The Aeolian Islands rise with astonishing beauty from the azure blue sea off Sicily’s north coast. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the seven islands are treasured for their diverse landscapes, from smouldering volcanoes and bubbling mud baths to crystal-clear coves and verdant vineyards.
Lipari is the largest island and principal transport hub. Discover a lively town with ancient fortified walls and one of Europe’s most impressive necropolises. Swimmers, divers and boaters will find an abundance of turquoise waters and secluded coves on Salina.
Nature lovers can hike smoking craters, visit black-sand beaches and transverse rugged coastlines on Stromboli and Vulcano. Those looking for off-the-beaten-track adventures, can find plenty on the remote islands of Filicudi and Alicudi, which offer pristine beaches, spectacular coastal trails and traditional villages.
Glamorous Panarea appeals to those looking for luxury. Take a stroll along the charming Mediterranean streets to find whitewashed buildings adorned with hot pink bougainvillaea. At sunset, you can take your pick from the bevvy of rooftop bars.
The Aeolian Islands are easily reached by car, ferry or hydrofoil from Milazzo and Messina in Sicily or Reggio di Calabria and Naples on the mainland. The best option is to fly into Catania airport, catch the bus to Messina and board a 45-minute hydrofoil. Most boats call first to Lipari, before proceeding on to other islands.