Sailing the Aeolian Islands, Sicily
Week of a lifetime. Cruising the deep blue Mediterranean Sea. Seven islands with fascinating archaeological sites and precious tiny towns. Three delicious meals daily—fresh vegetables from family gardens; fish caught that morning; granita, arancini, local delicacies, and the best Sicilian wines.
This special sailing adventure is meant for a group of 8 friends. The luxury catamaran has four cabins, each with a double bed and private bathroom. (Ask for boat specifications.) The following is just a sample itinerary. You can discuss your plan with the skipper and tour leader. Depending on the winds, weather, and port mooring arrangements, the route can be changed in many ways.
Dates available in 2020 – ask us for details!
Starting from $3,999
Tour price includes:
- Airport transfers
- 6 nights on a Lagoon 450 built 2015 Luxury Catamaran with a comfortable tender
- The catamaran includes four air-conditioned double cabins, each with private bath and shower
- English speaking chef / tour leader
- 7 breakfasts, 7 lunches, and 7 dinners. All wine, beer and alcohol included.
- Bed / Bath set (sheet, hands towels, face towels, bath towels, bath robes)
- Daily regional wine tastings on board
- Guided visits to 5, 6, or 7 islands; flexible itinerary
- Entrance fees to archaeological museum and Greek Acropolis on Lipari
- All tips and taxes
- Boat and tender fuel and cleaning
- Port moorings
Tour price based on double occupancy.
Sailing the Aeolian Islands, Sicily Itinerary
We depart the United States, flying overnight to Catania, Sicily.
|Arrive at the Catania Airport, northeast Sicily. Meet your group and drive to the port town of Milazzo. Beware: the hour and a half drive passes by Taormina! Those wishing to extend their vacation at either end might consider this…Taormina is said to be one of the most beautiful hilltop towns in the world. In Milazzo, meet your skipper and chef/host of the Opera Prima and take a tour of this beautiful luxury catamaran. Settle into your cabins and have a welcome aboard cocktail. Help the chef shop for groceries in the charming town of Milazzo. Enjoy a gourmet welcome dinner on board. Milazzo is a lively port and there are plenty of places with music for those who are not ready to retire.
|Wake up to the smell of breakfast and wave goodbye to Milazzo harbor. Enjoy the ride! Choose a beautiful spot to stop for a swim and lunch. Try out the paddle board. Continue to the island of Vulcano, named for the Greek god of the volcano. Take a scenic hike up to the top of the still-smoking volcano. Anyone who doesn’t want to hike can sit at one of the cafés and enjoy the spectacular views. Watch the sun set over the island and sea. Continue to the island of Lipari and tie up for the night.
|There is a lot to see on Lipari, the largest island in the Aeolian archipelago. Lipari, inhabited since the Neolithic Age and characterized by intense volcanic activity, has exceptional archaeological finds. The finds are on permanent view in the Archaeological Museum inside the Castle of Lipari, located on a high point overlooking the bay on the island’s eastern coast. Our local guide takes us on a tour of the Archeological Park and through the museum, showing us fascinating prehistoric ruins, including the Greek Acropolis, ancient tombs, and vestiges of the Neolithic Period, the Bronze Age, and the Greek and Roman civilizations that thrived here centuries ago. Our expert local skipper also knows all the best hidden grottos, coves, and beautiful beaches we can explore in our little motorized excursion boat.
|This morning we pull into Marina Corta and explore the opposite end of Lipari. From the marina we head to a tiny pastry shop where we try what we are assured are the best cannolis in all Sicily. We then have a cappuccino and an Aeolian granita before heading back out to sea. Our next of the seven islands is Salina, named for the salt mines that were once important to the island’s identity. Today we see a gorgeous fern forest (la Fossa delle Felci) sitting high on a precipice, astounding for its staggering drop to the beaches below. Also here is the fantastic house that served as the main setting in Michael Radford’s film Il Postino or “The Postman,” starring beloved Italian actor Massimo Troisi. While we are touring the island, our chef has been shopping for local fish and greens and preparing a feast for our dinner tonight.
|The Aeolian winds take our sails to our next island, Panarea. Its isolotti (tiny island satellites) of Basiluzzo, Spinazzola, Lisca Bianca, Dattilo, Bottaro, Lisca Nera, and the Panarelli and Formiche rocks (scogli); together form a microcosmic archipelago that is quite worthy of a more intimate exploration. A touristic port lies in Panarea’s San Pietro quarter, with beautiful island houses and shops. This is the smallest, yet highest-in-elevation island in the Aeolians (its highest point is Timpone del Corvo, at 1,381 feet), as well as the most-frequented for its pristine coasts, underwater eruptive activity and nightlife. We easily explore the entire island on foot and return to the boat for lunch and a swim. We then set sail for Filicudi, where we moor for the night.
|Filicudi and Alicudi are the easternmost islands in the Aeolians. They are distinguished by their craters and extinct volcanoes, fabulously untamed landscape, and lush submarine life. Be sure to see the Grotta del Bue when on Filicudi, the Faraglione La Canna sea stack, and the Scoglio della Fortuna (Rock of Fortune) – all strangely spectacular forms. Alicudi is silent, peaceful, and more or less untouched (no cars are allowed here); thus you can expect to enjoy the incredible Mediterranean landscapes in complete relaxation.
|The seventh and probably most well known of the Aeolians is Stromboli, home to Europe’s most active volcano that emits spectacular and frequent lava displays. And if you’re in the right place at the right time, you can witness the awesome Sciara del Fuoco, that is, the river of lava running down to the sea. Not to be left out are some of the seaside borgoes, or medieval villages: San Vincenzo, where the majority of boats dock, with its quaint white houses; the more isolated Ginostra, clinging to the rocks and only accessible via a mule trail; and Strombolicchio, the impressive acropolis-like rock-island, topped by a lighthouse. Strombolicchio was born from one of the oldest volcanic eruptions in the Aeolian chain. The Aeolian Islands are among those exotic destinations that arouse the senses and the imagination. The brilliant Italian director Roberto Rossellini was the first important filmmaker to capture the enchantment of Stromboli in his 1949 movie, Stromboli. In doing so, he brought the island to the height of international fame. It is with a touch of melancholy that we return to Milazzo harbor at the end of the seventh day. We are treated to a grand farewell dinner in the village before retiring for our last night on board.
|After a final breakfast and sad goodbyes, we head to Catania for our return flight.
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