The Aeolian Islands trip planner

The Aeolian Islands (Isole Eolie)—sometimes called the Lipari Islands—is a string of volcanic islets off the northeast coast of Sicily

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Hotels on the Aeolian Islands

Aeolians Guide
This chain eight volcanic Aeolian, or Lipari, Islands strung out in the Thyrrhenian sea was home to some of Sicily's earliest Paleolithic and Bronze Age cultures—the isle of Lipari has a great archeology museum—but it was the colonizing Greeks who dubbed them after Aeolus, god of the winds, who stored his gusts in their caves.

The fantastic geologic forms, spectacular active vulcanism, whitewashed houses, excellent fresh fish, and shallow, clear azure waters and offshore islets have made these islands one of Italy's favorite resorts.

Fortunately, aside from the built-up town on the main island of Lipari, the tourism economy has wisely seen that the charm lies in keeping these islands rough and peasant-style, with only a few hundred inhabitants on each and plenty of room to hike or lay on the beach.

In addition to a short guide about Milazzo (the town on the northeast Sicilian coast from which you catch ferries to the islands—though you can also get there via overnight ferry from Naples; more below under "Tips"), I’ll highlight the top four islands:

Besides the islands elaborated above, the Aeolians also include Salina—great malvasia wine, rudiments of a Bronze Age village, and a laid-back island lifestyle—and remote, semi-desolate Alicudi and Filicudi, where electricity was hooked up only in 1990.

(Between Panarea and Stromboli is the final island: a tiny, uninhabited rock called Basiluzzo, less than a square kilometer in size.)

Duration: 7 days
Cost: $1,917
Book: Reserve it

Sail the Aeolian Islands

Feel like a god on a sailing adventure along Italy’s spectacular Calabrian coast. While away the days swimming in inviting azure waters, snorkelling in secluded inlets, lazing about on white-sand beaches and uncovering archaeological treasures. Travel past the dramatic cliffs of Calabria to Bagnara Calabra, visit the historic port of Milazzo in Sicily, explore the stunning, windswept Aeolian islands of Lipari and Panarea, hike to see lava bubbling from Stromboli’s active volcano, and discover the charming villages of Longobardi. From the ‘Coast of the Gods’, to the heavenly waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea, this divine sea adventure is sure to sweep you off your feet...

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This article was written by Reid Bramblett and was last updated in October 2009. All information was accurate at the time.

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Copyright © 2008–2013 by Reid Bramblett. Author: Reid Bramblett