The sight of vertical cliffs, the black beaches, deep sea and smoking volcanoes is remarkable and bears witness to the sudden creation of the islands in this calm and spectacular corner of the Mediterranean. Strong volcanic colours against the clear pure blue sea make for incredibly beautiful sunsets.
Not only can you appreciate the scenery, nature and history here, the islands all have their own town centres with colourful piazzas, some of which can be bustling during peak periods. There are also many pretty villages, fishing ports and old romantic houses dotted around the islands. We have handpicked a selection of charismatic accommodation options where you can get a real taste of Aeolian life.
Lipari Island is the more active and dominant island with the largest population. Many of the ferries coming from Milazzo on the mainland first stop here and it is a kind of hub from where you can take ferries to the other islands. Though Vulcano, Stromboli and Panarea also have plenty of accommodation options. The ferries run frequently throughout the peak season with a slightly less frequent service but still adequate off season. It's a dream to hop from one to the other, with the distances between them relatively short, and the views along the way nothing short of exceptional! In addition Lipari has a historic castle-citadel and charming streets waiting to be explored.
As a volcanic island, one of the natural phenomenon’s is that there are hot springs caused by the sulphurous gases, and volcanic mud in the shallow shores of the beaches here. This is absolutely free to experience and easy to find. When you come off the ferry follow the signs and the crowds. For a small fee you can use the showers on the beach to clean up after, then choose on of the cute eateries or bars on the main street for refreshments. For the active, take a hike up to see the impressive crater (Gran Cratere - 385 metres) at the top, approx. 1 - 2 hours hike.
Stomboli's impressive peak of 926 metres above sea level is a feast for the eyes creating a dramatic contrast to the blue and clear sea with calm beaches. Take a hike up the volcano during the evening and you will see the impressive lava display which sometimes shoots up to 200 feet in the air. We recommend that you use a guide for this tour, please ask us for details.
You can reach the islands in a number of ways. Either by flying to Rome, then catching a train to Naples or Reggio Calabria on the mainland, or Messina or Milazzo on Sicily Island, and then by ferry from either of those places. Or you can fly to Catania airport on the east coast of Sicily and take a train to Milazzo (approx. 2 hours with a change at Messina), from where you can take a ferry to the islands. Between the train station at Milazzo and the port where you find the ferries, there is a distance of approx. 800 metres and there is a bus service though not always frequent in low service. Taxis are available.
For ferry sevices from Naples to the Aeolian Islands see SNAV Timetable
For ferry services from Reggio Calabria, Messina or Milazzo to the Aeolian Islands see ok-ferry.com
Once you are on the islands, it is possible to hire a small sail or motor boat and make your own way around the islands if you do not want to use one of the many commercial sailing trips or ferry routes between the islands. The hinterland on the islands is also worth a visit: for this purpose bike or moped hire is available on most islands which gives you daily excursion possibilities right on your doorstep.
You can search through our handpicked collection of holiday accommodation in the Aeolian Islands using the search machine at the top of the page and find something that inspires you. Alternatively why not contact our Italy travel experts for free advice on the best places to stay and visit. We are happy to help make your holiday in Italy everything you dream of and more.