A trip to Aeolian Islands won’t be your standard summer holiday. It may not have the beaches of the rest of the Island of Sicily, but this stunning, mountainous cluster of islands has amazing landscapes and a charming, off-beat way of life. It may not be conventional, but it will certainly be memorable. If you love an adventure and prefer exploring to lazing around on a sun lounger all day, this could be your perfect destination. The Aeolian Islands are made up of seven islands: Vulcano, Lipari, Panarea, Salina, Stromboli, Filicudi and Alicudi. Ferries link all seven, making it easy to island hop – though the services are reduced in winter. Flanked by the huge Mount Etna and Mount Vesuvius, the islands became UNESCO World Heritage sites in 2000, and offer incredible natural beauty that you won’t see anywhere else.
If you have the energy – and more importantly, the footwear – climbing the 390m Fossa di Vulcano crater is a must do. It gets a little tough going, but looking into the main crater of a sleeping volcano is a great thing to say you’ve done. The best bit is the 360 degree, panoramic views of the islands from the top. Aside from hiking, popular pastimes include scuba diving, swimming and boat tours. If the physical exertion isn’t your thing, stay at ground level and visit the Lipari observatory, which monitors the volcanic activity in the Mediterranean. It has gorgeous views of the water and Vulcano – from a safe distance!
There are plenty of other fantastic sights and things to do on the islands, but at some point, you have to stop to eat. Sicilian food is famous for its exotic mix of flavours and influences. Seafood is number one on the Aeolian Islands, with favourites being sweet prawns and capers. The region’s wine also has a great reputation, so be sure to sample a glass of Sweet Malvasia – the best Aeolian wine – and take a bottle or two home with you. Lipari is the place to go for a drink and a lively night, and tends to be the island where you’ll find younger travellers and backpackers. People will congregate around the Marina Corta, where you’ll find a selection of bars and venues. A favourite is Bar La Precchia, open late and often featuring live music and a terrific drinks menu.
Whether you’re a geology buff, backpacker or just looking for a holiday that is out of the ordinary, there is no end of incredible things to see and do in the Aeolian Islands. From sports and hiking to kicking back with a glass of wine, there is something to keep you busy. You can make amazing savings this summer when you book your break with lastminute.com, for an affordable way to experience a true Italy holiday – volcano optional!
Aeolian Island Travel Information
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