The Aeolian Islands have been on my bucket list for years. When I saw Yacht Getaways announce their new Aeolian Islands route earlier this year, I signed up instantly and convinced a few friends to come along for the ride.
Yacht Getways provide crewed yachts that sail around some of the most beautiful areas in Europe including Turkey, Greece, Croatia and Italy. It’s a fuss free way of travelling by water where you get to experience areas and explore beaches only accessible by boat. You can jump on board with a buddy, or rent the entire yacht with a group of friends.
THE AEOLIAN ISLANDS
The UNESCO protected group of islands are situated off the coast of Northern Sicily and are renown for their colbalt blue seas and dramatic volcanic landscapes. Among the two active volcanos, thermal mud baths and black sand beaches there is much to discover about these idyllic group of islands. Here are a few highlights from the islands we visited with Yacht Getaways:
The first stop of the Yacht Getaways sailing route was the island of Volcano. Famous for the volcanic mud baths and it’s pocket size active volcano, this island boasts a typical mediterranean pace, perfect for a holiday stop. You can climb to the top of Volcano which stands 399m tall. It was a steamy 34 degrees the day we had here, so we all skipped the climb and opted for the mud baths instead. The sulphur can be a little overwhelming but it was definitely an experience to remember. I don’t think we stopped laughing and giggling as we layered the mud on each other before drying off in the sun.
Next stop on the adventure, was the island of Filicudi. A quiet and sleepy town, the island’s wild nature and beautiful walking paths are a clear highlight. With the crystal clear swimming water and fresh seafood restaurants galore, I could have stayed for a week of relaxation. After docking at the marina for the afternoon, our group enjoyed the desolate beach and swimming area with a few drinks as we watched the sunset sink over the horizon.
Salina is probably the most green of the islands, home to numerous vineyards which means wine is-a-plenty on this Aeolian Island. Our crew recommended we rent scooters to explore the island and also taste some of the local wines.
We visited Hauner winery which was about a 5 minute drive from the marina in the area of Lingua. Hauner have been making wines since the sixties and proudly gave us a short tour of the winery. We were then treated to a wine pairing with local cheeses, fruit preserves and meats. I think the desert wine was my favourite! After our wine tasting, we continued into the town where we had plenty of restaurants to choose from for dinner.
Stromboli is home to a very active volcano and it’s of the biggest draw cards of this remote island. Stromboli itself is quite steep and most of the shops and restaurants require you to hike the narrow pathways up the mountain.
On offer is a 6 hour guided climb to the volcano which takes you into the evening hours. Or you can skip the walk, go for dinner and drinks and then wait until the late evening to watch the glorious display of red lava spouting out of the volcano. This, was, unbelieeeeeevable. Never in my life and in all my travels have I witnessed such a magnificent display of mother nature. Dal and Kate (our skipper and host) drove our yacht to the other side of the island just after midnight for the display of fireworks. REAL – LIFE – FIRE works! I think our whole group were totally blown away by this experience (myself included).
Probably my favourite of the seven Aeolian Islands, Panarea reminded me of a mini Mykonos or Santorini, alas A LOT smaller. The hotels and holiday apartments are bathed in white and the roof top bars are a plenty. The beach front is lined with restaurants and cafes and the laneways are studded with boutiques and cocktail bars. You can spend your afternoons and evening meandering through the quaint little town or walking along the coastal pathways for a more scenic view.
Just make sure you ditch the heels and pack your flat sandals as there are no cars on the island. This means walking is the only form of transport. Most of the island is covered in a natural park reserve which includes some beautiful white sandy beaches. It’s a mini paradise where visitors can chill, unwind and relax. The must-visit roof top bar is the terrace at Hotel Raya. They serve the most amazing cocktails with the most generous serves of varied complimentary Italian canapes. And with that view, what could more could you ask for?
The last island of the trip was the largest of the them all. Lipari is home to an all-year round population, bustling town and old pumice mines. Renting a scooter lets you take in the entirety of the island, soaking up the towering cliffs and rugged coast lines.
There are many vantage points where you can absorb the Aeolian archipelago but you can’t miss a visit to Bianca Beach, which is as clear and turquoise as the Caribbean. The white seabed has been formed by pumice sediments and this is an anomaly for the regular black volcanic sand in the area. The sea is warm, the water is blue and you will not ever want to leave.
That evening we dined at Kasbah, a modern Italian restaurant hidden in the back alleys of the busy town. Well worth the trip. (Just FYI google maps doesn’t exactly take you to the front door).
In between visiting the islands, each day we stop at secluded bays for a swim stops, paddle board and for some snorkelling adventures. To have the freedom of dropping the anchor where ever you want is probably my favourite part of the trip. Nothing compares to having lunch on board your yacht while plunging into the Mediterranean when ever you please.
Sailing the Aeolian Islands was my third sailing trip with Yacht Getaways and it did not disappoint. The service, the on board food, the quality of the boats and staff are impressive to say the least. Waking up to rainbow sunrises and falling asleep to the gentle rock of the boat is beyond dreamy. Yacht Getaways will also commence a new trip in the Caribbean later this year which I am totally adding to my list of places to explore by boat.
Keen on a sailing trip? Don’t know what to expect? I’ve written about my multiple sailing trips here or if video is more your thing, watch my travel vlog from last year’s sailing trip with Yacht Getaways in Croatia.
For more details on Yacht Getaways sailing routes, visit the Yacht Getaways website.
Have you been on a sailing trip? Which country would you choose to sail around?
This post was a collaboration with Yacht Getaways but opinions and thoughts are my own.
Thanks to @dronegram_ for the epic drone shots!