When you decide to charter a yacht for Sicily and Aeolian Islands you will be setting course for a breath-taking adventure filled with rich cultural heritage, spectacular natural beauty and appetizing cuisine. This destination is a promising opportunity to visit the largest island of Italy and one of the most picturesque regions of the Mediterranean, a constellation of natural wonder, easy going island living and bustling city life typical of Italy. Each of the seven islands in the Aeolian archipelago has its own unique charm, varied landscape and a rich assortment of treats for even the most tempted lot. Our suggested yacht charter for Sicily and Aeolian Islands will reveal the magnificence of the islands of Vulcano, Lipari, Salina, Panarea, Stromboli, Filicudi and Alicudi with a journey beginning in Palermo.
Start your cruise in the magnificent city of Palermo. Capital of the autonomous region of Sicily, it is one of the oldest cities in Europe, with inhabitants dating back to 700BC, renowned for its cultural heritage, fine architecture and wonderful gastronomy. A crossroad and cornerstone of all the major trade routes of all Mediterranean powers in each of the ancient times, the city managed to inherit a remarkable mix of beauty and charm that is simply breath-taking.
Take a stroll down Via Vittorio Emanuele, the city’s main street, housing the best shops and restaurants in town, see the beautiful Cattedrale di Palermo the city’s main Cathedral – a vivid combination of unique design, as the building changed its purposes over the years. Continue onto the refreshing splash of the Fontana Pretoria, a monumental fountain at the heart of the historic center. A short way from the fountain is the renowned Santa Maria dell’Ammiraglio (also called Chiesa della Martorana) known for its unique architecture and frescoes.
Make your way to one of the cities two main markets, boasting a unique gastronomical pleasure of fresh Mediterranean ingredients, especially locally caught swordfish and aromatic capers, and be sure to try Palermo’s famous cannoli, you may also treat yourself to black pasta that gets its interesting colour from the ink of the cuttlefish. We also highly recommend a visit to the Massimo Theatre, famous for being the location for one of the scenes of Francis Ford Coppola’s Godfather 3, and a unique acoustic structure that carries the speaker’s voice echoing off the ancient walls. Another point of interest providing a spectacular overview of the city’s panorama opens from the top of Monte Pellegrino, located a short drive away from the city’s center. While there, we suggest visiting the Santuario di Santa Rosalia (sanctum of Saint Rosalia, the city’s patron). And don’t miss on Palermo’s famous white sand Mondello beach.
Founded by the Greeks and located 105 NM east along the north-east coast of Sicily, Messina is a port city on the western shore of the Strait of Messina which separates the Italian peninsula (the tip of Calabria) from Sicily (Cape Peloro). The city of Reggio di Calabria is located on the other side of the sea on mainland Italy. The city lies between the Ionian coast and the Peloritani mountains and enjoys a natural harbour known for its important commercial and military activity. Messina was developed mainly along the coast due to the inland hills, from where one can admire the breath-taking view of the strait between the Tyrrhenian Sea and the Ionian Sea, with mainland Italy opposite.
The cathedral of Messina is known for its Norman architecture, its Gothic portal, its 15th century stained-glass windows and its astronomical clock on the belfry. Not far from here are marble fountains embellished with mythological figures, such as the Orion fountain, with its carved inscriptions, and the Neptune fountain, surmounted by a statue of the god of the sea. Further south are two of the four original Baroque fountains, the Quattro Fontane, decorated with shells, dolphins and newts.
The other two are in the Museo Regionale Interdisciplinare di Messina, alongside modern and medieval works of art, including paintings by Caravaggio. Carmine’s central church has marble columns, frescoes and stained-glass windows. At the entrance of the port, the golden statue of the Madonna della Lettera, the patron-saint of the city, surmounts a tall octagonal column. Northeast of Messina, Lago di Ganzirri is a salty coastal lake connected to the Ionian Sea by an artificial channel.
35NM North-West from Palermo you will find yourself on the island of Lipari, the biggest and the busiest of the seven islands in the Aeolian archipelago. Located on a vital trade route of the Mediterranean and due to its volcanic origin, this island was renowned for its obsidian and pumice trade even before the landing of the first Greek settlers in 580BC. The history of the island is closely linked to the extraction and production of sulphur used in laundry detergents, matches and gunpowder, and also pumice, the layer of which is the largest in the world.
The local Museo Archeologico Regionale Eoliano Luigi Bernabò Brea (archaeological museum) has a substantial detailed exhibition of the island’s history, a recommended must see and located inside Lipari castle. We also recommend visiting to the Chimera restaurant, renowned for their fresh seafood and legendary pistachio ice cream with a great view overlooking the harbour.
Only 11NM SE of Lipari, lies the island Vulcano, the mother of all volcanic islands and the center of volcano graphic study worldwide. This island offers its visitors an exciting adventure of hiking up to the mouth of Gran Crater, from which, on a clear day, it’s possible to see as far as mainland Italy. Make sure to plan the hike in the morning, as there is no shade on the way. Another point of interest on the island are the Laghetto di Fanghi hot springs and adjacent mud baths known for their rheumatic suffering relief.
However helpful these baths may be, we strongly advise you to remove any jewellery and be aware that the mud will discolour most articles of clothing, furthermore, it is important to remember to limit the bath to10-15 minutes. Vulcano island is also famous for its unique black beach, Porto di Ponente where crystalline waters meet obsidian black shores. A good idea for the afternoon would be Cantine Stevenson that has live music and boasts over 600 types of wine to choose from, although we suggest to book in advance for best seats with a view of the bay.
