mediterranean flavors of capers and olives.

You can spend the night in the lively piers of Marina Lunga, or at anchor under the imposing fortified castle, which houses the Cathedral of St. Bartholomew. Not to be missed is a visit to the marina in Marina Corta which houses local boats in a very picturesque backdrop.

Our catamaran vacation in the Aeolian Islands cannot be said to be complete without admiring the famous Faraglioni, stopping for a swim near the Shore of Vinci.

The entire west coast of Lipari is protected by high cliffs that form countless natural cavities: near the Punta del Cugno Lungo, one can indulge in swimming in pristine waters far from tourist routes.

On the opposite side of the island, across from Capo Rosso (4), our course takes us to an immense sandbar with the bluest water in the entire archipelago; right here stands an ancient pumice quarry now disused, which gives the scenery a special, unique beauty.

pumice quarries in lipari by sailboat

Panarea

Panarea is an archipelago within an archipelago, surrounded by rocks perfect for swimming in the middle of nowhere. The quaint village of white houses is packed with boutiques and small clubs, including the famous disco Raya; at night it is illuminated by the light of a thousand candles, and every occasion is good to turn into a social event.

To the south of the island we anchor in the famous Cala Junco (5), enclosed by steep walls on which the remains of a Neolithic village are still visible, or in the nearby Cala Zimmari with a beautiful turquoise water.

A few miles offshore, aboard the catamaran you can explore the island of Basiluzzo and its wild cliffs, or Lisca Bianca (6) that offers huge underwater gaysers, unmissable for snorkelers.

panarea by catamaran

Stromboli

You cannot write about Stromboli without mentioning the imposing volcano: "Iddu", his local nickname, outlines the island's profile with its black walls and a cloud of smoke that perpetually towers over the crater. Here after sunset, nature is revealed in all its majesty, with bright red eruptions lighting up the sky.

At nightfall, as the crowning glory of the sailing vacation in the Aeolian Islands, we direct the bow towards the Sciara del Fuoco (7) to enjoy the fireworks from a vantage point.

Alternatively, the more daring can climb the mountainside via a steep path to enjoy the view of the crater from above, a truly unique sight. Departure is at 5 p.m. to reach the top in time for sunset, while the descent takes place at night for a total duration of about 5 hours.

On the opposite side of the island we anchor the sailboat near Ginostra, a beautiful village surrounded by prickly pear plants, accessible only by sea. Here life still flows at the pace it once did, and the silence and quiet will make you wish you would never leave.

stromboli sciara del fuoco field trip

Salina

At the center of the Aeolian archipelago you'll see the twin summits of Salina silhouetted placidly on the horizon, covered in verdant vegetation due to the presence of the archipelago's only water source. This is the home of Malvasia, a delicate dessert wine, and delicious cucunci, fruits of the caper plant.

The island's main port is at Santa Marina, a delightful town with a beautiful waterfront. To the south of the island hides the town of Rinella (8), an oasis of peace far from tourism.

On the west side we'll drop the anchor of the sailboat at Pollara (9), surely one of the most beautiful anchorages in Italy. The bay rises on a very ancient volcanic crater large more than a kilometer in diameter, at the center of which stands the Scoglio del Faraglione, born from the solidification of incandescent magma.

Here beside the natural stone arch, fishermen have carved shelters for goiters out of the rock, while the beach is instantly recognizable as the set of Massimo Troisi's last film, "Il Postino."

pollara salina by boat

Filicudi and Alicudi

The last two islands are the most remote, and are a favorite destination for those who want to leave the hustle and bustle behind. A Filicudi (10) you can admire from the bow of the catamaran the most spectacular sunset of all the Aeolian Islands, with the sun sinking behind La Canna, a rock formation 72-meter-high, while nearby hides the beautiful Bue Marino Cave.

In the evening we anchor our catamaran near Pecorini a Mare, a lively little town with an alternative nightlife, between tasty cocktails and a guitar tune on the beach.

Alicudi (11) is an enchanted place where time seems to have stopped in another century. In the delightful village there is no shadow of roads or streetlights, and the only way to get to the houses perched on the cliff is by mule on the steep tracks. It is a striking demonstration that one can live happily by giving up the superfluous.

On the other side of the island, we dive with snorkel gear to admire the teeming underwater life around the Galera Rock. The scenery all around is wild, almost prehistoric, with hawks swooping hunting and baby goats left free to climb the steep slopes.

Catamarans for Charter in the Aeolian Islands

The following catamarans are available for your boating vacations in the Aeolian Islands:

 Charter info - Aeolian Islands

  • When: Year-round.
  • Catamarans: Lagoon 40, Lagoon 42, Lagoon 450 F.
  • Prices: Pricelist
  • Where: Check in at Marina Capo d'Orlando (ME).
  • Duration: 7 days and 7 nights, embarkation on Saturday at 6 p.m., disembarkation the following Saturday at 9 a.m.
  • Crew: Possibility of catamaran rental in the Aeolian Islands with skipper.
  • Reservations: email to info@mistralsailing.it or call the number +39 347 949 8966 (Luca)

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