26NM North of Vulcano, lies the famous active volcano island of Stromboli, called the Lighthouse of the Mediterranean by early sailors the easternmost of all seven islands in the Aeolian archipelago. A truly incredible sight at night opens to those anchored on the NW side of the island, as sparks fly from the crater into the night sky like no other fireworks ever seen. A breathtaking adventure would also be a night hike up the Sciara del Fuoco (the slope of fire), this is possible only by guided tour, up the steep, but short hike up the side of the slowly erupting volcano, with the hiss of the lava that reaches the sea at your heels. A truly unique experience, comparable to the sensation of literally feeling the Earth’s pulse.
Due to her incessant volcano activity, Stromboli has been evacuated often over the years, and the islanders developed a unique, truly Aeolian architecture style, capable of cushioning the constant tremors. One of the best places for lunch, with a great seaside view would be Bar Ingrid, named after Ingrid Bergman, who starred in the movie “Stromboli” shot here in the 1950’s by Roberto Rossellini. If you are a movie fan, there is a small cinema museum on the island.
A short way of 13NM from Stromboli, is the island of Panarea with its glittering shores and chic boutiques and vivid nightlife. Panarea is the chosen spot for the posh half of Italy. During the peak summer season from mid-July to late August, as soon as the one-day tourists leave the island, the Hotel Raja is the place to be for social drinks overlooking a magnificent view of the sea far below. During the day, the main tourist attraction is the beach of Cala Juno, arguably the best beach of all the seven islands, and also the local prehistoric museum with exhibitions as early as the Bronze age are on display.
An interesting change of pace, and the exact opposite of the bustling Panarea is the peaceful island community of Salina, 12NM SW of Panarea. The lush vegetation and the fertile land along with the only source of fresh water on all of the seven islands, resulted in the history of this island’s unique climate for cultivating the Malvasian grape that matures into famous Malvasia desert wine, which is available in many of the fine restaurants all over the island.
We strongly suggest a visit to da Alfredo’s restaurant in the small fishing village of Lingua, be sure to try the famous granite ice cream. The small town of Pollora holds the annual festival Sagra del Cappero dedicated to Salina’s distinctly large capers, that is held on the first week of June. Another interesting experience would be a hike to the top of one of the two volcanoes that form the island: emerald Fossa delle Felci, where hikers are surrounded by fragrant fruit and olive trees along the path to the top.
To charter a yacht for Sicily and Aeolian Islands is the best way to explore and experience the remaining two islands of Filicudi and Alicadi, the wildest and least inhabited of the seven. Whilst Filicudi provides its visitors with an interesting scuba-diving excursion for experienced divers, to seeing an actual underwater archaeological museum and the wreckage site of a Spanish Galion at Capo Graziano, a perfect natural habitat for the groupers and blackbelly rosefish.
For the best diving experience, we strongly advise I Delfini. The island coast is also riddled with picturesque caverns and grottos, the most popular being the Grotta del Bue Marino, the place to be when the “Festa del Mare” takes place here in August, a delicious fest preceded by a candlelight procession of ornamented boats making their way slowly to the grotto where a statue of the Greek god Eolus is rested on the seabed. A visit to Alicudi is a step back in time. This remote and the least visited island by tourists, is a true spectacle of natural wonder, almost untouched over the years. Heather covered hills and shady olive groves welcome rare visitors with an unspoiled natural environment second to none. With no cars, and only 120 in population, this island is a truly rustic isolation to the occasional visitor.
SCUBA-DIVING IN SICILY AND AEOLIAN ISLANDS
Chartering a yacht for Sicily and Aeolian Islands provides a unique chance to explore the truly majestic diving spots in Sicily and the Aeolian archipelago, recognized amongst Europe’s best diving destinations. Through our luxury yacht charter program, YACHTS INVEST offers cruises on motor-yachts, catamarans and sailboats – these luxury yachts have all the necessary equipment for your diving needs.
While most of our boats offer snorkelling, some of the boats included in our crewed yacht charter program offer scuba-diving either with an on-board Dive Instructor, Dive Master, or diving via a local and recommended rendezvous diving company. Some of our yachts also offer diving courses so that non-certified charterers can learn to dive and sometimes be certified during their charter. We offer cruises to the best diving spots in the western Mediterranean.
We will offer you a perfect yacht and crew for your most exceptional boating holidays, to the diving destinations that are part of Sicily and the Aeolian Islands ‘musts’. You will explore their exceptional underwater wildlife, caves, wrecks and landscape, whether you are certified and experienced divers or snorkelers, you will have plenty of excursions adapted to all levels and interests.
In summary, when you charter a yacht for Sicily and Aeolian Islands you will experience a truly unique opportunity to witness in full the true beauty of this rugged, yet charming palette of bright colours of fine natural wonders. The best way to get around most of the islands (except Alicudi) is by renting a scooter available at all ports… Something else to keep in mind is that all of the islands in the Aeolian archipelago, are volcanic in nature, making anchoring possible only close to shore, which means, to make sure to get to the island early in peak season, or plan in advance to have an extended anchor chain installed, prior to sailing.
Please contact YACHTS INVEST when you plan a yacht charter for Sicily and Aeolian Islands, as trusted and experienced charter brokers and guides for planning the best itinerary for renting a boat and providing you with best tips to start your Mediterranean cruise.